Our Key Takeaways – Q&A w/Gartner App Strategy Conference Chair

Below is the summary Q&A with the Gartner App Strategy conference chair (from Gartner Application Architecture, Development & Integration Summit 2013.).

Key CrossWaves takeaways:

  • “Nexus of Forces” – mobile, social, cloud and information per Gartner.  Agreed, although we at CrossWaves/ITconnecter label them at a more foundational level: data, process and integration.
  • “Legacy applications must be transformed…”  Obviously agreed, but here is an example of what is not so obvious – How would an insurance policy management system with millions of life policies at an operational cost of pennies per policy quantify the benefit of this transformation, enough so that its justifiable?  This is exactly the type of problem TBM and Apptio can help address.
  • “Context awareness is rewriting customer relationships…”  This has HUGE implications and why data, and MDM, are so important as CIO areas of focus.  Terms such as taxonomies and semantic technologies need to be more broadly understood at all levels of IT to help build a culture of awareness of their future implications.

Transform Your Application Strategies for a New Reality

Jeff Schulman
Jeff Schulman
Vice President and Conference Chair
Q&A with Jeff Schulman, Conference Chair

Q:  Applications is in the midst of a massive transition. Where to begin?
A:  The disruption has only just begun. We’re looking at a series of deep, systemic changes with applications at the very core of it. It’s time to make these changes real at your organization right now. Gartner has been talking about the Nexus of Forces — mobile, social, cloud and information — and how they interact and amplify each other. The combined forces are changing how technology supports the enterprise, how businesses engage customers and how IT affects the momentum of the business. We’re experiencing the power of technology to create change in the organization, in business models and across markets. As that power becomes more apparent, IT is transitioning from business enablement to shared business leadership. There are opportunities to completely reinvent the business based on the right application strategy.
Q:  It’s time to implement mobile, social, cloud and analytics. What are the stumbling blocks?
A:  Security is at or near the top of the list. Cloud is here to stay, but so is the need to protect data. I hear clients saying they simply won’t put their corporate data in the cloud unless they can secure it. But mobile and social are making cloud an imperative. It’s time to find ways to balance risk and move forward. Governance is another critical factor. Who makes decisions about these new technologies? Where are the responsibilities for implementation? Where are the gaps? New protocols need to be put in place, but at the same time you can’t gum up the works and impede agility and innovation. You want just enough governance — organized but not bureaucratic.
Q:  Legacy applications plague every big dreamer. Can we move on yet?
A:  Yes. And no. It’s a constant battle. Legacy apps eat three quarters or more of many IT budgets. How can you invest in new technologies when your lumbering back office obligations are sucking up all the resources? It’s time to take a serious look at legacy applications and find ways to either jettison or rearchitect them to move them forward or at least make them more manageable. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it needs to start happening now. Legacy applications must be transformed through a controlled process of optimization, modernization and migration. Whether through incremental modernization or a more fundamental shift, legacy burdens must be addressed or they will impede innovation and impact the health and resilience of the business. We also need to talk about the megavendors who make up the core of your current architectures. All of them are under threat from new solutions. Think ahead five years — which vendors will make up the core of your architectures then?
Q:  Mobile is everywhere, cloud is essential, social is second nature. What’s next?
A:  Big data and analytics are blossoming.  this next wave is transforming industries. “Smart” everything — from engine turbines to CAT scan machines to thermostats — that provide real-time data and powerful analytics that look for patterns are quickly redefining competitive advantage. The question is, how will you use new data to transform your business? Your market? Your industry? How are new data streams, increasing data velocity and unstructured data important for your enterprise? New application architecture and information architecture structures need to connect pieces we don’t quite understand, triggering implications we haven’t even thought of yet. There’s major leverage to be gained by those who master this. All of these topics are on the agenda at the upcoming conference, including how to implement these new technologies successfully, get over the hurdles, and understand the upside potential. With so many crucial decisions to be made now, I don’t think there’s ever been a more important time to gather insight and swap notes with leading peers.

Focused on TBM, Technology Business Management ("run IT like a business"). - 30+ years of experience, in providing IT strategy, process, application, RAMP, hardware, software, network, internet and cloud solutions to financial services, MRD and high technology companies from startup to F500. - 20+ published articles on the intersection of business and technology. - Startup advisor and mentor to a dozen startups, four of which were acquired and one of which is newly-launched (ITconnecter, a Crosswaves Ventures LLC company). - Specialties: IT Technology Business Management (TBM, aka "run IT like a business"), strategic partnerships, technology innovation, solutioning and program/project management (onshore, nearshore, offshore). Technology consulting focused on innovation, built around process, data and integration (cloud, social networking). We use I/TBM financial management best practices to help mid-size and large enterprises ensure they are meeting the needs of their business effectively and efficiently.

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Looking forward to your perspectives....