Mar 02, 2021

Technology & IT Simplification

Over the last six months, and with the challenges of activities during the covid period notwithstanding, Innovo has experienced a marked uptick in our client partners drive to innovate and reap the benefits of Digital Transformation and Cloud Migration.

Through these activities, we have identified that there are significant benefits in a focus on one of the key pillars of Digital Transformation – Tech Simplification.

The majority of businesses we have been fortunate to assist with have common challenges associated with their current state technology ecosystems; primarily related to overly complex IT systems and ecosystems that have developed organically over time:

  • multiple variations
  • multiple configurations
  • complex customisations beyond configuration
  • loss of technical knowledge and IP of time
  • multiple ‘like’ application sharing redundant/common functionality (e.g. communication, collaboration etc)
  • end of life technologies

The reason behind this increase in technical complexity are many and varied, but the common elements usually are related to:

  • a result of decisions around shifting business priorities
  • immediate need vs strategic view
  • governance or budget compromises
  • changes (customisation etc) to meet specific business needs and outcomes
  • increasing integration size as more applications and systems are implemented
  • lack of structure decommission analysis and implementation paths

Interestingly, complexity awareness within an organisation is usually greatest with IT streams, noting that there is little business awareness of these complex issues. However, once the business responsible areas of an organisation to become aware (for multiple reasons), these organisations generally look to Digital Transformation as a mechanism to try to stay relevant usually via:

  • new technology acquisition (increasing cost effect and complexity), or
  • look to simplify across people, process & tools (technical simplification and cost reduction)
  • Note: at Innovo we see that both elements mentioned above can be valid when approached holistically, with a strong IT simplification strategy and related plans in place

Speaking specifically to technical simplification, the key goals are to reduce cost, increase agility, reduces complexity, and enable ease of change. When considering tech simplification, several elements need to be considered:

Identify the Tech simplification drivers for your organisation, and develop plans accordingly:

  • Increase focus on business and client outcomes
  • Minimise change impacts
  • Increase transparency of technology complexity and technical debt, across whole or organisation
  • Increase productivity
  • Reduce duplication/multi redundancy costs (e.g. identifying and reducing the number of collaboration/communication tools/systems etc)
  • Improve BI/analytics and metrics measurement
  • Improve agility & innovation
  • Minimise costs across operations, change events, personnel, technology costs

Once you have identified what your goals and drivers are, what should you do?:

  • Baseline your current technical ecosystem – undertake a baselining assessment, utilising well understood and structured techniques and methods. e.g. 6R assessment (Rehost, Re platform, Refactor/Rearchitect, Repurchase, Retire, Retain)
  • Focus on a top-down driven, future goals and vision centric, holistic approach:
    • Organisational strategy, people/process/technology, invest in more than technology (e.g. focus on capability increase across people/process/technology)
    • Make simplification a mantra, enable processes whereby simplification is a key consideration for all future change decisions
    • Beware of inherent bias – asking the people who are invested in a specific technology or process to suddenly adapt and change can be problematic, leverage partners/independents
  • Baseline TCO, apply ROI for all considerations:
    • Be mindful of cost out first’ vs ‘strategic enablement’ – sometimes need to increase initial spending/increase ROI term is required to meet your future vision
    • Be mindful of existing contractual relationship, in particular, multi-year with termination/penalty clauses…identify these up front!
  • Focus on transformation as a journey, not a one-off. Build-in continuous evaluation
  • Drive collaboration & culture, do not just focus on technical change in isolation

At Innovo, we take great pride in having assisted our client partners in achieving their Digital Transformation, and specifically their technical simplification goals. We would invite any organisation that is interested in knowing more about this subject and interested in embarking on this journey to reach out to us to organise a time to discuss.