HYDRASIGHT ANALYSIS: Simplification: IT isn't so simple

Simplifying IT is not as easy as it sounds, argue analysts Hydrasight, as a plethora of methods to simplify IT create different perceptions of the benefits on offer.

Hydrasight notes a strong level of interest, and action, within mature IT organisations in Asia Pacific in regard to IT simplification. However, our research shows a variety of methods used in order to attempt to simplify IT. We believe the lack of broad agreement, about how best to combat complexity, will continue to result in wildly differing business perceptions of the benefits of, and approaches to, IT simplification.

Hydrasight believes the lack of consensus as to what constitutes the core elements of simplification is illustrative of long-held frustration with IT complexity—and the ongoing behaviour/desire to ‘just do something’ to reduce it. Our research noted that IT projects commonly identified as assisting in the simplification of IT include:

  • IT service management, including ITIL;
  • Streamlined IT/business processes;
  • Enterprise application integration / SOA;
  • New application rollout and development frameworks;
  • Mainframe modernisation / rationalisation;
  • Server virtualisation / server hardware consolidation or replacement;
  • Outsourcing;
  • IT financial management.

The diversity of approaches shows a common response, by ITOs, to the challenges of managing complex enterprise IT environments. Specifically, it appears that organisations still believe it is easier to attempt to solve visible symptoms than to identify the underlying cause(s). This is despite the continued rise in interest in process/service/quality management programs such as ITIL and Six Sigma (refer "HYDRASIGHTS 2008: IT Service Management (ITSM)"). Furthermore, in many instances we believe the high level of current interest in server virtualisation must also be considered as an example of trying to treat the symptom rather than the cause (refer "Server virtualisation in Australia / New Zealand (2007)").

In such a situation, Hydrasight foresees increased and ongoing complexity. We believe this will continue until such time as:

  1. Concerted effort is placed on the rationalisation and retirement of highly-customised/tightly-integrated enterprise IT applications and environments;
  2. Vendors further consolidate and integrate their ever-broadening product options.

It will also require a renewed focus on managing core enterprise data—yet not necessarily the systems and applications that drive and consume that data. Looking even further ahead, as enterprise interest in cloud computing (in all its forms) continues to increase and/or mature, we believe ITOs will be increasingly required to balance containment of core information while attempting to cater for an ever-increasing demand for requests for information access by internal and external parties (refer "HYDRASIGHTS 2008: CIO").

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