I note Tom Graves, Robert Phipps and Richard Veryard discussing vectors as a metaphor for enterprise change. They argue As-Is and To-Be models are way too static. The organization is not a series of snapshots, rather it is a complex, multi-dimensional, interconnected series of continuous changes. I agree.
For some time now we (Everware-CBDI) have been advising and practicing continuous evolution. We realize this concept in modernization projects by baselining the current state and modernizing that; actually rejecting the inevitable change request list. The outcome of the project is therefore compliance with improved architecture, (SOA, WOA, BPM, events, cloud etc) and organized as services, capabilities and components that are a) designed to change continuously and b) managed in an agile evolutionary process and c) with managed, current organizational knowledge.
More recently my thinking has evolved further to consider modernization as a multi-dimensional activity.
The de facto modernization approach today is still a linear development from legacy transformation - in which applications are transformed from a legacy platform to a modern, standards based platform, OK with some optimization of portfolio alignment and EA compliance.
But I suggest we need to go further; to view modernization as a more holistic and multidimensional activity which plans and delivers a progressive transformation of the As-Is business through a series of maturity states on a number of (yes OK) vectors. The vectors may include:
- Architecture: Business, Service, Information, Social Network, Implementation, Technology, Deployment
- Portfolio: progressive componentization and transition engineering
- Service architecture: progressive delivery of the service based business
- Cloud: progressive unbundling
- Standardization and Differentiation: adopting commodity services where it makes sense and delivering strategic differentiation where it is a business imperative. Naturally using cloud as a key enabler of both
- Organization: transformation of IT organization ownership to a core business activity
- Process: transformation to continuous evolution
- and there are many more. Note CBDI-SAE practitioners, we might label these Streams.
My trigger for thinking about the evolution of modernization was the impact of Cloud on modernization practices. I realized that we needed a fundamental rethink based on a pattern that would be better described as Cloudburst rather than Transformation. Cloudburst suggests a dramatic unbundling; the breaking down of conventional boundaries and forceful redistribution. Of course Cloud is not the only trigger, but it is evident that it is going to have profound impacts on everything we do.
So back to the vectors. These are important and provide context for the unbundling of the current state - distributing and componentizing capabilities across architecture layers, suppliers, technologies, processes and ownerships. They provide context for change and ensure we don't remain isolated looking at the world solely from our own specialism and perspective.
Relevant Blog and Research Note: Integrating Strategic Planning for Cloud and SOA