Technology analysts have highlighted the emerging differences in the IT department between the tasks of managing legacy systems and the increasing number of applications and services migrating to the cloud. Garner has described the difference as ‘two-speed IT,’ where separate teams maintain mission-critical legacy applications in a stable environment or grow cloud services in a dynamic environment to increase agility.
Close the Gap
However, a recent article by McKinsey, ‘Toward an integrated technology operating model,’ points out that many digital initiatives are failing to meet their original goals because of a potential mismatch between legacy and cloud technologies and the teams responsible for managing them. The firm believes that there needs to be closer collaboration between the teams responsible for different technologies to avoid siloed development.
For example, innovative applications may only be accessible to a limited number of users or departments because of network or infrastructure issues. The problem may be greater in distributed organizations where legacy WANs do not have the speed or capacity to route advanced services to all sites.
McKinsey believes that an integrated technology operating model is essential to close the gaps and accelerate transformation towards a digital enterprise in which cloud and legacy both have a role. The change doesn’t just require integration of technologies and networking; transforming roles and processes is also essential.
The aim, according to the consultancy, is to ensure that users across an organization can access the same services and data in a consistent way. That will require focus on a single operating model and changes to the way legacy and digital teams work and collaborate to deliver all services more efficiently.
The transition will require strong leadership to coordinate IT initiatives and some skills development to adjust to the new ways of delivering services. McKinsey sees cross-functional IT teams as a way forward, with a common focus on improving user or customer experience. As a secondary benefit, collaboration and integration can eliminate duplication of tasks and encourage standardization of processes across the IT organization.
Adopt Hybrid Project Working
The firm believes that hybrid projects will emerge that require both legacy and cloud resources. Early planning involving members of both teams will help to avoid any overlap or delays due to misunderstanding. For example, the legacy team might agree to allocate additional capacity, which the digital team could utilize for development work.
McKinsey also points out that both groups could pool and share support resources to improve workflow and eliminate delays. As an example, quality specialists or network management technicians could work within the hybrid project team to speed up testing or eliminate bottlenecks that could impact delivery.
As part of the collaborative project process, the firm recommends adopting DevOps techniques. Here the development and operations teams work together throughout a project, reducing the risk of problems emerging when a development project moves into the production phase. Success depends on regular communication and a commitment to focusing on the user.