Ref: http://subbuiyer.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/whose-problem-is-it-anyway/

What is your take on how this story is going to go? Please participate in writing in your feedback. Perhaps your views will help in shaping clarity for our protagonist CIO and / or his organization.

Simple answer: He transforms the sin into a blessing, divides the ocean and leads the flock to IT-Utopia.

Details:

  • The CIO gets in a technology ‘agent’ – be it internal or external – to form a crisp, thin ‘control’ layer between the external application and the internal application
  • The control layer is created to allow greater permeability and visibility into both the homegrown user-interface frontend and the application, and requirements not satisfied by the current application vendor can be easily ‘plugged’ in using other vendors
  • Meantime, the CIO removes bloatware (that exists in most organizations; if you don’t find it its likely you dont know what you’re looking for), which streamlines and trims the bulk of the ‘technology fat’ that would normally slow down tech operations at any level. This could be actual software or could simply be a process that has outlived its usefulness.
  • At the same time the CIO moves focus to the new information strategy and begins piecing together a 3 part action plan, while ensuring essential resources are available to the organization as the key pre-growth plans are pushed (maybe advertising campaigns that need extensive design and content development capacity, or bulk accounting processes that want to identify major expenses on marketing activity as Marketing attempts to identify key expansion points – could be many things)
  • Part 1 – Keeping in line with the strategy identifies the most critical pain points and generates a localized strategy to deal with each pain point
  • Part 2 – Identifies potential areas that could become pain points during the next growth phase and creates a best case & worst case treatment plan (worst case would apply if the growth starts before the cure has been applied)
  • Part 3 – Notes important support points that would need to be strengthened to allow smooth and effective growth (a great example would be the call centre in a radio taxi service)
  • Then comes the critical implementation phase – Parts 1, 2 and 3 are executed around the same time. By this time (6~8 months from the time this process was actioned) the bloatware removal has resulted in some minor improvements, and the technology ‘agent’ assigned with making the control layer has achieved the required element of success (so those points need even less attention)
  • As the implementation of Strategy Part 1 begins, a lot more ‘low-hanging fruit’ solutions would become visible and should be dealt with then and there (within reason; if it’s a particularly large ‘fruit’ it would be dealt with on a case-to-case basis)
  • Further to treat Part 2 & 3 (assuming major growth phase has not started yet) a support team is created and trained to deal with the expected, with clear escalation paths defined for the unexpected. Given there is a new system in place critical testing and pre-deployment preparations are done well in advance of the expected growth ‘wave’.

Further as the growth wave comes in

  • Some fixes applied in strategy Part 1 may break, and some known points of Part 2 end up in worst case – the support team would handle most of these issues within ~15-20% of them becoming important enough to escalate [i.e. they act as a filter]
  • Since the key support points have been dealt with in Part 3 (and there’s a support team to handle overages) there would possibly be some teething problems given the new software, which the original technology agent would offer support for.

End of the day, the growth expected comes though, the CIO isn’t ‘drowned’, and the system is brought up to a point where it’s now upgradable and to some extent scalable (in that it would handle the initial growth phase and scale ~2.5-3x without trouble).

Possibly in the meantime (specially needed if 10x and higher scaling needed) plans would be made to replace the problematic software vendor, and if need be even the user front-end – which would be made significantly easier with the modular ‘control’ layer now in place.

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About Chaitanya Dhareshwar

Chaitanya Dhareshwar, a Technocrat | CIO.

Member of various key technology and management organizations (IETF, ISOC, CSI)
with 14 years of technology management & advisory experience
has transformed companies from "stone age" to "space age". I build high-scale, self-sustaining, self-service platforms. Passionate about technology, innovation and creating killer opportunities that only great tech can bring. I've led teams from 5 - 150 people, and am hands-on with all forms of technology.

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