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Designing IT for Business

August 9th, 2003 · No Comments

McKinsey Quarterly writes:

business and IT managers are starting to gather IT systems into “domains”sets of applications and databases that are managed as units for business reasonsinstead of managing them on the applications level or organizing them by the types of computers and operating systems on which applications run. A company might, for example, bring together the systems that contain customer information and rethink the links among them; in this way, it streamlines the tangle of interconnected systems, roots out duplication, and retires unneeded applications, thereby slashing its maintenance and development costs. IT employees find it easier to change or scale such systems and can thus support business changes more rapidly and less expensively. Moreover, the new approach eliminates a source of tension between the two cultures, business and IT.

By transforming the IT architecture in this evolutionary wayrather than tackling change by patching in systems individually or replacing whole areas in “big bangs”companies make it possible for IT and the businesses it serves to learn how to work together through a series of small, clearly defined projects. These companies can also apply the savings they gain from one project to finance the next. A team of business and IT executives, basing its decisions on the companys current business needs and future strategy, defines the domains, identifies the systems to be grouped together, and specifies how they should communicate with one another. IT experts then deploy an integration backbone based on middleware technologies to establish the necessary connections. The goal is to turn something that resembles a plate of cooked spaghettiwith innumerable applications and databases dispersed across the architectureinto a system of modular and logical blocks with a minimum of interconnecting wires.

We need to think how we can apply these ideas to small businesses.

Tags: Emerging Enterprises

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