White Paper: The Promise of LEAN IT
WHY IT NEEDS TO GET LEAN
What does Lean IT mean to you? Is Lean IT just another word for DevOps or Agile?
What about dashboards, scorecards, self-service reporting or automated provisioning? Most of these concepts are Lean practices and contribute to a Lean enterprise, but they are not the complete picture.
Lean is more a way of thinking rather than a specific tool or initiative. Let’s look at how Lean principles apply to IT, as we move into a world where organizations want to consume IT services instead of building and running them.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
In the 1960s, organizations realized that IT systems were critical for managing things like inventory and production control systems. Over the last 50 years, these systems have embraced additional concepts and data sources to evolve into MRP and MRPII, and into ERP or other core systems. These “systems of record” provide the structure and governance that have become the skeleton of the business. Without these systems, organizations can’t function.
IT systems have become so critical to the enterprise that they have become a primary source of growth — or decline. However, a number of factors are now making it more difficult for IT to effectively serve the business.
Business needs have grown in response to new technologies, new competitors and changing customer expectations. The exponential growth in connected devices, cloud computing, social media and big data, coupled with the shift to consumer-driven demand, is driving the need for “business agility.” It’s a vicious cycle: Technology is accelerating these trends, creating a situation that can only be answered with new systems and applications.
IT systems have become more complex. There are many more systems, devices, channels and technologies to contend with today than just 5 years ago. While it is technically feasible to answer all of these new requirements within a core system, the cost of doing so becomes prohibitive. There are many costs of “customizing” these systems of record — and not all of them are obvious at the time.
Data is growing at an exponential rate. From an IT perspective, it is the movement of data through the business that allows an organization to create products and services for customers. Integrating these sources of data to form ecosystems is becoming one of the most critical elements of IT architecture. With this evolution, organizations are able to stitch together pieces of data and information, gaining much greater insight into what their customers are doing as well as what is really going on inside their own organizations. But handling all of this data is another issue.