Here’s a thought for 2017. Every year author, entrepreneur and Forbes contributor Steve Andriole, provides his analysis of Top CIO priorities. While many of the priorities (security, cost, agility, etc.) are predictable, it is Andriole’s analysis and recommendations that are provocative and likely to make CIOs ‘crazy’ (his words). This article covers aligning IT with the business.

IT Recommendation 1: Aligning IT with the Business

  • The only way to align technology with the business is to change the organizational and reporting relationships between the two worlds.
  • The whole idea of “technology departments” with their own “chiefs” and “teams” is a remnant from the 20th century. Today – and forever – there is no business without technology and no technology without business: they should be integrated!
  • Alignment will only happen when technologists and business professionals live in the same house and focus on the same goals.
  • This means that “IT” needs to disappear and re-emerge within business units. IT plumbing – networks, email, security, storage, etc. – should all move to Audit.
    (credit Steve Andriole, Forbes)

Practical challenges posed by Andriole’s IT-business alignment recommendation

Your custom, business critical applications are complex and highly interrelated with other applications, middleware and databases. If and when you follow Andriole’s advice, those distributed applications are now managed across multiple departments (like Sales, Marketing, Finance, HR, etc.). The tradeoff of course is that by “aligning with the business”, your IT experts become misaligned from each other. Managing those distributed applications when your IT experts are also distributed across multiple departments adds nearly impossible new levels of complexity…unless every IT group – Sales IT, Marketing IT, Finance IT, etc. — can immediately view and manage the very same interrelated application ecosystem.

Today IT organizations resort to modeling their infrastructure with viewer-only tools like Visio, and CMDB solutions – but these have several downsides:

  • Very manual process to create and to update
  • Model becomes out of date quickly
  • Difficult/ impossible to know full information about your configurations or how they change
  • Not relevant to Mode 2 technologies like containers and PaaS
  • No built-in option to remediate drift and enforce compliance

 

But tomorrow’s world of IT-business alignment requires interactive birds-eye views of your distributed Linux and Windows-based ecosystems. Distributed teams need to be able to see, at a glance that a configuration compliance problem exists and they need to know right away the location and nature of the error. In triage mode, large scale IT Ops teams do not have the luxury of toggling back and forth between multiple reports and multiple screens searching for that non-compliant, broken needle in an ecosystem haystack. If they are faced with a glitch or an outage, they need to find and fix it right away with an ecosystem heat map to point them directly to the source of the problem.

Non-compliant, broken needle in an ecosystem haystack
Backup configurations with Orcaconfig. Manually sorting through configuration settings is tough enough. It’s even worse in a backup and recovery scenario.
Color-coded Ecosystem View.
orca-configuration-compliance-heat-map

Beyond fire-fighting, the same concept applies to planned updates and revisions of distributed applications across distributed teams. Dev, Ops and Security…and Finance IT, Sales IT, etc. each have their own interests and their own need to view their application through a lens that is most meaningful for them. Ecosystem views are needed to eliminate guesswork and achieve frictionless collaboration between individuals and groups.

Here’s how Orca supports aligning IT with your business

Orca makes business-technology alignment achievable by delivering a common, intuitive, automatically updated ecosystem interface for viewers and doers across your distributed teams.

Creating a model-driven application ecosystem view in Orca is intuitive and powerful (see our “Create and Manage New Ecosystems in Orca” video which shows an example that takes only 88 seconds). No new scripting or declarative languages to learn. No extended training or certifications required. Within Orca’s intuitive Builder View, your teams have a choice to use out-of-the-box templates or to create custom ecosystems that model your Dev, QA, Prod and DR environments whether physical, virtual and or cloud.

And unlike viewer-only tools, Orca is interactive. Whether for monitoring, planning or for triage purposes, Orca pulls live configuration information for each of your teams to deliver an accurate, up-to-date representation of your application ecosystem. Orca automates and enforces configuration changes to keep your Linux and Windows environments in compliance with your performance, availability and security policies. Orca’s single console visibility, advanced RBAC system and integrated, shared calendar all work together to deliver the communication and collaboration that modern IT teams need.

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