Bailout was Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year 2008. Did you know that? And is it a surprise? No, of course not! We all are desperately seeking “a rescue from financial distress.” But the question is how we do this and by what means. With a red pencil within reach you are not naturally part of a lasting solution.
To quote Benny Sisko from TechRepublic “doing more with more seems to be a recipe for success” – even in a rough economy. Because regarding IT no longer as simply a cost center is maybe the first step away from reflexive reacting towards intelligent acting. In fact, there are much better ways to save money than canceling, deleting and cutting.
Let’s make a start by looking at a typical business process running across multiple people, departments, applications and servers: A particular person in the management team needs a financial report, accesses the appropriate application which in turn sends a task to the data warehouse. The data warehouse flags someone in operations, who then needs to kick off a legacy application on a server or mainframe. The mainframe requests information from an associated database which requires the intervention of someone in the production control team to ensure the data is up to date. The database now sends the up-to-date information to the appropriate application, which automatically contacts the data warehouse to deliver the requested business information back to the user who originally requested it.
Looking closely at this process, you will agree that it doesn’t really make sense to think about automating parts of it. Because every chain is only as strong as the weakest link. Neither will a red pencil help you in this situation. What you need is a target, a business objective which will help you to think about streamlining and automating your process and to weigh expenses and results. Keeping this in mind, the diagram from InformationWeek seems pretty convincing. Because at the end of the day there is one objective of every well run business which is the same: to effectively deliver the right business information at the right time at the lowest possible cost.
That’s smart and cost sensitive. That’s Just-In-Time.