In this Newsletter we will cover what is essential for us to understand about the IT Current State to ensure we can accurately develop an IT Strategy from the correct starting point. In order to know where we are heading with an IT strategy we first need to know where you are.
In my upcoming How to IT Strategy Course, which you can sign up to be notified of early access and an early bird discount here, we’ll go into more detail around how to capture the current state and even provide some templates to assist the process.
There are several key things to bear in mind when capturing the current state when developing an IT Strategy
- Our purpose is only to inform the IT Strategy development, so only do what is required to achieve that outcome, do not be tempted to boil the ocean and undertake a prolonged academic exercise in defining the current state for IT
- Work at the right level, we are not about creating/recreating our CMDB! We need to work at a level of abstraction so we don’t get lost in the weeds and so we can actually complete the strategy within a sensible timescale (We should be able to discover, document, analyse and summaries the IT current state within 5 days of work)
- Use what we already have, The IT team should already have assets available that can be re-used or abstracted. You can also take advantage of meta data to inform your current state analysis e.g. auto-generate diagrams from your AWS cloud-formation config
- Bear in mind that your key stakeholders don’t care about the current state architecture, they really don’t. They will certainly moan about symptoms of deficiencies in the current state architecture that impact their ability to do their job and achieve their goals, but their interests will be future focused in terms of what your strategy can achieve for them, their only interest in the current state will be that they are satisfied that you understand it enough to have informed your views on what needs to be addressed
- Capturing and defining your current state is just a means to an end not an end in itself, so give it an appropriate proportion of attention when compared to more valuable strategy development tasks
- Understanding the Current state for IT Strategy is not the same as understanding the current state for transition planning as part of an implementation project, don’t get the two confused, we need to focus on ‘Just enough current state’
Where to focus?
There are some key assets that you need to either create or pull together both to help piece together an understand if the current state and also to provide a key asset that you can then use in conjunction with other assets (e.g. Value Streams and Capability Models) that we’ll create during the strategy development that we can overlay to create different views and perspectives to inform our strategy development. Bearing in mind the bullet points above, our focus needs to be on just enough current state to inform our strategy
- Applications Catalogue, at its most basic level a spreadsheet of applications used by the organisation, this can be augmented by various bits of meta data e.g. cost, number of users, RAG status (e.g. current fit vs requirements), strategic importance, value streams and/or capabilities supported, invest/remove/migrate decisions etc.
- Applications Map, a visual representation of the catalogue, this can be useful as a one pager for discussion with stakeholders and can be useful to overlay and use in conjunction with other views e.g. mapping the application map to the capability model, or at a high level mapping key integration points and/or data flows between applications.
- Infrastructure Map(s). This could be one of more diagrams from different sources e.g. an auto-generated diagram of your AWS estate, and/or a topographical view of your network estate and locations
In this Newsletter we’ve discussed some key assets to create to define the Current state IT in order to inform your IT Strategy development and also listed some key things to bear in mind when approaching discovering the Current State IT
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