Complex IT Systems: a simple and straightforward approach
July 24, 2020
Years of technological evolution, without due concern for simplified approaches, have left an abundance of complex systems. But, believe me, it is possible to simplify IT with the aid of agile and modern tools. Rodrigo Bernardinelli Throughout my career, I have always heard that IT must be aligned with the purpose of the business. Its function […]

Years of technological evolution, without due concern for simplified approaches, have left an abundance of complex systems. But, believe me, it is possible to simplify IT with the aid of agile and modern tools.

Rodrigo Bernardinelli

Throughout my career, I have always heard that IT must be aligned with the purpose of the business. Its function is to be an enabler of revenue generation or product delivery processes. IT, however, has always been criticized for failing to meet the expectations of the business area regarding deadlines, functionality, performance or security.

What IT has created over the years is colossal, complex, and the business area often sees only the tip of the iceberg. The story is well known: with each new demand, the company asks IT for a new system; technologies are being implemented and, little by little, an immense technical legacy is created, which requires specialized professionals to take care of the different tools developed.

What happens next? With the extremely rapid evolution of technology, the company is unable to keep up with all complex systems updates and can still be hit by financial crises, which stimulate the reduction in the technology budget, often at levels even irresponsible. The result: companies are stuck with old technologies, which have a complex systems support and depend on specialized and outdated professionals.

This all goes against the speed that digital businesses demand. The new systems in cloud, IoT, machine learning and artificial intelligence have processional capabilities that were unimaginable when many of the old systems, and still in operation, were created and it is necessary to find efficient and simple ways to integrate them.

Do you realize the size of the “bush” that has to be cut before establishing the path to simple, fast and efficient technology? But there are ways for the CIO to “cut that bush” and then start building a new road. Let’s do it by steps…

How to simplify complex systems

The business cannot stop. Even if the legacy is complex and outdated, it is necessary to find a transition path in which “the old one” keeps the business running, while, with more modern solutions and without the need for highly specialized professionals, a new, simple and updated architecture, be created over legacy systems.

You cannot be agile working with obsolete technologies that do not support the new development and operation models. Traditional companies need to look for more modern processes to compete on an equal footing with digital giants like Amazon, Google and Netflix, which, based on the tripod “modern architecture”, “agile applications and processes” and “updated people”, created a technology environment that responds very quickly to market demands.

As you can see, the problems are complex and the systems too, but the approaches can and should be simple and that is how the difference is made in this universe. To solve the equation that simplifies the complex, first, it is necessary to isolate the difficulties. Let’s use the data integration example to illustrate…

The example of data integration

For many years, integration required different technologies, protocols and parts, which became a super complex problem. There is a dependence on highly specialized professionals and a very extensive process. To connect two systems, the company needs a myriad of tools, such as service buses, API gateways and tools for execution, monitoring and troubleshooting, among others.

Each of these gears requires the creation of a process for specialists to work in a coordinated way: analysts to look at the data that will be moved, network professionals to create the necessary connections, security professionals, a developer to create highly specialized codes and ensure that the execution is perfect and so on. It is a long and complex process, which goes far beyond taking data here and taking it there.

Remember I talked about isolating difficulties? Here, this work comes in. First, time is saved by automating much of the process or the whole process by replacing it with a single platform, which allows you to design, execute and operate an integration without disturbing the source and destination systems. But there are other options as well. We see a profusion of tools using no-code  or low-code models that simplify application development. There is also the cloud, which takes the complexity out of data centers and provides a model in which it is possible to consume only the necessary computational capacity.

Agile IT and protagonist

By bringing an architecture that isolates this complexity, you have a platform as easy to operate as a Google or Netflix. The idea is really to bring, to IT, the facilities that we get used to on a daily basis, so that they can simplify, provide agility and efficiency to the operation of the companies’ businesses.

I am convinced that this is the way to take the relationship between business and IT to another level, reinforcing the idea that technology is enabling and not an obstacle. More than at any other time, IT, today, has all the conditions to “cut the bush” of complex systems and assume a leading role also for the business area.

 

For more on modern agile development, see our post, Agile Development: Pioneering Disruptive Technologies

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