The application network and IT project management
Improve IT project management with an application network
Everywhere you turn there’s another thought leader or business strategist talking about the importance of innovation and delivering new products to your customers and partners. There’s no question that innovation is a competitive advantage and to create more delightful experiences for your customers can be an important business differentiator for companies. But what that means is that IT project management becomes an important strategic discipline for your business. You must develop more projects at a faster speed than you ever have before.
Keeping up with the required pace of innovation necessitates a new approach to IT project management, one that isn’t about project-to-project thinking, but rather a flexible, networked, reusable approach to project delivery that, combined with a DevOps approach, results in not only continuous delivery and faster project development, but also with security, governance and management built in. This is the application network, a seamless way to connect applications, data and devices that will have profound effects on IT project management.
Traditional approaches to IT project management
A very common IT project is a request from an area of the business to populate a new CRM system with data from an on-premises database. To do this, often the IT team will code an integration from the database to the new CRM. This is fine — created on time, is under budget, meets all requirements. But then the business will want a connection to a new e-commerce site. That’s fine as well, but now customers are demanding a mobile experience, so an app must be built drawing on this database as well. The requests, the time to complete them and the complexity is piling up, making future IT project management more complicated.
This type of ad hoc project management has three problems:
- No reuse. There’s no way to reduce the time spent creating the integrations — each project takes as long to complete as the last. With more and more requests for integrations, this type of project delivery wastes precious time.
- It’s tightly coupled to apps. The world is changing fast. Today customers want to access your business on mobile phones, but what will happen tomorrow? You don’t want to be playing catch-up all the time — you want your IT projects to be forward-looking, not coupled to particular apps.
- No governance. As IT falls further and further behind on projects, other areas of the business will grow tired of waiting and create their own apps. This is called “shadow IT” and creates all kinds of security risks as well as QA risks. It’s important for central IT to be able to govern and manage IT projects, but if they can’t deliver quickly, the rest of the business will go off on its own.
The application network approach to IT project management
Rather than an ad-hoc approach to IT project management, the application network creates reusable assets that can be managed and governed by IT and used by anyone else in the organization. In the previous example, rather than creating a single-use integration every time the database needs to be queried for an application, reusable templates, connected with APIs, are created and managed by IT. This provides consistent, managed access to data and abstraction from backend systems which decreases complexity.
All of these reusable assets break down data silos, create highly consumable services that can be easily used by the rest of the business and provide layered governance and security. Not only will setting up your approach to project delivery this way help you go faster by removing the need to constantly redo the same work, but by creating a discipline of creating reusable assets every time something new is built, the network becomes more valuable to the business and has the potential to make projects ever easier to deliver.
How can an application network improve how your company manages IT projects?
IT project management doesn’t have to be difficult. By creating reusable assets, your IT team could be saving your company time, effort and money. And by saving that time, your company could be creating the innovations that will keep your company thriving in a highly competitive marketplace.
Next, learn how an organization can use an application network to make their IT teams more productive and scale faster.