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The End of the IT Department - business rules to the rescue!

A colleague of mine shared a presentation given by Neil MacDonald of Gartner, Inc. titled "The End of the IT Department". Neil gave the presentation at the Financial Services Technology Summit in August of 2005.

There's a lot of good stuff in here but let me summarize a few key points:

  • Two of the top 5 issues of importance for CxOs are improving productivity and building a responsive organization.
  • Flexibility is in fact the number 1 issue for CEO-level executives in larger organizations
  • Half of all CEO-level executives identified changing their underlying IT systems as a problem in getting strategic projects completed.
  • The velocity of business is increasing with Gartner estimating windows of opportunities below 6 months in the next 5 years.
  • It will be more important to change strategies quickly than to pick the single best one

So what does this all means for IT? Clearly if it is to survive as a core component of a successful organization it must radically restructure itself, and its systems, to focus more energy on innovation and it must improve its responsiveness and agility.

After this initial summary, the thrust of the Gartner presentation moves on to outsourcing and restructuring with only a passing comment on technology that might help. Business rules technology, in the form of a "Unified Business Rules Engine" that crosses business processes, data and logic, the enterprise service bus etc., is identified as key. This is re-iterated in the architecture for process composition with  both the process design and information flow components needing rules technology.

Adopting a universal decision engine based around business rules technology can help IT departments in two key ways:

  • Legacy modernization with business rules can reduce maintenance costs and so free up resources for innovation
  • Business rules-enabled processes and business rules-based services can make composite applications and business agility a reality

On top of this, of course, you might be able to get the business to start regarding IT as an enabler not a barrier.

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