Saturday, November 18, 2017
   
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The Birth of a Silo: Another Expensive IT Application Project

Why are Hollywood blockbusters so expensive to produce? They often run $100-million or more to make. The reason is that every movie project is a product; fully conceived and produced from the lines in the script to the distributed prints that get sent out to the movie theater.

Hollywood studios often have to create everything from scratch, and most of the time, have to recreate entire worlds for every different movie. That might work in the entertainment industry or in art, but if IT services outside core business functions took that approach, it’d be a plot for disaster.

To understand how IT has gotten to where it is today, we need to examine how new applications are introduced.

Application Development and Deployment 1.0

Traditionally, IT would have to purchase physical hardware and then deploy some type of application infrastructure. That includes web servers, application servers, databases, creating application frameworks, etc. Of course, that means someone has to manage each of those layers. Scalability, data recovery and security issues also come into play. In many cases, much of the resource time and costs involved in building occur before the application has ever been defined.

Then application managers and architects are tasked with:

  • Requirements gathering
  • Designing and creating data models
  • Designing user interfaces
  • Mapping out workflows and processes
  • Building connectors to external systems

Invariably, the endeavor involves essentially developing, quality assuring and releasing a complete software product. This internal product comes burdened with a list of technical, business and review requirements, a series of development cycles, and a complete application infrastructure that is specific for that one type of operation. It also needs to have some method for connecting to existing systems.

In the process of pulling together even simple applications, developers will have to find ways to build or buy application components for security access controls, user authentication, data view management, reports and dashboards, custom processing, and much more. Businesses often bring in independent contractors or services companies or platform specialists.

The IT application portfolio gets thicker with more vendors, more off-the-shelf software and an increasing number of sub-projects. Applications take on a life of their own, which is why entire suites of solutions are geared towards application lifecycle management.

Let’s also add that features that are developed in these silos often cannot be leveraged into other applications. They are disconnected and separate. This drives the cost of maintenance sky high and results in unpredictable IT spending whenever that application needs to be updated.

Ultimately, the application becomes its own silo and development teams have to reinvent the wheel for every new business problem or application function. Over time, multiple silos start appearing and management of these fragmented applications becomes more complex and expensive.

Application Development and Deployment 2.0

Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) solutions like LongJump can add significant value to enterprise IT by enabling IT to better serve the business, operate at a strategic level with business divisions and rapidly deliver application solutions to business partners.

PaaS enables IT organizations and their CIOs to do more faster and for less. They are able to deliver on-demand business applications quickly and easily to manage data, streamline collaborative processes and provide actionable analysis. PaaS solutions reduce the complexity of custom applications across the organization, enabling better use of the IT dollar and improving overall processes.

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