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From mucky to green: Moving from legacy IT to digital transformation

Blog posted by: Karen Brusch and Neil Robinson – Service Design Consultants, 20 November 2019.

IT service manager with smartphone emitting network of digital icons stands over row of skyscrapers beneath

When is a “dirty, mucky field” like your IT estate?

Having mature existing practices, processes and controls that can’t be jettisoned; legacy technology sitting alongside new and a combination of waterfall and Agile/DevOps approaches – that’s your proverbial “mucky field”.

So how can you aspire to the “greenfield” utopia of independently creating new practices and processes without affecting what you already have, being able to change operating models and building technology from scratch?

This is the challenge addressed in the AXELOS white paper “Consultants sold you a greenfield utopia but you are stuck in a dirty mucky field”.

Service design consultants Karen Brusch and Neil Robinson explore the IT equivalent of putting “new windows” into a “crumbling building” which – inevitably – leads to a wall without windows if the underlying, structural issues are not addressed.

Yet there are plenty of “mud patches” on the pathway to a green field, such as using Agile ways of working at the expense of risk and service, a proliferation of tools, security issues and impacts on customer satisfaction.

Tackling the problem

This white paper sets out the essential steps to tackling the problem, which includes:

  1. The fundamentals: starting where you are and defining high-level principles.
  2. Defining high-level principles: understanding what’s important to the entire organization, de-duplicating processes, creating flexibility, promoting collaboration and visibility, etc. 
  3. Understanding the state of your “mucky field”: looking at current governance, controls, existing services and practices, etc. 
  4. Defining the desired future state: what are the outcomes and value your organization needs? 

And what follows is a step-by-step approach to converting your “mucky field” into the greenfield environment you desire. This includes:

  • Understanding where you are and where you want to be – using an iterative approach to find quick wins
  • Defining how you’ll get there – a roadmap of how you’ll reach your goal
  • Creating a delivery framework – summarizing the changes, confirming stakeholder groups and standardizing stakeholder outcomes
  • Providing supporting documentation
  • Learning by doing – with new ways of working and engaging people for iterative approaches with feedback.

Overall, the white paper recommends understanding your organization’s overall objectives and to be realistic by not attempting to change too many things at once because trying to “create a greenfield on what is already dirty and mucky will cause confusion”.

To read the white paper click the link at MyAXELOS. Access requires subscription to the MyAXELOS online content service.


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