Building application environments for reliability, productivity, and change
Information technology (IT) systems are the glue that holds modern enterprises together. They power internal systems, are often critical market differentiators, and need to deliver ever-improving functionality for customers, employees, and partners. At the same time, system complexity and speed of change have escalated: deployments routinely span multiple on-premise and cloud locations, an array of software technologies are used, and the teams behind these systems can vary greatly in their skills. The increased focus on digital transformation highlights the business advantages of change, but often does not address how to deliver real value with the new technologies. These pressures lead to a fundamental tension between the reliability and productivity of the environment. On one hand, systems need to be kept functioning, secure, and predictable in their operation. Developers and operations teams need to be able to evolve the systems rapidly to deliver new functional benefits to users so the whole organization benefits from progress. This core tension between reliability and productivity impacts many choices, but it becomes particularly problematic given today’s pressure for rapid change and improvement. IT teams find themselves continually having to balance short and long-term change in application delivery and development. For example, trading the use of existing systems and infrastructure to develop new functionality versus redesigning development and delivery capabilities. The long-term aim is to keep adding value with the company-wide application environment, while improving agile development and delivery.
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