Technology is endlessly fascinating to my kids. My daughter Carly is a consummate bookworm and writing buff. She is lucky enough to have her own kindle, a laptop and Google doc's where she can fill an endless page with spell checked words for her fans to read... her reading and writing needs are well met. When I was a kid I was lucky to have my own stick to hit a rock with.
The Frankenview of Technology
It is safe to say Carly, like many of her peers, is a proficient user of technology. She has no understanding of what sits behind her applications and hardware or how they interact, what happens if something should go wrong. She is not alone; I've worked in technology for over 20 years, using it to solve problems but have limited experience at the pointy end of IT. My actual hands-on techy experience can be summed up thus: minimal; so my understanding of what technology looks like within an organisation is pretty academic. Like all mental models; I'm sure I've started with a vague idea based on what I have seen, been told and then kinda Frankensteined the hell out of it; adding new information to old, and through sheer will tried to bring the lumbering vision to life.
Not perfect is sometimes better than nothing at all....And I am not alone. Many organisations 'fly blind' because they have a Frankenview of their tech. It seems typical IT teams are comprised of technically proficient experts using siloed information (e.g. spreadsheets) to map out, manage and inform complex technology decisions which will impact every aspect of an organisation - from people, processes, customers, data, reputation, profit.. you get the drift.
The Challenges are Real
These challenges were all too familiar to my business partner Basil Buwalda. As a technology veteran, he was often asked to develop an up-to-date view of technology solutions and how they interacted with each other ahead of large tech projects.
This important work was needed before any project could move forward, helping internal peeps and external vendors have one view of how the technology landscape looked so they could accurately develop a solution and plan for delivery.
The work could take weeks or months, required access to key systems, time with subject matter experts and needed immense amounts of time, energy and patience to write up the corresponding document... only to be losing value and be pretty much out of date by the time the project was starting. While the process was necessary to understand complexity and to de-risk technology projects, the scope usually did not consider the end users as stakeholders, understand financial or contractual implications across project / BAU or the impact to the business as changes rolled out. The old style way of doing things had serious flaws. As the project would kick off, inaccuracies in assumptions would compound. It was a given that these now serious errors would come back and bite everyone involved in the ass at some at some stage.
From Frankenviews to Clarity
On 4 July 2019 Basil and I launched STATE3 and showcased our STATE3 Online (S3O) solution. We were driven to address the pain points above but also bridge the technology and business divide which also can produce so much inefficiency and create so much unnecessary misunderstanding. Our solution brings all the siloed data together to create context, provide visualisations and most importantly determine the impact of change.
Our solution helps organisations move away from seeing their business through a disjointed lens. Instead, it allows technology and business users alike to explore the relationships between technology, contracts, data and business activities; modelling proposed future states, seeing how the data flow, understand what technology underpins a business activity and determine the impact of technology change.
While there are many additional things I could add here, what I love about what we do as a company, and dear to one of our values - is that we make complex; simple. We can remove the frustration of out-of-date, siloed information where everyone has their own special Frankenview full of incorrect assumptions that compound if used as a basis for any proposed future state. If a picture paints a thousand words, one of our S3O visualisations can remove a skip full of complexity. Whether its a risk, criticality, product or confirmation view we can quickly bring all stakeholders - technical, business, external consultant, vendor, C-suite together and start from the same place.
To find out how we can help you - get in touch, we'd love to talk.
This post was first published in September 2019