Complexity = satisfied customers?

IT-delivery chains are getting more and more complex month-by-month, year after year. Why? What drives this increased complexity?

An obvious initial thought that comes to mind, is that companies are scared to be surpassed by their competitors due to a superior delivery and cost model.

Technology evolves, and “disruptive” innovations and improvements are announced more often than we change underwear. Increase efficiency, reduce cost, ensure compliance, reduce time-to-market, ensure stability, increase sales, improve quality … or something similar, are the typical business drivers of these innovations that “changes the game”. At the same time, history reveals that most of the time, the “game” stays pretty much the same.

Decision makers across the globe have naturally developed a skepticism towards mostly everything new or “disruptive” within technology. Healthy questions such as which business problem will this solve for me short term / long term and total cost of ownership are generally considered. However, some questions are not necessarily given as much thought. Questions like:

  • Will adapting this technology increase the complexity of my IT-delivery chains?
  • Will it end up being too complex?
  • Will it improve my delivered quality?
  • Which facts do I have and trust to make a decision?
  • Will this technology truly replace anything?
  • Is my organization mature enough to utilize the new capabilities?
  • Which processes do I need to change to maximize the return on my investment?

These questions would need a column each in order to discuss them properly, but we would like to focus on complexity.

We consider a delivery chain to be too complex if it consists of more moving parts and more components than required to meet the actual need to fulfil its defined purpose. Further we consider the user and customer, expectations and desires as central in the assessment of the actual need.

Most delivery chains exists to ultimately provide some business functions to users and/or customers. One has the experience and knowledge to define the required business functions at a given time based on the supposed user need and expectation. Adapting an innovative technology which reduces administration cost of a service with 25% might sound like a no-brainer, but what if this means that the time spent troubleshooting serious issues increase with 50% due to the increased complexity? The in-direct cost of such a case may far surpass the direct-cost savings which often is the business case of any “improvement” or technical innovation and product.

Expectations and desires of the users can be monitored, because we can observe what they say, and with the right tools, competence and processes, what they do. That way it is easier to understand which new “disruptive” technologies which might be worth investigating and be confident when deciding on strategy for your IT-Services.

Maybe it is time we start analyzing the “whole picture” when we consider adapting technology. In addition, that we make sure that it directly serves the user expectations without heavily adding cost.

We think focusing on meeting the expectations of your users and customers will have a huge benefit in the long run.

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