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Focus of Application Management Solution towards Greenfield Ecosystems

Martin Ingram, SVP & CIO, Arise Virtual Solutions Inc.
Martin Ingram, SVP & CIO, Arise Virtual Solutions Inc.

Martin Ingram, SVP & CIO, Arise Virtual Solutions Inc.

Advanced Application Management Solutions

Being a Microsoft shop, our options tend to be more limited than the open source world. Application management tends to focus on Microsoft green field environments. This limits the functionality of the tools provided by Microsoft without significant redesign or work to incorporate them into the current systems. We have tended to create scripted jobs that we schedule using an enterprise job scheduling tool (AMS). We are looking at redesigning the environment to make it easier to use the MS toolset, but that is a long term project.

Integrated AM and ALM

The market has a lot of options for AM and Application Lifecycle Management (ALM), but there is not enough integration between them. We use Team Foundation Server from MS and an amalgamation of AM and testing tools, but the ability to integrate them is difficult. They all provide value, but are resource (people) intensive and for a small development organization, they are expensive to use as a consequence. The ability to integrate most of them with cloud solutions or APIs is also very limiting. We are a .net shop and this maybe unique to our area, but while the products exist they are too disparate for us to take full advantage of them.

"The cloud solutions have also played a significant role in introducing simplification as they allow easy selection, integration, and testing"

The Changing Role of CIOs

I believe the biggest change for me is to drive the role from one of leading technology change to one of enabling change with our business partners. This is a subtle, but important difference. We work with the business to understand their needs and priorities; so that we can answer and deliver IT solutions they want and when they want them. It also allows the business to be involved in the IT practice and understand the “sausage making process”, which we in IT often have to accomplish. Most importantly it forces everyone to work as a team in a resource limited environment.

Unique Lessons Learned

Treat your internal customers as partners and include them in the process. It allows you to focus on IT issues and removes the constant questioning of what is IT doing and why (and the PowerPoints required to manage those perceptions). Work from a core belief of trust. When your teams trust one another and you customers and client trust you, it allows the IT to focus on delivery.

CRM

CRM is a personal decision and there are many solutions out there. The key is to work with each of the different organizations that require a CRM and ensure you understand their needs. While having a single CRM across the enterprise is convenient, it is not always optimal for the customers that use them. This means it may be better to have multiple CRMs, but allow the data to be amalgamated and easily presented across them. Perhaps the complexity of multiple systems is daunting, but keeping the systems free of customizations is critical for longevity of the systems and enables easy upgrades and reduced cost for maintenance. The cloud solutions have also played a significant role in introducing simplification as they allow easy selection, integration, and testing. The key is the ability to pull all the data back into a simple and accessible self-service BI solution that can work across the various CRM’s.

Innovation

Stop writing thick clients. They are costly to maintain and in the virtual world unnecessary as we move away from the need to have powerful PCs, notebooks; and small tablets become the new laptop and the need for thick clients is limiting how we use products. Web based clients should be the focus. HTML5 allows this in ways we have not had before and has opened up the opportunities for developers to getting their application out there and easy to use.

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