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Digital Executives

Your business is only as good as the software driving it

Does the success of your business depend on the flawless operation of your information systems? It does for most businesses today.

Stop and think for a minute. What do you know about the systems your business relies on? Where do they come from? How is their quality managed? How do you know if something goes wrong? How can you reduce the risk of something going wrong? What are the biggest risks that could materialize? How likely are they?

Most business executives say they protect against information system risks by sanctioning their IT suppliers and integrators. Think again! If something goes wrong with your business and your customers suffer, what are the IT sanctions worth? Will they cover your losses? Will they bring back lost business? Will they reassure disappointed customers?

The corporate IT landscape in 2019 consists hundreds of different information systems, typically 200 to 400. A growing number of them reside in the cloud. Some of the systems are very old and nobody really wants to touch them. Others are under active, market-driven development and may have a new version released every week. The majority of systems are updated a few times a year. Some are used by a handful of employees only, while others may have all your clients as users. On the technical side, there may be dozens of companies directly or indirectly involved in the development, integration, and operation of these systems.

This means there may easily be more than 1,000 version updates a year and each of them may affect your vital business processes. Unfortunately, these updates are not as independent as it may seem. An individual app or system may work perfectly alone, but when you combine it with 300 other systems, the entire ecosystem may become unstable. The devil is in the dependencies.

“Perfectly correct IT” or “100% quality assurance” only exists in fairy tales. You cannot fully control and assure your IT operation. In fact, you don’t even know where all your critical business systems are or how and when they are being updated. You can, however, systematically reduce and manage the risk associated with your business-critical information systems.

This blog series discusses the approaches you can, and probably should take, to:

  1. Focus on risks and dependencies
  2. Train your digital operations people in DevOps
  3. Start viewing your IT investments as products rather than projects
  4. Shift testing left – and shift testing right
  5. Automate
  6. Measure

And finally, remember who’s in charge: it’s you. Because your business is only as good as the software driving it.


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