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In Defense of Complexity

Paula Ziehr
By Paula Ziehr - December 9, 2016

SAG_Twitter_I_love_Complexity_Dec16.jpgAs the singer Boots Electric sings: “It’s so easy without complexity.” Well thank you, Boots, for stating the obvious, but it ain’t gonna happen; at least not in IT.

The Digital Age is upon us. New technologies, new applications and new devices enter the organization almost on a daily basis – with or without the IT department’s knowledge. An increasingly competitive business environment prompts business to put demands on IT for more data, more insight into the data and more IT solutions resulting from that insight.

It’s not the huge number of elements – data, applications, hardware - that exist in the IT environment that makes it complex, but the interconnectedness of everything. Complexity comes from not being able to understand the relationships between the elements; that can be overwhelming, stymieing decision-making and forcing IT to take baby steps instead of great leaps forward on its digital business strategy.

So what choices do we have? I say embrace the complexity. The human mind has evolved to equip us with the means for solving problems. It thrives on challenge. We have to have a problem to solve. We love complexity! Look at the soaps and sitcoms we watch, Game of Thrones, House of Cards, JR Ewing! We just love the drama of complexity.

So – back to IT: solving the complexity of IT – or maybe just keeping it manageable. That’s what integrated IT portfolio management is about. The introduction to the recent Gartner Magic Quadrant (MQ) for Integrated IT Portfolio Analysis Applications (IIPA) states: “CIOs and IT leaders must balance IT investments and resource usage against strategic IT needs across a complex, interrelated set of portfolios. The IIPA software market offers tools that unlock insights into the true state of the overall IT portfolio and the impact of portfolio-level decisions.”

An effective tool is essential once the complexity of your enterprise has reached the point where costly project failures –caused by unforeseen technology conflicts, dangerous security breaches due to unknown defense gaps or damaging business interruptions occur more than once.

It is next to impossible to capture, analyze and manage the many interdependencies without a tool that is fit for purpose. Software AG’s IIPA product Alfabet, positioned by Gartner as leader in MQ for IIPA, is designed to bring together all of the information and provide the exact analysis needed to make decisions on how to use IT to help transform business with digitized products and services.

Using Alfabet to effectively manage complexity will let you appreciate - and even welcome - the interwovenness of your IT and its ecosystem. You will see in it new digital business opportunities, as-yet-unfulfilled potential and a multitude of synergies. It will give you the boldness and tenacity to move forward on your digital strategy.

As Jesse Hughes (a.k.a. Boots Electric) chastises:

“You say you want to finish but you never start
You want to get it finished but you just try hard
It don't take nothing fancy it's just ABC's
It so easy without complexity.”

But here I have to disagree with him: take something fancy - Alfabet – and start loving complexity.

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