Minoo_Dastur_COO_Nihilent

Technology innovation is an essential catalyst in the company’s growth – Minoo Dastur, President and COO, Nihilent Technologies

Large organizations have a multitude of systems in place, but don’t provide for a well-defined retirement plan. Over the years, applications remain in the environment without realizing benefits for the business. Application Portfolio Review is an intervention done to analyze each of the systems, the business functionality they offer to different units, and associated IT costs. To know more about APR, Dataquest interacted with Minoo Dastur, President and COO, Nihilent Technologies. Excerpts

Please throw some light on the significance of creating a robust enterprise IT architecture.

Enterprise IT architecture can help an organization in three main ways:

1) Business plans are blueprinted in enterprise architecture. Enterprise architecture thus derived provides direction for the organization over the next three-four years;

2) Enterprise IT architecture determines what systems will continue and which systems will sunset;

3)Technology innovation is an essential catalyst in the company’s growth

How can organizations evaluate cost vs RoI after designing a roadmap for an organiztion’s IT needs?

The argument about cost vs RoI is specious since this is a critical capex issue. IT is not and should no more be considered as an operating cost. On the contrary, it is a key driver of the company’s growth and a critical capex item. Unless one spends on IT innovation, the collapse of the business is inevitable. In the era of digital transformation, investments in advanced enterprise architecture may not be made with the objective of realizing RoI in a strict accounting sense, and various measures of business growth are used.

What are the do’s and don’ts for enterprises during transition from legacy systems?

  • Companies should assess their risk appetite and see how confident they are of the change management process—if they find they are not strong yet on either of the two, they will tend to build a new system which will be exactly similar to old one. Now that’s a major risk, as all the technological advantage that the new enterprise system offers can no longer be leveraged.

  • A big bang approach provides a chance to leapfrog competition and is preferable over creeping point transitions, but requires a lot of management fortitude to make it happen. In the absence of a strong change management culture, a piece by piece or standalone replacement of systems is advisable, but will provide little strategic advantage.

  • Businesses should have a long term strategy for around 3-4 years when they plan to make the move from legacy to modern systems.

Discuss the features of Application Portfolio Review (APR) and what are the major benefits that an enterprise obtain from the point of view of business and technology?

Large organizations have a multitude of systems in place, but don’t provide for a well-defined retirement plan. Over the years, applications remain in the environment without realizing benefits for the business. APR is an intervention done to analyze each of the systems, the business functionality they offer to different units, and associated IT costs. The aforementioned factors enable decisions on either replace, enhance, merge or retire, while also keeping a tab on any sudden IT costs. For instance, in one of our engagements, we found that similar reports with very little difference were maintained in six different applications. Similarly, in another instance, an application was being maintained by six individuals while it was used by a single business user. Such anomalies can be identified and rectified using APR.

What are the major up-and-coming developments in designing adaptive and robust IT framework?

The convergence in communications, mobile computing, cloud-based (infinite growth) capacity, big data and massively parallel processing with in-memory DBs is all working to change the way the Internet of Things (IoT) becomes ubiquitous and make the interaction of previously disparate back office systems a greater customer experience.

Integrating off-the-shelf/open source solutions that provide majority of the functionalities to weave an enterprise application is the way forward. Given the plethora of off-the-shelf apps that cater to each business requirement, building functionalities from scratch is passé. Such an approach would cause loss of precious time. In addition, micro services are now available on the cloud, which assumes more significance in the current scenario.

Highlight cases where Nihilent has contributed towards establishing strategic IT framework in organizations.

For one of our clients in South Africa, we defined their architecture framework and weaved in innovation as part of the same. We helped enhance their customer services by integrating chat and other services, which also helped them reduce associated costs at the same time having interface that customers are most comfortable.

For several companies in the US, Nihilent is responsible for drafting their entire IT strategy, including architecture, design, and the entire gamut of IT operations. We are wholly responsible for their entire IT landscape.

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