With our v11.3.2 wave, Application Designer, the Design Canvas and our 6 pack of sample apps we are in the process of providing a new service – Application Delivery Therapy - to IT and Business Groups within our customers. Well, not really. But, these simple additions to our product line have enabled our customers to rethink how they get the job done. We are now often engaging pretty much as a therapist to help both IT and Business readjust to a better way to work together. Let’s talk about it.
Should be easy and painless – right?
The vast majority of the business applications we address on SharePoint are what I would call “business critical” vs. mission critical. They are departmental level apps, generally around work management, involve some business process vs. just content, and would seem to be rather tightly scoped. So, you think the work would be easy and painless. Yet, in most cases, if both IT and Business have to get involved, the situation devolves into a classic battle filled with tension.
Regular SharePoint – normal IT and Business misalignment
In a normal SharePoint world, IT and business are coming from two different places. IT is looking to bring up and deliver an infrastructure service within a particular SLA. Business is after unique, business applications that can drive better results. When the two meet it is usually in a situation where IT is being asked to deliver a custom application on top of SharePoint for business. The conversation quickly becomes about IT’s needs for the detailed requirements (like all good custom app shops), budget allocations, a long lead time, and business pushing back. The tension mounts. Business tries to get around IT…
CorasWorks changing the dynamic of delivering apps
CorasWorks has always had a play here to simply make it faster and easier for IT or Business IT to get the job done in a more agile manner. However, the new wave of App add-ons actually changes the dynamics of the work. It goes like this:
- With the 6 pack of Apps, IT is able to have instances of a bunch of apps that cover a common spectrum of application cases. These aren’t necessarily the exact app but close enough for business to “get it and see how they would apply it.” Seeing is a big piece of believing.
- They can then do what we call “walkthroughs” and talk about which is the most relevant app and design for the business need. This gets them on the same page very quickly. It allows them to specify their joint approach.
- Armed with the CorasWorks Design Canvas, IT is able to quickly make changes – usually in real time as they discuss things. They can ask what Business wants and talk options. Requirements details come out of the process – naturally and relatively reasonably.
- Then, they can do what we call “workouts” to workout the app, both IT and Business hands on. Through the workout, business refines their requirements and IT has the attention to figure out the best way.
- Gradually, working side by side, the apps take form. Usually, rather quickly, business is ready to begin using it, knowing that it can be changed.
- Advanced enhancements can now be dropped in with a bit more lead time as a phase 2.
- The new app can then be added to IT’s catalog of sample apps to serve the next business group.
- Initially, business thinks their app is completely unique. It isn’t – 80% is the same as others. It is very odd to see how quickly business folks will “apply” an existing app to their needs – once they see it. What they need is the extra 20% that is unique – which we support.
- The above flow eliminates that upfront confrontation around requirements and business’s lack of confidence that IT can deliver. Often, the battle happens before IT and Business have even engaged. To make this really work well, the desired app needs to fit into the “wheelhouse” of what IT already has at its fingertips. The 6 pack of apps is a starter.
- You don’t even talk budgets until you reach step 3 above.
- It is a virtuous cycle. The more apps you do this way, the bigger the catalog of apps in IT and more skilled they are at the process – so the more business needs fall into the “wheelhouse,” the quicker the success.
- The best results are achieved when you can make someone from IT and someone from Business jointly accountable in real time for the results. It is side by side and collaborative. It is about the shared objective. It is Joint Application Building.
- Force as much real time changes as you can. Sometimes it is best to have two people from IT involved – one talking and taking notes and one building (“the person behind the curtain”). Real time makes a difference.
- In this way you are building up a new Application Delivery capability. It is not just ITs job but also the job of business to leverage the capability to deliver improved results.
- IT should be willing to empower Business to use the Design Canvas to make certain changes in the application.
Application Delivery Therapy
We are helping customers change. We help you get set up with CorasWorks v11.3.2, things IT needs to know, and your catalog of apps. We help you get your approach for working with business in place. We often help with getting business to try it out. We often support your team on the first few apps.
Like any good therapy our approach is to seek alignment, remove distractions, and put in place positive tools and behavior to reinforce success.