Infrastructure Investment: Are Banks Penny-wise and Pound-foolish?

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The biggest challenge for securing budget for IT infrastructure investment is to build a compelling business case – this paper explains how to build one by showing, quantitatively, what the costs and risks of not investing will be so that a clear cost-benefit analysis underpins the request for budget. The paper also discusses reducing infrastructure costs by better leveraging service, utility and virtualisation models in step with current trends toward cloud computing and datacentre consolidation.

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Change the Bank Problems
In a typical project lifecycle the earlier phases of scoping, planning and requirements gathering are critical to success. But, even if front-end loading has been effectively applied on a project, and scope and requirements are tightly defined, problems often occur during the development, testing and deployment phases of the project. Furthermore, projects in flight in large organisations often suffer from “process drag” and red tape when trying to move changes into production.

Run the Bank Problems
When production problems occur, their resolution always takes priority over any project work as should be the case. But often, bad investment, organisational and management decisions make dealing with production issues more challenging than they need to be.

Best Practices
This paper presents insights on improving project, infrastructure and IT operations efficiency by presenting best practices for:

  • Provisioning and managing IT environments
  • Reducing project timeframes by enabling development teams to work unencumbered by “process drag”
  • Educating project teams to design, build and test not only for functionality, but also for performance, operability and other non-functional requirements
  • Showing how IT operations teams can provide better support, guidance and standards to aid their project colleagues in the development process
  • Ensuring that applications remain performant, stable and available throughout their lifetime.

Infrastructure Management
In order for this approach to work, infrastructure organisations need to orchestrate and mobilise towards supporting the approach. The first aspect that needs to be considered are a set of standards or policies which define the capabilities of infrastructure, how it is standardised in order to support ease of operation and management, and how policies around data retention, disaster recovery, availability and scalability are applied.

Secondly, tools, techniques and automation solutions for provisioning, maintenance and management of infrastructure need to be designed and built.

Project Management
Technology projects often focus on functional enhancements to systems in order to support the changing needs of the business. While there is no denying that servicing this need is critical in a fast-paced, dynamic business context; it is also undeniable that change to systems introduces risk, complexity, operational overhead and general system entropy. Without proper management and care, the impact of all this change, in the aggregate, can have a significant impact on the total cost of ownership of a technology platform.

Report Insights
The solution to many of these problems lies in addressing the environment challenge. Human resources are as important in environments where mission-critical technology exists as the technology resources themselves.

Published on: 16 Apr, 2012

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Infrastructure Investment: Are Banks Penny-wise and Pound-foolish? – Table of Contents

  • 1.0 The Shortcomings
    • 1.1 Change The Bank Problems
    • 1.2 Run The Bank Problems
  • 2.0 Environment Best Practice
    • 2.1 Zones of Control
    • 2.2 Change The Bank-Controlled Environments
    • 2.3 Run The Bank-Controlled Environments
    • 2.4 Environments Summary
  • 3.0 Building a Business Case
    • 3.1 Cost Modelling
    • 3.2 Benefit / Risk modelling
  • 4.0 Infrastructure Management
    • 4.1 Infrastructure Standards
    • 4.2 Environment Provisioning
    • 4.3 Refresh Automation
  • 5.0 Project Management
    • 5.1 Build-to-function, Build-to-operate and Build-to-perform
    • 5.2 Non-functional Requirements
    • 5.3 Code Promotion
  • 6.0 Recommendations
  • 7.0 Appendices
    • 7.1 Glossary of Terms
    • 7.2 Table of Figures