IT Trends 2016: Insights from the CAST CIO and IT Leaders’ Roundtable Discussion

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Last week, CAST, a global leader in software analytics, invited more than 100 IT professionals to participate in a software risk and analytics roundtable in New York, NY. The daylong exchange included CIOs, industry analysts, systems integrators and IT advisory firms. As an outcome of this gathering, CAST published an IT Trends 2016 Report. The following post attempts to capture some of the exchange between participants and key takeaways.

Mark Livingston, Executive Vice President (EVP): Global Leader Cognizant Business Consulting speaks to IT leaders from across the country
Mark Livingston, Executive Vice President (EVP): Global Leader Cognizant Business Consulting speaks to IT leaders from across the country

Broadridge Financial Solutions Vice President provided insight, sharing “Without analytics, you are going in blind. Analytics helps make the transition [for example, to Agile], gives more transparency and proof especially for the C-suite. It helps determine the way risk is going (up or down) and gives you a way to measure the risk and create actionability.” He repeatedly stressed the importance of measurement and transparency. Citing that for IT leaders, it is increasingly feast or famine when it comes to data. But organizations must find the right amount of data.

What CIOs are looking for are analytics that quickly highlight areas of risk and opportunity. Additionally, Bank of New York Mellon analyst explained, “Before we had access to software analytics, it was difficult to communicate risk to upper management. Software analytics allows our business unit CIOs to set the tone for their organizations.”

It is clear that CIOs are seeking clear, proactive and predictive insight that cuts through the Big Data clutter, arming them with the ability to ask the right questions, to challenge the status quo and quickly discover technical risks that may jeopardize revenue, reputation or brand. Real time solutions that improve the signal-to-noise ratio top CIOs’ wish lists in 2016.

Assessing risk is paramount to the success of the business

Furthermore, executives at the roundtable explained that while portfolio analysis has traditionally been relegated to the project side of the house, more and more application portfolio analysis is finding its way into CIOs’ toolkits, whether organizations are taking deep dives into detail application assessments or triggering process changes and tiger teams. The potential benefits are clear; rapid analysis of broad portfolios not only creates visibility, but accelerates risk mitigation action.

For example, one financial services organization shared, “We know that poor software quality can double maintenance costs in the long run while damaging our company reputation due to outages and breaches.” It uses Application Portfolio Analysis across large IT portfolios to identify those with a disproportionately “Run the Business” cost. Then, using application analysis, it was able to isolate high risk and unnecessary complexity within those applications to improve overall performance and drive costs down.   Partners from Boston Consulting Group raised the growing concern about investing in Agile Transformation. “Agile Transformation is the key to going digital, but there are challenges with Agile, such as how do you scale? There are issues about productivity and code quality, and so analytics gives us a way to measure this. An Agile workforce is what will ultimately deliver digital.”

The community agreed that approaches that keep pace with Agile development cycles while incorporating a view into the quality, maintainability and technical risk of the work delivered is needed to move forward. CAST’s Lev Lesokhin cited the Boston Consulting Group as helping its clients measure baseline development performance and monitor improvements over the life of the transformation. “Organizations that have spent years and many resources to transform their application development process from traditional processes to waterfall are not taking a step back to understand if that investment has delivered,” said Mr. Lesokhin. “Essentially, they are being asked to prove the value of broad scale Agile Transformation efforts.”

Vincent Delaroche, CEO of CAST discusses IT Trends 2016
Vincent Delaroche, CEO of CAST discusses IT Trends 2016
Steve Friedberg Experienced Corporate Communications strategist
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