Legacy ability to gauge what the amortized change

Legacy applications in the insurance
industry have posed multiple challenges in realizing the goals of the Insurer.
A legacy application would consist of a monolithic architecture where a large
number of functionalities are packaged under one roof. Though monolithic
architecture has its own advantages, it also poses a number of challenges such
as inability to deploy different components/ functionalities independently
thereby greatly affecting the speed to market, failure in one part/component
affecting the entire monolith, inability to scale different components /
functionality independently , etc.

Unlike enterprises that are born digital,
traditional Insurance companies don’t have the luxury of starting with a clean
slate; they must build an architecture designed for the digital enterprise on a
legacy foundation.  

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 In a 2014, McKinsey introduced the concept
of “Two-speed IT architecture” solution which involves managing two separate,
coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on
agility.  The high- speed IT can create
strategic advantage for the enterprise with Low-speed maintaining systems of
record “. They see Two-speed IT as re-inventing IT to support digitization as
part of an organizational transformation so as to deliver a strong digital
capability in the organization. Their approach is to incrementally re-invent IT
with Two-speed IT so as to focus the high-speed IT on high value areas for an
initial period. After which agile innovative IT approach is roll out to other
areas of IT.  

This
will involve implementation of enablers that can help realize these
organizational goals which are:

1.     
Cloud
Services and a Cloud Architecture (IaaS and PaaS ): Enables  the use of public, or hybrid cloud through self-service
rapid provisioning of complete environments as well as rapid creation these
resources can be quickly deleted

2.     
Instant cross-channel deployment of functionality
via Microservices : New Microservices
defining only a small amount of functionality, should be deployable in an hour
rather than in several weeks. Such Microservices should also be available
across all channels.  

3.     
 DevOps and Automation: Continuous
Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) for faster more reliable deployments

 

How applying Conway’s Law can
help achieve Two –speed architecture?

To achieve the responsiveness and
agility businesses will need to modify their big ecosystems of software to
allow for small experimental changes in production with the ability to gauge what
the amortized change will be to the existing code base. In other words…How
teams & the   infrastructure can
respond to changes quickly??

The answer to this question can be found
in Conway’s Law which suggests that it is not just a development team problem
but an overall organizational problem

The right question should be…What is
the organizational structure one needs to be able to deliver the software quickly
??

Teams which are focused and have small code footprint react better to changes
& the nimbleness of team(s) has direct correlation to the team size and
relationship among development team and product owner. The better the communication
channel, the better a development team is able to model the design to the
problem domain. Most of the time when the team fails to deliver what was
promised  is due to flawed communication with
multiple layers of translation existing between the team & the business
stakeholders  or may be the process to
implement a change quickly are broken . Discreet teams owning discreet problem can
develop code base tailored to the subdomain rather than worrying about the
enterprise wide change. Cutting down the time to get something to production is
also very crucial as multiple layers in between pushes the development team
further away from context that is needed to make the right decision. We need to
ensure that teams are smaller (E.g. 2 pizza team size in Amazon) and closer to
business.

Netflix is an example of such a company
where the organizational structure is created around the development culture. They
thought of the dev ecosystem they want and then built an organization communication
structure around it

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