So You Want To Go Digital? How To Avoid The Next Legacy Platform Debacle

Date
2017-01-04
Authors
Mocker, Martin
Boochever, John
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Abstract
IT platforms as the foundation of digitized processes and products are vital in a digital economy. However, many companies’ platforms are liabilities, not strategic assets because of their complexity. \ \ Consequently, companies initiate IT complexity reduction programs. But these technology-centric programs at best provide temporary relief. Soon after, companies’ platforms become just as complex as before. \ \ Based on four case studies, we identify three non-technical drivers of platform complexity: (1) Lacking awareness of consequences business decisions have on platform complexity, (2) Lacking motivation to avoid platform complexity, (3) Lacking authority to protect platforms from complexity. We propose measures to address these drivers that can help achieve more sustainable impact on platform complexity: (1) Removing information asymmetries between those creating complexity and those dealing with complexity, (2) Redefining incentives to include long-term effects on platform complexity, (3) Redressing power imbalances between those who create complexity and those who have to manage it.
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Complexity, Enterprise Architecture, IT Platforms
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