Software developers and Victor Frankenstein have one thing in common — the exceptional ability to bring a shambling patchwork of odds and ends to life and somehow make it work.
If you find yourself at your wit’s end trying to manage the unholy IT “Frankenstack” you and your team have created, join us for a look at managing the Frankenstack.
It starts with a problem.
Say you have something specific you need to solve. You hunt down software or apps that help you solve it. All good.
Later on, a different problem comes up. Maybe the original problem evolved, or your company needs have changed.
That’s easy — all you need to do is find new software to adopt or layer in with the first one you got. But then what happens when more problems come up, one after the other?
If you answer “find more software and apps,” you’re well on your way to becoming the next Victor Frankenstein.
When the cycle of problem → new software/apps continues ad infinitum, that’s how you end up with a Frankenstack. A Frankenstack is essentially a network of software and apps in use (or occasional use) that don’t work well together
While a Frankenstack can be somewhat functional, it can be expensive and people have to do a lot of switching between programs to get their jobs done. Here are some of the problems you should be concerned about:
Poor choices in the past are nothing but a headache in the future. While adding on new software might have been easier at the time, the lack of foresight will lead to diminished agility and increased costs — McKinsey and Company found that technical debt (the amount of technology work you have to do in the future to “catch up” to best practices) reported by CIOs amounted to 20 to 40% of the value of their entire technology estate.
If your organization uses a microservices architecture, your teams are likely used to focusing on their own goals for selecting technology solutions. The lack of consideration for the organization’s overall infrastructure can complicate matters when you try to make data flow across the organization.
Sometimes, you decide to use software or apps based on the fervent recommendation of one team member. If they’re the only one that’s willing to master said technology, things will get dicey if they leave.
When you have a collection of technology with vaguely similar uses and you tell a group to use whichever one they want, each member will likely end up using something different. This can happen with a Frankenstack full of non-standardized tech solutions.
As they say, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. If you adopt a data-driven approach from the start and set out with expectations of growth in mind, you can reduce the chances of creating a Frankenstack with solutions designed for scalability. The management of your data estate needs to be intentional and continuing — always consider how it will look in the future.
Even if your Frankenstack already has a life of its own, it’s never too late to start anew. Consider building your own product from the ground up to ensure that your new data infrastructure meets your needs now and in the future. Alternatively, you could significantly modify someone else’s infrastructure to suit your own goals.
Whichever solution appeals to you, we can help you define and develop what that software solution could be in our Innovation Lab — our best-in-class team will ensure that any mad experiments will end well!