I’ve just published a new research report on ‘Business Unit Application Development’ (BUAD) best practices. Clients can access the full report here but below is short summary of the content as well. Of course, the ‘meat’ of the analysis is in the research note (about 15 pages).
Characteristics and Best Practices of Business Unit Application Development
Conflicting pressures have long challenged enterprises as they’ve endeavored to balance the risks and the rewards of business unit application development (BUAD) efforts next to corporate IT strategies. During the next several years, the effects of these risks and the rewards will increase dramatically. In the past, several practical, technical limitations kept most BUAD efforts within a relatively self-constrained environment. The environment also will change during the next several years, as new technologies wipe away nearly all barriers and alter accessibility to business-unit-developed solutions. New solutions will touch a broader audience and impact enterprises in significantly new ways.
- BUAD efforts will expand significantly and at increasing rates within nearly all mainstream enterprises for the near future.
The impact of BUAD efforts — positive and negative — will increase significantly as these solutions are deployed to larger audiences and tackle increasingly mission-critical subjects.
- It is unrealistic to think that all BUAD efforts can be fully managed within corporate IT guidelines; instead, governance programs should focus on the appropriate level of management required for specific classes of applications.
- The goal of the application organization should be to facilitate business unit development where appropriate, not to resist it.
- Articulate the risks, rewards and long-term costs of BUAD efforts for the enterprise.
- Establish a BUAD management program that is run collaboratively between IT and business units.
- Determine the scope of BUAD efforts to be managed and controlled under enterprise IT guidelines versus unmanaged projects that should be isolated from core IT services.
- Focus strict management efforts on those BUAD projects that demonstrate significant business value and/or risk (e.g., mission-critical).
- Isolate smaller, simpler and less-important BUAD projects from potential risks, but avoid efforts to fully manage them.
- Conduct an inventory of mission-critical and complex BUAD projects to determine business risk and BUAD-IT collaboration opportunities.
- Audit and measure BUAD efforts using established ROI and total cost of ownership (TCO) techniques over time to clarify long-term costs and business value.
- Establish criteria for how BUAD efforts can make the transition to formal IT stewardship when they grow beyond the bounds of acceptable scope.
- Establish policies to identify citizen development activities that border on being mission-critical, so that they can be evaluated and potentially make the transition to formal BUAD or corporate IT processes.