Authored on: May 11, 2012
IT complexity: A new metric to evaluate the impact of change
What if complexity was a discreet, measurable metric rather than a discretionary, ambiguous term? Could a complexity metric reshape the decisions and activities of a CIO?
The information technology field is filled with quotes and anecdotes about organizations trying to contain, explain and manage complexity. Often these words reflect an inclination to assume that if complexity exists, we should try to reduce it. As computer science pioneer Alan Perlis once said, "Fools ignore complexity. Pragmatists suffer it. Some can avoid it. Geniuses remove it." Pure genius, however, rarely exists. And with our world in a state of constant change, we need to master, not remove complexity. The reduction of complexity can reach diminishing returns, and the existence of complexity can allow greater business flexibility. Without a doubt, an appropriate level of complexity is necessary to maximize return.
Leading financial institutions recognize the need to acknowledge, embrace and harness complexity. They understand that the many layers and connected dependencies of today's IT environments cannot be managed with simple heuristic, or experience-based, approaches alone, but instead require objective, quantifiable measurement of their origins and effects.
This white paper describes a groundbreaking initiative underway by Germany-based Commerzbank and consulting firm Capco to develop a model for measuring IT complexity in the financial services industry.