A CIO’s road map to adopting Evergreen IT

Image: There’s no shortcut to make your data center and IT infrastructure legacy free and agile, but you can map a sensible route to that goal.There’s no shortcut to make your data center and IT infrastructure legacy free and agile, but you can map a sensible route to that goal.

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Your IT organization is treading water just to keep everything running. Resources have been cut, but the business is eager for new capabilities that might provide a critical edge in tough times. So the last thing a CIO wants to hear right now is that you should be planning a transformation of your IT infrastructure.


“Governance is going to be key in this transition. If the governance is right, the benefits will be realized.” —Erich Clementi, IBM

But now is the time to begin moving to what PwC calls Evergreen IT. Evergreen IT is a pattern of IT provisioning, architecture, and operational management designed to deliver loose coupling between distinct layers of the IT stack. Evergreen IT also is a systematic transition of IT operations from predominantly manual to predominantly automated using intelligent software. In this approach, incremental investment does not create an ongoing burden of legacy systems.

Adopting the Evergreen IT approach prevents the accumulation of a mass of difficult-to-maintain legacy systems. Evergreen IT becomes a simpler, flexible platform on which to deliver IT’s core value to the business using fewer resources.

Of course, you’ve heard this promise before. Indeed, you’ve probably already embarked on a few transformation or rationalization efforts in the past. That effort simply reset the baseline onto which new layers of legacy barnacles grew, right?

However, emerging technologies under the umbrella of cloud computing are new factors that promise Evergreen IT won’t become the platform for new legacy systems. They provide the basis for Evergreen IT that breaks from the legacy traits of the past and positions IT for the future. (See the article, “Enabling Evergreen IT”.)

None of these emerging technologies will lead you to Evergreen IT by themselves. The CIO must harness them to achieve the vision. Several CIOs have begun this journey and can demonstrate it’s a path worth taking. In the first article in this issue of the Technology Forecast, we profile Bechtel, but this company is not alone: Companies as diverse as Amerisure, an insurance firm, and Revlon, a cosmetics maker, are following similar approaches.

Download Technology Forecast Summer 09 for the complete article