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Nortel Best Practice A technology architecture roadmap
In 2008, we created a three-year roadmap of Nortel IT’s technology architecture, complete with a target architecture and the transition architectures required to get us there. Our roadmap defines the IT infrastructure required to keep Nortel running smoothly. It helps us focus our investments on products and services that will achieve our long-term goals (such as delivering better performance at lower cost), while curtailing further expenditures on products that are nearing endof-life. Updated and reissued quarterly, the roadmap is tightly linked to our financial approval process. In its first year, the technology roadmap yielded direct savings and cost avoidance of more than $20 million. closely aligned with business priorities. Tough business conditions demanded a radically different approach. With 12 R&D design centers, six logistics hubs and four manufacturing sites scattered around the globe, Nortel IT supports business operations across 220 locations in 55 countries. Managing 45,000 users of hundreds of business applications requires tens of thousands of personal computers, more than 2,000 servers and 5,100 network devices. What should we do with this infrastructure? Upgrade, maintain, replace, consolidate or decommission?
“We’ve got a really tight IT budget next year. There won’t be any discretionary funds to spend on technology roadmap items.” That opinion was a wake-up call from a senior IT manager. To be honest, past architecture documents had been long-winded technical wish lists, not
What are the IT implementation STEPS?
A how-to guide used by Nortel Information Technology in the implementation of a new technology solution or best practice. From implementation strategy to end-user support, our STEPS describe the processes, procedures, tools and/or policies used by Nortel IT, including: S = Strategy, preparation and considerations T = Timetable for key activities E = Execution to implement the solution P = Prove to ensure requirements are met S = Support of operations of a live service
corporate priorities and IT initiatives (including data and applications). Business domain Applications domain Data domain Technology domain Mobility Networking Voice and UC Monitoring and Management Collaboration Storage Desktop Servers Figure 1. The budget limits what goes into the roadmap. It’s not just a wish list. In keeping with The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF — see sidebar). middleware. So we chose a quarterly publication cycle to keep the content fresh without being too repetitive.In difficult economic times. data and application requirements were specific inputs. Figure 1 shows how our roadmap technologies fit into the TOGAF model for enterprise architecture. not an annual event. we naturally tend to focus on consolidating and decommissioning. But making decisions about individual technologies in isolation can have unintended consequences. we designed a new technology roadmap to prevent such snafus. the roadmap includes a target architecture and the transition architectures required to get us from here to there. 2. we knew that our technology roadmap had to be timely and relevant. a technology architecture covers the “… software and hardware capabilities that… support the deployment of business. Timetable From past mistakes. Since it contains sensitive business data and information that could compromise negotiations with vendors. such as those nearing end-of-life. transitional architectures and critical short-term decisions. Mindful of the skeptical manager’s remarks. Just as importantly. The supporting details and rationale are documented separately from the roadmap itself. networks. Business. As you might expect. 3. the frequent updates keep the content relevant and adjusted to quickly changing circumstances. Imagine optimizing your enterprise network without considering an upcoming data center consolidation or application rationalization. We kept the documentation succinct. the target (three-year) architecture. In 2008. it calls out technologies that do not merit further investment. However. The architecture itself covers eight technologies: • Conferencing and collaboration • Voice and unified communications • Wireless and mobility • Desktop computing • Servers • Data storage • Data networking • Monitoring and management tools The roadmap describes the current architecture and initiatives. Technologies and domains . Producing a roadmap as an annual “event” wouldn’t do. 2 What is technology architecture? The open group Architecture Framework (TogAF) divides enterprise architecture into four domains: • business • data • Applications • Technology According to TogAF. We also wanted continuity so that each issue could build on what had been done before. It focuses our investments on products and services that help us reach our long-term goals (such as delivering better performance at lower cost). Our technology roadmap opens with a brief overview of business conditions. Our target audience consists of leaders and decision-makers who don’t have time to wade through details.” Nortel’s technology roadmap respects this basic definition of technology architecture. It also presents an estimated timeline. We made the roadmap an ongoing process. We linked the roadmap to the financial approval process. processing. communications. we took three measures to ensure that the roadmap would be a powerful decision-making tool in all economic circumstances: 1. etc. We update and reissue the roadmap every three months. This includes IT infrastructure. In short. standards. the target architecture changes little from one version to the next. Yet there wasn’t enough change to warrant monthly updates. we classify the roadmap as confidential and protect it accordingly. it defines the IT infrastructure required to keep Nortel running smoothly. data and application services. and nothing gets spent unless it’s in the roadmap.
Our second release incorporated budget alignment. Core architecture team and SMEs 3 . even the business priorities. Execution aligned the architecture while the SMEs developed a detailed view of each technical area. we limited the content to three technologies: • Voice and unified communications • Wireless and mobility • Data networking At first. With each quarterly release of the roadmap. the first issue was the most difficult to produce and approve. The core team coordinated and Desktop Monitoring and management Servers Core team Technology roadmap Mobility Voice and UC Remote access Wireless handhelds FMC Storage SMEs Conferencing Networking SMEs WLAN Collaboration Telepresence Desktop sharing Real-time collaboration Figure 2. which is as far ahead as we can predict business priorities and technology direction. Subsequent issues have expanded the content areas and improved alignment with other parts of the enterprise architecture. Each member of the core team called upon other subject matter experts (SMEs). we found disconnects among our IT staff and leaders — not just different opinions but a lack of awareness too. To keep the undertaking manageable. including representatives from IT engineering and operations. we issued the first approved technology roadmap. the target architecture. As we documented and reviewed the roadmap. The team was working with sensitive information that. we push out the planning horizon so it always presents a three-year view. The disagreements demonstrated just how much we needed a documented architectural roadmap. Month • Plan content Activities • Review requirements from other enterprise architecture domains • Form work teams and assign responsibilities 1 2 • Design and document architecture • Align all components of the roadmap with one another • Align with data and application requirements • Align with budget 3 • Present to IT leadership team • Approve (CIO) • Publish • Present to IT technical staff Ongoing • Review investment requests for architectural alignment Table 1. The team structure brought together numerous contributors from disparate organizations across continents and time zones. everything was controversial — the format. alignment among the technologies. could jeopardize Nortel’s competitive advantage or hinder negotiations with suppliers. Quarterly production schedule The roadmap has a three-year horizon.As you’d expect. Table 1 shows the quarterly production schedule. in the wrong hands. We chose a group of effective and secure collaboration tools: • A Nortel unified communications (UC) platform for multimedia conferencing. Work began immediately on the next release. as illustrated in Figure 2. We set our target architecture three years into the future. the transition architectures. presence and instant messaging We selected a core team of network and compute architects to build the roadmap. the level of detail. and we’ve maintained a quarterly update schedule ever since. Five months and 34 revisions later.
some team members hesitated to think far into the future. What about the supporting details and rationale? They’re all documented and made available. and nothing gets spent unless it’s in the roadmap. Initially. To keep the roadmap grounded in reality. We emphasized graphical content and limited text to short action-oriented points. We minimized the size of the final roadmap document. We summarized a lot. Capital and expense budgets Expenditures Technology roadmap Figure 3. The budget limits what goes into the roadmap. From this.• A knowledge management system with granular security. As you’d expect. including a summary of each section and a one-slide recap of key points from the entire roadmap. Examples from recent roadmaps include: • Give priority to investments that offer in-year payback • Minimize the number of hardware and software platforms • Minimize expenditures on platforms that will be discontinued in the next year • Consolidate investment into large data centers and associated locations • Favor work that can be accomplished with internal labor (low incremental cash) In developing the roadmap. “I can’t predict what we’ll do with that technology because I don’t know whether it will meet our security requirements. we distill a set of guiding principles for each issue of the roadmap. Conversely. each item is verified against the roadmap. but separately from the roadmap itself. each expenditure on IT infrastructure requires architectural approval. not the “why”. any mistakes could be corrected in the next edition of the roadmap. The more significant upshot is that it produced bolder. After all. before the IT budget receives final approval. more creative ideas.” We encouraged architects and SMEs to make those judgment calls by combining their expert knowledge of technology with business objectives and criteria. version control and auditing capabilities • An internal wiki for asynchronous communication and collaboration • A real-time presentation and collaboration tool The technology roadmap begins with a review of business requirements and objectives. we integrated it into the financial approval process as shown in Figure 3. The document focuses on the “what”. we consciously did not strive for perfection: it only had to be “good enough”. just three months away. Rather than a dense text-oriented document. We established and adhered to a strict. when it comes time to spend the budgeted money. reasoning for example. Financial prerequisites 4 . Furthermore. Every item in the roadmap that requires spending within the next year must be mapped to the corresponding budget item(s). concise format… a surprisingly difficult task. that approach helped us stay on schedule. we chose to make it a slide presentation.
Go to www. An informal review identified more than a half million dollars of cost avoidance opportunities. It helps us focus our investments on products and services that will achieve our long-term goals (i. Our technology roadmap has gone operational. As awareness of the roadmap grew. Furthermore. Written by George Stuart of Nortel IT. the roadmap doesn’t foresee every possibility. Integrating the roadmap with the IT financial approval process was a cornerstone decision. Prove concise document that doesn’t spell out every detail. Since each investment request now requires architectural approval. maybe a little… but he’s coming around. The presentation and discussion focus on changes and additions from the previous quarter. this has evolved to the point where the roadmap document has become a quarterly written confirmation of the detailed discussions that take place throughout the year. By the end of the current budget cycle. fully integrated with our financial approval process. It’s now a part of ongoing operations. Of course. the number of inconsistent requests has dwindled to near zero about six months after the first issue. we captured $20 million in direct savings and cost avoidance by adhering to the technology roadmap. the CIO and other Nortel IT leaders attend a two-hour review of the roadmap. we can easily identify inconsistent designs. the technology roadmap serves as a funnel for the introduction of new technology. it is by design a 5 . While the scope continues to expand. videos. the core team presents the roadmap to the rest of the IT organization. For his next budget. Once approved.com/nortelonnortel for more Nortel IT case studies. those opportunities will be locked into his budget and the roadmap. best practices. The roadmap provides formal direction to our new product and service introduction team. Support Is that senior IT manager still skeptical about the value of a technology roadmap in difficult economic times? Well. It’s now commonplace for IT engineers to consult the appropriate architect if there’s any question or ambiguity about alignment with the roadmap. Today.nortel. We’re seeing a similar level of collaboration and interworking on the budget process. That makes for many oars rowing together. the roadmap directly produced more than $20 million in cost reduction and avoidance. Some 20 percent of Nortel IT employees typically attend a live or recorded presentation of the roadmap. architectural approval is a prerequisite for financial approval. In 2008. Linking business and technology. the process remains consistent. reapprove and reissue it every calendar quarter.e. The fact that these consultations take place informally before the architectural review is a sign of operational maturity. Today. While that makes it more difficult to know how much the roadmap is saving. Budget owners and architects work together formally and informally to ensure alignment between the roadmap and the budget.Each quarter. implementation steps and freeware tools.. IT engineers proposed investments that were inconsistent with the roadmap… for a while. while curtailing further expenditures on products that are nearing end-of-life. Conclusion Nortel’s technology roadmap is an enterprise architecture building block. it’s a safe bet that he’ll turn to the technology roadmap to help make those tough financial decisions. it has proven to be a valuable planning tool. Perhaps out of habit. In its first year. our formal architectural reviews focus on the truly exceptional cases. it’s a solid indication that awareness and respect for the roadmap have permeated Nortel IT. The technology roadmap wasn’t an instant success. delivering better performance at lower cost). We update. Finally. He just asked the architectural team to look at an early draft of his organization’s budget to find opportunities for reductions. As with the financial process.
NN124053-020509 The business case and/or financial information presented in this document is based on Nortel research and is intended for illustrative purposes only. uk Email: euroinfo@nortel. All rights reserved. speed and performance by simplifying networks and connecting people to the information they need. Nortel assumes no responsibility for any errors that may appear in this document. support multimedia and business-critical applications. the Nortel logo. when they need it. Copyright © 2009 Nortel Networks. Nortel does business in more than 150 countries around the world. Nortel’s technologies are designed to help eliminate today’s barriers to efficiency. for both service provider and enterprise networks. For more information.” BUSINESS MADE SIMPLE . Information in this document is subject to change without notice. Fl 33323 uSA In Europe: Nortel maidenhead office Park. visit www. This document is subject to change without notice. These assumptions may be different from actual operating factors and may not take into account all factors potentially affecting results.com/news. visit Nortel on the Web at www. contact your Nortel representative. ontario m9c 5k1 canada In Caribbean and Latin America: Nortel 1500 concorde Terrace Sunrise. Our next-generation technologies. For more information.In the United States: Nortel 35 davis drive research Triangle Park. Nortel Business Made Simple and the Globemark are trademarks of Nortel Networks. For the latest Nortel news.nortel. Nortel.com. Westacott Way maidenhead berkshire Sl6 3Qh.com In Asia: Nortel united Square 101 Thomson road Singapore 307591 Phone: (65) 6287 2877 Nortel is a recognized leader in delivering communications capabilities that make the promise of Business Made Simple a reality for our customers. While Nortel strives to ensure the accuracy of the information presented in this document. Nc 27709 uSA In Canada: Nortel 195 The West mall Toronto.nortel. All other trademarks are the property of their owners. It is based on certain assumptions. Nortel does not represent or warrant the accuracy or completeness of this information and cannot be liable for reliance on or use thereof. Actual results may vary from what is presented here. or call 1-800-4 NORTEL or 1-800-466-7835 from anywhere in North America.
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