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The Polaris Workshop maps out a custom platform strategy

The Polaris Workshop maps out a custom-platform strategy

Polaris Workshop

IBM is helping customers assess their IT needs and choices with a practical and cost-effective analysis that considers important, nonquantitative decision criteria along with costs and technical functional requirements. The approach, known as the Polaris Fit-for-Purpose Workshop, is based on the Scorpion methodology and its tools, models and templates.

For more on the Scorpion Study methodology, see “Overcoming IT Challenges”.

Polaris Fit-for-Purpose Workshop takes an application or workload-oriented approach and provides guidelines to minimize guesswork and assumptions. The workshop incorporates the latest trends in the fit-for-purpose theory and its multilayer framework for platform-decision support, but also concentrates on a weighted guidance model.

Customers can then incorporate the weighted-guidance model shown in Figure 2 in their decision framework. The IBM study team provides the model along with training so it can be reused with future decisions about the best platforms for new applications.

Mapping the Findings

The study engagement includes assistance and information-collection templates to identify an organization’s technology platforms and decision criteria. The Polaris study team then conducts on-site interviews and incorporates their team’s findings into a matrix that illustrates each platform’s relative strength across each of the identified decision criteria. The primary steps of the methodology are:

Step 1 Kick-off

As with any IT-infrastructure study, we begin by defining the scope, objectives and expectations, roles, logistics and deliverables. Then we review the fit-for-purpose concepts and theory (see “Key Fit-for-Purpose Concepts and Theory”). This includes a review of each of the components of a platform-decision framework, for example: technical platform-performance characteristics and company-specific and local factors (e.g., skills, technology adoption levels, management processes and organizational and political considerations). Organizations also need to consider:

  • ISV support issues by application and platform
  • The scale and importance of the application to the business
  • Costs of acquisition and ownership
  • Expected returns on the investment

Rick Schoenmann is an IT infrastructure consultant with the IBM Scorpion Team.


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