The following points summarize what's been discussed in this introductory chapter.
Success depends on having an appropriate focus. You should focus on delivery of infrastructure products, not technological prowess. Any IT organization will find it difficult to differentiate itself based on how effectively it handles systems administration. Delivering basic technology services is like having the lights come on when you hit a switch. The real value you can provide is not in making the lights work, which is expected regardless, but in delivering sharable support services for applications in a way that promotes reuse, cost savings, and agility. This approach means planning for the future, not just catching up to current requirements.
An "infrastructure product" mentality helps simplify options and drive competencies. Thinking in terms of infrastructure products leads to a delivery mentality. Creating tangible infrastructure products reduces the amount of uncertainty. You should focus on core infrastructure patterns, services, and processes. Then you should look for ways to reuse assets and expertise while emphasizing consistent delivery through people and process improvements. As an example, you might consider hosting a Web service internally so that your business units can share infrastructure resources such as network, server, middleware, and security. Or, you might add value by moving e-Business applications to a chosen outsourcer effectively and efficiently.
Developing adaptive infrastructure requires cultural change. Successful implementation of adaptive infrastructure will change the relationship between business users and IT, but it should also change a key piece of IT culture: the application developer community. Your efforts will create a new class of workers: Infrastructure planners and developers who will have application developers as their customers.
IT should team with the business in developing strategic investment priorities for infrastructure beyond e-Business. The typical IT department can develop a suitable infrastructure plan anytime. Developing a plan that reflects and accommodates developments within the business, and then updating and managing that plan, will require close coordination with business managers.
Reuse is the linchpin of adaptive infrastructure. The concept of reuse does not apply just at the application level. Instead, you must foster reuse at the interface level, among application components, and through directly shared, infrastructure-focused services. A number of adaptive infrastructure concepts facilitate reuse, including adaptive infrastructure services, infrastructure pattern matching, predictive cost modeling, and the role of the infrastructure planner.