Capco Blog

A new model to measure IT complexity

IT complexity is so important that “learning through failing” is no longer satisfactory, given that this form of complexity so clearly impacts the cost, delivery quality and flexibility of the IT landscape. Today’s financial services companies need a robust and functioning model for complexity measurement and mitigation. Commerzbank, in partnership with Capco, is developing such a model.

IT complexity can and should become a leading indicator for IT performance management. Typically, the CIO scorecard contains three key performance indicators (KPIs): costs, flexibility and quality. However, these are “lagging” indicators whose current values typically result from choices made many years previously.

IT complexity is a key hidden variable. As such, it is a “leading” indicator supporting the prediction of costs, flexibility and quality that should be used in today’s IT management decisions. However, IT complexity is very difficult to master, since it creeps up, grows incrementally, is not purely local, and cannot be measured — until now, using the Commerzbank/Capco model.

The Commerzbank/Capco IT Complexity model and management decision tool is based on specific and measurable IT complexity indicators, organized in a structured IT complexity analysis framework. We developed accessible dashboards for IT complexity and analytics tools to ensure that theoretical understanding can be applied to the technology/business management process. We also built an open tool for complexity data captures, display and analysis, reflecting the IT Complexity model.

The model’s overall framework is based on complexity indicators across four key areas: functions, interfaces, data and technology. Function relates to the functionality or the business and process logic supported by the IT asset. Interfaces refer to interoperability between the IT assets. Data relates to logical and physical data objects. Technology includes the underlying technology itself (e.g., hardware, middleware, systemware) as well as any drivers of complexity derived from operating requirements (e.g., operating model, business criticality, prescribed time for recovery).

The relevance of each indicator has been validated through statistical analysis of Commerzbank data, which mathematically confirmed the relationship between the IT Complexity indicators and IT KPIs, such as costs and incidents.

The true value of IT Complexity management lies in its use in proactive support of IT portfolio management, architecture and transformation decisions. The preparation process has significant ancillary benefits, including improved understanding of your data, improved data quality and establishing foundations for complexity management.

How is your company measuring IT complexity?


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