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Blog Post

CIO as Service Broker in 2015: One Metric To Track

Why Less Code Per Function Point Is an Important Metric

Business As Usual in 2015
With everything that is occurring around new technologies at the end of 2014, life will be continue on as usual for the CIO.

  • Deliver the desired capabilities for business through IT
  • Provide innovation and differentiation for the underlying business through IT

The message is simple, but how can they measure themselves to this in the new technology environment?

Function Points Measure of Business Capabilities
Over the years Function Points have been a most scientific method of measuring the size of business capability. The main reason is that function point is technology agnostic and counts the output directly from the point of view of business user. So at the end of day any gain in the served function point of an application means an increased business capability.

Typically delivering function points comes at cost of certain number of code, typically for example if you deliver one function point this may cost an organization some 70 odd lines of code and the associated cost of development and effort.

Most organizations have some level of benchmark of the typical lines of code they produce to delivery one function point.

So far it used to be a metric for application development project managers to reduce the lines of code per function point through object-oriented development principles and code reuse.

But in 2015 it could very well be a measure of an effective CIO.

Why Would a CIO Care about Lines of Code
We may tend to think why would a CIO has to care to such a low level metric of Lines per function point. But the careful analysis of emergence of a Hybrid IT and CIO's role as Service Broker than a Service Provider this metric makes all the more sense, and it is not just a measure of software development skills but more of an adoption of innovative business models of PaaS & SaaS.

CIO as a Service Broker
It has been the highest priority of many CIOs to make their IT as a Service Broker, but this is always been a difficult one. But by setting a simple metric of reducing the number of lines of code per delivered business capability (i.e., Function Point) CIOs can easily progress towards their goal.

Let us start analyzing ways how a CIO can typically achieve this goal of reducing the lines of reducing the lines of code per function point.

Adapting to PaaS for New Development
PaaS (Platform as a Service) provides a great opportunity to reduce the lines of code on pre-built tasks of framework and concentrate only on the business capability. By adapting to PaaS platforms like Azure,BlueMix ... CIOs can straight away work on this metric.

Utilizing SaaS and Integration
SaaS market is rapidly expanding, it is true that most times a SaaS solution may not be a right fit, but by doing the right level of integration, transformation, aggregation and packaging between multiple SaaS solutions, CIOs can achieve the desired level of business functionalities with negligible or no code. Also by retiring existing applications which can be taken care with SaaS significant lines of code will get reduced while the same functionality is still get delivered by the SaaS application.

Leverage the Non Functional Requirements from Cloud
Every application has to have a level of QoS (quality of service) associated with it, be it.

  • Availability
  • Scalability
  • Security

Traditionally these factors have been part of the code. But cloud platforms like Azure... have always been abstracting them and providing them out of the box utilizing them will reduce the number of lines of code per business functionality.

While there is no doubt that most CIOs would transformation into Service Brokers in this year and coming years, it is always difficult to find a path towards it, by measuring them with the metric of ‘Reducing the Lines of Code Per Delivered Function Point', CIOs can automatically go towards that path.

Action Items for CIOs
CIOs may have to do some steps towards the goal of transforming their IT as a Service broker with this simple metric in mind.

  • Identify the key applications that needs to be enhanced or delivered as part of 2015 business needs
  • Calculate the base function points for these applications
  • Calculate the current lines of code
  • Derive at current lines of code per delivered function point
  • Establish 2015 Business Priority needs
  • Embrace PaaS / SaaS / Hybrid IT / Integration where possible
  • Measure the revised lines of code per delivered function point
  • Aim to reduce the above metric

By adopting the above model, we will see an automatic shift towards a Service Broker style of functioning, as we further work on other applications this will get added on to the momentum that is already built.

More Stories By Srinivasan Sundara Rajan

Highly passionate about utilizing Digital Technologies to enable next generation enterprise. Believes in enterprise transformation through the Natives (Cloud Native & Mobile Native).