Time-to-market Technology

Fair warning: if you’re a software architecture purist, you may want to stop reading now.

When prospective customers start giving serious thought to working with a software company like Guidewire, one of the first topics to address with them is how quickly they want to implement our software. Do they want to plan the development cycle to run for many months, in order to capture the maximum business benefit (such as moving all of their lines of business to the new system) on day one? Or are they more interested in getting into production as soon as possible, to capitalize on a new market opportunity or decommission a particular part of their legacy system? This is commonly referred to as a time-to-market approach.

A lengthy development cycle allows for lots of functional scope to be included, as well as a greater degree of architectural freedom. Implementing new components, like an enterprise service bus (ESB), that can be done in conjunction with a Guidewire implementation (although they’re not required) are often considered beneficial. In addition, the team can build interfaces that leverage newer technologies like web services.

What kinds of decisions are necessary for a successful time-to-market project? This approach introduces real constraints on how much technical change the project timeline can absorb. The journey from a mainframe-based legacy system to modern technology, like the Guidewire platform, is usually long, and you may not be able to do everything you want in a short timeframe. The architects will likely need to consider reusing a lot of existing code that may depend on the legacy system, either for functionality or transport to external systems.

The best projects make these choices in context of their larger release roadmap. Sometimes they are willing to use older technical approaches to save development costs and reduce risks for the first release. This achieves the business benefit that is funding the project in the first place, while allowing IT to make the transition to their preferred enterprise architecture in the long-term. By making the right mix of do-it-now or wait-until-later decisions, they can rest assured they are on the path to success.