To be successful in today?s business climate, most enterprises need to transform themselves on a regular basis. Although they need vision and goals to drive that transformation, companies also must address short-term objectives and develop new business processes.
Equally important is treating information as an asset, reusing infrastructures when applicable, optimizing application portfolios and making needed investments from a portfolio perspective. Above all, projects must be coordinated and aligned with the transformation strategy execution.
The strategic enterprise architecture (SEA) ties all this together with integrated business and technology architectures, the needed technology standards, and guidelines for rationalizing assets and managing the application portfolio. This contributes to shaping the transformation strategy that will enable the enterprise to progress on the path to the future.
Scope and Scale
Part of the planning process is to define the scope and scale of the transformation. This involves determining how to sense and respond to the business conditions that pose challenges to the transformation process.
Deciding on the approach?whether to evolve naturally from the current state or be more revolutionary and innovative?is a crucial step. The approach further defines the organizational reach of the transformation, as well as its timeline and pace?whether aggressive or more reserved.
Finally, the culture of the enterprise also affects the scope. This involves determining whether the enterprise has the capability to manage the transformation (resources, experience and skill sets), the company?s capacity for changes that will be made (how much change has been completed during recent years) and how the enterprise embraces transformation.
Planning the Strategy
Once the scope and scale have been established, the transformation target and objectives can be fleshed out. They must be aligned with the vision of the enterprise; however, when the vision changes, the target and the objectives need to be adjusted as well. The target and objectives are defined through the business architecture.
Accurate, current information about enterprise assets, their use and their health (the extent to which they can be used in the transformation or are subject for replacement) must be provided. The path for the transformation, the processes to move the enterprise toward the future, and the project initiatives to bring this about must be defined and scheduled. The technical architecture that enables the transformation will need to be defined, and the infrastructure that?s to be leveraged must be established.
The SEA is driven by business strategy and shows a snapshot of the enterprise as it may look at the end of the transformation journey. The SEA is pragmatic, actionable and relevant. As the business vision and strategy are implemented, the SEA should be adjusted through asset portfolio improvements, retirements, consolidation and rationalization.
It is vital to have governance processes in place and executed to ensure that all nonvalue-creating initiatives are eliminated, and to execute only the strategy-aligned initiatives. The right governance bodies and decisions also must ensure that all stakeholders are involved in the transformation execution in such a way that business and technology management can approach a state in which they are intertwined.
These stakeholders include representatives from the business, IT, finance, planning, compliance and operations functions. The SEA must reflect the ever-changing factorsthat affect the transformation strategy: They must be up-dated and eventually become an extraordinary facility that guides the enterprise in a cohesive direction.
Gunnar Eriksen is an on-demand expert at BTM Corporation. BTMinnovates new business models and enhances financial performance by converging business and technology with its products and intellectual property.? 2010 BTM Corporation | [email protected]