We believe that technology strategy should follow and support business strategy. Therefore we believe that a rock solid information solution – whether performed internally or by a solution provider – should begin with an analysis of your vision and objectives. Unless this is done, your business runs the risk of not only missing out on technology -enabled opportunities for market leadership, but also of building technology infrastructure and making significant investments without a clear linkage to business requirements and strategy.
Our paradigm in the information technology space focuses on defining and implementing an Enterprise Solution Architecture (ESA), which is the alignment of the following elements:
- business strategy: the strategic goals, objectives and constraints of the enterprise, as reflected in such documents as the strategic plan, operating budgets, vision statements, etc.
- information architecture: the data required by the enterprise in order to realize its business goals. This might include, for example, more timely access to accurate, up-to-the-minute information on sales or customer data.
- application architecture: the portfolio of software applications needed by the enterprise in order to realize its information requirements. This might include Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and/or Supply Chain Management (SCM) applications, advanced e-Commerce storefronts or service centers, and may also include development of custom software applications.
- technology architecture: the underlying technology infrastructure needed to support the business, information and application architectures. Technology is not an end in itself; it is only useful to the extent that it aligns with and supports (even enables!) business strategy.
One initially establishes a target ESA via a facilitated process including workshops with key stakeholders at all levels of the organization, helping them think through the enterprise’s strategy and prioritizing its initiatives. Utilizing such tools and techniques as Activity Based Costing, Critical Path Analysis, multi-attribute decision modeling, high-level data and process modeling, Business Case Analysis, as well as the use of benchmarking and best practices, the process culminates in the development of a clear blueprint and roadmap linking business, information, application and technology requirements.
In the next few posts, we’ll be taking a look at some tactical and strategic applications of Enterprise Solution Architecture. Can U #rel8te?