Wednesday, 19 October 2016 07:59

Providing Access to Your Business Architecture Model: the Key to an Agile Digital Transformation

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In a constantly changing environment, digital transformation is becoming a priority.

Yet, digital transformation is hard. It involves important risks and business complexities that often hold organizations back. Digital transformation projects often fail short of their objectives and drag far too long, often because the planning, coordination and architectural bridges between business and IT stakeholders are none existent.

Building your business architecture and more importantly providing access to your organization’s business architecture model1 for your business and IT stakeholders is becoming critical if you want to minimize risk and become agile in your digital transformation. This allows greater accuracy in initiatives planning and allows your stakeholders to gather the necessary information to deliver their projects much more rapidly enabling more projects to be delivered on time and within budget.

Digital Transformation: a Priority

As explained in Robert Kost’s exhaustive and excellent article entitled “The Architecture of Change; Business Architecture and the Meaning of Digital Transformation2,”

“Wikipedia defines digital transformation as “the changes associated with the application of digital technology in all aspects of human society.” The World Economic Forum also takes a similarly broad view of the phenomenon, defining it as “rapid advances in digital technology [that] are redefining society.” MIT Sloan Management Review, in collaboration with CapGemini consulting, focuses on business and defines digital transformation as “the use of technology to radically improve performance or reach of enterprises.” IBM states succinctly that it involves “creating new business models where digital meets physical.””

Digital transformation is becoming the number one priority for modern CIOs. More often than not, for them to succeed in their digital transformation endeavors, more and more CIOs admit that they need a top-down process with executive buy-in at the highest levels. Digital transformation is not an organic process.

“Proper planning, coordination, and architecture must be in place in order for initiatives to be successful.3

Digital Transformation: Fragmented and Out of Touch

As explained by Gustavo Gomez, “Although the vast majority of enterprises have grasped the importance of transformation, many remain slow and even incapable of taking full control of the process. Digital transformation is hard. It’s not simply a restructure or an IT implementation; it’s a total transformation that will impact how every person in the enterprise works – from the tools they use to do their job to a new company culture that enables change.

Businesses need to adapt to increasing demands for a better, smarter customer experience, and they need to be faster and more agile to stay ahead of their competitors – but there are clear risks and business complexities that continue to hold them back4.”

To often digital transformation is fragmented, and that's hurting businesses. “By allowing individual business units to purchase IT solutions, almost two-thirds of businesses (60 percent) get data silos and duplicate purchases. (…) “The issues companies face with their cloud resources are less to do with the technology itself and more to do with a lack of synchronization across lines of business,” says Johan Doruiter, Senior Vice President of Systems, Oracle EMEA5.”

Ignoring staff and stakeholders is another reason why digital transformations fail. As J-P De Clerck points out, “In transformative projects, employees and other critical stakeholders are often left out far too much as well, amidst uncertainties, leadership changes, a lack of basic involvement and uni-directional “internal” communication and management patterns. (…) The essence of paying attention to workers and teams that often know the challenges better than the C-suite as they live them each day, as well as the essence of what concerns people and drives them to change and collaborate is all too often missing6.”

Digital transformation also involves a perpetual cultural change attitude. As explained by James Bilefield and Barr Seitz, “Culture is the hardest part of the organization to change. Shifting technology, finding the right talent, finding the right product set and strategy—that’s all doable, not easy, but doable. Hardest is the cultural transformation in businesses that have very deep legacy and cultural roots. (…) You don’t make a change and then just sit back and wait for the next five years of business as usual7.” Organizations need to build a new momentum and rhythm in their business that reflects the new realities of their industry in which they are operating.

Agile Digital Transformation and Business Architecture

As I have written in a previous article8, combining agile methodologies and Business Architecture can become an excellent solution to palliate against digital transformation initiatives that are too fragmented and out of touch with today’s reality. Agile methodologies get you to execute projects at a much higher pace. Business architecture makes sure that you are not forgetting anything important and looks at all impacts of a project. An agile project can be executed with lower risk and higher odds of success if at the same time it is bulletproofed using business architecture.Lambert 101916 2

 

Providing Access to Your Business Architecture Model

Building your business architecture and more importantly providing access to your organization’s business architecture model for your business and IT stakeholders is becoming critical if you want to become agile in your digital transformation. This allows greater accuracy in initiatives planning and allows your stakeholders to provide and gather the necessary information to deliver their projects much more rapidly enabling more projects to be delivered on time and within budget.

As shown in Diagram 1 above, providing access to your business architecture model is now easier than ever. Obviously, contrarily to the Guild’s business architecture model, your organization’s business architecture model should be kept private and in a secure environment, where business and IT stakeholders would view what matters to them and nothing else.

Great ROI and IRR

There are several reasons why organizations should provide access to their Business Architecture model. In a previous article9 entitled “What’s the ROI on Your Business Architecture Practice?”, I’ve explained that it could easily provide “an ROI of between 9 and 12 months and an IRR of 301% over a 5-year period.”

Obviously, this number can vary from one organization to another. I can provide an Excel spreadsheet on request to whomever is interested in calculating the ROI and IRR of providing access of its Business Architecture model within its organization to business and IT stakeholders.

Conclusion

In a constantly changing environment, digital transformation is becoming a priority. Building your business architecture and more importantly providing access to your organization’s business architecture model for your business and IT stakeholders is becoming critical if you want to minimize risk and become agile in your digital transformation. This allows greater accuracy in initiatives planning and allows your stakeholders to gather the necessary information to deliver their projects much more rapidly enabling more projects to be delivered on time and within budget. In terms of financial results, it can provide an ROI of between 9 and 12 months and a respectable IRR of 301% over a 5-year period.

References
1 Webpage link to the Business Architecture Guild’s Business Architecture Model.
2 Series of 3 articles written by Robert Kost entitled “The Architecture of Change; business architecture and the meaning of Digital Transformation” in LinkedIn Pulse written on August26, 2016, September 7, 2016 and October 4, 2016.
3 Quote from the article entitled “Transformation Is a No. 1 Priority for Modern CIOs” written by Prashant Sharma published in CIO Insight on September 1, 2016.
4 Quote from the article entitled “Do or die: The urgent need for digital transformation” written by Gustavo Gomez published in IT Pro Portal on July 29, 2016.
5 Quote from the article entitled “Digital transformation is fragmented, and that's hurting businesses” written by Sead Fadilpašić in IT Pro Portal on September 2, 2016.
6 Quote from the article entitled “Why digital transformation fails: ignoring staff and stakeholders” written by J-P De Clerck in i-SCOOP.
7 Quote from the article entitled “Digital transformation: The three steps to success” written by James Bilefield and Barr Seitz in McKinsey & Co Insights on April 2016.
8 For additional information, please read this article entitled “Combining Agile Methodologies and Business Architecture” written by Daniel Lambert in BA Times on January 26, 2016.
9 For additional information, please read this article entitled “What’s the ROI on Your Business Architecture Practice?” written by Daniel Lambert on LinkedIn Pulse on April 12, 2016.

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Daniel Lambert

Vice President at Benchmark

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