Realizing Business Value from Information Technology Architecture

Information Technology Architecture is foreign to the vast majority of resources within most organizations.  This is partly due to the natural alignment within a subset of an IT department.  From my experiences, the resources responsible for mastering this subject matter have little operational business experience.

This is not necessarily detrimental, however the gap in knowledge introduces additional challenges to ensuring the communication and presentation of a technology stack can effectively be tied back to delivering against an organizational strategy.  When compared to other cross-functional entities within an organization (sales, marketing, finance, etc.) the level of shared measures, processes, and cross role knowledge is daunting.

Providing a crystal clear perspective of the technology stack can help organizations limit enterprise communication and risk across the organization.  The  below image of a simplified stack describes the business value relatively well and the definition is clear.

abstract visual representation of the interaction between key business areas of concern and the technology landscape of the organisation at a given point in time. (Banger, 2017)

This depiction provides a high level perspective of the technology layers and enable enterprise architects to better manage changes to existing technology, upgrades, etc.   This also enables the framework to enable a level of traceability to manage and govern organizational changes.

References

Banger, D. (2017). Back to Basics – The Enterprise Architecture (EA) Stack Simplified. Thouts From the Systems Front Line, 5.

Simplifying the Stack with Enterprise Architecture

Reading through a Forbes article regarding the value of network architecture and it’s ability to simplify the stack was valuable for several reasons.  Perhaps this is common knowledge for people who have worked in IT as a career, however I have limited knowledge of network architecture and found the article engaging.

The foundation of the technology stack is often represented through the layers that are required to deliver the expected business results.  This application and perspective of where and how network architecture can be disrupt and change how the information technology stack should be designed is intriguing.  The below image provides a perspective on how this can simplify information technology architecture.

http://article.sapub.org/image/10.5923.j.ijnc.20120205.03_002.gif

 

I have always had a passion around using technology to simplify and optimize business solutions through innovation.  I have experience and knowledge on the business and enterprise software opportunities to create value through simplicity, however not across IT Architecture.

References

Hawes, L. (2012). Enterprise Software Architecture: a Network of Services, Not a Layered Stack. Forbes, 2.

SAP Pub. Image. http://article.sapub.org/image/10.5923.j.ijnc.20120205.03_002.gif

Data / information architecture layer

The information architecture stack is also a relatively new concept within itself.  I do have significant experience with many of it’s layers however.  Data/Information Management is one of those areas (the other is business process).  is an areas I have significantly more experience.  These two levels of the IT stack provide critical capabilities within themselves, however when optimized in harmony, the opportunities to optimize enterprise performance are significant and plentiful.

The concepts within each of these layers of the IT stack include some of the most foundational components to improving business process results.  Data//Information is an enterprises most valuable asset as there are virtually no business processes, reporting, enterprise metrics, etc. that can effectively work without it.

These areas also represent components that the business can usually provide their business processes and practices around master data management with enough detail that the risk of information and collaboration across departments can be much less significant.

Organizations cannot monitor, measure, and analyze the business processes that enable their strategic objectives without the information that can make this a reality.

Below is the high level example of aligning data and business processes targeted at improving business results with data.

References:

Barnes, H. (2017). Digital Disruption Demands Demystification (Hype Cycle Season). Gartner