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Agility Through New Technologies

Without the capability of linking application development with the infrastructure such as servers, middleware and network your organization will most likely be in more trouble than the decision-makers think. Information technologies have a profound impact on the organization’s ability to reinvent its business model(s) and the products it produces and since organizations in various industries will experience new demands from their partners, customers and suppliers the role of managing the information technologies will become even more important. The new demands usually leads to demands for changes that applies for the organization’s portfolio of information technologies.

Over time the applications are integrated with middleware and new point-to-point integrations are designed among the applications in order to ensure so called quick fixes or through offensive or defensive development. Offensive and defensive development (Wagter et al 2005) adds to the overall complexity of the organization but as such it is not possible for the organization’s it-department to stop or reduce the complexity due to the dependencies to the environment.

Complexity cannot be reduced (Snowden), but if the decision-makers were properly informed they would be able to navigate among the levels of complexity and as such make the proper decisions when it comes to investments in the right it-projects and as such the technical architecture.

The Enterprise Architecture program has an advantage if it can produce artifacts that can link applications with hardware e.g. servers and show how the changes will impact the organization. This is capability can prove to be extremely important since it gives a better overview of the transformation process. The artifacts should be visualized in a way that makes it possible to show various stakeholders an easy introduction to what the artifacts mean and how the organization can cope with the issues at hand. The artifacts should be what can be named actionable there has to be some form of action plan that informs the various stakeholders (especially the decision-makers) on what to do next e.g. what can be done to avoid scenario C? And who is responsible? And when should the persons who are responsible act?

Scenario planning and simulation are two tools that are essential to facilitate the proper exercise.

Conclusions

Information technologies have become more important due to demands from the markets that demands better products (products that contributes more to the value contribution for the customers). Information technologies have a tendency to add complexity to the organization’s decision-making process and business processes which makes slows down the ability of the organization to adjust to the demands of the markets.

Enterprise Architecture is about harvesting, organizing, and exposing data that can be used for management information and informed decision-making. In order to achieve informed governance (the basis for informed decision-making) is the social relations and the ability to visualize the artifacts.

If the Enterprise Architecture program is able to visualize the important artifacts and ensure a form of scenario planning through linking application development with the IT-infrastructure the organization is able to navigate in the issues of complexity and as such enabling agility.

Agility through new technologies can only be achieved if the organization is able to deal with both application development and its IT-infrastructure and linking those two to one another.

The artifacts that are needed in order to simulate a scenario can be reused and refined in order to give the decision-makers a competitive edge that in turn will give the organization a competitive edge to adjust or reinvent its business models.

Sources

Snowden, D., The Origins of Cynefin (2007 – 2010).

Wagter, Roel, Martin van den Berg, Joost Luijpers, and Marlies van Steenbergen. Dynamic Enterprise Architecture: How to Make It Work. 1st ed. Wiley, 2005.

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