Business Architect’s Approach to IT

Our problem is straightforward. How do we optimize a modern IT organization?

Most IT organizations result from haphazard development without an understanding or focus on their support for the operating model of the company. They have reacted to a mixture of random organizational pressures and technology change. Most often, the organizational design and structure driven by the technology implemented.

IT4IT Reference Architecture

A Business Architect’s approach to IT changes this. We deliberately architect the business of IT. We impose a Digital Transformation on the IT Organization.

Like any other transformation, IT delivery transformation is a complex endeavour. The distinctiveness of IT reinventing itself is that IT must keep the business running, keep pace with business change, and change itself.

The classic structure as a cost-sensitive support organization must be changed. During the change, the business architect needs to account for the impact on customers, partners, and suppliers.

IT organizations performing primary value chain activity must deliver at the rate of market change. Hence, its delivery pipeline can no longer follow traditional methods. IT must embrace the principles of automated BPM and lean practices such as continuous monitoring, self-healing, and efficiency gains; must support decision-making and deliver products; and must transition from differentiator to the backbone of the enterprise.

Combining Seven Levers of Digital Transformation and the IT4IT Reference architecture is central to the Business Architect’s Approach to IT.

Most of the thinking starts with one-best-way: centralized, distributed, bimodal, outsourced, SaaS, cloud, IT as a service, and even next-generation IT. Proponents and pundits promote their favorites as the only answer.

In reality, there is not a single answer. There is never a single answer.

Business Architect's approach to Information Technology is to optimize the business of IT to their organization's aim. Good business architects use Seven Levers and IT4IT Reference architecture. Talented architects always use a reference architecture to speed up their work.

Organizations undergoing a Digital Transformation require an IT function that can deliver directly to its customer's and compete head-to-head.

In the good old days, information technology was a support function—cast as a necessary cost center. Managed through cost-constraint as a supporting service. In the world of Digital products and services, this is not as true.

In the world of Digital products and services, this will be fatal.

Information technology can be the product, or the service, or perform key-value adding steps in the value chain. The classic information technology organization is torn between optimizing for efficiency and optimizing for value creation.

Business Architect’s approach to IT involves changing their thinking. We need to stop thinking of IT as a support department. Start thinking about how Information Technology services, from whatever set of suppliers, role of the organization's product and service strategy.

Designing a modern IT-function requires separating inventing, managing and operating information technology from the limitations of a support-oriented IT organization.

Information technology can be the product, the service, or perform value adding steps in the value chain

A business architect helps a stakeholder understand their organization to make better decisions about improvement.

When you understand the system, you can effectively change it. Business architecture is one enterprise architecture domain.

Custom training is available to assist architecting the best IT organization for your company. Optimizing the IT organization is Lever 4 of the Seven Levers of Digital Transformation.

Most IT organizations have haphazardly evolved without an understanding or focus on their support for the operating model of the company—developed without a deliberate business architecture. They have reacted to a mixture of random organizational pressures and technology change.

Most often, the organizational design and structure are driven by the technology implemented. When organizational design is considered, the most common discussion is the continuum between centralization and distribution.

Neither approach prepares an IT function to support Digital Transformation.

Digital Transformation is a strategy and an operating model change, where technological advancements are directly tied into the products and services an organization provides to its customers.

The business architecture of IT sets the stage.

Download Seven Levers of Digital Transformation

Download the Seven Levers of Digital Transformation. Foundation guidance to the Seven Levers that control success of Digital Transformation.

EA Community How-To: Value Chain Approach to IT

Value Chain Analysis defines where and how organizations create the greatest potential value for customers. In simple terms, raw inputs are transformed by performing the primary activities in the value chain. After the transformation, those raw inputs are worth more.

We can easily see this in manufacturing. In the service industry, we use different inputs. Skill, knowledge, and systems create services with greatest potential value. A simple definition of value is the difference between the cost of creation and what a customer will pay.

When we stop thinking of IT as a department, we can start thinking about Information Technology as skill, knowledge, and systems assembled by a digital business in the value chain.

EA Community How-to

Value Chain Approach to IT

Requires membership in Conexiam's free EA Community

Business Architect’s Approach to IT through Lever 4 - IT & Delivery Transformation

The Seven Levers of Digital Transformation provide the means to control your Digital Transformation journey. Each lever is a different aspect of digital transformation. In order to succeed, you need to adjust each of the levers. Digital Transformation has a checkered experience - wild success or no clear value realization. The most common cause for poor value realization or failed projects is the inability to re-articulate corporate strategy or its implication accurately.

Seven Levers - Impact of skipped Levers
Skip Lever 4 (IT) for Low agility & imprudent decisions

Each one of the Seven Levers needs to be engaged. Failure has a different limiting impact on your Digital Transformation.

  • Lever 1 - Business Process Transformation - Flying Blind. Unready for opportunity & change
  • Lever 2 - Customer Engagement and Experience - No loyal customer base
  • Lever 3 - Product or Service Digitization - Miss the mark on value proposition
  • Lever 4 - IT and Delivery Transformation - Low agility & imprudent decisions
  • Lever 5 - Organizational Culture - Skilled incompetence  & low ownership
  • Lever 6 - Strategy - Tone deaf & systemic failure
  • Lever 7 - Ecosystem and Business Model - Lost synergy & no parachutes

Lever 4-IT & Delivery Transformation

Applying the same business process optimization, interaction insights, and customer experience-driven product development to IT operations of the enterprise.

Arriving at consistent agility across IT and other functional areas of the enterprise that is in-sync with the market expectations

Business Architect’s Approach to IT through IT4IT

IT4IT provides a strong reference architecture for the business of IT. The Service Backbone provides the frame for the architecture of IT.

IT4IT Service BackboneWe start by identifying the IT products and services that directly contribute to the organization's product or a service. This requires value chain analysis. The IT product must be direct value-adding contributors.

Second, identify the IT products that support the primary activity.

The direct value-adding IT Products needs an IT organizational structure that is directly aligned with the goals, cost-structure, and motivations of the rest of the organization's primary value chain.

Just because the IT Product is part of the primary value chain doesn't change the fact it is an IT Product. Its design, life-cycle and operation needs best-practice IT approaches. You will always fail by treating an IT product in the primary value chain as anything other than an IT Product.

We use the information flows in the IT4IT Reference architecture to architect an IT organization that can support these primary value-chain IT Products. We subordinate the structure of the IT organization to the needs of the primary value chain.

We will duplicate the IT function. Creating one directly aligned to value creation in the primary value chain. The other structured as a support service for back-office support service.

Most IT organizations have haphazardly evolved without an understanding or focus on their support the operating model of the company

They developed without a deliberate business architecture. They have reacted to a mixture of random organizational pressures and technology change. Most often, the organizational design and structure are driven by the technology implemented. When organizational design is considered, the most common discussion is the continuum between centralization and distribution.

Business Architect’s approach to IT changes this. We deliberately architect the business of IT. We impose a Digital Transformation on the IT Organization.

Like any other transformation, IT delivery transformation is a complex endeavor. The distinctiveness of IT reinventing itself is that IT must keep the business running, keep pace with business change, and change itself.

The classic structure as a cost-sensitive support organization must be changed. During the change the business architect needs to account for the impact to customers, partners, and suppliers.

IT organizations performing primary value chain activity must deliver at the rate of market change. Hence, its delivery pipeline can no longer follow traditional methods. IT must embrace the principles of automated BPM and lean practices such as continuous monitoring, self-healing, and efficiency gains; must support decision-making and deliver products; and must transition from differentiator to the backbone of the enterprise.

Combining Seven Levers and the IT4IT Reference architecture is central to the Business Architect’s Approach to IT.

Business Architect's Definition of Value

Value-adding activity is:

  • a customer is willing to pay for it,
  • it transforms (changes form, fit or function) a product or service,
  • it is done the first time correctly.

All discussion of value-adding requires consideration of waste. We should consider every activity to be waste unless it:

  • meets an explicit customer requirement
  • cannot be shown to be performed more economically

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Custom training is available to assist architecting the best IT organization for your company. Optimizing the IT organization is Lever 4 of the Seven Levers of Digital Transformation.

You will always fail by treating an IT product in the primary value chain as anything other than an IT Product

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