Monday, September 16, 2013

How can EA Frameworks be used to Develop IT Strategy for Enterprise

More and more CIOs get invited to the big table for contributing to the business strategy, as the business strategy plan determines the IT strategy plan. The IT Plan must be ‘driven’ by the Business Strategic Plan for the same timeframe. When getting back to IT organization, how can CIOs develop the valid IT strategy? Can EA frameworks like TOGAF or others help to achieve it?

1.    IT Strategic Planning Scenario 

If you believe IT Strategy is set of initiatives [with budget, capabilities] which can help organization move from point A to Point B, then EA framework can help.

1) Create vision before crafting a strategy: Until you have a vision of the future, you cannot align to anything. Organizational vision is to zoom in the future of business as if it were closer, with perception of business/industry and technological trends, as the statements of strategy without recognizing the underlying trends, is not helpful. 

2) Do Gap Analysis
-Do the Current analysis [this need to be scoped. or else it might take ages to complete]
-Define target State [ this need to be scoped. or else it might take ages to complete]
-Do Gap and document assumptions.
-Identify IT Principles, current process, standards, practices of IT in the organization

3) Aligning is the next step. To align, you need to draw out things like: what capabilities are you going to need to be excellent at, what products or services would be coming into view, and what areas of the business would probably fade from view. This is an estimate of the needed business changes that will come. In effect, you are predicting demand on IT services... years before the business asks. 

4) Propose the IT Strategy (IT direction playbook). Your IT strategy is an attempt to build now for what might come, based on the best educated prediction. If something is risky, plan to fail before you succeed (fail early and often). If something is unknown, plan to produce proofs of concepts and feasibility studies. If something is disruptive, plan to operate in parallel. 

5) Create Roadmap (IT play book with milestones): Develop an IT Roadmap from Current state to Future State. It should be no longer out than the business strategy and no longer than 18/24 months; it should include a high-level IT project portfolio to accomplish the transition of IT services in terms of technology, people and secondary services; it should provide financial assets required for the transition  

2.    EA framework and methodology should help in at least two areas

EA framework can help shape the right questions on strategic planning and capture systematic view upon business both at conceptual and logical level.

·       Asking the questions more intelligently, at least on strategic business direction of IT. Such as walking through the 5Ws (Why, What, Who, When, Where +1H (How) navigation. For CIO or CxOs to establish strategy, the Applying WHY model and WHAT model are very useful to create business model [identify what-business functions and sub functions], to create organization chart [Who, Where - department, structure]. to create matrix of business model and organization structure, you will understand who to talk to, but when you talk about HOW model, it is usually 1 to 3 year strategic and tactical plan area since many new technologies will affect various plans in the next year or two easily.

·       Putting things in perspective once you have base line data and develop & review sub-domain Enterprise of
1) Business architecture
2) Application architecture
3) Data Architecture
4) Technical Architecture 

EA framework may help your strategic planning, however, framework is just tool, not gospel; do not let it ruin the common sense, be programmatic, not dogmatic, make your strategic planning agile to adapt to the speed of changes.


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