Against this backdrop where the customer exerts greater influence and control over the buying decision, organizations are compelled to rethink their relationship with customers, employees, and key stakeholders. This is an exercise in remapping business processes and the IT and applications that drive these processes. In contrast to new entrants who are unburdened by legacy IT and process debt, digital immigrants must confront the enormously complex task of rearchitecting their business without creating disruptions that could compromise product or service quality.
An essential component of this rearchitecting is an assessment of the technology that is being used to run businesses and deliver value to the customer. This exercise begins by creating an inventory of the applications you’re currently running. When business grows, either organically or through acquisitions, the application portfolio expands. As the cost and complexity of supporting an expanding IT portfolio increases, it’s necessary to rationalize and eliminate applications that are no longer essential to support the business’ capabilities. In the absence of modeling tools, this rationalization process can be a complex undertaking. Rationalization, however, is critically important to maintaining IT health; and it doesn’t have to be painful.
A recent Gartner report titled “How to Assess Your Current Application Portfolio Using Fitness and Value Review Processes” provides an excellent summary of why application rationalization is necessary, stating “Application fitness and value may deteriorate over time from business, operational or technical perspectives. This is especially true of the fast-changing demand from digital business that challenges application architectures and impacts application fitness and value.”
Whatever organizational changes your company is working through, how do you determine your application portfolio health and decide which applications to maintain, replace, retire, or consolidate? And as a CIO or CTO, how are you identifying investments in technology to support growth within your organization? A great first step is to develop an application roadmap strategy that leverages the current state IT portfolio and anticipates applications to support emerging business requirements brought on by market changes such as blockchain, AI, machine learning, augmented reality, etc.
An important goal of the rationalization is to eliminate redundant and non-value-adding applications, freeing up budget for new, business-critical work. If slowed down by legacy technology, you can’t keep up with rapid business transformation demands. Here’s the critical point: rapid transformation and an agile IT portfolio are a competitive advantage. While most organizations meet business demand with a strategy of continuous acquisition, this approach is not sustainable. Forward-thinking IT leaders will balance this with continuous, proactive application rationalization as a top priority.
MEGA has partnered with CAST, pioneer and world class leader in software intelligence and analytics, to help clients easily take control of their application portfolio, monitor software health, cloud readiness, complexity, and cost with code-level analytics. This partnership can significantly help IT leaders manage organizational change and application portfolio rationalization by providing information to assist with:
Advanced IT rationalization – Make informed decisions on applications to keep, merge, retire, or reprioritize according to your context and objectives
Cloud migration – Assess the cloud readiness of your application portfolio
IT health and risk monitoring – Quickly understand portfolio health and monitor software risk over time
This integration enables clients to quickly and objectively measure software health, risks, complexity, and cost of their application portfolio – in days – allowing for an exclusive insight into application strengths and weaknesses before any investment, rationalization or retirement decision is made on an IT asset.
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Investing in an enterprise architecture solution is a smart business decision that will increase transparency and open opportunities for improved efficiencies and business growth. Consider linking applications to processes to understand how well your IT systems support business activities. Or maybe you’d like to get a higher visibility into your systems, so you can perform impact analysis and make quicker decisions when planning changes. An EA solution will help you to execute on initiatives like these.
Whether you’re looking to implement a tool that will solve one specific challenge or roll-out an enterprise-wide solution, there are important questions to answer and many issues to consider before selecting the best tool for your company. What kind of tool should you be evaluating? How important is your relationship with the solution vendor? How smooth and easy will the transition be for your staff? These are examples of basic questions to consider when selecting an EA tool before you commit to one and begin down the implementation path to your pot of gold.
To get you started on your path to success, here are 3 steps to help you select the right EA tool for your organization.
1. Identify your short and long-term goals.
What challenge is your organization experiencing and what are the benefits you believe your new EA tool will deliver to help overcome this challenge? Identify measurable goals you’d like to see achieved over the first 6-months to a year. These goals don’t need to be massive, all-encompassing changes, but each one should move you closer to delivering value back to the business. For each goal you set, consider asking yourself how is this specifically helping the business?
2. Seek out EA solution vendors that are flexible and will work with you, not against you.
Ideally, you should love your EA tool vendor and think of that company as your partner and trusted consultant. A vender with knowledgeable professionals that make time for you and truly have your company’s best interest in mind will be one of your best assets and provide you with invaluable guidance as you embark on this journey to improve your operations. They’ve done this before – successfully – and can help you do it as well.
3. Ensure the solution is capable of growing along with your business.
A solution that is flexible, scalable, and can be integrated into the day-to-day operations of your business is going to deliver more long-term ROI than a point solution. You don’t want to be shopping for new EA solutions every couple of years. So, while it’s important to put out urgent, burning fires today, you’ll also want to leverage features and visibility that meet the needs of your expanding operations tomorrow. To extract the most return on investment from your EA solution, consider what your needs will be both now and later when evaluating vendors.
May the luck of the Irish (and some sound selection strategies) be with you!
May there always be work for your hands to do
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May your EA tool fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
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Customer-centric marketing and business strategies have been on the rise for years, but one of the biggest business transformations to come this year will be the role enterprise architecture plays in customer experience. Savvy business leaders looking for ways to accelerate their companies’ growth and win customer loyalty will turn to enterprise architecture for help designing customer-centric business models and strategies.
Serving your customers’ needs and not just meeting, but exceeding their expectations, is now what’s required to acquire new customers and keep your current ones happy. It’s crucial to design digital business models that have a focus on customer journey mapping enabling your organization to improve customer experience. Gartner believes that this year, 40% of enterprise architects will focus on design-driven architecture that puts the customer at the center.
To be a 2018 technology innovation leader, customer experience should be a top priority for your organization’s future digital business plan. Leading digital business evolution and transformation isn’t done overnight but is a must-do as consumers’ choices grow and the competition to win their business is stiffer than ever.
If you haven’t implemented a plan yet, a great place to start is customer journey mapping which helps companies see their business from the customer’s perspective, including the pain points that can derail buyers from making or completing a purchase. It is the starting point to redesign company processes that make the customer journey easier and more rewarding for buyers.
So many companies, including your competitors, are focusing on improving the customer experience and need software solutions that can unite information about customer-facing processes across the enterprise. The increased transparency these software solutions are providing is equivalent to having a crystal ball that shows you why customers aren’t buying, where they’re dropping off in the sales cycle, how to influence their purchase decision, and how to increase current customers’ satisfaction with your products and services. Isn’t that a crystal ball you’d like to own?
If customer journey mapping and customer experience is on your 2018 roadmap, check out our recent blog post 3 Must-Remembers Before You Begin Customer Journey Mapping and you can learn more about MEGA’s customer experience solutions on our website.
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Smart organizations know that their company’s competitive advantage will come by transforming their business, function by function, and process by process. With the business environment changing faster than any previous time, and business complexity being greater than ever before, it’s imperative companies around the world are rethinking and adjusting the role of operational excellence.
All companies need to act now and join the digital revolution – waiting on the sideline is no longer an option. A great place to start for those new to this world, are to follow these four recommended steps:
Capture company strategy
Decide future direction by assessing drivers of change, defining goals, and planning business capabilities.
Plan business transformation
Design new processes by incorporating end-to-end customer experience.
Plan IT transformation
Identify and assess different IT transformation scenarios and select the best one based on business outcomes.
Mitigate transformation risks
Identify, assess, and mitigate transformation risks associated with your company’s digital evolution without jeopardizing the customer experience.
Achieving operational excellence and business innovation through digital transformation requires dedication, support from both the executive leadership team and the entire organization, and being capable of balancing risks with benefits.
Interested in learning more? Join us at Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit (BTOES18) in Orlando, FL from March 12-16. The BTOES event looks at end-to-end business transformation delivered by operational excellence to achieve business excellence throughout the organization. This event will show how progressive leaders are using operational excellence as the backbone, the discipline, the framework of strategy development and execution, innovation execution, CX, and business transformation.
MEGA is a sponsor of this event and will be exhibiting on the show floor in booth 7. We’ll also be participating in the Technology Test Drive, where attendees follow a round-robin visiting 6 vendors in 1 hour to see mini demonstrations. To set up a private meeting with MEGA at this event, please send us an email.
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During the webinar, a few people asked questions along the lines of: “Where do I get started if my team is newer to customer journey mapping?” Nicole, in my opinion, answered this question really well during the Q&A portion. She said that customer journey mapping is a great place to start in general. First, you should pick a few personas where you can map out their experience to get an understanding of the various steps & phases that they’re going through. From here, you have a clearer view of where in their journey (a touchpoint) that they’re having a bad experience. You can then look a little deeper to figure out exactly what they’re interacting with at that moment in time – is it a process? a person? a system? an application? Let’s say you identify that a certain application is not working correctly for a particular touchpoint along the customer’s journey. You can go from a high-level view of seeing a touchpoint as a bad customer experience, and dive down as deep as you need to into your IT landscape to understand the problem. Which processes are the application tied to? What are the integration points with this application? Which technologies are supporting this application? Determining how deep you go is based on what your team identified. Would you agree?
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