The most striking message that can be taken from this year’s symposium is that CIO’s and business leaders around the world believe passionately in digital business. There is a real desire to embrace digital transformation and an eagerness to ensure that this journey is carried out with the best possible roadmap in place. It was refreshing to see a community who recognise that leveraging the benefits of digital technology is the best way to not only streamline their operations, but to differentiate themselves within crowded markets.
For the second year running digital business was the main theme – having defined the concept in 2013, this year the focus was on leveraging benefits from this radical business transformation. As we move into a new era of unprecedented interconnectivity, Gartner’s content focused on the following:
The internet of things – how devices and connections must be controlled to leverage competitive and operational advantage. As the number of connected devices and applications within portfolio’s increase exponentially, visibility of what comprises IT infrastructure and the precise nature and interaction of each element has never been more important.
Cloud migration and the transition away from physical infrastructure and thinking – As the latest technology and business strategies blur the lines between the digital and physical worlds, don’t make the mistake of thinking that moving applications and infrastructure ‘to the cloud’ means you no longer have to manage them! Only by fully understanding the characteristics of your evolving cloud platforms and how they relate and interact with any remaining physical infrastructure are you able to benefit and avoid potential pitfalls
Security and risk in the digital business era – as business process and objectives transform, so must our approach to managing and mitigating threats to operations and profitability. It is no longer adequate to have an ad-hoc approach to compliance, emerging corporate governance best practice dictates a thorough, systematic approach is required.
Managing and controlling ever evolving IT estates – as businesses change and merge, and with the relentless pace of technological developments, how can vast estates of assets, devices and applications be optimized? Gartner and other analysts have found that up to 80% of IT department’s resources are spent maintaining and managing IT portfolios. With the ongoing pressure on IT budgets, the only way to increase performance is to improve efficiency by eliminating redundant legacy applications and devices.
MEGA is convinced that enterprise architecture (EA) combined with risk management are the most effective ways for companies to deliver business outcomes, helping them though the challenges of digital transformation. Our capability and legitimacy gained over the years through our clients and analysts like Gartner analyst Saul Brand, who ranked MEGA leader amongst the leaders in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Architecture Tools 2014, from September 2014. Now is the time to move forward with your digital transformation program!
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Over the last few weeks, a decidedly partisan English media has been awash with stories of woe, depicting a virtual apocalypse resulting from what appears to be an increasingly likely ‘Yes’ vote. Aside from the No campaigners’ trump card of uncertainty surrounding the currency which an independent Scotland would trade with, there are also question marks regarding the division and fair allocation of infrastructure such as defense, health, transportation and diplomatic resources. This stands to reason as a division of two nations who have been united for centauries is never likely to be straightforward, but decisions like this should be taken with a long-term view in mind. This is perhaps the reason why so many independence referenda fail – when it comes down to it, people tend to vote to protect their short to medium term interests – time will tell in this case!
Leaving politics aside, the task of dividing or allocating resource within the context of organisational change is something which will be familiar to most businesses. Organisations are constantly changing in size and structure, and mergers and acquisitions have become the ‘go-to’ strategy for scaling businesses. Whether acquisitions are undertaken to obtain customer base, intellectual property, infrastructure or market share within a new segment, considerable restructuring will be required to create an efficient end result. In these cases of organisational transformation (which pale in comparison to the proposed Scottish de-merger) one of the key focuses of senior managers’ is to ensure that all of the assets of the new organizational structure are optimised. This is not as simple as pooling resources and disposing of any duplicated assets. A holistic approach is required, taking into account the current and future needs of the new organization as well as assessing the relative quality of the newly merged or transformed organisation’s assets.
Organisational transformation is a difficult, complex and time consuming process and the tasks involved are all-too-often underestimated. Analysts such as McKinsey & Co have revealed that as many as 80% of mergers fail to result an adequately integrated and optimised organisation. This high failure rate is often attributed to a lack of understanding of the nature and unique qualities of each of the organisations being amalgamated. In order to understand these factors, clear visibility of what an organization is comprised of is fundamentally important, and as Gartner point out, this information is an essential component for delivering desired business outcomes. Although achieving this kind of understanding will require the investment of time and money, this is the only way to fully understand the processes by which business is conducted. The resulting optimisation of infrastructure will ultimately yield a return on investment through the elimination of inefficiency, duplication and waste.
One of the ways in which companies gain an understanding of these areas of organisational value and inefficiency is by establishing Enterprise and Business Architecture departments. These vital business functions monitor the complex relationships between user groups and the technology they use. The role of Enterprise Architects and Business Process Analysts is to provide companies with this insight, which can be the difference between success and failure when embarking on a Digital Transformation project. However, the insight that Enterprise Architecture aims to achieve is only possible if complex business functions are clearly visible and can be modelled and represented in a format that is easy to interpret. Although a range of modelling methods are used by Enterprise Architects, the most reliable involve the use of powerful tools in order to minimise risks of a project’s failure by overcoming the complexity of these tasks.
The right modelling tools can provide Enterprise Architects with a more accurate view of their organisational assets and processes, which is easier and less time consuming to acquire. The resulting model will allow progress towards an organisation’s strategic goals to be monitored, and will provide clear, reliable information in the event of progress not being made. Gartner Group recognise that a thorough understanding of business processes and technical requirements is at the heart of making the right decisions during periods of change and upheaval. As a result, tools that can deliver this understanding and visibility represent a significant competitive advantage for growing organisations. For this reason, Gartner have released their EA Capacity report which independently evaluates all of the various tools within this varied market place. Click here to download this report free of charge – fortunately with the help of Gartner, the selection of the most appropriate EA tool is far less of a journey into the unknown than the choice of independence or continued union for the Scottish nation.
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