To explore how emerging technologies can be integrated into the business ecosystem of an organization, enterprise architects can follow these three steps, as described below.
Step 1: Identify Emerging Technologies
In this first step, you need first to identify the technologies that may represent a potential opportunity for your business. It can be broader than actual business needs since that at this stage, you don’t know yet the business value of these technologies. To help you, you can rely on market research, internal workshops, or vendor innovations.
A technology radar is useful to get a comprehensive view of technologies spotted by your organization. To create the technology radar, you need first to define the key components of the radar. The area of the radar can be for example broken down by technology domain, the distance to the center of the radar can represent the strategic alignment of the technology, the bubble size can be the business impact, and the color of the bubble, the risk inherent to the technology.
To build the radar, you can conduct several workshops in your organization gathering business and IT leaders. You can then revise a radar every month.
Step 2: Ideate Business Opportunities
Once you have identified potential emerging technologies, you need to assess business opportunities related to each emerging technologies. You may use an ideation tool within your organization to get some ideas on how a technology can bring value to your organization.
You can also use specific techniques such as design thinking as a process for innovation. In this approach it is important to empathy with customers, then apply convergent and divergent ideas to create a minimum viable product. Subsequent iterations will follow to refine the product and its business model.
You can now bring some business context for each technology and create a dashboard that includes a description of the technology. It can list potential business opportunities, business scenarios, and risks. It may also include potential vendors and dependencies. It is worth revisiting the technology dashboard as business opportunities and ideas mature over time about the technology, as well as the technology radar.
Step 3: Understand how to change your business
Enterprise Architecture provides multiple tools to assess the impact and transform your business.
Business capability maps are instrumental to assess the impact on the current business:
By linking emerging technologies to business capabilities, enterprise architects can assess the impact of a technology change, whether the technology has a minor or major impact on existing capabilities, or if any capability becomes obsolete due to this technology.
Understand the value brought to customers thanks to value streams
Value streams define the stages necessary to satisfy your customers. When tying business capabilities to each stage of the value stream, you ensure that your organization can deliver the value expected to customers. If capabilities are missing, you can identify the actions required to develop or acquire new business capabilities (build vs partner).
Define the business model thanks to Business Model Canvas
Business Model Canvas is a template to develop new business models. It includes various items such as the value proposition, customer segments, channels, cost structure, and revenue streams. It helps leaders discuss a business model and refine it.
Understand customer Journey and model business processes
Customer journey maps enables leaders to understand all the touchpoints between their customers and the organization during the purchasing experience. Through the course of this journey, the customer will express satisfaction or dissatisfaction with the product and service.
Once you have mapped the customer journey, you can then model the related business processes that support all the touchpoints in the customer journey map. This is called an “outside-in” approach that ensures business processes meet all customer expectations.
You can use application models to map all the data flows between applications, determine which application architecture will be developed for each phase of the implementation of an emerging technology. You can even go a step further by modeling an internal view of applications including software components, IT services, and microservices. UML diagrams can also be used to describe in detail the different use cases of the new emerging technology. Data models also help define and analyze data requirements to support new business processes.
As technology significantly impacts businesses, enterprise architects are best placed to identify emerging technologies, assess opportunities, and understand their impact on the current IT landscape because they sit between the business and IT. They help business leaders and IT teams understand and take advantage of the technologies that will move their company ahead of competitors. In this new role, enterprise architects have to act as internal management consultants to streamline the efforts of business transformation and build new ecosystems.
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