Constant changes, agile developments, mergers & acquisitions make it difficult for IT departments to track all the technologies used in an organization. Most of the time, IT departments face these issues:
IT projects use technologies that don’t follow policy rules as defined by IT departments. In addition to be risky, these technologies can be incompatible or inconsistent with the existing IT portfolio. IT debt is likely to increase if technology standards are not properly enforced
IT departments are unaware of technologies used by dev teams and other business stakeholders increasing the risk of non-compliance and uncontrolled dataflows.
The use of rogue technologies or obsolete technologies increases IT Risks that can lead to serious breaches of security. If technology components are not monitored and updated regularly, minor abnormalities at first sight can quickly lead to chain reactions with major consequences.
To regain control over the technology portfolio, streamline the number of technologies, and ensure that stakeholders inside the organization use approved technologies, enterprise architects should:
Technology inventory – including vendors and lifecycles (release date, end of life) - helps enterprise architects understand the current situation about the technologies used in their organization.
To help completing this task, this information can be retrieved from existing CMDBs. Additionally, external software libraries can be used to collect lifecycles and complete the technology inventory.
Note that new technologies requested by the organization (dev teams, architects, local project teams), but not yet in production or standardized, should also be added in this inventory.
Once the inventory is done, technologies can be tied to applications and projects, that are themselves linked to the business capabilities they support. With this mapping, enterprise architects can clearly understand the impact of a technology to the business.
Enterprise architects select the technologies to be assessed as standards, based on the current inventory or the requests made by the dev teams and other stakeholders like architects and risk managers.
To assess technologies, various parameters can be considered such as supported applications and indirectly business capabilities, lifecycles and vendor dependency. As the technology goes through the different stages of its lifecycle, enterprise architects should update its status as follows:
Once the assessment is complete, enterprise architect can decide whether technologies comply or not with the company’s standards:
Once the status of a technology is defined, enterprise architects can share it with the organization’s stakeholders ensuring that they don’t use any rejected technologies. The technology status can be shared via a portal accessible to the whole organization or within tools used daily by dev teams and other stakeholders.
To streamline the technology portfolio, enterprise architects create projects that describe the reason to remove or update a technology, as well as a timeline, costs and involved resources.
Projects can then be prioritized based on various criteria such as strategic alignment and business impact. Once projects have been prioritized, enterprise architects can follow their execution until their completion. This step enables IT departments to effectively update or remove technologies from the technology portfolio based on the enterprise architects’ recommendations.
In the digital era, companies need to deliver products faster in an agile manner. By defining technology standards, enterprise architects help companies reduce the number of technologies – and their costs, while ensuring projects don’t use rogue technologies. By managing a limited number of technologies, dev teams are better trained at using the ones that are approved. Overall, it helps reduce technology risks while realizing important economy of scale, so that companies deliver more consistent products with an improved customer experience.