Your business. It’s your baby. Even if you don’t own the business yourself, you work hard to keep it healthy, keep it safe, and help it grow. It’s not like the old days where you could just take the little guy down to the waterin’ hole and throw him in the deep end to teach him to swim. Nowadays there are new government regulations that need to be accounted for before we can take action (you know, because while that method worked for some kids, others weren’t so lucky.)
So while on one side of the coin we have controls and regulations, on the other side of the coin is the speed at which technology is evolving. How do you keep up? How do you make sure your business has everything it needs to succeed and stay competitive while simultaneously keeping it protected and compliant so it doesn’t get hurt or hurt others?
In the olden days you had to pick one: rigid or reckless. Not only is that no longer the case, but it wouldn’t even work in today’s environment. Customers expect you to be wherever they are, whenever they want you, and available on whichever device they’re holding at that moment. Are you there yet? Your competitors are. Not only do you need to be available, but you need to be user-friendly and safe (… and it doesn’t hurt if your interface is engaging and sexy as well.)
Earlier this year, Gartner, Inc. published a piece of research titled “The 12 Principles of Application Architecture for Digital Business and IoT”1. In that document, the authors discuss how “digital business and the Internet of Things demand a new level of excellence in enterprise architecture principles and practices. Strategic application architects and other IT strategists must arm their organizations for business and technology innovation.”
They go on to discuss key challenges that businesses and architects face when navigating this new digital ecosystem. I’ve listed two of those challenges here, as one focuses on why businesses are struggling to stay agile and the other focuses on the need for improved governance:
Here’s the reality of the situation – your business is growing up. It’s going to face an exciting, fast-paced, and dangerous world out there, and like any good parent, it’s up to you to prepare your baby to face those challenges as best you can. MEGA’s solutions for IT Strategy Delivery provide tools to rationalize the IT landscape, reconcile legacy systems with new applications, and implement IT strategy with a focus on innovation, all while mitigating risks.
If we care about architecting our applications as resources that support governance, we’ll want to consider the importance of architecting the means to achieve strategic goals, particularly in transition/disruption periods that require even more degrees of flexibility than in normal, more stable times. When we think about giving our child as many chances for success as possible, they need to be flexible in the sense that they need to be a sponge for any kind of knowledge. Once we’ve set that foundation, our kids have as many degrees of liberty as we’ve given them (language, history, music, sports, etc.) Success is more likely if we provide more paths to achieve success. Now we’re not stuck picking between rigid and reckless, but instead we can select the paths that provide the best balance. In that regard, flexibility is the means for stronger governance.
Architecture can help us understand where our business is flexible and where it’s not. If we do this correctly, we can provide visibility into the business ecosystem and the digital landscape so we can move as fast as we need to move, and make sure we’re moving in the right direction.
I need to get going – I hear the baby crying in the other room…
1,2,3 - Gartner Inc. “The 12 Principles of Application Architecture for Digital Business and IoT”, Published: 29 January 2015, Authors: Yefim V. Natis, Ross Altman