Enterprise architects have a key role to play in strategic business transformation, including application modernization, cloud migration, and generative AI adoption. Discover how LeanIX CEO André Christ explained this role at a recent SAP Signavio conference.
On November 7, 2023, André Christ, co-founder and general manager of LeanIX, an SAP company, co-presented a keynote with Reckitt Chief Information and Digital Officer (CIDO), Filippo Catalano, at the Gartner 2023 EMEA IT Symposium/Xpo in Barcelona, Spain. André's talk focused on all the ways that enterprise architects, especially when equipped with the right tools, can facilitate and drive continuous business transformation.
Multiple Transformations At Once
André's keynote explained that the challenge companies are facing today isn't just one situation, but managing multiple, simultaneous transformations. To illustrate, he named several:.
First, cars used to differentiate on engines and style, but according to Volkswagen’s CEO, 90% of automobile innovation will soon be entirely software-based. The focus has shifted from the physical to the digital and this is occurring across industries.
Second, companies continue to move to the cloud. This includes migrating applications, prioritizing software-as-a-service (SaaS) as an approach to procurement, and replacing traditionally on-premise enterprise applications, like enterprise resource planning (ERP) platforms, with new, cloud-based alternatives, such as SAP S/4HANA.
Finally, there's generative artificial intelligence (AI). Many expect this revolutionary technology to be as disruptive, if not more, than the advent of the internet.
Companies need to actively manage their AI business transformation. This is especially the case when the technology driving this transformation is evolving so rapidly.
Consistent Challenges With Transformation
For the last several years, we've surveyed our customers about the challenges they face with technology transformation, specifically enterprise resource planning (ERP) transformations. In 2021, customers identified the following as their top challenges:
- Identification of dependencies (80%)
- Roadmap definition (67%)
- Housekeeping legacy systems (59%)
In 2022, we found that business alignment had risen to the top, while roadmap definition and identifying dependencies remained challenging:
- Aligning business, IT, and teams (66%)
- Defining target architecture and road map (53%)
- Identifying ERP and non-ERP interdependencies (47%)
As André pointed out in Berlin, something lurks behind these challenges: a lack of transparency over the IT landscape. Without comprehensive visibility, you can’t identify dependencies, define a practical roadmap or, as it turns out, align everybody.
5 Steps To Business Transformation With LeanIX
The goal of enterprise architecture (EA) as a discipline is to map and model your ever evolving technology landscape. Legacy approaches to capturing the landscape too often mirrored this complexity, reducing EA’s impact on the business.
When you take a simplified approach to EA, utilizing a simplified meta-model of the landscape, you can give the business the visibility it needs to plan and manage technology transformation. Despite the fact that we've seen this in action many times over the years, it's not the case that every company has adopted an EA-enabled approach to business transformation.
André outlined some of the actions that you can take to help establish the kind of EA practice business transformation demands:
1 Make The Business Case In The C-Suite
Make the case to the CEO and CFO by emphasizing the concrete business impact you can achieve with clear visibility into your IT estate. Effective enterprise architecture management can drive remarkable savings, increase efficiency and productivity, improve security, and free up resources for innovation.
2 Engage The Organization
Once you have C-level buy-in, you need to gain support across your entire organization. The best way to do that is to involve them in the transformation you are driving, gamifying the elimination of redundant and underperforming applications, as our client Reckitt has.
3 Talk To Everybody In Their Language
What your IT team down in your business' 'engine room' believes about your current landscape and its relationship to business strategy may be very different from what the C-Suite believes. Enterprise architects, at their best, can move between these levels, providing IT the necessary insight into strategy, and providing the architectural perspective at the executive level.
4 Use The Right Tools
Making use of best-of-breed enterprise architecture tools here is key, from understanding your service infrastructure with ServiceNow to gaining clarity on your process architecture with SAP Signavio. LeanIX then fills in the gaps to connect your business strategy with your IT execution, as well as helping you build your road map from your current state to your target architecture.
5 Connect The Business And IT View
With special regard to the SAP S/4HANA transformation, it’s critical that you can capture the entirety of your business by connecting the business process view to the enterprise architecture view. As you plan and execute this transformation, the seamless exchange of information between these systems delivers the kind of continuous visibility you require.
Generative AI And The Future Of EA
It's been less than a year since ChatGPT first burst on the scene, and generative artificial intelligence (AI) models have evolved incredibly quickly. At the same time, we’ve seen widespread experimentation and steady adoption of generative AI, on the product side and on the operational side.
Of course, embedding large language models (LLM) into your products and the wider organization is a business process. It has definable steps and for each step a range of supporting technologies.
Adopting LLMs, in other words, calls for an enterprise architecture perspective, particularly when it comes to data integration and ensuring its privacy. Downstream, EA can also support LLM operations (LLMOps) by monitoring model performance and focusing on proper governance and security, particularly as the regulatory landscape itself transforms.
Enterprise architects are uniquely situated to guide and inform these AI adoption efforts. This is because they have the visibility to answer the most critical questions related to these efforts. LeanIX Metamodel and the key questions of LLM adoption.
Drinking Your Own Champagne With AI
In addition to transforming IT landscapes, artificial intelligence (AI)is also transforming the enterprise architecture (EA) discipline. A range of generative AI capabilities are built into the LeanIX platform, helping with automation, research, and recommendations:
- Complete architecture documentation
- Create criteria for RFP success
- Identify successor technologies
- Prepare recommendations for your board
- Write architecture summaries
Make Transformations Fast, Not Furious
Business transformation is the name of the game today. The good news is that, while transformation is continuous, it doesn’t have to be chaotic.
LeanIX enables your ability to transform in a way that's data-driven, collaborative, and above all else, repeatable. It's the key to unlocking continuous business transformation.
To find out more, download our free whitepaper on using LeanIX to get SAP S/4HANA transformations right: