Enterprise architecture plays a central role in successful technology strategy implementation — but what exactly does that role look like in practice?
To succeed in transforming complex IT environments, enterprises must support new strategies with the tools and capabilities EA can provide. Getting it right requires collaborating from the start to develop a strategy that’s informed, well documented, and connected to real business value.
That’s what we’ll cover in the sections that follow. In this guide, you’ll learn:
- How enterprise architecture and technology strategies are connected
- Where to begin with developing a new technology strategy
- How to use visualization tools to map out your strategy before implementation
- The best approach for obtaining buy-in from company leadership
Let’s get started.
- Develop your technology strategy first, then look for support from enterprise architecture.
- Steps to take before technology strategy implementation include: mapping your current state architecture; analyzing existing dependencies; and setting business goals.
- Enterprise roadmaps translate your technology strategy into a compelling story that will resonate with stakeholders.
- Obtaining buy-in from company leadership requires connecting your tech strategy to actual business value.
Technology Strategy and Enterprise Architecture: What’s the connection?
Technology strategy or enterprise architecture — which comes first? It’s a chicken-and-egg question that only has one right answer: Your technology strategy should always be developed first, and your enterprise architecture should be built to support that strategy.
In other words, your technology strategy is the “what” and your enterprise architecture strategy is the “how” for achieving business goals.
But this doesn’t mean your EA team should be looped in as an afterthought, assigned to create an execution plan for a technology strategy that’s already complete. Enterprise architecture provides visibility into your current tech stack, IT environments, workflows, dependencies and other relationships between existing applications, and usage levels for various IT components.
All of this information (and more) informs the direction of your technology strategy, meaning that your EA team should be a key collaborator from the start.
How, then, does technology strategy implementation happen alongside enterprise architecture management in real companies? In the next section, we’ll walk through 6 steps for developing an EA-supported technology strategy that both leverages your current state architecture while moving your enterprise toward target states for the future.
Executing EA-Supported Technology Strategy Implementation
Establish your current state architecture
New technology strategy implementation begins with knowing what you already have. If you don’t already have an EAM solution (like LeanIX), now is the time to adopt one. EAM capabilities like application portfolio management (APM), landscape mapping, and business capability modeling create visual representations of your current state architecture that guide future goals and strategies.
A good place to start is to create your business capability map. Take a look at LeanIX's best practices for suggestions and know-how.
Analyze existing application dependencies
Enterprise IT infrastructures are complex, and any change to your technology strategy will undoubtedly impact its various components. For this reason, it’s critical to understand dependencies that exist across your tech stack and how changes to your infrastructure will affect them.
Tools such as the LeanIX Diagrams Editor can be used to create risk dependency maps that inform your technology strategy implementation. You can analyze current application data flows as well as how future changes to your strategy will affect them. Diagrams can be used to analyze multiple potential scenarios and present both organization-wide and stakeholder-specific information.
Set goals for your technology strategy
Once you have a handle on what is currently in place, you can set goals for your new technology strategy. Common goals for modern enterprises include:
- Cost savings and lower IT redundancy
- Cloud migration
- IT integration and tech stack optimization
- Reduced technical debt
- Achieving a single source of data truth
It’s likely that you’ll include more than one of these (and other) goals in your technology strategy. The steps you’ve already taken around establishing your current state architecture and analyzing dependencies should provide you with the information you need to prioritize goals appropriately.
Your goals should be as specific as possible and match with KPIs you’ll use to measure success.
Build a transformation roadmap
Enterprise roadmaps perform the critical task of turning complex strategies into compelling stories. When you turn your technology strategy into a story, every stakeholder can understand the importance of its impact.
Roadmaps visually represent the entirety of your new technology strategy from an enterprise architecture perspective. They show the action steps, workflows, integrations, timelines, and other transformative changes that will occur as a result of your new technology strategy. Most importantly, they connect changes to real business value and results.
There are multiple options on the market that can help you build your own roadmap — for example, you can use LeanIX. But the "how" really depends on the strategy itself and the most information you need to communicate.
Watch On-Demand: Creating Outstanding Enterprise Roadmaps by SAP’s Jason Porterfield
Set your timeline, budget, and execution plan
Technology strategies typically need to be implemented in phases to avoid business disruption and manage risk throughout the transformation process. Your timeline, budget, and execution plan may all be included in your roadmap, but it’s critical to flesh them out completely before you actually begin implementation.
Obtain leadership buy-in
Obtaining buy-in from company leadership usually depends on one factor: business value. As you plan to present your new technology strategy to your company’s decision makers, be sure to emphasize the value-add it delivers to your organization.
Even more importantly, know your audience and highlight the value components most important to each stakeholder.
For example: Are budget constraints top-of-mind in the C-suite? If so, focus on the cost savings you’ll earn from reduced redundancy. Are predictive analytics a strategic priority? Be sure, then, to demonstrate how your technology strategy will power this capability.
In reality, much of this work will have already been done earlier in your strategy development process. When you set goals for your strategy, you considered your company’s unique business needs. Now, it’s time to demonstrate how they’ll be addressed with your technology strategy’s implementation.
Transform Your Technology Strategy with LeanIX
LeanIX’s Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) helps EA teams leverage technology, make informed decisions, and manage change with our outcome-driven approach. The pre-defined, fully configurable Meta-Model is the foundation to meet all future business challenges.
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