by: Bill Cason, CTO, Troux
IT organizations must speak the language of the business in order to play a more strategic role within the enterprise. Our experience has shown that IT can begin this journey by defining and understanding six portfolios within the enterprise. These portfolios range from investments to information, technology, and applications.
However, we’ve often found that understanding the differences between two specific portfolios:
“goals and strategy” and “business architecture” – and their relationship to each other is often a stumbling block.
Here’s a brief explanation of these portfolios, and how you can use each to better understand the business and deliver value to it.
Goals and Strategy
The goals and strategy portfolio describes what the business wants or need to go, based on internal drivers (such as the need to improve quality) or external drivers (such as new competitors or regulations.) The goals and strategy portfolio is extremely dynamic, responding to change both within and outside of the enterprise.
If you don’t know who to approach in your organization to understand its goals and strategy, now is a good time to form those relationships. Even before then, tap public sources such as the annual report, speeches by your CEO, or stories in trade publications. Even your company mission statement (“We want to be the trusted provider of home health care services…”) can provide a starting point for understanding goals and strategy in more detail.
As you link specific technology or business process initiatives to these higher level goals, you’ll be on the road to proving your understanding of business needs and helping to meet those needs.
The second portfolio, “business architecture,” describes the current state of the business. This includes capabilities (supported by 4,000 skilled and compassionate care-givers in six states,) business processes (industry-recognized recruitment and retention practices) as well as products and services (home health care for 2 million elderly clients.)
Compared to “goals and strategy,” this “business architecture” changes more slowly because it requires time-consuming shifts in staffing, technology and processes. You can gather information about the business architecture everywhere from corporate organizational charts to the structure of your Active Directory organizational units. While public information such as annual reports can be useful, you will want to cultivate internal sources of information for more detailed information on specific elements of the business architecture.
Describing the business architecture is often a useful way to show the value of an enterprise architecture and to be seen as a strategic partner to the business. Using the business architecture to illustrate how specific applications or infrastructure support specific business capabilities (or, even better, highlighting areas to reduce spending or improve efficiency) delivers rapid benefit, and lifts you to a more strategic role within the organization.
“Goals and strategy” describes where the organization needs to go. “Business architecture” most often describes where the business is now. Understanding both these portfolios is the first and necessary step to becoming a more strategic partner to the business.
To learn more about Troux, and how we deliver value, click here.