Success Strategies for Differentiated Enterprise Communications. Concerns for enterprise communications within public and private sector companies are consuming lots of cycles these days, with a certain amount of real trepidation for executives tasked to decide which directions to choose and how big a budget is required. Demands are coming from all sectors of the organization in various forms and degrees of urgency. Above and beyond making sure the standard stuff works well such as making applications responsive, getting dial tone all the time, reaching people whenever and wherever they are on the phone or by email, new issues are cropping up that demand a back-to-basics approach to strategy, planning and execution. This White Paper will provide some insight on what executives need to focus on in order to get through the clutter and complexity of enterprise communications and help establish a sustainable long-term vision that will deal with the accelerated rate of technological and globalization change affecting their business models.
Differentiated Enterprise Communications Architecture
On a recent trip to Scottsdale Arizona, Taliesin West, home of
the late Frank Lloyd Wright in Scottsdale Arizona and now a campus for his foundation is an architectural masterpiece, simple yet innovative building showcasing organic architecture and conservation of the natural environment. The buildings blend seamlessly into the desert mountain landscape, with natural sunlight entering the structures at just the right angles. Furniture and chairs are perfectly formed and designed for each room, with narrow entrances that lead into hallways that open up to wings with grandeur and elegance.
Enterprise Architecture, a topic much discussed but not thoroughly understood in the boardroom, can similarly be structured to blend organically into a business and provide a framework to deal with fast-paced changes to strategies, processes and technology. The key to structuring it right is to visualize your enterprise as a set of five architectural blueprints each representing different views targeted to key functions in your organization: Planner, Owner, Designer, Builder and Subcontractor. Each blueprint, although separate and distinct, must interlock with one another in alignment and consistency.
C-Level executives own the Planner’s view and frame the scope and context of the enterprise. They set the business strategies and goals; define the cycles significant to the business; create and change organizational structures; decide where the business needs to operate and prioritize data important to its success. The Owner’s view looks at the business model and ensures the conceptual aspects of the enterprise align with the Planner’s view. At this layer, business plans are written and master schedules are drawn; organizational workflow models are derived, reviewed and updated; business logistics systems are architected leading to business process and entity relationship models.
With these senior management driven foundational blueprints in place, the Designer view evolves the architecture to a system model providing logical constructs that are not rooted in time-limited physical, technological and human dependencies. The Designer view focuses on longer term business rule models, processing cycles and events, human interface architecture, systems and application architectures followed by logical data models that define data entity relationships.
The Builder view is where the technology models reside, and subjected to frequent change initiatives. It’s important to understand that the criterion for technology selection needs to be farsighted enough to withstand lifecycle horizons of approximately three years, and closing. Business rules design, control structures, technology and presentation architectures and systems design are deliverables at this layer. Keep in mind that software and hardware choices often dictate the constraints placed on the Builder view but ultimately, the functionality delivered to the enterprise must meet the requirements as envisioned in the Planner and Owner view. Finally, the Subcontractor view provides detailed representations of the technology models. This layer is the closest to the functioning business enterprise and implements network and security architectures, programming, rule specifications, timing and data definitions. Typically, your IT organization, outsourcer or contractors perform work at this layer however; the previous Enterprise Architecture views are constructed such that IT is delivering exactly what the business wants and needs.
Any company seeking to survive, grow and thrive in the global economy must build its business based on an Enterprise Architecture that defines all its elemental building blocks, their relationships with one another, and aligned to a vision and strategy that drives the rest of the organization as documented in a set of blueprints that are maintainable, flexible and adaptable to accelerated change.