In the previous blog, we introduced the need to scan and harness emerging technologies in this age of consumerism. Here, we continue further with the analysis of the framework-led approach.
Analysis – Framework-led Approach
Enterprise architects need to define a roadmap and provide guidance by developing or following a framework that creates emerging technologies strategy that provides a practical approach in evaluating trends by determining what should be adopted. The success of the program lies in developing maturity and bringing a pragmatic approach to the framework. It is a seven-point phased filtration process through which the evangelist needs to evaluate and give its directions.
The model does have a cyclic nature; however, depending on the stage, it could have hops or combinations. Here, we describe the seven individual dimensions in detail:
- Scan: The role of the enterprise architect is to stay abreast of the latest disruptive digital technologies in the market. They need to keep up-to-date with the market hype, trend charts, and sonar scans of all upcoming, stabilized, and fading technologies. While it is equally important to understand the new, it is important to stay updated on what’s fading out, ensuring a smooth transition. The first level of filtration plays a very critical role in confirming that the right energies get constructed, and that technology aligns with organizational objectives more than learnings. The premise upon which enterprise architects should start from is primarily business, current demand, roadmap, challenges, and relevance driven.
- Analyze: With the help of the first-level filtration, the noise is eliminated and the right technologies are categorized based on a standard goal or individual goals defined by the business or independent units. Once the disruptive technology is mapped with the use case and aligned with the strategic goal, it becomes simpler to get to more in-depth analysis based on business case initiative vs. technology-driven initiative. With its ROI structure, the approach caters to current problems vs. future directions against which it gets to sponsor and make a decision matrix before proceeding to spend more energy on these ventures.
- Prioritize: The process helps in simplifying the budget and defining priorities based on core mapping of business goals and a well-defined strategic roadmap. The challenge is very tough since every unit plays its cards to get priority, but it is the maturity, value, and budget that take precedence in deciding what will move and in which order. While technology is debated, the business and sponsorship take the front seat when it comes to budget allocations. Sometimes, both need to be reverse engineered to ensure fitment in the second phase of analysis.
- Evangelize: A pragmatic approach needs to be taken with regard to the gospel. It needs to be defined and communicated in such a way that the right channels open up and the technology is viewed through a tactical eye. Also, the execution strategy and its future should be defined and mapped with the current landscape. The process gets very scope-centric and starts to form its base and demands, moulding itself into the shape of a target operating model. At every phase, it is essential to have business and strategic directions lined up against the evaluated trend or technology. Evangelizing has become too tactical because of deployment results being planned with aligned goals. A working model of the stage demands funding and allocation of a resource’s time. If not for deployment, then the budget is usually allocated or called upon for the bare minimum; for proofs of concept either sponsored by vendors or by enterprises themselves.
- Customize: Each product is different and falls in line with the proverb one size “does not fit all.” This kind of disruptive innovation calls for customization. The role of plug and play are to ensure the right fitment based on culture, technology, and current system integration requirements get catered at the vertical level and not at the system level. The evaluating architect needs to find the right fitment and be the bridge between the product and business knowledge to ensure that the expected results are delivered. The choice of building from ground up vs. transforming the existing systems and phasing them are three different segmented approaches. The more federated they are, the less painful and disruptive it will be for the run systems of any organization. The recommendation is to have a time line and milestone-driven charter for consistency and least impact on business.
- Deploy and run: This is the time when rubber meets road and the actual test of promises vs. customization comes in to play; the test on how realistically they were planned and whether they were delivered on time. It is important to be cautious of the fact that operations and transitions need to be smoother from both deployment and the run end of it. Knowledge absorption to transfer is what will determine the success of the chosen technology, as sometimes the right tools do not do the job in the way they were supposed to be if not used well. The results of proofs of concept and the existing delivery organization play a crucial role in providing support and giving insights on its efficient delivery. Thus, it is a principal driver of the deployment strategy with some time and efforts needed to be factored in for it.
- Sustain and transform a product is excellent if it can be used well and works well. It is evident that a lot of technology fails because of sustenance or not having the right support to deliver. It is up to both vendor and the operation team to ensure the technology for which it is deployed works. It should also provide speculated and expected results for its continuity and future expansions. While MVP (minimum viable product) is the new norm of the industry, it is the expectation that continuous innovations and transformations to be provided as a customer walks along the journey. It necessitates the product enhancements and upgrades to receive desired or better results every year.
We would conclude the blog series on ‘Disrupting Technology-Led Innovation’ with the third blog post. There we would be discussing sustenance, core value propositions and business models.