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Using enterprise architecture for creating long term IT planning (roadmaps)

There are many  aspects that we need to address when creating IT roadmaps such as better  business support, replacing old and not supported  technologies/products/applications, strengthening ( new servers, storage,  licenses, databases, etc’ to support IT in the next 3/5 years) and more. In this  post I’ll try to focus on planning IT for better business support.


In order to do  this task we need to collect data about enterprise business capabilities (will  be addressed with examples in my next post), applications, products, databases  and technologies as well as the relations between them. Relations should  describe which applications and products support business capabilities as well  as databases and  technologies (including  server and storage) that support applications/products.


Stage 1 : Business  capabilities and what we are missing from business point of view


We start with  modeling of business capabilities  and existing application and products. Then  when we have all capabilities, applications and products we ask our business  user to define which application / product they are using for each capability  and what is the percentage which they believe that the IT asset help them to do  the work. When this work is done, we have a list of application/products  attached to each capability that the users believe it has an IT support. If the  users believe that IT fully support a given capability the sum of all the  supporting assets percentage will be 100 percent (each IT asset might have  different percentage reflecting different weight / satisfaction as seen by  users).


Using this data we  creating a heat-map view of business capabilities. The heat-map depicts in red,  yellow and green if a capability has none, partly or full IT support. This view  give us an impression where there are areas in the business that doesn’t have  any IT support or are not fully supported by IT. This view is also created in an  excel report, which shows for each capability, supported IT assets and the  percentage of each one of the supporting IT assets.



Having this data  we can start to realize what are the business areas that we need to cover in  order to better support the business. First we are looking for capabilities that  has many unsupported instances in the map. Creating IT solutions for those  capabilities will generate more impact from IT point of view. Following the  mention above capabilities we order unsupported capabilities on the basis of  core and context capabilities.


Step 2 : IT assets  and what can be done from IT point of view to provide better support


Having a list of  all (the supporting business capabilities) applications and products we start to  map what are the databases, technologies, servers, data storage etc’ that those  applications are using. This data also include ( as properties) what is the cost  of each one of the IT assets, how old is the technology, when support is going  to be expired, etc’.


We are using this  data for three main purposes:

  1. Finding out if we  can use current assets to support gap in business support: for each gap in the  business capability heat-map (partial support or not supported) we try to  identify if an existing IT assets might provide support and what will be the  cost of this support. We add this data as another dimension to the list of  business capabilities with gap in IT support (the list that was mentioned in  step 2 ),  so mow we know the cost of each proposed solution using existing  assets.
  2. Find old technology  or product that could cause problems and harm business capabilities that already  have support. A capability might have perfect support from the user point of  view, but from IT point of view the capability might experience issues due to  the fact that the IT solution is based on old or unsupported technology/product.  To ensure better IT support to the business we want to handle such scenarios and  to replace the old/unsupported technology/product. The output of this work  stream is a list of technologies/product that needed to be replace in the next  3/5 years as well as the impact of those changes on other IT assets.
  3. What are the impact  of new technologies, applications and products. For each gap in capability  support that doesn’t have any solution by using current IT assets we try to  identify new technologies / products or new home developed applications that  could help IT to fill the gap. For each one of the new proposed IT assets we  indentify costs, dependencies and impact on current and new IT assets. We are  using the described information to add it as another dimension for each (not  fully supported) capability, similar as described in the first purpose.


Step 3 : creating  the roadmap


In the end of  phase 2 we have a list of proposed solutions for filling gaps in capabilities  support and to prevent issues in capability operation. Now we need to take in  account existing projects, any type of dependencies  and resources (budget, human) to create a  roadmap. In this step we try to come up with a road map that will have maximum  effect, support of core capabilities and will be able to execute from resources  and dependencies point of view.

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  • Great post Natty.  Can I also add the use Solution Composer as a wonderful tool that can be used to help build a roadmap for organizations.  It is basically a set of free value chain and process reference models SAP publishes.   It might not be completely holistic, but is a great start whether the customer is using SAP or not…

    Building a quick grid of key processes along the top X access and the current key technologies that support the processes along the Y gives a great one pager of what technologies run the business.  It also shows the gaps in processes, multiple technologies that have similar capabilities…. I like your idea around using heat maps, I can definitely incorporate this into my similar model.   Laying the future state options into this model is also very powerful…

    What sort of reference models are you using?

    • Totally agree about SM, but I think that you can get much more from ARIS or any other EA tool.

      I’m using SAP business scenarios 90% 🙂 or dedicate one that was created for the client by consulting firms.