Using ARIS as the Bridge to Cross the Business and IT Gap
Exploring the Chasm Between Business and Technology
I just got through listening to a client complain that their IT department always says “No.” It wasn’t 20 minutes earlier that I was in a meeting with the folks from IT venting about the Business not having a clue. I am fairly certain that anyone reading this blog can relate to the frustration experienced by both sides – and that is what it has become, “sides” instead of a team. To quote a great line from the movie Cool Hand Luke “What We’ve Got Here is . . . Failure to Communicate.”
When I began exploring why there is a gap between Business and IT I found that the number one reason stems from how and why they communicate with each other. Business rarely communicates with IT unless there is a problem or a need, and it is typically top down. As an example Business communicates to IT, “We need to be able to accept online payments.” The first reaction from IT is, “You folks don’t know what you’re talking about…it is not that simple.” IT starts right into thinking about all of the variables…payment format, payment options, banking options, language options, security configurations, etc… From Business’ perspective this is a simple request to do what other companies are doing.
There is a fundamental requirement for IT to be in alignment with Business to help protect the bottom line by eliminating those projects initiated by Business because some vendor sold them a solution that would “auto-magically” solve their problems. Business and IT alignment enables technology investments to be driven by business strategy. The needed alignment cannot occur if both groups fail to speak the same language and view the problems from the same perspective. This gap between Business and IT can be narrowed by reference and process models to communicate the business strategy and the IT capabilities.
Communicate Using a Common Reference Model
A modeling tool like SAP Enterprise Modeling or ARIS can be used to create a reference architecture that spans both technical and business issues. This will facilitate a two way exchange of ideas, and it will provide the framework to ensure that technology decisions are driven by business strategy. Reference architecture helps put balance into the relationship between Business and IT
Business Process Models to Help Alleviate Confusion
Confusion can be a road block when trying to bridge the communication gap. Strong communication is based on common vocabulary and clear definitions. Using ARIS to capture and store a library of common objects and models will make for continuity while building and maintaining business process models. Business process models then can be used to help identify and remedy deficiencies in the process logic such as:
- Redundant process components
- Unnecessary complexity
- Insufficient decision points
- Software process specifications
Capturing the roles and responsibilities within the Business Process Models makes the model dynamic by superimposing the human behavior elements on known business steps.
Technology Enables Business
In my humble opinion technology should not govern or limit the capabilities of business, but technology clearly influences the availability of solutions. Having a reference architecture helps to clearly identify areas where technology can enable the business to meet the enterprises strategic goals. Now if we could just build a bridge between available IT resources and the Business’ wish list…”