The Business Blueprint
The business blueprint in all its essence is the genuine, realistic and conclusive detailing of our understanding of the scope, the specifications and the completeness of the solution design to be fulfilled to the business objectives, desired project outcomes and envisioned benefits.
When a strategic IT initiative progresses to the solution blueprinting phase, we, in all aspects, need to plan adequately for a well-balanced and disciplined approach. Given the strategic importance of the initiative, all-inclusive commitment from the clients, the consulting team along with the participating program management organization holds a paramount importance in realization of the solution. It’s never been more important to understand how one needs to recognize the significance of the collective best-in-class teamwork supported by consensus based practical planning and organization — be it the methodologies, tools & templates and the knowledge repository — in making these initiatives accomplish the likely results.
The business blueprinting primarily focuses on understanding, authenticating and documenting project scope, specifications and the future to-be solution in its objective conceptuality and practicality. The following illustration depicts simple yet effectual steps with clear understanding of the business blueprint viewed as a value chain process (See Figure 1) — Plan-to-Workshops-to-Blueprint-to-Acceptance. The acceptance of the business blueprint results in subsequent realization phase encompassing the steps — Blueprint-to-Configurations-to-Test-to-Go-Live.
In the initial planning process, we should clearly communicate and highlight the project’s business goals, approach, timelines and the teams to all the key participants before the actual scoping steps. The illustration above portrays logical phases of an actual business printing along with the attentive set of activities. Each of these phases understandably encompasses pre-defined set of activities to be performed with clearly identified deliverables.
The workshops are the most crucial part of the business blueprinting; this phase needs the utmost attention and thoughtful communication, planning and organization. What we do here — solution scoping — becomes the foundation for the subsequent step. All the participants of the workshops need to be identified well in advance with designated leads and their active participation holds foremost importance in successful scoping.
Blueprint preparation, it is in this phase, we write the actual business blueprint and takes the shape of a realistic and conclusive detailing into a presentation with all the things we have collected through the workshops — scope, specifications and the solution. This detailing in all its objectivity, strategic distinction and as a result rationalizes how the-sum-is-greater-than-the-parts in aligning the IT initiative to the business vision and its supporting capabilities.
On successful preparation of the business blueprint; it can then be presented to the client for their assessment and validation in its completeness and acceptance.
Here, a key characteristic is the collective efforts, experience and determination of the team — especially the right people — who bring passion and commitment to the project success. Equally important are determining and developing client specific templates across all the steps. In consensus with the clients the templates can be discussed and institutionalized with the necessary authorizations ensuring predictability in deliverables with assured quality.
The internal collective knowledge repository can be of great help; such pre-defined templates reduce overall time and accelerate the process. However, not all the clients have well established internal IT team; so this necessitates hand-holding in structuring and managing the overall initiative, this can be of valuable learning experience. Vigilant and participative program management can be a great facilitator in bridging all the cross-functional teams and in creating an atmosphere of positivity and project success in all aspects through actively managing progress and mentoring to see how well the project is moving towards its goals.
For the businesses to operate in all its efficiency and competence the IT capabilities are the foundational components. The business blueprint summarizes the very essence of such dynamic IT capabilities aligned to the desired project outcomes and this is where the strategic IT initiatives meet the operational level. This means, a well written blueprint ensures value realization through its practical implementation in its functional, process and technical feasibility. So is the purpose of the business blueprint and it holds a strategic importance in fulfilling a shared vision.