As companies rely more on cloud-based applications and venture into new areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT), comprehensive technology architecture planning is quickly becoming essential for all businesses regardless of size.
The practice of enterprise architecture planning is usually found only in large organisations and government agencies. The complexity of massive IT projects is often addressed with equally complex planning strategies, and smaller businesses usually don’t have the resources or the appetite for such heavy investments.
Today, the critical nature of technology and new models for IT delivery are making architectural planning a necessity for all businesses. Just as a business plan is required to chart the future of a company, an IT architecture plan is required to build success in the digital economy.
Why all businesses need to consider their IT architecture in the digital economy
1. Architectural planning is tightly coupled with digital transformation. As companies transform into digital organisations, they are not only adding new technologies, but also building new structures and processes. Overall business operations are changing, and the goal of enterprise architecture planning is to start with corporate goals and move to the optimal technology solution. This is not just an IT activity, but it gives IT a new role within the organisation.
2. Cloud computing highlights a need for planning. Initial adoption of cloud computing typically involves using a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) application or migrating an existing system into cloud infrastructure. While these activities present some significant challenges, they are still relatively simple compared to a full transformation into a cloud-first operation. The top challenge for companies as they use cloud solutions is integration with existing/legacy systems, showing that in-depth planning is needed to maximise the benefits of a cloud strategy.
3. The need for planning will grow with IoT. Most companies are in the early stages of IoT adoption, with few companies actively starting IoT initiatives and most waiting on the sidelines while they build knowledge around the technology. However, it is clear even in these early days that IoT typically starts from a business objective rather than an existing IT practice. This focus on corporate goals along with the broad range of technology needed for a full IoT implementation creates a compelling case for strategic planning.
Craig Somerville is ANZ Channel Community Executive Council Member, CompTIA and CEO, Somerville ISNet.