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5 questions to help recenter IT design on the business

Randy Heffner, Forrester Research | March 10, 2011
Stop designing IT architecture around applications and start designing for business outcomes, says Forrester's Randy Heffner. He shares five key questions to get you started.

• What changes to a capability will improve key capability metrics? Focusing first on the capabilities that most drive top-level outcomes, identify opportunities to drive integrated business-technology improvement. To identify tech-driven investment opportunities, look for ways that a given technology addresses the business dynamics of each capability. For example, a highly variable capability that is sensitive to fixed- costs might benefit from cloud-based options that can be easily scaled back to reduce expenses in hard times.

• What portfolio of initiatives can deliver the necessary capability change? Don't stop with a single technology to improve a capability: Consider all of the parts of a capability, rather than focusing on individual siloed applications and technologies. Aim for a portfolio of initiatives that will deliver value now while, over time, weave legacy applications, B2B relationships, diverse data stores, varied user interfaces, collaboration platforms, and more into the long-term success of each capability.

• How must your technology platform evolve to enable the change portfolio? Your portfolio of integrated business-technology initiatives becomes the basis for planning the evolution of your technology base to deliver near-term business outcome improvements in a way that also facilitates sustained long-term change. Getting above technology silos allows you to see how technology for SOA, event processing, BPM, embedded analytics, and many other technologies should form a unified multitechnology platform for your business capabilities.


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