The client needed strategic architecture assistance across multiple digital business domains, including a handful of new ventures. For the mature areas they needed help in making Build/Buy/Buy decisions. For the others it was matter of developing the right things fast to test the business model.
One aspect was the organizational units were at different levels of business and architectural maturity, ranging from legacy capabilities to brand new capabilities.
Another aspect was the completeness of the architectural landscape, not for its own sake, but being able to show the clear lineage from business outcomes to all developmental aspects, including Customer Experience, Data, Product, Engineering, and Architecture.
Bringing these multiple aspects across multiple areas was the challenge and the opportunity for the leadership team.
The first objective was to understand the situation as good as was needed, come up with an (or multiple interrelated approaches), to drive towards sustainable business outcomes, while in practical terms provide actionable guidance to solve business challenges while building and maturing the multi-layered digital groundwork needed to succeed consistently in a fast-changing world.
That also meant we would get involved in vendor and platform evaluations, ensuring that we are investing appropriately in the envisioned foundation.
Our approach was pragmatic, and always anchored in the two goals: business success through the continuing development of the digital architectures. We were not interested in defining the perfect models, but in the ability of using good-enough, quickly-enough models and approaches without being careless. Experimentation and learn-by-doing was our general rule.
After immersing ourselves in the areas, (great!) existing documentation, and a highly engaged internal team, we came up with the approach that created the aspired vision of lineage between strategic goals, and the work needed, including data, engineering, and architecture.
- Created the Business Architecture by connecting business outcomes, to customer journeys (enriched by UX research and usage data), value streams, and business capabilities.
- This informational structure provided the entire team of teams with contextual insights across the spectrum, e.g. engineers saw first-hand what user issues they were dealing with.
- Architectural decisions became more incisive since we could see the trade-offs between different options, including Buy/Built decisions.
- The Business Architecture structure was used “in-reverse” to conceive, design, and implement solutions at the appropriate architectural layers, which was also part of the digital transformation landscape.
- With this approach we were able to use the combination of business outcomes and value streams (which contextualized the business capabilities and associated backend systems) to prioritize and determine the “readiness to succeed”. The outcomes of these were a serialized set of initiatives driving the intended business outcomes.
- Once set up, this approach repeated with each planning cycle, reducing effort, and making the domains more agile to the changing environments.
- With our business outcome and digital roadmap as north stars, we were also able to contain model development by always testing: “Is this likely to help us improve the outcome?”
- We were able to connect, for everyone to see, understand and act upon, the strategy and execution.