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It is useful to analyse the differences between IT and the Business. These are, of course, generalities and need to be reviewed in light of each individual Enterprise.

Characteristics

      The Business

      Analog.

      Very grey - no rights or wrongs .

      The Business don't want things to be black and white.

      Grey is where opportunities lie.

      Women - Venus - right brain - intuitive, thoughtful, subjective.

      IT

      Digital

      Very black and white - things work or they don't.

      IT's ambition is to reduce the grey and increase the black and white.

      Grey is where problems lie.

      Men - Mars - left brain - logical, analytical, objective.

It in no way asserts that women cannot be logical, analytical or objective.

It in no way asserts that men cannot be intuitive, thoughtful or subjective.

Men and women are equal, but different. In the same way that an apple and an orange are equal but different.

The Business and IT are equal, but different. Instead of pretending they are the same, both sides need to understand the other to be able to work together in harmony. Like a marriage.

Strategic Volatility

      The Business

      High.

      Major strategic change/direction could occur at any time, e.g. legislative change, market opportunity, hostile takeover, acquisition opportunity.

      The world is a fast moving environment. Businesses that don't react and react quickly tend to suffer at the hands of those that do.

      Therefore The Business wants to be agile and definitely does not want to be tied into a fixed plan/strategy.

      The Business likes things to be fluid and flexible.

      IT

      Low.

      IT Strategy doesn't really change much from year to year. Technology changes very fast but the IT Strategy tends to be reasonably stable.

      The focus tends to be the same and tends to be focussed on cost reduction and service availability.

      Strategic change can have a massive and detrimental effect on IT and The Business and there any large strategic changes tend to be avoided.

      IT likes things well defined and locked down and prescriptive.

Strategic Focus

      The Business

      Business Verticals - Banking, Manufacturing...

      Increase Revenue- Sell more, acquisitions...

      Decrease Costs - Use less, outsource, common services

      IT

      IT Service Management - Availability, DR...

      IT Project Management - On Time, to Budget...

      IT Cost Reduction - Rationalisation, Outsourcing...

      IT Planning - Architecture, Roadmaps, Governance...

Maturity

      The Business

      Generally speaking other SBUs and the functions they perform have existed for hundreds of years and have generally not changed much.

      The services they provide to PBUs and the SBU's are generally identical.

      IT

      IT is a new kid on the block and as such is not as mature and standardised as the other SBUs.

      The services IT provides to other SBUs have not changed much in function but have changed radically in how they are provided and implemented.

      The services IT provides to PBUs have changed radically over generally short timeframes and have also changed in how they are provided and implemented.

Tactical Volatility

      The Business

      Low or High - Small number of changes with potentially massive impact.

      The Business may make tactical decisions at any time - these tactical decisions at The Business level (although 'simple') could have (or more likely are constrained by) massive changes required to effect the changes required, especially in IT.

      IT

      High

      Large number of changes to respond to every little change in the Enterprise.

      Emphasis on reducing this - key to stopping this is to decouple.

Reuse

      The Business

      Very low.

      At a high level

      The only common/ reused services are Locations, HR, Finance, Procurement and IT, etc, etc.

      IT

      Very High.

      At a low level.

      Servers, databases, applications, data, components, racks, networks, workstations, builds, etc, etc.

Control Mechanisms

      The Business

      The Business tries to control IT by limiting time, money, resources, the scope of projects or any combination thereof.

      IT

      IT tries to control The Business by forcing it to be more and more prescriptive with the documentation of its strategies and project requirements.

      IT also tries to control The Business by forcing projects to comply with a set of prescriptive IT principles, IT policies and IT standards.

Control Mechanism Effects

      The Business

      The Business views IT as very inflexible and thinks IT is more interested in technology that The Business it is meant to support.

      IT

      IT views The Business as meddling in their affairs and forcing them to do sub-standard work which The Business then blames IT for.

      Projects over run timescales and budgets and do not provide the services The Business requires.

Control Mechanism Defence Tactics

      The Business

      The Business knows that IT will always want more money and time and therefore restricts time and money as a defence tactic.

      IT

      IT knows that The Business will always restrict time and money and therefore inflates project estimates to "counter the cuts".

 

How does The Business and IT compare in your Enterprise?

Does that create any tensions or problems or issues?

What do you need to do to solve them?

 

 

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