Will the next software-spend predictably contribute to strategic agenda? Will the next software project eventually generate targeted strategic outcomes – in terms of business process performance, customer value, and financial performance?
Conventional software practice: Conventional software practice is optimized for quality, faster development, and reduced project risks. Which is good. The recurring bad news though is poor contribution to organization’s strategic agenda. As a fix, organizations have tried improving IT governance in terms of better CIO roles and cross-discipline harmony between business and technology folks.
While this is good, the problem really is in software practice. The problem with software practice is that there is no explicit strategy translation activity to first convert strategic agenda into an architecture. Conventional Discovery at best generates standard functional or automation benefits – not targeted strategic outcomes. And conventional Design deprives the organization of a purposefully constructed business-centric architecture.
Strategy-driven discovery-and-design: Strategy translation is possible only through strategy-driven discovery and design. Strategy translation must deliver an architecture that blends software and business change. Which allows organizations to actually see a strategy-embedded architecture before they make further investments in technical and business change implementation. The oil-drilling model is a method for strategy translation.
Opportunities: Opportunities for strategic contribution abound. Although for simplicity we use the term “software,” we’re not limiting to traditional transactional applications. The corporate world is getting increasingly digital and therefore the input to your project could be any of a wide range of things that is software-based or digital.
It could be something that’s part of the customer experience or something that’s internally used by the organization or something that straddles both.
What’s in it for stakeholders
CEOs, CSOs, CIOs, CMOs, business heads should expect the following:
Both top-down situations (strategy looking for ideas) and bottom-up (ideas looking for strategic-fit) situations
Business/technology innovation at multiple levels – integrally
Resulting architecture “embeds” targeted strategic outcomes
Client-facing folks such as client partners, account managers, and software project managers should expect the following:
Capability to deliver customer’s targeted strategic outcomes (rather than just technology)
Strategy translation into implementable architecture
Tech-spend viewed differently by customer organization as the new investments are for “proven” strategic initiatives
Experienced business analysts who upskill in strategy-driven discovery-and-design should expect the following:
Empowered to make the higher-value contribution of strategy translation
Integral discovery-and-design means power to bring one’s ideas to life
Method works with other business tools like balanced scorecard
Career advancement and fulfillment
Organizations that invest in technology may want to accomplish one of the following: Validate proposed software for strategic potential Discover-and-design combination of software + business change that has strategic potential Make software build/buy decision based on strategic potential Design business for strategic integration with vendor product Validate in-use software for strategic contribution.
Regardless of which one of the above business situations the organization faces now, a strategy-driven discovery-and-design method and corresponding skills are needed. Pradeep Henry brings these two and empowers organizations, service providers, and business analysts. Check your software practice for strategic readiness Organizations need strategic outcomes predictability – before they invest in software and business change implementation. Do you have the method and skills to discover and design an architecture (comprising software and business change) that “embeds” targeted strategic outcomes?
Here are 6 questions to ask to see if you have the capability.
Do you have a rigorous method to discover a combination of business processes that has strategic outcomes potential?
Does the method help discover the right software from that combination?
Do you have a rigorous method to integrally design a combination of software and business change purposefully to “embed” the potential to generate targeted strategic outcomes?
Does the organization have a rigorous business process centric method to design the software’s business side (business process to be encapsulated in the software and UI)?
Are the above discovery and design methods integrated, that is, performed in a single phase by the same team?
Do you have access to an experienced professional who has the capability to translate strategy into an integrated business architecture through discovery and design?
If you have 4 or more Yeses, you may be closer, but note that having, say, strategy-driven design capability but no strategy-driven discovery capability means you could be frequently designing right the wrong software.