3 tips for designing a high-performing architecture practice

by Samit Chandra

by Jessica Flynn

Technology architects are often viewed as bottlenecks or roadblocks in transformation programs due to focus on governance and reliance on standards and practices. How can a best practice enterprise technology architecture approach become more responsive to business needs?

 

Based on experience working across multiple transformation projects, Blackdot has identified the key steps leading enterprises take to achieve implementation adoption and success. Our best practice approach to technology transformations is based on a five-step recipe for success.
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Our previous blogs explored:

1. Assessing current state
2. Defining future state organisational capabilities

This blog explores step three: Designing a high performing architecture practice. Once a current state has been defined and leadership has a view on the capabilities needed to execute, it is key to develop a technology blueprint to harmonise experience, accelerate innovation & contain complexity.

Traditional architecture practices are often governance-focused and heavy on standards and practices. As a result, they end up driving business decisions from the bottom-up based on technology trade-offs. Architects in this incarnation are often viewed as bottlenecks or roadblocks by both the business and IT.

A high performing architecture practice, on the other hand, works closely with the business to understand the business strategy and processes so they can drive decisions from the top-down. This level of perspective allows the architecture practice to be responsive to business needs, only get involved in strategic trade-offs and protect the organisation against short-termism and siloed decision making. This practice allows for future organisation growth and brings in strong commercial acumen for technology and business process decision making.

Enterprise best practice architecture provides and supports both agility and stability as desired across the organisation, to provide customer experience and ensure compliance at the same time.

BEST PRACTICE TIPS

Set up a single digital backbone

Establish and design a single digital backbone to provide an omni-channel experience for end customers. The digital backbone provides a seamless customer journey allowing for continued rationalisation of customer channels. Add or remove channels as required, providing customers with options based on their channel preference.
 
The digital backbone ensures customer information presented on the digital channel matches up to assisted channels. Customers can get information on the channel of their preference, when and where they want it.
 
Build an integration layer

Invest in an integration layer to decouple systems of innovation or agility from systems of record.
 
The systems of innovation in the front-end can be tailored to the needs of the specific business with flexibility to adapt as they change. The systems of record need to prioritise stability, compliance and industry best practice.
 
The integration layer enables enterprises to centralise business processes and orchestration (with a typical life-span of around 3 years) between systems of record (with a typical life-span of 10+ years) and systems of innovation (with typical life span of 12-18 months).
 
Develop a single customer master database

Enable a seamless omni-channel experience by mastering the organisation’s customer data in one place with clear ownership of each component and well-defined governance on changes. Most organisations have customer data ownership spread across multiple stakeholders and customer data spread across multiple databases complementing the ownership.
 
Choose the most logical option within the enterprise context where the customer data can be mastered and have appropriate automation, ownership and governance to maintain consistency across systems in real time. It does not matter whether customer data is mastered in the ERP or CRM.

What's next?
Our next blog outlines how to empower business leaders to choose the right platform to support the desired future state – step 4 out of our 5 Steps to Implementation & Adoption Success series.

Want to know more about how technology enables organisation-wide implementation & adoption?



Written by Samit Chandra (Head, Technology Advisory) with Jessica Flynn