Aligning IT to a firm’s business strategy

In today’s fast-paced market, where requirements are constantly changing due to the digitalisation of channels and operational processes, there is the need for both innovative solutions and highly structured approaches to analysing, delivering and operating these solutions.  

Many large organisations have already adopted the practices of Enterprise Architecture (EA) in order to document and plan their business, technological and governance strategies and processes.

However, the benefits of such practices have already been long recognised and utilised by many other smaller organisations due to the capabilities derived in scalability, planning, long-term cost effectiveness and the ability to facilitate an organisation in implementing Agile methodologies and practices across the organisation. 

EA has throughout the years promised a lot; however, many organisations have faced issues with its application due to lack of a holistic management of the IT landscape and incorrect process/service scoping.

An EA framework should be focused around the alignment of IT to the business strategy. This includes the business architecture, application architecture, data and integration architecture, technology architecture, and security architecture.

EA, like many other methodologies, follows certain standards and best practices, and in combination with the proper expertise can drastically alter the long-term potential of the business quality of service and ability to manage the IT total cost of ownership (TCO) and efficiency regardless of the organisation’s scale. 

Creating the right processes and defining architecture standards for implementation may not be sufficient. This is because it should be closely integrated with the practices and tools used for managing the business and technological services.

Our approach focuses on skills, competencies and cultural change management

Organisations are facing a rapidly changing technology environment and a strategic alignment to the business strategy will be a differentiator for establishing a competitive advantage, cost-effectiveness and agility in the provision of services to the business. 

IT service management (ITSM) is one such area which mostly benefits from a properly implemented EA practice and technological management framework. There are several standards or best practices of how to manage the full life cycle of these services, however, the most prominent one is the IT Infrastructure Library, or as more commonly known ITIL. OpenGroup have also been developing similar framework called IT4IT.

The importance of these guidelines is that through a cumulation of years of experience, they help organisations to restructure their current service operations to be more efficient and cost-effective, or in designing and implementing new service lines with the approach of avoiding as many mistakes as possible early in the project phase, which would otherwise be far more costly later on.

Moreover, they establish a strong foundation for implementing self-service capabilities and automation, that nowadays need to span beyond the traditional on-premises environment to the various cloud environments. 

The adoption of EA and ITSM has led to many vendors providing tooling solutions which include cloud management, configuration management, ticketing and IT asset management, among other capabilities.

Vendors like ServiceNow, which has become synonymous with an extensive portfolio of capabilities, help organisations have consistency in the management and operations of its services, but also helps in allowing cost-effective and almost seamless scalability in its operational service lines. Even Microsoft has been extending their service management capabilities to now offer a multi-cloud control plane as organisations are mostly gearing to a hybrid-multi-cloud environment. 

EY supports organisations in the application of these practices and the deployment of supporting processes and tools that help the strategic alignment, digitalisation of IT process, self-service capability and automation.

Our approach is centred around bringing the best practices and applying a pragmatic approach in line to the scale, maturity level and organisational capabilities. This has been critical to the digitalisation journey from small to very large organisations.

Moreover, our human-centred approach focuses on the skills, competencies and cultural change management that is so crucial to the success of the adoption of these practices. 

EY Engage, Malta’s Technology Leaders Forum, will be held at the Westin Dragonara Resort on June 1 at 11.30am. The event explores how IT enables organisations to become resilient and competitive during times of disruption. Speakers include Pascal Bornet, a globally renowned keynote speaker and author of the bestselling book Intelligent Automation.  

Networking opportunities, round-table sessions covering current industry topics, and a panel discussion will also provide a unique setting to collaborate on current industry challenges and trends. For registration, click here.

Michael Azzopardi is EY technology consulting lead, Jiri Prokes is EY technology consulting senior manager and Jean Claude Debono is EY technology consultant.

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