Archive for the ‘Strategy’ Category

Enterprise strategy

Ideally, data across the enterprise should conform to a common information model – a model that supports current and planned business goals, and with the ability to gracefully adapt to meet future needs. In reality, the typical enterprise contains scores of information silos, independently built to support individual lines of business or business regions.

Artistic rendition of business and IT alignment

As long as the business units can thrive more or less independently, there may be no real business need to integrate. However, growth (whether the growth occurs organically or by merger and acquisition) brings opportunities to leverage economies of scale. Large enterprises want to be able to pool purchasing, marketing and other resources to lower costs. Large enterprises also want to create a consistent customer experience across lines of business amd channels to improve the customer experience, increase loyalty and value. The same silo systems that enabled independent growth can become inhibitors to growth.

Enterprise information strategy tries to find an optimal balance between the need for line of business autonomy and enterprise economies of scale. The right information strategy bridges gaps between business and IT.

The optimal information strategy:

  • Generates strong business sponsorship by enabling new business models and revenue opportunities
  • Overcomes process, data and technology gaps to build world class information services
  • Builds a platform that scales to support growth and future needs

Important aspects of a successful information strategy include:

  • Vision
  • Alignment
  • Phasing
  • Socialization

In the context of an information strategy, vision is about creating a conceptual future state of the information systems that is innovative and achievable.

Alignment is absolutely essential to a successful strategy (and architecture). Alignment should not be confused with consensus, which is an element of socialization. In an information strategy, alignment is about demonstrating clear linkage between business goals and the information systems capabilities that are both necessary and sufficient to attain the goals.

An information strategy may take several years to execute. Phasing is the art of finding a way to build out a platform by making a series of incremental investments with measurable returns.

Socialization involves communication and consensus. Socialization also helps identify enablers – other programs across the enterprise that will either benefit from or contribute to the information strategy.