The key role of information systems architecture in the digital transformation processes of companies
Architecture is a central node for companies, in order to enable digital transformation. Organizations are investing a lot in this scope.
In new technological trends, which digital transformation requires to follow, increase the complexity and the heterogeneity of the business application park. And with the increase of this complexity, therefore, the importance of adequate architectural choices increases more and more.
Objectives of an enterprise architecture
What are the reasons why companies invest in enterprise architecture? What goals do they want to pursue?
- Flexibility – if companies want to do a digital transformation, they must be agile. They must be able to carry out projects at a completely different pace than in the past. However, if the systems and architectures they work on do not guarantee this flexibility, they will fail: it is not enough to change the way we manage projects, we need an adequate structure that allows them to be implemented.
- Control – over the years, companies have expanded their application portfolios, thus requiring an architecture that allows them to be controlled and managed in a consistent way.
- Reducing complexity – a strategic and fundamental address of enterprise architectures is the reduction of complexity of applications, processes, and infrastructures.
- Enabling to reduce IT management costs – avoids an explosion proportional to the number of applications of operating costs that have a significant impact on the budgets of companies.
- Enabling the knowledge and dissemination of new technologies – architecture is the main point from which the study and experimentation initiatives of new technologies applied to business processes start.
The architectural problems of companies
What are the architectural problems that companies today face?
- The complexity of integrations management between different applications and the technological heterogeneity management are among the main objectives of the architectures. In fact, with the increasing heterogeneity of technological solutions, there is a greater complexity in the integration between the different systems.
A stratification and accumulation of completely different technological solutions for the management of isolated applications that must meet the requirements of interconnection and sharing of logic with other applications. The inclusion in the business application map of cloud solutions (SaaS) and the adoption of distributed architectures mean that the information system is no longer concentrated in a single data center. The architectural choice with appropriate standards and integration systems becomes a strategic element.
- Functional duplication of applications – the technological heterogeneity means that sometimes systems with similar or equivalent functions coexist in the business application park, usually used in a way that is separate from different business units. The duplication leads to dangerous redundancies of the logic with the risk of having discoveries over time that lead to divergent results and a growth in operating costs.
- Lack of uniqueness of data – a poor integration leads to duplication of data with exchange flows between systems. Over time, the ownership of data is lost, often drawing on information from copies that do not guarantee the updating in real time, causing problems in the quality of information and a higher cost of managing integrations.
- Poor quality control on collected data – Data is the new oil of digital. The increasingly heterogeneous sources flow into a single information system that requires effective quality control to generate effective value. This requires new skills and greater interaction between IT functions and the business..
Resistances to correct architectural implementation
What are the strengths that enterprise architectures management must face?
- Reduced management commitment – there may be constraints related to the commitment of management that requires flexibility and speed in the management of IT initiatives but does not include the need to finance the upgrade of the infrastructure park that allows the implementation.
- Lack of budget – companies are investing in system architecture but inadequate: companies often have a structural background to dispose of and really reorganize.
- Skills are lacking – even within companies’ IT itself, there is often a problem of lack of architectural governance skills of their information system. In the company, there are resources with good technical skills that need to be trained on new technologies and to acquire the methodologies for the management of new infrastructures.
- Resistances of the project teams – who sometimes want more freedom of choice, want to be able to innovate in their own way, or are anchored to old ways of working. They have been accustomed to working on traditional legacy systems and are struggling to convert to a new modus operandi on new architectures and technological solutions.
Nell’era della digital transformation è necessario cambiare approccio nella progettazione delle architetture dei sistemi informativi.
Servono competenze per poter abilitare e governare degli ambienti, delle soluzioni, delle piattaforme applicative eterogenei.
Le sfide interne di cambiamento culturale coinvolgono le funzioni di business e le funzioni IT che devono strutturare una maggiore interazione per innovare assieme processi ed infrastrutture tecnologiche con un approccio agile e flessibile.
In the era of digital transformation, it is necessary to change the approach in the design of information systems architectures.
Skills to enable and manage environments, solutions, heterogeneous application platforms are needed.
The internal challenges of cultural change involve the business functions and the IT functions that need to structure a greater interaction to innovate together technological processes and infrastructures with an agile and flexible approach.