As the business landscape is more dynamic year after year, businesses are forced to rapidly adapt or fall behind. Teams must quickly deliver value while flexible to change with market conditions.
Technical architecture is one area that may be difficult to overhaul or redesign to the changing markets. While helping our clients, ExperienceIT (EIT) has identified 5 simple changes to make to your technical architecture strategy to keep pace with the rest of your organization.
1. Crowdsource Your Architectural Decisions
Your technical architects have a birds-eye view of your technology infrastructure. They can see how your systems work together and enable people to produce value. If there’s a major gap in your business’ process, they have the context and understanding of the overall system to find a technology solution that fits.
Yet, at a high-level some issues are hard to see. For every major problem that is addressed, ancillary details may go unnoticed by technical architecture teams.
Whatever form these minor challenges take, if left unchecked they can ultimately be as disruptive as a major problem.
But, if the architects cannot visualize these challenges, who will? Often, it’s the people closest to those inefficiencies. Those working with the technology every day typically have the clearest view of the problem.
When identifying processes, areas of improvement, and challenges faced it is essential to include non-architect roles in the conversation. Doing so is often the best way to ensure you’re seeing the whole picture clearly so that your solutions will be effective.
2. Adopt Flexible Technologies
Agile is all about making sure your business is adaptable to change. For this to work, your technologies must also be flexible.
Cloud technology has two major advantages in this regard. First, it allows your data to be mobile and easily migrated whenever your technology and data needs change. Second, it facilitates collaboration and access to data. People need both to make impactful decisions.
Unfortunately, many companies have not fully embraced cloud technology. They rely heavily on legacy systems or executing their cloud migrations slowly. With your data and systems locked in place, this limits options when considering opportunity or solution. This makes it hard for your teams to collaborate and bottlenecks decision-making.
By fully embracing the cloud, technology solutions accelerate decision making, not block it.
3. Visualize Your FLOW
FLOW is your business’ ability to leverage your people, process, and technology together to seamlessly take a product from request to delivery. The goal of technical architecture is to deploy technology solutions that maintain your organization’s FLOW.
Ideally, your organization’s FLOW occurs without interruption or delay. While this is rarely the case, this doesn’t mean you’re powerless to improve your FLOW. With AI and automation technologies readily available, technical architects have options when designing and implementing solutions, with an understanding of the organization’s FLOW.
Much of your FLOW exists in your value streams, the steps to deliver customer request or actualize a business idea. Mapping those value streams is the best way to understand and value stream mapping involves three steps: define scope, determine process steps, quantify time between steps.
Once you map a value stream, it is easier for architects to identify areas to improve. When combined with input from key stakeholders like we discussed in step 1, you can better understand the problem and create the right technical solution.
4. Keep it Simple
The business technology market is diverse with countless options which can lead to over-implementing technologies to combat a problem. While you may solve the initial problem, this over investment or abundance of features may be burdensome.
When facing any architecture problem, it’s always important to make sure that your solutions make sense for that problem. Make sure that the scope of the solution and the problem match. There’s no need to fix a minor inefficiency with a major, expensive overhaul of your software.
5. Deliver Solutions ‘Just in Time’
Technical architecture, by its nature, often emphasizes planning for every possible contingency. That’s understandable, after all, if we can have a plan for every problem we might meet, why wouldn’t we?
The issue is that, in a world as dynamic as ours, there’s simply no way to account for everything. Inevitably, something will come along to disrupt the market and we must be ready to respond. That’s why the core concept behind Agile is the ability to adapt to changing conditions.
So how do we make sure our technology can keep up with this change as well? We can start by focusing on our most immediate challenges. Orienting our focus there keeps our architecture teams flexible and ready to tackle problems as they arise.
Adopting Agile practices in any part of your organization is a journey. No department or business area can change overnight. But, by making small adjustments to how you approach your organization’s technical architecture, you can make your whole organization’s Agile transformation more effective.
EIT has experience helping organizations of all sizes navigate their Agile transformations. If you’d like to learn more about how EIT can help your organization, visit us here.