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Enterprise Architecture, Strategic Planning

Rapidly Adapt Your Business Capabilities to Deliver New Strategies

Part 4: Understand your enterprise's building blocks to drive smart decision-making and the ability to execute during disruptions

Published By Nicola McCoy


Business capabilities are the set of competencies an organization requires to execute its business goals. It’s critical to know exactly what these competencies are, and the building blocks required to operate and run the business – the purview of enterprise architecture (EA). This knowledge provides the foundation for making effective changes, especially when disruption hits and strategies shift quickly.

The importance of EA to Dynamic Planning is the focus of this fourth blog in our series. Dynamic planning helps leaders decide if and how to alter strategies and priorities during a disruptive event. Connected to execution, the process is used to rapidly reallocate funding, reprioritize investments, and realign teams at scale.

Business capabilities are the glue between strategy and execution as well as an essential element of EA that supports organizations in dynamic planning. By leveraging EA, organizations can move quickly to remain competitive during disruptions and be ready for growth on the other side.

Disruptive Times Call for Strategic Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture streamlines and optimizes business operations. Those responsible can also influence and drive top-down strategy. Enterprise architects (EAs) are able to identify potential capability gaps and the improvements needed from technology to people. These professionals help support how the company navigates each disruptive event and continue to deliver on business goals and objectives.

This makes the practice more valuable than ever. Strategic EA lends itself well to what Deloitte calls the “ambidextrous leadership” needed during a crisis: “…the art of cultivating a healthy tension between operational optimization and future-focused innovation.”

Research shows the companies that do both during economic downturns emerge stronger. EA can facilitate this balance as part of dynamic planning, helping organizations cut costs and risks as well as accelerate digital transformation initiatives.

The enterprise architecture discipline is particularly vital now. The pressure to quickly develop new digital capabilities, products, and services is confounding many CEOs today, according to Accenture CEO Julie Sweet. She recently wrote:

“In our work with clients on their transformations, most CEOs tell us they understand the destination, but many also tell us they are uncertain how to move forward with enough speed and confidence in the ultimate value creation.”

This is where dynamic planning comes into play and where EAs can shine. Whether responding to or driving a disruption, they can establish a path forward. But it’s possible only if their strategic approach enables them to answer questions about business capabilities and operations such as:

  • Which applications and business processes are most critical to support our business?
  • How would upgrading, replacing, or scaling an application impact other applications as well as business operations?
  • Can the application and technology portfolio deliver on new strategies and priorities?
  • How can we cut costs and still be productive?
  • What is the minimum we need to do to keep the lights on?
  • What is impacting our ability to support our remote staff and customers?
  • Are we over-exposed and/or vulnerable to a particular supplier in our supply chain?


Enterprise Architecture Is a Foundation for Dynamic Planning

Strategy-centric EAs answer these questions by connecting technology with business context. Their grasp of how the IT portfolio supports the business provides the base for dynamic planning. This is why it’s important for EAs with these skills and expertise to be involved in strategic planning processes.

EA professionals map out the key business services and everything that underpins them. They know who and what contributes to delivering a service, from people and suppliers to technology, processes, and capabilities. They understand the dependencies across the application and technology portfolio.

As strategies and priorities shift, EAs contribute to dynamic planning by pinpointing how proposed changes may impact current business and IT operations. They can determine which upgrades and corrections will fulfill new requirements such as remote work. They can also reanalyze the application and technology portfolio to yield cost savings.

In addition, EA technology helps these professionals make recommendations on modifying business capabilities to achieve growth initiatives. For example, to deliver on revised priorities, EAs can identify what new or enhanced resources are needed. Strategic EAs also use scenario planning to help business leaders comprehend the trade-offs between different options and make informed decisions.

EAs can advance new strategic endeavors by jointly creating technology plans with key stakeholders. For instance, they can prioritize the investments and work with the PMO to define the programs and resources required to deliver on them. This dynamic planning readies the organization to make effective changes in support of business goals, either during or after the disruptive event.


Enterprise Architecture Technology for Dynamic Planning

EA technology facilitates the dynamic planning so crucial for adjusting swiftly to changing circumstances. Strategic EAs can minimize business risks and free up budget while driving innovation, growth, and revenue. The ability to continuously link strategy to IT delivery, even in the chaos of disruptions, better positions organizations to boost their competitiveness.

The Planview solution for Enterprise Architecture helps application portfolio managers and EAs understand the dependencies between an organization’s program and application portfolios, the underlying technology stack, business capabilities and architecture, projects, and products. By capturing the minimum amount of data in an agile way, Planview helps EAs quickly visualize the dependencies and impacts within the organization. A variety of Planview customers  are using enterprise architecture software from Planview to contextualize technology with the business capabilities needed to drive business outcomes.

Read the other articles in our Dynamic Planning blog series:

Part 1: Dynamic Planning and Rapid Reprioritization: Resilience Amid Disruption

Part 2: Dynamic Planning: Refocus, Reprioritize, and Reallocate Rapidly

Part 3: Rapid Reprioritization: Delivering on Strategy in the Midst of Change

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Written by Nicola McCoy Managing Consultant

Nicola McCoy has over 20 years experience working within information security, enterprise architecture, global technology, and enterprise software roles. She has deep experience in helping organisations to understand operational resilience, information security, and how to manage risk within a connected enterprise, while communicating their current risk posture to senior (C-level) stakeholders. Nicola works with many of our customers to implement solutions that support recording, reporting and analyzing risk across the enterprise. Prior to working for Planview, Nicola was a key member of the Global IT Security and Global IT functions within PricewaterhouseCoopers where she was a thought leader in information security policy, strategy, and standards.