Architecture Planning: The Answer to the Evolving Reality of Your IT Landscape

An IT architecture from SAP can be a powerful force in how an organization operates and influence everything from the people who use it and the data it processes to the growth it enables.

When the company must evolve, the IT architecture needs to be flexible enough to enable outcome-driven business transformation and digitalization. The key is knowing how to plan for an architecture framework that offers the freedom to adapt and respond to the agile, fast, and flexible nature of organizational and enterprise change.

Six Principles of Effective Architecture Planning

The gradual adoption of intelligent technology such as artificial intelligence (AI) and collaboration platforms is igniting an era where companies are less interested in individual applications and more focused on developing new business models. However, such innovation is unlikely when the enterprise architecture cannot support it.

Fortunately, according to Gartner, businesses are getting the message. Forty percent of organizations will rely on enterprise architects to help conceive innovations with intelligent technology.

Standards for developing the perfect architecture are scarce. However, six fundamental principles can that the architecture complements the chosen business transformation path, while improving user experience and operating costs:

  1. Optimize flexibility to adapt to situations such as organizational change, mergers, and acquisitions.
  2. Use standards or functional content where beneficial and embrace cloud capabilities in order to increase the speed of implementation and operational flexibility.
  3. Improve user experience and automation by using intelligent technologies.
  4. Establish a common data model, where possible, to reduce integration efforts.
  5. Create valuable milestones within a defined, flexible transformation plan to avoid long-term activities that do not contain feasible steps within the business case.
  6. Ensure the IT governance and enterprise culture are compatible with the target architecture and transformation plan.

By following all these architecture planning principles, a company can move its IT architecture from the fringes of IT support and transform it into a forward-thinking source of high-growth innovation.

Olaf Hofmann is Head of Business Transformation Services IT Architecture Advisory at SAP.

In the coming weeks, we will break down these principles and examine the ways in which businesses can benefit most from them. The next pieces in the Enterprise Architecture and Landscape Strategy series will explore how landscape strategy and architecture services from SAP can provide the guidance and support to organizations so they can deliver a suitable digital enterprise architecture.

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