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Posted by Randy Heffner on July 1, 2010
As I discuss with clients the developing notions of Forrester's Business Capability Architecture (see blog post #1 and blog post #2), I have found it important to distinguish between different levels of scope for technology strategy. The primary distinctions have to do with (a) the degree to which a strategy (and the architecture it promulgates) aims to account for future change and (b) the breadth of business and technology scenarios addressed by the strategy.
Thus, I define a four-part technology strategy taxonomy along a two-dimensional continuum with (a) and (b) as axes (IOW, the four parts are archetypes that will occur in varying degrees of purity), to wit:
While an organization may or may not use Type 3 or Type 4 strategies, every solution delivery project falls somewhere on the Type 1–Type 2 continuum, whether its strategy is implicitly or explicitly defined. If it exists, a Type 3 or Type 4 strategy will bound and shape a project's Type 1/2 strategy by, for example, establishing project requirements that connect and integrate the project with other technologies and business scenarios. Without a Type 3/4 strategy, the project is, by and large, left to its own siloed boundaries.
Furthermore, Type 4 strategy will bound and shape a Type 3 strategy, giving the Type 3 strategy the context required for it to contribute coherently to a broader base of the organization's business and technology evolution. For example, in relation to my recent blog post "Get A Strong Focus For Your Approach To Cloud," a dedicated cloud strategy is a Type 3 strategy, whereas the Type 4 strategy is my recommended approach of building cloud options into your existing infrastructure, application platform, and solution portfolio strategies. Around a Type 3 strategy’s focus on specific business plans, a Type 4 strategy sets a context to account for continuous change to the business plans themselves.
Forrester’s Business Capability Architecture and Digital Business Architecture guide the development of an organization’s Type 4 technology strategy. Each of the four strategy types is important, but without Type 4's bounding guidance, Types 1 to 3 lead to siloed architectures that, Forrester believes, create avoidable barriers to business change.
How, or how well, does your tech strategy account for continuous business and technology change?
Acronyms: SOA = service-oriented architecture // BPM = business process management // IOW = in other words :-)
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