Monday, November 19, 2012

Understanding Enterprise Standardization

Just last week, we introduced the concept of Enterprise Transformation. Enterprise Standardization is often considered to be a part of Transformation, with special attention usually being given to data and shared service and infrastructure standardization. We can think of Standardization efforts as being the tactical elements of any given Strategy or (umbrella) Transformation initiative. Transformation is more EA focused, while Standardization must necessarily grapple with issues at the project level.

The ability to develop, harness and manage enterprise business capability begins with the ability to standardize the design process and with it the solution architecture. Standardization encompasses a number of different tactical areas including, but not limited to:

  • Business Process
  • The Data itself
  • Hardware / Infrastructure (this generally involves both process as well as data center consolidation)
  • Network Management
  • Application Lifecycle Management (ALM, this includes Agile)
  • Business Rules
  • Data Architecture
  • Security
  • Commercial Software (and COTS Lifecycle Management)

A shared services paradigm (based on SOA) usually traverses many of these areas and facilitates their integrated management within an Enterprise perspective. The idea here is that with all of the different design approaches available, there needs to be mechanisms in place to integrate them. (if you don’t or can’t integrate design approaches, how can you hope to integrate the solutions developed from them?)

Enterprise Transformation generally requires multiple Standardization efforts
We’ve alluded to the need for greater standardization both in the context of architecture / design as well as in solution management in order to support a wider Transformation. Standardization is thus applicable at many levels. In particular, standardization provides a mechanism to help move from IT silos to unified Enterprise solutions. In that sense it becomes both a means and an end goal.
Specific decisions that lead to standardization include things such as:

  • Adoption of standard software platforms. 
  • Adoption of standard hardware platforms.
  • Adoption of technical standards and best practices.
  • Adoption of standard enterprise processes.
  • De-conflicting of redundant logic, rules and systems.

Ultimately, the management of integration of heterogeneous IT environments and business models becomes the most expensive component of the business and the one most likely to add operational risk (w/o standardization). Thus, specific Standardization projects within a Transformation are likely to yield the highest return on investment - exactly which ones though hold the most value is usually determined on a case by case basis as every organization is somewhat unique.

Copyright 2012  - Technovation Talks, Semantech Inc.


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