IT complexity hurts business.  This is even more the case when a company has global markets and global operations.  Essential business needs such as a single integrated view of global customers, or consistent product or service portfolio become impossible to achieve. 

Managing IT complexity to support business strategy is a big challenge for enterprise architects at large companieswhen a company has global operations, as is the case for Telstra, an Asia-based telecommunications firm. However Telstra’s enterprise architecture (EA) team addressed its challenges by focusing on customer engagement, improved agility, and global business strategy enablement.  Because of their success, they were one of the six firms to win the InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Award  in 2012. 

In my recent report “Case Study: Telstra’s Business-Led IT Transformation Facilitates Global Operations”, I analyzed the key practices they made to support their business-driven transformation. These practices include
  • Build Capability Maps To Link Business Goals And Transformation Requirements. Business capability maps are a core tool that enterprise architects use to identify their organization’s strengths and gaps and support its business strategy. Architects should leverage industry standard frameworks like eTOM to build a custom map, overlay it with business goals, and use it to assess and prioritize needed changes.
  • Meld Customer Orientation Into Solution Assessment. A solution assessment framework ensures that technology solutions support the business. Telstra embedded its strong customer orientation into its assessment framework. It’s crucial to design properly weighted business-related selection criteria inside your assessment framework and develop measurable metrics and a rational evaluation methodology.
  • Tightly couple IT Initiatives To Business Strategy. Business strategy should guide all IT initiatives; it’s more important than the technology and even the product itself. Use a phased approach to the IT initiatives map to gain control over the life cycle of IT system rationalization and embed business goals into the identification of key transition paths of the application systems. Telstra recently just announced that it would begin trialling 4G broadcast technology this quarter to keep up with "insatiable demand" for media content from customers, which is another evidence of their customer oriented strategy.

If you want to find out the details on how Telstra’s enterprise architecture team applied these practices, please take a deep dive into my report.   If you want to know who the 2013 EA Award winners are, please check here.  If you have other insights on using technology to advance business objectives, you are mostly welcome to provide your comments to this blog post. 

In the age of customer, enterprise architecture is all about business.