Enterprise architecture boosts business growth
In a rapidly changing environment, business-oriented enterprise architecture is important for enterprise survival.
So says Jaakko Riihinen, senior VP, products and technology, at QPR Software, who notes that enterprise architecture is incorrectly seen as a costly and complex discipline, which does not always feature in day-to-day business management.
However, in an environment rife with rapid change, enterprises need clear visibility across their operations in order to react quickly, and enterprise architecture delivers this, he says.
Riihinen was instrumental in the creation of enterprise architecture capability at Nokia and Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN), architecting the post-merger integration of NSN and the transformation of NSN Operations Support Systems' business line R&D, among others.
He believes business-focused enterprise architecture has contributed to the ongoing growth of NSN.
He says enterprise architecture is emerging as a structured discipline for operational development, not revolutionising everything, but rather putting together the big picture, where many of the good old management tools find their role and effective scope.
QPR Software says this is good news for enterprises that have already invested in capabilities like strategic analysis and planning, risk management, business process analysis, business performance management, or enterprise-level ICT architecture.
By providing visibility and control over the business-operating model, including organisational, process and ICT aspects, they have a 'handle' on which to grasp and manage change, says Riihinen.
"If you don't have visibility, you don't have handles to grab on to to make the necessary changes," he says.
Riihinen notes that economic and political change happen quickly, and says business must be able to adapt to this change in order to survive.
"The business environment is more complex now; there is globalisation and the economic centre of gravity moving to new regions, for example. There was a time when things were stable and could be extrapolated and predicted, and planning took place in a linear fashion. But now, enterprises must have capabilities that are modular and quickly reconfigurable to meet new challenges," he says.
In some verticals, like the Internet, business models might be obsolete in months or even weeks, he says, and companies need the ability to change their business models on the fly.
Achieving this is more complex for major multinationals with multiple branches, departments and interdependencies, he concedes. Their complexity and interdependencies result in rigidity and inherent slowness.
"Big business has more mass and therefore more inertia. Large enterprises must be structured to avoid the dinosaur ethic at all costs."
In an environment characterised by new and changing business models, mergers, acquisitions, divestments and outsourcing, there is a greater need for alignment between business and IT, and greater visibility, control and optimisation, he says.
Riihinen will address the upcoming ITWeb BPM Summit on the topic business-oriented enterprise architecture as the basis of operational development. For more information about this event, click here.