Enterprise Architecture can address many needs faced by CIOs, including the need to reduce technology costs and complexity. Michael D’Onofrio, CEO of Orbus Software, outlines four reasons why Enterprise Architecture is helping many CIOs on their digital journey.
New and transformative technologies were rapidly entering the workplace even before the pandemic, enabling businesses to innovate and thrive in an increasingly digital world. But then 2020 happened, and what was supposed to take years had to happen in only a few months or less. Now, technology is even more a pivotal enabler for business growth. At the very centre of this, the role of the CIO is evolving from that of a technology expert to a business strategist. With this comes an entirely new challenge for the modern CIO: aligning IT strategy, technology and processes with much broader business objectives in mind.
This is where Enterprise Architects (EAs) can step in and guide CIOs on their Digital Transformation journeys. That’s because Enterprise Architect can create a scalable framework of IT assets and business processes aligned to corporate governance. In turn, this supports the organisation to deliver on its goals and strategic objectives. As a result, Enterprise Architects can help bridge the divide between IT and the business, driving Digital Transformation initiatives.
There are many pain points that the modern CIO faces today. How Enterprise Architecture (EA) can meet these can be divided into four areas.
Guesswork and delay in decision making
Digital Transformation has been key in responding to the disruption of work and business ecosystems, and most businesses ramped up their efforts to meet this sudden change. According to IDC, it is predicted that through 2022 70% of organisations will have accelerated their use of digital technologies, transforming existing business processes to drive business resiliency. It’s evident that in this new world, technology is not a choice, but a fundamental business strategy that must be interwoven into every part of an organisation. With digital initiatives evolving at such an impressive rate, CIOs will need to make smarter, faster decisions that enable transformation.
However, business decisions made by the CIO require quantifiable, contextual and actionable insights that provide enough value to justify an investment, especially towards Digital Transformation. Here, Enterprise Architects can be leveraged. This is because of their ability to understand end-to-end data flows to ensure optimisation, meaning that digital and business strategies are aligned to meet an organisation’s needs of the present and future. Likewise, Enterprise Architects are uniquely positioned to identify enterprise data opportunities that people working within silos are unable to. Consequently, these advantages can translate into practical applications that are critical to measurable business outcomes, making EAs key collaborators for CIOs in driving data-driven decision making.
Spiralling technology costs and increasing complexity
As we move to a more interconnected and complex environment, the demand for suitable technologies is increasing – this is so much so that an average enterprise pays for approximately 1,516 applications. With a shift to remote working, we’re also seeing an overwhelming imperative to migrate to the cloud and today, application costs are estimated to make up 80% of the entire IT budget. While IT clearly represents an important part of total spending, its direct contribution to overall revenues and profits is sometimes difficult to assess.
For the modern CIO, it’s their responsibility to understand these technology costs and bring these under control across the IT portfolio by focusing on controlled investment. What’s needed is a way to gain valuable insights to make data-driven decisions to overcome these spiraling costs and complexities. This is made possible with the support of Enterprise Architects and their ability to lay foundations for teams to determine what will be of most use to the business. By providing a strategic view of change and ensuring the alignment of the business and IT, EA can deliver these much-needed valuable insights.
With clear visibility across the entire IT portfolio, and a comprehensive view on how different projects interface together, Enterprise Architects can prioritise high value, low complexity tasks. As such, EA helps to fundamentally establish a single source of truth in otherwise somewhat chaotic technology landscapes. This helps CIOs develop a clear roadmap to remove redundant technologies and data, thus reducing costs.
In December 2020, an advanced persistent threat group orchestrated a supply-chain attack on SolarWinds. Using a backdoor program referred to as ‘Sunburst’, the group was able to gain access to sensitive information while remaining virtually undetected, infecting many of SolarWinds’ customers and exposing leading technology businesses such as Cisco and Microsoft. This latest attack has served as a wake-up call for CIOs to find new ways to defend themselves against sophisticated cybersecurity attacks through giving their security architecture teams the best software tools available on the market.
Since a company’s risk posture and security maturity must match today’s threats in terms of reach and sophistication, in order to defend against breaches like the SolarWinds attack, businesses need to stop treating their security as an individual, siloed department or a standalone business function. Instead, businesses need to embrace security as a culture that spans the entire organisation. Only then can a company achieve 360-degree visibility with the insight and controls required to defend against high-level breaches.
With security architecture, a sub-discipline of Enterprise Architecture, CIOs can enjoy complete oversight and control over cybersecurity operations business-wide, operating several levels above threat management or the direct implementation of security platforms. Additionally, there are Enterprise Architecture tools that give teams on the ground a greater advantage when it comes to taking remedial action. For instance, being able to track every single instance of a breach or infiltration once it has been identified. Ultimately, Enterprise Architecture offers businesses a workable methodology and framework for CIOs to follow. This is not only for organisations to defend themselves but to revolutionise how they manage security from the inside out.
The imperative to move to the cloud
In response to governments across the globe issuing ‘stay at home’ orders for their citizens to help control the spread of COVID-19, CIOs have found themselves having to scramble to ensure they have the technology resources needed to enable mass remote working for their workforces. This has led to a surge in demand for cloud-based video conferencing tools, such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and cloud business productivity tools to ensure employees can continue to communicate and collaborate as they did in the office.
While cloud products ultimately deliver efficiency at scale, a large barrier exists at the transition point, frontloading the risk for enterprises. CIOs need to be able to smoothly transition to cloud providers, without endangering services or data. Having to pivot at pace in such a way is a real challenge for CIOs alone. Instead, they can leverage insights via Enterprise Architecture to both guide and de-risk this journey, unlocking its full potential. This can lead to several benefits, such as giving enterprises a competitive edge, reducing operational costs and increasing the effectiveness of IT processes.
Ultimately, when we consider the number of challenges CIOs face today to deliver Digital Transformation objectives, CIOs would do well to employ Enterprise Architecture teams supported by modern tools to develop secure technology and business roadmaps for the future.Click below to share this article