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Architecture Driven Roadmaps for Digital Transformation

Digital Transformation Challenges

Using an 'architecture driven' approach for planning your organization's Digital strategy can sound overly technical, one focused too much on the technology, but it seems more logical when you consider the biggest impediment CIO's like those in Canada face is 'Legacy Modernization'.

As Gartner describes Canadian CIO's face a scenario where there is lower buy in to the value of technology and thus a perception it is more of an operational cost not a strategic enabler, the biggest consequence being a lack of investment in upgrades and modernization, vs 'keeping the lights on'.

Digital Innovation Roadmaps

First, to galvanize and organize the front end of a Digital initiative the IT organization needs a Roadmap. As this IT Business article describes businesses often lack a cohesive roadmap to set out where they are headed or how they plan to get there, exascerbating a situation of also lacking CEO and senior executive Digital leadership.

Therefore establishing a Roadmap initiative begins formally setting this direction and then much more effectively concentrate investments into the best digital service innovations.

SaaS options like Aha.io and Uservoice provide slick tools for capturing Requirements and organizing these into Roadmaps made up of Releases. They also integrate with Github so that a complete end-to-end product lifecycle is possible, from idea and planning through deliverables and deployment:

This integrated 'toolchain' makes possible a closed loop lifecycle for managing your Digital strategy from conception through delivery:

Digital Roadmap Lifecycle
  1. Establish your digital strategy, goals and product priorities.
  2. Build a web portal and capture user and customer ideas and feedback.
  3. Prioritize ideas into Features based on your product priorities.
  4. Schedule work and produce timeline roadmap reports.
  5. Synchronize roadmap with Github repo and drive work loads.
  6. Report back through Agile Backlog Dashboards.

Architecture Driven Transformation

Creating new products from scratch via these tools is a relatively straight forward process, however as per this article the additional factor of complexity for large organization is that their new services will in some form call upon and integrate with legacy IT and workflows.

Based on BT's best practices ADT - Architecture Driven Transformation is an enterprise systems design method that approaches the challenge by establishing a central architecture reference as a governance framework for software project management, called an 'ACF' - Architecture Conformance Framework and based around a core API maturity model, a standard for assessing new software projects on a scale of complexity.

The primary benefit of this approach is reversing the logic that new software deployments increase overall system complexity - Instead the opposite trend is achieved, new deployments reduce complexity through an increasingly standardized and simplified environment. In BT's case they have closed over 3,300 redundant legacy applications, while introducing more new Digital services.

Transformation Roadmap

Each new software project is ranked against the ACF, assessing it for conformance with software design principles and system behaviours that yield the desired results, with only those meeting the required maturity level passing through development stage gates. Projects are compared against assets such as an API Maturity Model, ranking them higher for features like documented UML models.

Slide 6 describes "Data driven product launches", referring to a classification system for new product ideas, and a 'Product Change Complexity' assessment framework for tiers 0-6 for new product ideas, categorizing them in terms of software engineering and business transformation complexity.

This assessment stage-gating forms the work pipeline for their Roadmaps, and thus links new product innovation to the central architecture, establishing Architecture Driven Transformation.

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