Flexible IT

For CompAllianz, each company’s business IT architecture is an individual and complex system which provides the transparency necessary to reveal the company-specific weaknesses and strengths in real time. In this respect it is vital to arrange for the creation of the necessary conditions to ensure that information and knowledge can actually be used throughout the company. In fact, many of the systems already are partially digital, but they are not sufficiently interlinked. There are interface problems or those with regard to the compatibility of the systems.

Structuring a business IT architecture is equivalent to advancing isolated applications towards achieving a company-wide connection to support the entire value-added company activities. The objective is to realize both a process cost reduction and a real-real-time business insight.

Big companies have invested much money in „isolated applications“, most of which came into being decentrally and in most of the cases by initiatives of individual departments or specialist divisions. Companies are facing the difficult task of having to merge these isolated applications to make them profitable at long last.

In order to ensure that knowledge actually can be used throughout the company, it is essential to provide a neat real-real-time interlinking of the data. Information will have to be accessed in exactly the moment they are needed and the interconnection will solve interface and compatibility problems.

Guiding Principles for Flexible IT

The leap in innovation for the digital company is based on the flexibilization of the business IT architecture which can only be achieved by the orientation towards the modularization and reusability of coherent software components. Coherent software ensures that software solutions of different suppliers and Cloud-based services can be combined.

The success factor of the information flow in a process-oriented organization can be perceived during the composition or respectively the semantic integration of different business processes and an integrated accounting system, which provides the basis for a value-oriented management control meeting international and local requirements and which moreover takes into consideration the further development between decentral and central units and/or a shared service centers.

Compliance, legal requirements versus globalization and dynamics – CFOs/CIOs have to fight battles on an ever increasing number of fronts. To ensure that the IT business platform “agile“ supports this change, it is an essential requirement that an integrated accounting system to a large extent automates entries derived from the business processes, and, if necessary – for example due to M&A – transformation rules “Business Rules“ will continuously be used on group level, in order to create a consistent data basis.

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  • A flexible business IT architecture is the result of the modular interconnection of software components either in one company and/or between several companies.
  • Crucial for the components‘ integration ability is the semantic decoupling/debundling between sales, logistics, and the accounting system and/or an ERP. Most of the business processes and process steps lead to an evaluation and thus have to be integrated in an accounting system which is nothing else than the business transactions normed in values on the basis of a standardized chart of account and additional data fields and/or data attributes.

The holistic approach generates a company-specific transformation roadmap: the master plan monitoring risks by iterative governance and actions

The business IT architecture design of an IT business platform requires the previous preparation of an holistic view. Based on the overall strategy, it will be possible to deduce the granularity of the business components – as a basis for a more agile and flexible business IT architecture. Thus, by the merging of technological innovations, it will be possible to realize business innovations. What is important here is to close the gap between business and IT.

InfografikDesign top-down, holistic, iterative, collaborative

Understanding the challenges

  • Apprehension of the challenges the company and its web of relationships are facing: Customers, Suppliers, Staff
  • As-Is and pain points, identification of drivers
  • Observation of the communication flow between different roles

Principles

  • Efficiency of business processes
  • Focus Customer
  • Transparency
  • Sustainability
  • Collaboration promotion
  • Real-real-time information
  • Structural compilation of knowledge/contents

business IT architecture

  • Creation of a business architecture
  • Brainstorming
  • Scanning of technological trends
  • Solutions for an IT business platform as a basis
  • Selection of representative use-cases

Transformation

  • Transformation roadmap
  • Directing of the iterative actions
  • Fast prototypes
  • Monitoring of the business IT architecture

Deduced from the strategy and the business model, the architecture of the IT business platform will have to be designed according to certain principles. In this respect, it is absolutely necessary to completely understand the future business requirements and to adjust the technology to the business needs rather than the other way round. What are the pain points of the present business, where are the future fields of growth? What are the design principles deduced from the business’s strategy and the business model? Parallel it will have to be checked which technological trends will support the business goals and to which extent they have been developed yet. This is the only way to reduce the complexity.

Once the business IT architecture has been designed as perspective/vision, it all depends on the high art of transforming it safely and efficiently. Deduced from the business IT architecture a transformation road map will have to be prepared which will serve as master plan and as basis for the initiation of programs/projects. The iteration with the modular component model of the IT business platform ensures implementations involving little risk and resources. With regard to this we offer an IT governance and recommend working methodically with a fast prototype instead of generating PPT only.

The Business Drivers lead to restructuring steps in a Transformation Roadmap

The formulation of the as-is and pain points (problem area) is among the first steps into the whole project as well as the exact definition of the problem which to be solved. This is done in cooperation with the customer. The first step in an approach to solving the problem at an early stage is to really understand what the problem is.

In many cases the problems / pain points are caused by business drivers and their mapping in the As-Is IT architecture. Business drivers cause a To-Be business IT architecture and also lead to restructuring priorities in a transformation roadmap.

Change and the continuous nature of change are expressed by the emerging business driver. The creation of a modular business IT business platform is necessary in order to design business analytics and business performance platforms by means of interactive web technologies. Moreover, it serves as a basis for business process platforms on which, for the acceleration of the operational innovation, the process integration and the business process administration take place. Thus the organizational response time, productivity and quality can be improved and ideas be realized by means of an effective resource utilization.

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