A quality master plan is your passport to the future

A quality master plan is your passport to the future

Like a multilayered map, a master plan lays bare your information systems. Your workspaces, equipment, software, your networks and connections are therein represented as are your content, activities, processes, operations manuals and good practices. The master plan illustrates how these components generate value. It also charts the course for your digital transformation.

The current context requires the development of a clear and detailed roadmap, which should be updated regularly in keeping with the new realities of our environment.

Imagine that your organization is a library, the Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BanQ), the “Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal,” for example.

For a visitor from Mars who has no idea what role a library plays nor what it is used for, your organization would appear to be a veritable labyrinth.  Without a map (even if one existed, our hypothetical Martian would have to be able to read it), the only way to find one’s way around and understand how your library/organization works would be to wander through it to experience the space, both literally and figuratively.

Guided tour

Observing the physical architecture

The first thing our unlikely visitor will notice is the physical layout of the site. Essentially:

  • a space divided into more or less hermetic zones (open areas, rooms, labs and multimedia studios, corridors, walls and shelving);
  • a space leading more or less to the outside (emergency accesses and exits, windows, glassed areas and skylights, heating and ventilation, electrical outlets, cables and fibre optics);
  • interfaces providing access to different floors and rooms (elevators, stairs, wickets, doors);
  • lighting, furniture (bookcases, chairs, desks, tables) and decor (posters, objects, photos, pictures).

These physical elements provide valuable information about the activities that go on there and the purpose of the building.

Decoding the semantic architecture

The visitor is faced with new layers of meaning to decode as he continues to move through the physical space. To start with, there are the thousands of documents with titles and unique decimal numbers on their spine, lined up on shelves—sometimes standing up, but often on their side. Our visitor sees different systems of signs that help him find his way around this maze. Specifically:

  • signage (icons, arrows, pictograms, typeface primers);
  • different languages (French, English, Spanish, German, etc.);
  • devices to organize and distinguish different information formats (books, magazines, periodicals, newspapers, CDs, DVDs);
  • a system to inventory, catalogue, index and classify information—in this situation, the Dewey Decimal System (DDC) as this is a public library and not a university library, in which case the Library of Congress Classification (LCC) system would be used.

Thanks to this breadcrumb trail, along with patience, curiosity and tenacity, the visitor is gradually able to figure out how the systems work and that the information is structured. Even if they do not understand their meaning, the visitor can use physical, visual and signal markers to find his way around: staircase C, top shelf, under the light, third row to the left, number 641.5, book with the blue cover, near a black chair…

Exploiting the functional architecture

As he continues his tour, our Martian friend is able to identify equipment and a network of internal and/or external connections, tangible and/or intangible, to manage and interface interactions among users (employees and visitors) and:

  • containers (stacks and databases);
  • media (books, newspapers, magazines, microfilms, videos, etc.);
  • human–machine “middleware” (digital identities, computers, monitors, keyboards, mobile access terminals, optical readers, etc.);
  • content (literature, essays, news, films, music, etc.);
  • functions (search, print, reserve, borrow, subscribe, report, etc.).

We could go on with the tour, but you get the picture. Your organization’s physical, semantic and functional architectures and its information systems are like this library. They encompass all of your organization’s tools, networks of pathways, content, processes, know-how and traditions—in other words, all of the material assets and intellectual capital that your organization has built up over the years, used every day, and which it will use to move forward into the future.

At this stage of their visit, the only thing the Martian needs to get a clear picture of the building, its uses and its purpose is a master plan. Without it, he might continue to move about aimlessly and rely on serendipity (chance discovery) to zigzag from point A to point F. Unfortunately, he will never know how to go directly from point A to point B. In other words, even if he pays attention, simple exploration will not be enough to gain a clear and accurate understanding of the ins and outs of your organization.

Without a plan providing an overview of the different architectures being explored:

  • not only will he overlook spaces, content, tools and functions;
  • if one of the links in the chain were broken or disrupted, our extraterrestrial—smart as they may be—would be in no position to find and diagnose the problem, much less repair and restart the system.

How many organizations faced with this type of complexity find themselves in the same position as our Martian visitor?

Need a solid master plan to ensure the sustainability of your business?

Each passing day reminds us that you cannot afford to navigate by intuition, without really knowing where you are and where you are going. The question becomes even more acute given current circumstances.  What are the repercussions, in light of this new context, on your priorities and your organization’s roadmap? The issues, not to mention risks, are too complex and too interconnected. You need a handy integrated tool that provides both an overview and a centralized vision of your organization and its environment. Example:

  • a business view (item-by-item review of entities’ ecosystems and internal and external processes with which your information system interacts);
  • an application vision (inventory and item-by-item review of the software comprising your system, the services provided by this software, data flows and the access privileges for different categories of users);
  • a software and hardware infrastructure vision (item-by-item review of the architecture of your on-site or cloud-based virtual local area network [VLAN] architecture, its partitioning, IP address definitions, routing, etc., as well as the inventory of equipment comprising your information system).

Whatever the sector of activity, the size of your organization or its mission, an across-the-board digital transformation requires a master plan. It charts the course of your digital transformation by:

  • guiding your computer and information systems and their evolution;
  • transforming your strategic objectives into operational objectives;
  • securing your operations and preventing security breaches and failures;
  • protecting your tangible and intangible assets as well as your users;
  • ensuring the growth and sustainability of your business.

Cofomo ensures your success through digital acceleration

Cofomo, drawing on its 25 years of experience, will mobilize its teams of experts in strategic consulting, digital innovation, change management as well as business and information technology (IT) governance to partner with you during your digital transformation.

Cofomo’s team are ready to spring into action: assess your situation, determine your priorities and needs; implement an action plan tailored to the realities of your business, which integrates best practices and tools and which provides as much added value as possible in order to take advantage of and adapt to this new world.

The Future is now! Be the Future!

Luckily, we’re here to help.

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