Enterprise architecture: a blueprint for planning and developing your business strategies
Enterprise architecture aligns technological solutions with business strategies and needs for long-term development and profitability.
The City of Montreal characterizes its urban development plan as the reference document for planning land use in the Montreal area. The plan sets out the vision for the City’s urban planning and development as well as the measures that have to be taken to implement policy and the objectives to which it gives rise. The plan promotes economic development, ensures a healthy environment and improves residents’ quality of life.
Enterprise architecture also has its advantages. It:
- supports an organization’s business model;
- guarantees a well-performing IT function and
- improves the user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX).
Enterprise architecture is made up of four integrated “ecosystems”:
- Business architecture: business strategy, governance, organization and business processes;
- Information architecture: information strategy, governance of data and content, structure of logical and physical assets;
- Application architecture: management of application portfolio, structure of applications, their connections and their relationships with business processes; and
- Technology architecture: the infrastructure supporting the deployment of business processes and applications within the organization.
An essential part of strategic planning, enterprise architecture brings to light the “central nervous system” of your business strategy. Whereas a well-designed architecture will certainly contribute to the success of your organization, a poorly thought-out one is a long-term nightmare waiting to happen.
In a society in which 80% of the population uses a mobile phone to interact with private, public or parapublic organizations, and where such organizations are investing more than ever in digital transformation projects and solutions, enterprise architecture is the key to your success.
This is especially true when it comes to improving the customer experience, the holy grail of a successful transformation.
It is clear that we still have a long way to go, and many organizations continue to watch from the sidelines.
Improving the customer experience: a technological or organizational matter? The answer: both.
Forrester Research says that, although “customer experience” has become one of today’s buzzwords, few organizations are able to implement a strategy that delivers on their promises.
Organizations understand the challenge entailed in improving the customer experience when it comes to efficiency, market development and revenue growth. Nevertheless, they take a negative view of the digital transformation that an improved customer experience requires. According to them, the process is complicated, and not only because of technology. Managers have to rethink the entire way in which their organizations are managed. The risk is significant, and it disrupts approaches which, although not in fashion, have proven themselves in many cases. As a result, many organizations give up along the way, while others stumble along indecisively.
That’s where pragmatism comes in. As Steve Jobs put it, “Do not try to do everything. Do one thing well.”
Instead of staking everything on a radical approach that could revolutionize the organization, its processes, ways of working and technologies in one fell swoop, it’s wiser to aim for more modest and less costly digital enhancements that can slowly be introduced based on how the market is developing.
Under this carefully designed approach, organizations focus their efforts on innovations that can be implemented gradually. They can quickly measure adverse effects and allow room for testing, errors and improvement with each possible iteration.
One example would be monetizing your data for value-added marketing for clients.
Knowing that the likelihood of selling something to a prospective customer rarely exceeds 20%, that the cost of acquiring a new customer is 5 times higher than the cost of retaining one, that the likelihood of selling something to a customer is around 70%, and that increasing customer retention by 5% could boost profits by 25% to 50%, it’s no wonder that customer data is both a tremendous asset and an effective tool for personalizing the customer experience.
Banks have understood this and are trying to outdo one another in inventiveness to attract new customers and ensure the loyalty of those they already have. The same goes for the insurance industry. Not a week goes by without another new app hitting the market.
Nevertheless, those kinds of deep pockets aren’t a prerequisite for innovating. A well-structured newsletter campaign can also be an effective and affordable tool for:
- adding value to your customer data;
- developing and maintaining a privileged and lasting relationship with your customers;
- getting more mileage from communications with your customer network;
- gaining your customers’ loyalty and increasing sales;
- increasing your brand’s visibility; and
- acquiring new customers (through online subscriptions to your newsletter); and
- expanding your sales force.
This can only be possible if you have high-quality data and if your enterprise architecture enables you to extract as much value-added information and insights as possible.
Creating a sustainable, scalable and cost-effective architecture calls for solid experience in business, knowledge of what makes industries unique, strong expertise in IT and a good dose of pragmatism.
Luckily, we’re here to help.