Cloud’s “IT” Factor for Business-Driven Architecture

Currently, IT and the business side of your company are locked in a war. Both sides see themselves as a strategic linchpin meant to drive the business forward, and they both understand that having the right technology is essential for business success. However, conflicting views about tech have led to architectural over-complexity, and that doesn’t benefit anyone (except maybe your competitors).

If you’re ready to walk away from the morass of overcomplicated architecture and its related endless break/fix tasks, it’s time to work together with business stakeholders on creating a business-driven architecture that supports company objectives while meeting IT needs.

Stay ahead of the curve by using today’s newest cloud-based architecture options that align IT and business goals with ease.

Cloud Apps: Not Just Shadow IT Anymore

Though once solely delivering simplistic, end-user services with little capability and big marketing budgets, cloud apps have finally grown up. Instead of proliferating as shadow IT, modern cloud apps provide full-scale functionality that supports the business needs of everyone from SMBs to global powerhouses.

While it’s not surprising that SaaS has evolved from a small collection of “lite,” web-based programs into a highly flexible, interconnected mix-and-match solution linking together low-cost, secure APIs, it is surprising that companies aren’t taking advantage of the new capabilities that SaaS offers.

If you’ve been avoiding SaaS, it’s time to reconsider your stance. These already-built, extremely user-friendly programs help modern businesses maintain their agility because SaaS programs can be purchased, installed and launched in mere minutes.

But there’s more to the cloud than SaaS. Companies requiring greater customization or that seek to deliver innovative client-side solutions in record time can now also leverage the cloud to achieve their objectives.

PaaS (platform-as-a-service) helps speed custom internal and external development by providing an easy-to-manage platform that doesn’t add complexity for EAs and also simplifies the build process for DevOps.

Using Cloud to Drive Your Organization

Cloud solutions have also expanded their range in recent years. Now, instead of solely meeting narrowly defined needs and audiences, cloud apps are flexible enough to solve internal and external challenges. From HR and invoicing to data collection and customer experience, the modern cloud helps organizations succeed at everything from strategy to execution to analytics.

In a nutshell:

·      SaaS meets business objectives through its ever-expanding landscape of apps that couple with on-prem or cloud databases.

·      PaaS delivers IT efficiency through integrated, custom business apps with a high level of abstraction, that all run on a shared framework that’s easy to maintain and manage.

While the “ever-expanding landscape” of SaaS may sound like a nightmare to currently overburdened EAs, the flexibility of these programs can actually benefit you.

Because SaaS apps address a wide range of needs, business models and business types, they’re likely to be extremely adaptable. This means that a small number of SaaS apps can deliver appropriate functionality to many departments in a fun, friendly way that end users love.

In fact, as a study from McKinsey & Company proved, the right SaaS app can help you finally choose a single solution to replace the multitude of troublesome, customized, small-scale builds that cause so many compatibility issues across your company right now.

Get Started with Cloud Architecture

As an EA used to handling overly complex architecture frameworks, you’ve probably started to weigh the pros and cons of SaaS and PaaS as you’ve made your way through this article. Before you start overthinking things, we’d like to share a guiding philosophy with you:

The architecture you choose needs to be “just enough” to meet your current needs.

Though PaaS is an exciting concept that can lead to unbelievable development flexibility, it’s important not to discount the power of SaaS for your organization. Like microservices, SaaS architecture can deliver a lot of functionality without a lot of stress – whereas PaaS may end up in a situation where IT is expected to reinvent the wheel with custom development every time the company creates new goals.

The business-driven architecture of faster, simpler custom builds as well as one-size-fits-all applications will support overall business objectives because they’ll help you:

·      Lower the cost of development

·      Increase the pace of innovation

·      Reduce compatibility issues across the company

To ensure that what you build meets the needs of business and IT stakeholders, consider using a Lean IT process to map, analyze and streamline your processes properly.

Innovation Requires Communication

As you’re planning, remember that the entire point of cloud-based solutions is to increase your agility – and you can bring agility into your selection process too.

Since cloud tools enable your company to pivot with ease, they’re perfectly suited for experimentation within your own company as you’re considering your new business-driven architecture. While you’re testing out solutions, take advantage of the OODA Loop methodology to ensure that you experience continuous improvement and ever-increasing alignment with business goals.

But the first step when planning your new, cloud-based architecture is to get your business stakeholders on board. True collaborative success for business-driven architecture requires that the IT side and the business side work together to develop solutions that meet business objectives seamlessly, easily and elegantly.

It’s time for you to move on to the next evolution of enterprise architecture.

Contact Silent IT for help mapping your current processes, as well as streamlining and optimizing your architecture to meet your needs.