Business Program Managers have the greatest stake in the proper design, build and maintenance of automation services.
These executives cannot accept on faith that new automated systems will provide the functionality and data in a way that will respond to new business rules, new products and services, and access by customers and business partners for integrated supply chain management.
Technical designers and builders must carefully lay out and prove to the business executive that the new software will do much more than simply meet the immediate functional requirements.
All designs and builds must demonstrate the ability to support business needs into the future, not just the present. Future capabilities of the software must be proven in advance in order to protect: the business manager’s budget, time allotted for testing, and service to customers when legal and policy requirements change.
The business manager has a professional, almost fiduciary, responsibility to investigate the total cost of ownership for a new or significantly enhanced information system. Information technology investments are assets, they are no different than buildings or staff. The software design, coding, and documentation must be kept ready for examination at any time in the case that a major change is needed. Additionally, experts must handle changes efficiently to respond to new legislation or policy; opportunities for efficiencies, or needs for improved customer service.
This places the business manager in direct conflict with his or her professional responsibilities to: protect scarce funding, provide a positive work environment for staff, and remain committed to serve customers and avoid unnecessary burdens on suppliers and business partners.
Decisions on investments in new technologies must align with the managers’ vision for the organization’s business processes. Managers are committed to implement business processes that align with enterprise operational patterns, while applying proven best practices. Through shared contributions to common operational concepts, business managers will expect to have automation capabilities readily amenable to re-use, and interoperability with functions and data throughout the enterprise. Therefore, technology investments must prove their value across business processes and organizational boundaries.
Going forward, business managers cannot delegate to automation specialists decisions on how to design and build software. It is the responsibility of automation specialists to demonstrate not only a design that fulfills present requirements, but one that also allows for future modification, performance, interoperability, and scalability – and all this in an economical manner, with manageable risk and rapid time to market.
Automation capabilities that emphasize modularity, flexibility, and organization into different sequences must be provided over monolithic solutions that impose a predefined order of processing.
Business managers must not be expected to learn the technologies of automation specialists. However, they do recognize the time and attention that they must pay in order to verify that the automation specialists fulfilled their responsibilities. There are four characteristics of software that best predict future flexibility and performance:
- Isolation of presentation and business processing from how data is organized and retrieved;
- Decomposition of functionality into logical categories of work that can be reordered and reused in other contexts without one software component depending on another;
- Specification of the interface that is used to invoke a function, or for one function to call another function; and
- Enable multiple channels to use a single (set of) business function(s).
In addition to software, architects must design data models that demonstrate extensibility for future needs in balance with performance requirements.
Business managers must be given the ability to monitor workload performance through standardized performance reporting. It is just as important for a business manager to have data, staff, and tools to enable ad hoc data analysis and flexible reporting.
Information Technology investments should be justified by, and mapped to, the Enterprise Business Architecture. Investments must demonstrate support for multiple business processes. They should not be project specific or justified only as infrastructure.
Trinity Technology Group knows what to do
- Business processes must be defined and documented from end to end, they will not be bounded to organizations or functions.
- Business processes are guided by Business Patterns that incorporate best practices and enterprise business principles.
- Business processes are an asset that requires documentation, maintenance, performance management, skills inventory, training, and ongoing configuration management.
- Business patterns and the processes they spawn are used across lines of business.
- Automation initiatives must support multiple business processes. If a business process is unique, it must be redesigned to align with reusable patterns and thereby enable reuse of automated capabilities.
- Automation changes must be planned and performed in conjunction with management of the business process.
- Automation initiatives must conform to design and build standards that enable reuse. A component-based model that relies upon collaboration among industry standard components is the de facto model for all software investments.
- Automation projects may not compromise standards that enable reuse in the name of budget, schedule, and time to market. Failure to conform to standards that enable reuse will increase cost of ownership and preclude future automation needs.
- Commercial, off-the-shelf software should be implemented through changes to the business process to minimize package modifications.