Architecture and Governance Magazine, Volume 4, Issue 3, has an interesting article on “Business Fit vs. Technical Fit” by Larry DeBoever, in which he proposes a mapping of systems to demonstrate their EA fit.
Systems are mapped on a 2x2 grid that has business fit on the y axis and technology fit on the x axis.
The resulting quadrants provide a visualization of how systems map in terms of business alignment and technical compliance. Here is my view on these:
- Lower left—low business and low technology fit. These are systems that are duds; theydo not meet business requirements or technology standards and should be sunset.
- Upper left—high business and low technology fit. These are systems that are silos; they meet business needs, but don’t provide technical alignment in terms of interoperability, standardization, component reuse or alignment to the target architecture and transition plan. These systems need a technology waiver or should be retrofitted to comply with the enterprise architecture.
- Lower right—low business and high technology fit. These are systems that are “toys”. They do not meet the requirements of the business, although they align nicely with the technology standards of the organization. Unless these systems can demonstrate business value, they should be decommissioned.
- Upper right—high business and high technology fit. These are systems are optimal; they are in the EA sweet spot in that they meet business requirements and technology compliance parameters. These systems are sound IT investments for the organization.
This quadrant view of EA fit for systems is a wonderful tool for planning and also for conducting EA board reviews of proposed new systems or changes to existing systems.
For systems that do have business and/or technology alignment, Larry DeBoever calls for ongoing reviews and enhancements, due to “the problem of regression.” Since business needs and technology standards and plans are constantly evolving, our systems will be under constant pressure being forced to lower levels of business and technology alignment. Therefore, system development, enhancements and modernization is an imperative to remain competitive and on mission.