Product Management Director Aki Anttila, who has worked in the ICT field for almost 20 years, believes that we are going through a phase where separate solutions are disappearing to be replaced by enterprise architecture. The actual needs of a business should be considered instead of looking at things only from the viewpoint of IT.
After nearly 20 years of cooperation with numerous customers and manufacturers in the IT field, I believe that things have developed to a point where separate solutions are disappearing to be replaced by enterprise architecture. The actual needs of a business should be considered instead of looking at things only from the viewpoint of IT.
We receive a constant flow of requests for solutions to an individual need concerning communications, security or data centers. We always strive to offer the best possible technology for the environment described to us, but I sometimes wonder whether it serves the customer’s needs in an optimal manner or whether the operational costs of the solution are reasonable.
Enterprise architecture means a clear change in the IT professional’s job description. Instead of adjusting individual settings, we should, in the future, have a better understanding of the big picture and the relationships between different elements. We should also manage the dialog with partners.
Enterprise architecture does not mean a reliance on a certain brand or manufacturer. Different parties may provide products for the IT infrastructure, but the interfaces between component parts and their mutual operation must be clear and well-documented. This is the only way to ensure that IT is agile and flexible, and adjusts to ever changing business needs.
Unfortunately, however, creating an enterprise architecture is not quite that simple. It requires a new approach and attitude. The first step is to leave the IT tower and start talking with “ordinary” employees and thus try to understand how and why they use information technology and how it could be used to improve and enhance their work processes. In addition, you should interview business decision-makers to get an idea of future perspectives. In the second stage, you should examine critically the structure of the existing infrastructure, which parts are acceptable from the perspective of users and which are not, and how the infrastructure could be developed to better support business activities.
In the third stage, you should start to plan for the future enterprise architecture. The planning process is based on the things learnt during the previous stages, and the process should result in a future infrastructure plan and schedules. After this, it is easy to obtain the necessary equipment and software, and start adjustments.