Do you master the business technology strategy skillset? (Part 1)
Business technology strategy, or BTS, is about creating a strategy for the use of IT that maps to and support the goals of the business. Sounds easy, right? In the first of two blogs, Enfo’s Andreas Gripfors explores the skills of business technology strategy.
BTS is the core competence for IT architects of any type. It’s one of the fundamentals that clearly separates IT architects from other technologists like engineers and developers, making it a profession and not a rank or experience level.
As an IT architect you must understand the business drivers of the organization as well as the existing IT environment, in order to provide a valuable strategy for the use of IT. That’s why BTS is such a crucial competence for IT architects.
BTS consists of nine capabilities, or skill areas:
- Business fundamentals
- Strategy development and rationalization
- Business valuation
- Industry analysis
- Investment prioritization and planning
- Requirements discovery and constraints analysis
- Architecture methodologies and frameworks
- Risk management
As an IT architect you must understand the business drivers of the organization as well as the existing IT environment.
In my experience, for an infrastructure, software or information architect it’s enough to have basic knowledge and understanding in each area of BTS, but as a solution, business or enterprise architect you really need to master all of them.
Business fundamentals is the understanding of basic business structures and functions and the basic nature of running a business. It includes legal and operating structures, operating models, basic financial statement analysis and various ways to fund and finance projects.
Defining the principles, standards, structure and dynamics of the business and technical strategic direction involves understanding how to evaluate a business problem and identify an appropriate technology direction or solution to that problem. A key part of strategy development and rationalization is also identifying and analyzing trends and good practices in the market.
To determine how and when to invest in particular technology directions and how to manage the overall portfolio of technology investments calls for business valuation. Business valuation is used for proving the financial benefits of choosing architecture, by applying common techniques used for evaluation of investments.
Industry analysis involves reviewing a business environment, its challenges and opportunities and combining it with current technology trends in that specific industrial vertical.
Check back for five more key skills!
Andreas Gripfors is an enterprise architect at Enfo
Certified IT Architect with +20 years of experience from the IT industry, specialized in IT architecture and infrastructure with broad experience from multiple fortune 500 companies in different industrial verticals.