All commercial organizations in modern economics follow the same single invariant pattern. It doesn’t matter in which industry the organization operates or what they produce … the pattern is all about commercial success. Businesses are designed for unlimited growth … according to the population growth. This is true until the current economic model takes place, increasing the number of people and increasing the Earth’s population. Profitability or the number of customers or market share is the measurement of a successful business.
Most successful commercial organizations have their Information Technology (IT) aligned and streamlined with agile business needs. IT helps to manage and to grow business. Their executive team with the cooperation of IT is extremely efficient. There are several questions to ask, some within and some outside of IT:
- Have you heard enough about business agility – how to run an agile business in turbulent times?
- What about mobility? Have you ever imagined that there are new mobile opportunities for your business? Brand new business processes or significant improvement of the current ones?
- SaaS – Software as a Service – are you ready for a new business delivery?
- Understand SOA? Why are there so many pitfalls in SOA? Do you feel that SaaS and SOA are related?
- Do you dream about configured IT instead of applications with coded business logic? Have you heard about BPM? Do you know you could design business processes and then redesign them again if needed?
- Do you have a heterogeneous IT environment? Was there a plan to govern it all with ease and elegance?
- Are you thrilled about the cloud? Or are you already using a private cloud?
- Still remember other names like warehouse, ESB, business intelligence, ITIL, virtualization, user experience and wonder how they all work together?
This article explains the technical rationale and how and why those “hot things” can plan, strengthen and grow your business. The invariant nature of business success is key. We created an Enterprise Design consulting service offering, which is built around the modern economic model, conformant to modern trends for IT industry and IT departments of commercial organizations.
Commercial organizations’ IT can be assessed and possibly improved based on the results of the assessment. An organization’s IT could be viewed from several perspectives:
- Strategic and contextual view
- Enterprise and conceptual view
- System and logical view
- Technological view
- Application and DB view
- Operational view
Strategic and contextual view. This is the most important view, though it is the most high-level view. It is the vision of business strategists and executives. Lines of business and business delivery models are identified at this level. SaaS and S+S are among the modern business delivery models. They are identified and designed for all lines of business.
All other views open the curtain to the details.
Enterprise and conceptual view. This view shows distinguished business processes. Business processes constitute lines of business (from the top level). Business processes could be hardcoded or could be modeled and configured. BPM is a business process modeling that provides an opportunity toward business agility. Reconfigurable and agile IT is enabled via BPM, BPMN, BPEL and ESB. Those standards and environments allow building business processes visually, storing them in a formal format (BPMN standard), executing on run-time environment (BPEL standard) and keeping them loosely coupled and asynchronous via a messaging environment (ESB, enterprise service bus).
Business agility is supported by flexible business process models, the ability to augment current processes and combine or create new processes. All business processes reuse underlying SOA services. Enterprise mobility hits the business process level. Many existing business processes are evolving and being improved by utilizing new mobile technology opportunities.
System and logical view. This view shows the technology-agnostic system logic. We recommend using tailored reference architectures for every business domain separately. All technology-independent standards and paradigms are applied at this level, e.g., interfaces (often as Web services), security, federation, federated identity, B2B interfaces, etc. Enterprise application integration starts here at the logical level, e.g., CRM, document management, warehouse and legacy systems. SOA design also takes place here. Business processes are assembled from coarse-grained services. Industrial standards are used for specification of interfaces, protocols, security and interaction.
Technological view. This view shows the mapping of platform-agnostic system architecture onto platforms, technologies and tools. Primary choices for the enterprises are Microsoft .NET, Oracle Java, IBM Java and sometimes Open Source Java.
Due to security reasons, PHP, Ruby and Python are not among the leading technologies for the majority of commercial organizations.
We acknowledge that there are plenty of PHP startups grown from small to large (like Facebook) and confirm that less dynamic businesses do run on earlier-mentioned technologies. It is important to select the proper DB platform and to plug in business intelligence later.
Application and DB View. This view shows what IT physically consists of including:
- The definition of the running bits
- If there are mobile applications, which app calls which
- Where data is stored
- How the data is accessed
- What the User Experience (UX) isHow the applications and databases are designed or maintained, is Agile (e.g. SCRUM). Is this the most appropriate process?
- Every application is designed according to the archetype (architecture type): mobile app, rich Internet app, service app, Web app, etc.
- Application programming technologies include MS .NET, MS Silverlight, Oracle Java, IBM Java, Salesforce, Visualforce, Google Python, Google Android and others.
- The top choices for database technologies for the mapping of data and data logic include MS SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL.
Enterprise application integration details are revealed or designed at this level. Hosting of applications and databases could be on premise, in the cloud or combined. Many large and medium enterprises prefer to use a private cloud (cloud on premise, powered by EMC2/VMware or MS).
The virtualization technique is used widely for infrastructure virtualization, application virtualization, and workspace virtualization. Mobile UX is on the rise; however, the limitations of mobile screens and the ad hoc use of mobile devices make business intelligence (BI) one of the next big things in the enterprise IT. BI is required on mobile devices. It shows the visibility of business and helps to make important decisions.
Operational View This view shows how the business works 24/7/365, or whatever other specifics of the operations. This view identifies or allows designing the run-time environment, run-time processes, support teams and all other aspects important for running enterprise IT. Some examples include:
- Amazon or Rackpace clouds for application and database hosting
- Salesforce and MS Azure for logic in the cloud
- EMC2/VMware for private cloud
A reliable process for application monitoring, updates and troubleshooting is required, and there is a standard for it – ITIL. We always propose ITIL within an infrastructure management service offering.
This is a brief integral look at the enterprise (or commercial organization), using six different views, each one complementing each other. They all are dedicated to assessing and designing enterprise IT that best fits the enterprise success metrics and enables business agility. Success is invariant, and proper assessment and design of the enterprise IT is key to your success.
Vasyl Mylko is Research & Development Director at SoftServe.