Context IV: Enduring Enterprise

Context Description

In this context, we imagine that the practitioner is now running one of the larger and more complex IT-based operations on the planet, with an annual IT budget of hundreds of millions or billions of dollars. There are thousands of programmers, systems engineers, and IT managers, with a wide variety of responsibilities. IT is in your market-facing products and in your back-office operations. In fact, it is sometimes hard to distinguish the boundaries as your company transforms into a digital business.

Agile techniques remain important, but things are getting complex, and you are testing the boundaries of what is possible. How can we operate at this scale and still be Agile? Decisions made long ago come back to haunt, security threats are increasing, and, at this scale, there is no escaping the auditors.

The term “enterprise” does not necessarily imply any particular size, although it is often associated with larger-scale organizations. For the thought experiment here, at this stage the organization has scaled up to a relatively large size. However, what may be less obvious is that scaling up in size also means scaling out in terms of timeframes: concern for the past and the future extend further and further in each direction. Organizational history is an increasing factor, and the need to manage this knowledge base cannot be ignored. The organization is fulfilling responsibilities set in place by those no longer present, and is building product and signing service contracts to be fulfilled by those who will come after. Hence the qualifier “Enduring” is applied to Context IV.

Competency Area: Governance, Risk, Security, and Compliance

The practitioner needs to cope with new layers of enterprise organization, and external forces (regulators, vendor partners, security adversaries, auditors) increasingly defining their options. This Competency Area sets the frame for the section. Information Management and Architecture and Portfolio in many ways are further elaborations of two major domains of governance concerns.

Competency Area: Information Management

This document has been concerned with data, information, and knowledge since the earliest days of the digital journey. But at this scale, it must formalize its information management approaches and understandings; without that, it will never capture the full value available with modern analytics and Big Data.

Competency Area: Architecture

The digital organization must understand its big picture of interacting lifecycles, reduce technical debt and redundancy, and obtain better economies of scale. Architecture is a complex and challenging topic area, with multiple domains and value propositions, and its share of controversy.

Context IV, like the other parts, needs to be understood as a unified whole. In reality, enterprises struggle with the issues in all three Competency Areas simultaneously.

Context IV “Enduring Enterprise” High-Level Dimensions

  • Identify key drivers for operating at the largest scale

  • Identify the essential temporal dimension of Context IV

  • Identify the role of governance

  • Identify the role of information management

  • Identify the role of architecture