Since the start of the Covid-19 crisis (and more generally during any crisis), one word has been on everyone’s lips: resilience.
Specific and tangible actions and strategies are needed for companies to survive crises and emerge stronger. This is one of the key roles that results-based enterprise architecture (EA) can play.
Resilience: a way to focus on what matters most
Even though there are signs of an impending crisis, the outbreak usually occurs quite suddenly after an initial trigger point. This was the case in the examples of the mortgage crisis in the United States in 2006, which led to the global financial crisis in 2008, and the Covid-19 pandemic, which severely inhibited global economic markets in 2020. and in 2021.
When a crisis arises, the best prepared organizations will be able to deal with it as effectively as possible. These organizations are the ones that can quickly focus on the capabilities most critical for their core business or function. It may sound obvious, but the reality of achieving it is much more complex. After identifying and defining the criticality of business processes and capabilities, the next important task is to identify the interdependencies between these processes and all the IT services associated with their delivery. Implementing this investigative process ensures that organizations are well prepared to continue providing critical business capabilities, even under constrained operational conditions to which crises can lead.
When Covid-19 lockdowns and other restrictions were first implemented in several countries in early 2020, the best-prepared organizations were immediately able to implement well-balanced business continuity plans. . These plans combined factors such as ongoing management and security of physical sites during restrictions, reduction of employee hours or the ability to quickly implement flexible working arrangements for staff, contractors and partners. . This rapid adoption of remote working or “teleworking” – supported by an information system setup ready to integrate new ways of doing business in “downgraded mode” – has proven to be one of the most important aspects. crucial to crisis preparedness.
Transformation: how to adapt to the post-crisis world
All crises, whatever their nature, have one thing in common; they change the world and, by extension, they change the dynamics of global, regional and national economies and the way business is conducted. In the post-crisis world, economies are not simply returning to the status quo of pre-crisis conditions. The changes can be sweeping across society, businesses and governments, and can impact everything from empowering technological progress to reducing or tightening regulatory obligations. The way organizations transact, budget and approve projects, and prepare for future disasters is also subject to permanent change.
This is where the power of a strong and effective business resilience plan lies – it’s not about waiting for the world to return to its pre-crisis state. Instead, a good plan is to position organizations and businesses to learn from developments that have occurred during times of crisis, and to use that knowledge to prepare for them now before the crisis hits. be completely calmed down. In fact, resilience isn’t just about surviving, but being prepared to execute with a clear plan of how to bounce back. The alternative to an effective business resilience plan is much riskier – it is the much less desirable proposition to emerge from the crisis without being prepared for the new post-crisis world.
Throughout the crisis, organizations in the public sector and private industry must reflect on the evolution of their business models, structure, processes, products and even the services they provide. In this context, the role of enterprise architecture is to be willing and able to consider several different scenarios, to relate them to the necessary evolution of IT services, and to be able to communicate this information in a clear and concise manner. to be able to help management make the right decisions. Well-executed enterprise architecture programs are the catalyst for better informed, data-driven decision making.
Enterprise architecture: the heart of resilience
During the 2020 pandemic, enterprise architecture teams were in high demand for the immediate and future migration of enterprise applications to the cloud – based on their criticality, feasibility, security, their budget, their development strategies, etc. accelerate the digitization of processes, such as the signing of distance contracts, for example.
Enterprise architects are part of a multidisciplinary team capable of understanding the structure of the business, as well as the transformation projects that will allow a rapid rebound once the crisis has passed. Enterprise architects can capture business strategy and translate goals into needed business capabilities. While working alongside business analysts, application owners, IT and solution architects, enterprise architects can translate business goals into clearly defined business transformation projects.
As the digitization of businesses accelerates, enterprise architects are increasingly becoming the essential interface between IT and the business at large. In times of crisis, they play a key role in facilitating business continuity by focusing resources on critical organizational capabilities.
A well-designed, results-oriented enterprise architecture function provides a foundation for business resiliency. This is necessary so that organizations are in the best position to survive crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and to thrive after the crisis. This accelerates recovery efforts after the crisis has passed and lays the foundation for making the most of the opportunities offered by the new environment.