Based on our conversations with CIOs and technology leaders, we’ve uncovered four steps every enterprise can follow to redesign and modernize architecture:
1. Slim the core
Start by developing a global strategy – tied closely to business objectives – for a strong but slim core. This frees up funding for outer, value-generating layers and micro applications. Though the core is centrally managed, this approach delivers the agility needed to support specific teams, regions, or functions.
“Markets often want to do things faster than corporate can implement, but it’s crucial to have a global framework. Major decisions are made globally, then rolled out to local markets – but all technology decisions are connected to a business case. Working with strategic partners, we also decided to move to an integrated operations strategy. Now, our organization is operating 90% the same globally.” – Technology leader at a multinational consumer goods company.
2. Weave a data fabric
Data is now a first-class citizen. Its value has risen exponentially as it forms the foundation for applying advanced analytics and AI, driving predictive insights and intelligent recommendations that guide better business decisions. In the modern enterprise architecture, the data fabric connects the slim core and outer layers – bringing these valuable insights to all areas of the business.
The data fabric should encompass data discovery, quality, cleansing, governance, and security. However, data engineering is a new skill for many that must develop. To build this expertise, leading CIOs are focusing on upskilling employees and improving data literacy. In fact, our research shows that 82% of CIOs are building a company culture of data-driven decision-making.
“We’re leveraging advanced and predictive analytics for growth. That all comes down to data. It’s essential for organizations to have a shared architecture between systems and data – bringing water to the pipes, so to speak – so data runs through your IT infrastructure. An intelligent component is also crucial, with AI bringing fragmented ecosystems all together.” – CIO of a multinational consumer goods company
3. Build systems of engagement and systems of intelligence
CIOs are investing heavily in systems of engagement and systems of intelligence – in other words, outer layers that enable innovation and experimentation and deliver the most business value. These are typically cloud-based, decentralized software-as-a-service (SaaS) offerings that integrate with the core systems of record. With this approach, anything created locally can also be shared globally.
Employees use systems of engagement to get their jobs done. They create better experiences by automating time-consuming tasks, orchestrating processes, and improving productivity – enabling employees to focus on higher, value-added work. Systems of intelligence help enterprises better understand customer behavior and capitalize on business opportunities. This could include predicting demand and ensuring the right product is available for the right customer at the right time.
“We have a company app store with ratings. This means teams in Vietnam, for instance, can see what was built in Austria and don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Put simply, the more you get inside, the more it is standardized.” – Chief digital and technology officer at a leading beverage company
4. Act today and plan for tomorrow with cloud and microservices
Enterprise architecture redesign is no small task, so futureproofing is key. Many CIOs are adopting cloud-first mindsets by migrating data centers and re-platforming applications
for the cloud. A partner who can support this evolution – and who understands the cloud foundation on which this must stand – is crucial.
Cloud-based microservices enable agility too. These smaller, more localized applications connect to an established architecture to perform a single task for specific teams or business entities. They can be developed, deployed, scaled, removed, or updated easily and rapidly. Moreover, microservices support experimentation within a defined framework. Developers can test new features, solutions, and services – without affecting the rest of the ecosystem.
“Companies are embracing the cloud but they’re not trying to reinvent the wheel; rather, they are leveraging new cloud functionality to innovate elements that add business value. We decided that everything we develop would be in the cloud. In fact, we do not envision using any type of data center in the future that is not in the cloud.” – CIO of an international engineering company