Making Alfabet your own

Configuring Alfabet for Best Fit and Best Practices in IT Transformation

An IT transformation program supporting business transformation is a ground-breaking program that  will introduce new IT processes, change or retire existing processes, define new roles and responsibilities, and involve a broad and far-reaching range of stakeholders.

Issue 2, 2017 Download PDF

Introduction

“It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it that matters.” This simple observation of life can most certainly apply to IT initiatives and programs that attempt to change the status quo and involve many stakeholders from different parts of the enterprise. Business- focused IT transformation initiatives are a good example. These aim at planning and monitoring the performance of IT support for business as it is changing and throughout its lifecycle – ensuring that business strategy and demands are understood, prioritized and executed on, and that the costs, quality and risks to IT support are known and considered during decision-making. They are a facilitator for the team of planners, strategists, architects, portfolio managers and the CIO office tasked with IT transformation and enable them to transform business vision into successful projects and reliable operations.

An IT transformation program supporting business transformation is a ground-breaking program that will introduce new IT processes, change or retire existing processes, define new roles and responsibilities, and involve a broad and far-reaching range of stakeholders. At a certain stage of maturity in an IT transformation initiative, it will be necessary to employ software to be able to manage the complexities of the program. In the “Buy or Build” question, many will decide to look for a standard software solution which, in an enterprise setting, “usually” will provide the advantages of:

  • Faster time to desired results
  • Lower overall cost of development and ownership
  • Better software quality
  • Consultants with experience in similar programs
  • Sustainable deployment

However, standard software can become a straightjacket if it can’t be configured to meet company needs. In IT transformation there are several reasons why only a highly configurable solution will or should come into question:

Business-focused IT transformation is a collaborative activity involving many stakeholders. Decisive and agile IT planning and management requires current and accurate information on a wide range of issues. This necessitates contributions from many stakeholders who are diverse in type and large in number. Data cannot be collected automatically by software alone and information will be out of date quickly if it is left only to the IT planners to gather it. Business analysts, application owners, project managers, solution architects, enterprise architects, IT staff and staff involved in IT risk and IT finance all have a piece of the information important to IT planning and management decisions. The software used to garner this information must be appealing to each and every stakeholder in look and feel, relevance of information to the task at hand, and provide clear procedures for carrying out the task.

Business-focused IT transformation requires high data integrity. For the reasons cited above, data quality is important. A vital part of implementing an IT transformation solution is being able to control who has access to which software functionality and who can make changes to data. Related to this is the issue of security. Because business-targeted IT transformation involves documenting business strategies, goals and capabilities, and managing the project portfolio, a lot of information in the system can be considered sensitive information that not everyone should see. The configuration of user profiles, roles and rights regulates this access. Not only the large number of users involved in IT transformation in large enterprises but, in particular, the constant change in responsibilities and the fluctuating context of information, necessitates flexible definition of personas in an IT transformation solution. The high number of users in a large enterprise also makes for a high number of interpretations of what the information is being used for and how it is to be maintained. Data integrity rules and conventions are an important part of an IT transformation solution and also need to be configurable to fit organizational policies and definitions of the individual enterprise.

Business-focused IT transformation governs the IT planning and investment process. Especially in an environment of constant change and uncertainty, decision-making processes should be neither ambiguous nor slow. This requires standard processes to guarantee consistency and efficiency. The ability to create automated workflows to anchor consistent and efficient processes into the enterprise is important. Automated workflows ensure alignment with policies and timelines to maintain governance and keep IT up-to-speed in the demand and portfolio processes. The configurability of workflows is also important to be able to reflect the process and organizational models of individual enterprises.

Business-focused IT transformation is interesting to auditors. Because it involves critical decision-making processes and brings so much information together for effective decision-making, auditors can use the information in an IT transformation solution to answer a lot of questions. Examples are: Which applications are SOX-compliant? Which data is GDPR-relevant? Are project risk management processes established and being adhered to? The ability to configure special reports for auditors makes it easier for them to understand the IT transformation information. The ability to extend the meta-model to include data that is relevant to auditors can ensure they get the specific information they need.

 


For flexibility in adoption within your organization
Define, shape and extend basic use cases to establish a meaningful and sustainable integrated IT portfolio management practice.



For tailor-made views and handling
Ensure stakeholder engagement by configuring for best fit and optimizing as things change.




For orchestration across diverse areas of involvement
Sophisticated, configurable wizards, surveys and workflows to contribute collaboratively.

In summary, configuration contributes to efficiency of the product, the effectiveness of the software implementation, the productivity of those working with the product, the value the enterprise gets out of the product and, ultimately, the success of the IT transformation program.

While Alfabet has a rich meta-model, a wealth of standard reports, standardized workflows, and out-of-the-box templates and roles, Software AG recognizes the importance of being able to fit the product to the company’s needs. Alfabet is a solution that increases its value to customers with configuration.

This series will describe the configuration possibilities in Alfabet. Stay tuned!