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Extinct Pandas

When I look at giant pandas it seems completely obvious on what side of the extinction ledger they are gonna fall, regardless of how damn adorable they are. After all, they have evolved to rely almost completely on a single food source. When the habitats that support that food source start to disappear, so do our furry friends.

The longer I look at technology strategy and architecture, the more it starts to look like a panda. This crucial service is unknowingly at risk because the habitat it has evolved to operate in is fast disappearing. Supernova will pioneer the unbundling of strategy and architecture as a way of adapting and thriving in this changing environment.

The species currently lives in a time and materials habitat.

If you're a client that thinks there are different ways to engage the market for strategy and architecture services, I might be about to disappoint you.

Be they contractor, consultancy or technology services provider, all work is priced on a time and materials basis. This means that clients pay per-hour, per-resource for the work required.

Every "outcomes-based" engagement I've either been involved in delivering or purchasing is still priced on the effort required to deliver the outcome under time and materials. The underlying operating model of providers are all built on individual chargeable resources billing at a rate and volume sufficient to cover company overheads and margin targets.

A time and materials habitat is not sustainable.

The public sector has now been in a static funding environment for nearly ten years. Every year CPI and REM increases eat away at what little discretionary spending remains. Even with a new government, extra spending is targeted at specific front-line services. Corporate Services (where centralised technology budget often resides) is a prime target for cost saving initiatives to address any service delivery shortfalls.

The commercial sector has more flexibility in this regard. As they grow they can allocate extra funding where they please. However, most successful commercial orgainsations also exercise prudent financial management, seeking some degree of return on investment across spend categories, including technology.

But prossibly the worst thing about a time and materials engagement is that it locks smaller organisations out of the market for strategy and architecture services. The very entities with the most scarce funding are those that typically don't do the type of planning that would ensure resources are put to best use.

Extinction of the species will harm the whole ecosystem.

The worst response to these shrinking resources is to eliminate strategy and architecture from the value chain entirely and "just deliver".

Strategy and architecture is important because it supports good decision-making and best use of scarce resources. Anyone who's gone into environments that skip over the technology thinking and planning that strategy and architecture support will find themselves in a muddled environment that struggles to support the broader business goals and objectives. In these organisations sound investment decisions are often a matter of good luck instead of good decisions.

Organisations that recognise the value of strategy and architecture have far greater confidence their technology investments are supporting the direction of their organisation and that they are spending scarce funds on the right things at the right time.

Adapting to new habitats is what smart species do to survive.

I think strategy and architecture services can adapt. The model is not new, but I've yet to see it applied in this domain.

To survive, strategy and architecture services must unbundle. The integrated value chain must be deconstructed and presented as a series of interrelated, but discreet service offerings.

  • Unbunding gives clients greater control over the strategy and architecture activities they need.

  • Unbundling makes it easy for clients to get specific outcomes at a genuine fixed price.

  • Unbundling allows organisations of all sizes to access strategy and architecture services that were previously unaffordable.

Supernova will offer unbundled strategy and architecture services for clients that want a new way of delivering value. Come and talk to us about how unbundling can support the development of technology strategy and architecture in your organisation.

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