Application and Technology Roadmapping has consistently been one of the most popular use cases for Enterprise Architecture over the past few years. Roadmaps are great tools to help guide change in an organization, providing clarity for external stakeholders and a plan of action for implementing technological change.
Given their importance to enterprise architecture, knowing the basics of putting together a roadmap could be a vital first step towards effective change. In this blog post, we’ll break down the 5 key steps you will need to create an attractive, informative application or technology roadmap.
1. Gather necessary information
Before starting any roadmap, you’ll need to know your current state of your technology or application catalog, as a starting point. This will not only include the various applications or technologies in use, but also their lifecycles and relationships to each other. How time consuming this step is will largely depend on whether you already possess a mature enterprise architecture function, or are just getting started. For organizations which already use a tool such as iServer, this can be as simple as loading the data from the central repository.
2. Identify objectives for the project
Naturally, you will also want to have some idea of what you hope to achieve by creating a roadmap. While it will be fairly obvious that a roadmap communicates how a technology or set of applications will change, what is key is how this change aligns with the overall strategic objectives of the firm.
3. Determine the target state
The purpose of a roadmap is to arrive at a destination; this is no less true for a business roadmap as it is a literal one. With that in mind, in order to create an application or technology roadmap you will have to know what technologies or applications are going to be targeted. A good roadmap will also identify alternatives, and work to analyze physical and logical linkages that will be affected in order to minimize any disruption.
4. Perform a Gap Analysis
Most likely, there will be a great deal of space between a starting point for an organization, and their target state. In order to determine how to reach the target, you will need to perform a gap analysis, identifying what resources and processes will be needed to reach the target. While this may sound like an involved, technical process, you won’t actually need to use special frameworks or require specific skills to complete the analysis, though there are some tools you can use to help the analysis.
5. Create the Roadmap
Last but not least is actually putting together the roadmap document, for dissemination amongst the organization and involved stakeholders. This is another area where having an enterprise architecture tool can help, since iServer comes with prebuilt reports and templates for the design of the roadmap, and its linkage to the Microsoft suite makes it easy to use Visio and PowerBI in conjunction with your earlier work.
An Application or Technology Roadmap requires an investment of time and effort, but that does not mean the process itself has to be overly complicated. The 5 steps described above can act as a scaffolding for your efforts, guiding both experienced architects or newcomers. The end result can help to reduce the risks from application or technology change, align digital change with business strategy, and engage stakeholders to the task.