Foresight and Technology Strategy: Navigating the Future
We’ve explored the first two principles of the Triangle of Value-Driven Operationalization (TVO) LINK – Systems Engineering (SE) LINK and Enterprise Architecture (EA) LINK. Now, let’s examine the final component completing this strategic framework: Foresight and Technology Strategies (F&TS).
While SE focuses on correctly constructing solutions (building the thing right) through rigorous requirements analysis and testing, and EA provides the business-driven roadmap for those systems (building the right thing), F&TS ensures we build things sustainably with foresight for changing future demands. F&TS feeds resulting strategic insights to Enterprise Architects and Systems Engineers.
Exploring alternative scenarios facilitates adaptability-focused planning and requirements gathering. This is how our TVO blueprint is completed.
F&TS supplies the third indispensable ingredient for the TVO formula by scoping strategic technology plans aligned to enterprise objectives both now and in the future. F&TS can help agencies align technology investments and evolution with long-term strategic goals.
SE and EA are focused on constructing solutions along the defined roadmap. F&TS informs the roadmap itself by scanning the horizon for obstacles and new opportunities. It oversees long-range planning, so organizations aren't just operationalizing short-term aims but positioning for True Success over time.
For example, F&TS identifies crucial future capabilities like increased supply chain transparency. It feeds these insights to Enterprise Architects to evolve architecture and systems engineers to develop solutions supporting strategic positions for the future. F&TS illuminates the path, so TVO sustains value delivery.
Foresight is not about predicting the future but structurally analyzing trends to gain insights and position organizations effectively. F&TS identifies strategic risks, opportunities, and future-proofing considerations by scoping potential scenarios and tracking macro forces. This allows proactively evolving systems and architecture.
Core F&TS tenets help orient technological efforts for long-term success:
"Curate once, reuse multiple times" – This focuses on leveraging and enhancing existing technical assets rather than rebuilding from scratch. Identify frameworks, software components, architectures, and platforms that can be repurposed or integrated to deliver new capabilities. Technical debt and maintenance costs grow when systems are recreated versus reusing and optimizing current investments. F&TS guides maximizing Return on Investment (ROI) from curated technological building blocks
Reduce organizational drift – This keeps systems and processes tightly aligned to evolving business objectives and reduces technical debt. Architecture and systems can drift into disjointed misalignment as enterprise priorities and needs shift over time. This reduces responsiveness to new market demands or developments. F&TS provides governance and oversight to maintain technology-strategy integration. It ensures systems enable evolving capabilities versus being divergent from core goals. This tenet also addresses the misalignment between legacy government systems and evolving mission objectives. The image below gives a visual of the drift
Prepare for disruption – This enables enterprises to architect technological agility to handle changing markets, innovations, and external forces. F&TS informs strategies for tech modernization and integration of innovations like blockchain, AI/ML, quantum computing, etc. Systems are intentionally designed for adaptability and upgradeability to handle disruption. F&TS guides requirements and architecture planning to hedge against future uncertainty from new competition or policy changes
Let's examine a retail business example to demonstrate F&TS principles in action. A retailer has established an advanced omnichannel architecture, with online, mobile, and in-store shopping experiences built on a shared customer-centric platform. This required harmonizing and evolving previous disjointed systems with future adaptability in mind.
F&TS continuously scans the horizon for disruptive innovations that may further transform shopping. For example, it identifies emerging virtual and augmented reality technologies allowing customers to digitally try on clothes or visualize products in their homes. Rather than building one-off apps in silos, F&TS guides integrating these new capabilities into the established architecture. The shared omni-channel platform provides APIs and development capabilities to deploy new realities-enhanced mobile features rapidly.
In this example, F&TS ensured the architecture was designed to withstand disruption, avoiding disjointed systems sprawl when new innovations emerge. It will continue steering strategic plans to assimilate cutting-edge technologies into established platforms. This illustrates how F&TS principles power sustainable progress.
Revisiting the TVO triangle, EA provides the business-driven models for system development guided by SE. F&TS scans the horizon, charting the future coordinates for optimization. It oversees sustainable progress transcending technological fads.
In today’s fast-moving marketplace, anchoring innovation to enduring enterprise objectives is critical. F&TS completes the TVO framework, supplying a vision for operationalizing systems that meet both immediate needs and future trajectories (aka value-driven operationalization). It steers organizations confidently toward True Success along with technology leadership working across organizational silos to optimize investments and capabilities holistically.
With foundational overviews of SE, EA, and F&TS complete, we now have the essential components framing the Triangle of Value-driven Operationalization (TVO).
The fundamentals of our triangle are now in place. Next, we’ll examine methodologies demonstrating the interconnected power of SE, EA, and F&TS in action. The journey towards fully illuminating the path to operational excellence continues! We’ll explore topics like strategic thinking, increasing deployment success of AI systems at the enterprise level, digital engineering, and more through the lens of TVO to showcase practical applications that drive True Success. I welcome your thoughts as we traverse this road together. Let’s connect and converse.
Special thanks to the amazing contributors to this article: James Eselgroth