Applying the Enterprise Architecture to the task of choosing between options.

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BLOG - Option selectionIndecision in selecting which of a number of options is the best one to throw at a business problem or situation which demands a response can be rife when insufficient information is available to the person responsible for its making.

Having a repository of relevant information and guidelines on how it can be applied to support the selection process raises the confidence level that the decision, when made, is the best that it can be.

When confronted with multiple options, having a set of criteria against which quantitative or binary measures can be applied, simplifies the selection process.

Example selection criteria that can be applied are:

  • Does this option align with the strategic direction of the business? (Yes/No)
  • How many and which processes will be affected by the introduction of this option?
  • How many systems interfaces can be reused and is there any redundancy?
  • Will this option run on our current technology set? (Yes/No)
  • Does the business have to skills to operate and support this option (Yes/No)
  • Will this option run on our target technology set? (Yes/No)
  • What will be the financial costs of implementing this option?
  • What is the expected Total Cost of Ownership?
  • What is the expected benefit of implementing this option? (benefit need not be just financial)
  • Does adopting this option have any negative impacts on the business and if so what are they?

Applying a set of selection criteria, weighted to reflect their relative importance to the decision maker, a decision on which of the many options best meets the needs of the business can be made.

The repository in which the Enterprise Architecture is expressed can provide access to the measures against which many of these criteria can be assessed.

The Enterprise Architecture can also, through the application of appropriate Value Chains, provide a mechanism by which the processes used within by any given option can be assessed and potentially ‘tweaked’ to provide an improved outcome.

Ultimately when presented with multiple options to a problem a selection must be made. This may even be the selection is the ‘null’ option (rejection of all). The end result should be a business that is either better placed than it was or at least no worse.

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