Companies putting together enterprise architecture initiatives should take some tips from their design team, say research firm Gartner.
This is part of an approach the research firm is promoting called "hybrid thinking."
Hybrid thinking aims to fuse the concepts of design thinking and enterprise architecture. Design thinking is the name given to the approach product developers deploy when creating a new product, and entails keeping the customer in mind throughout the development process.
Nicholas Gall, VP and distinguished analyst at Gartner said, hybrid thinking is the concept of melding design, IT and business thinking to produce strategic changes.
“We are seeing several leading companies combining design and other thinking methods, including more traditional approaches, to drive transformative, innovative and strategic change.”
“By integrating design thinking, which is already very popular in business circles but is virtually unknown in IT circles, enterprise architects can focus on the right tempo of operations, enabling them to centre their outcomes on influencing people, rather than systems.”
He gave the example of Apple’s iPhone, claiming that rather than packing in lots of new technology and presenting it in the form of a handset, Apple’s product designers focused on improving the user experience.
“Designers can turn the mundane into desirable,” said Gall. He added that the iPhone designers set about creating a “human set of experiences” to make sure they create a “pull” to the product that they’ve designed, rather than a “push”.
Early adopters of hybrid thinking include Proctor & Gamble and Kaiser Permanente. Kaiser Permanente redesigned shift changes for nurses and the result was higher-quality knowledge transfer and reduced prep-time, permitting earlier and better-informed contact with patients.
“The outcome of a hybrid thinking approach can be a meaningful business strategy that is both technologically feasible and economically sustainable,” said Mr Gall.
“Applying hybrid thinking to EA initiatives will help refocus on the central issue – ensuring that outcomes are human centred, and are meaningful to those who create and use them.”