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BPI ‘To-Be’ Technology Architecture – Design High Level Phase

Blog: Biz-Performance, David Brown

BPI ‘To-Be’ Technology Architecture – Design High Level Phase

BPI To Be Technology Model - Design High Level Phase.png


  • Conception, design,     and documentation of a new technology ‘blueprint’ (that meets or     exceeds performance targets). This deliverable has four primary components:   
    • Target IT Architecture: Listing and location of the workstations, host computer systems, local area network servers, network communications infrastructure, system/ network management facilities and security features, and the architectural boundaries and constraints.
    • Target Application Architecture: Identification of the suite of applications that enable the new processes, the locations of these applications and the interfaces required between them   
    • Target Data Architecture: Identification of the data to be used by the organization and the flow of data within the organization       
    • Target IT Organization: Design of the IT unit’s structure and functions, the skills and experience required of its people, IT management practices, outsourcing or third-party maintenance required, and any new physical infrastructure supporting the ‘To-Be’ technology. (This must be coordinated closely with the “To-Be” HR Model which will be building the overall structure of the organization.)   

Customer Value

  • An adequate IT infrastructure and organization must be in place to support the client organization in working in accordance with the newly designed business processes.    
  • Management requires this information to make the investment decisions that will enable the new processes. Without a clear definition at this point of the envisioned future architecture, further process design work is hindered by a lack of knowledge of the target (i.e. anticipated) capabilities of the IT infrastructure to support these processes.    


The ‘To-Be’ Technology Architecture identifies all technologies (current/new) that are to be employed to support the redesigned processes. It is important not only to identify the technologies to be employed, but also to state clearly the impact that these technologies will have on the process workflow and on the organization in general. Since at least one technology specialist typically participates as a member of the process design team, the work of identifying how technology can improve the redesigned processes ultimately begins as part of the ‘To-Be’ Process Model design workshops.
  1. Identify potential uses of new technologies.
    1. When an ‘end-to-end’ representation of the ‘ideal’ process has been defined, the design team considers the impact that proposed technology can have on the work flow. Technology ideas identified as part of the Best Practice Comparisons serve as a prime source of information e.g. regarding which technologies are feasible and which are not. (The development of ‘To-Be’ Process Model often goes though a number of iterations, taking into     consideration the feasibility and cost of various technology options.)       
  2. Identify technology requirements, and develop architecture schematics.   
    1. Technology requirements should specify the type of equipment needed, the locations of corporate data (and how access to that data is obtained) as well as the geographical locations where technology support is required. Performance levels should be specified, including availability and response time, and any known requirements for unusual levels of support (e.g. maintenance of ‘knowledge-based system’ rules).            
    2. Technology requirements should be sufficiently detailed to enable high-level estimates (using assumptions) of development and capital-acquisition costs.            
  3. Document implications of the architecture on the redesigned processes and organization.
  4. Present the ‘To-Be’ Technology Architecture to senior management for review and approval.



  • Have the design team develop alternate technology scenarios if the team is unable to agree on a significant element of the new design. The External Consultant should have the team compare alternative architectures (high level) to design principles and objectives and evaluate the merit of these architectures in later tasks.
  • If the design team is not sufficiently adept at making use of technology to enable changes in workflow, consider conducting a workshop on ‘Innovative Use of Technology’ (e.g., bar coding, pen-based technologies, hand-held units, imaging, knowledge-based systems, etc.). This will expand the perspective of team members unfamiliar with technology opportunities and will challenge assumptions and constraints of the current physical environment.
  • Further analysis may be required to complete a preliminary determination of the feasibility of the proposed technology. In situations where the potential capital investment is large or where the technology is new to the marketplace (e.g. considered ‘leading edge’), consider giving a demonstration to determine the viability of the technology.
  • During a large scale BPI effort, more than one process will be redesigned. Sometimes the redesign of these processes is sequential and other times in parallel. Often technology requirements will impact many of the business processes undergoing redesign, if not all. Care must be taken to understand how technology improvements will impact all redesign efforts, both current and future. The redesign team should be aware of technology advancements that can be shared across several business processes being redesigned.

Tactics/Helpful Hints

  • Explore the possibilities of outsourcing certain elements of the technology support.


  • The development of the ‘To-Be’ Technology Architecture and its subsequent communication to senior management should not be left to the External Consultant team alone. Customer participation in all design team activities is important to establish a sense of ‘ownership’ of the solutions. It is also essential for organizations that are interested in skills transfer as a means of building an internal BPI capability.
  • It is essential that one or more individuals possessing a broad IT background participate as full-time members of process redesign teams during the creation of this deliverable.   
  • In some cases, establish a Technology Working Committee to provide a forum for review and discussion of all major technology issues. Committee members should have cross-functional representation and should be prepared to act as ‘change agents’ to help implement the new technology.

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