The Experience Economy

This blog posting focuses on the influence of the concept “Experience Economy” to the role IT Architect. It describes what the concept means and how it can assist the IT Architect in achieving the long-term IT strategy.

Introduction

One of the trends that influence the role of IT Architect is the concept of Experience Economy. Every product that is offered on the market derives from a commodity, the lowest level in economical value. The third layer in the economical value describes the service added to a product on top of the product itself.

Experience Economy describes a fourth layer of economical value, on top of the service layer. The concept of experience economy describes that the creation of an experience on top of a product and its support plays a role in the perception of the product to the customer. A product can be supplied within time, budget and scope requirements, but still be perceived as mediocre.

IT Architecture and experience economy

The role of an IT Architect is one with many faces, communicating with many different stakeholders within an organisation like business management, technical engineers, project managers and programmers and support personal. The IT Architect has a long-term vision of the IT requirements and solutions of the organisation. Usage and adoption of this IT strategy normally requires good knowledge of many aspects of IT, thus hard to comprehend for all layers in an organisation.

The concept of experience economy can assist the role of IT architect in two ways; becoming a trusted partner of all layers within the organisation when it comes to IT and therefore obtaining the resources to realize the long-term IT strategy. The former can be achieved by keeping key players within an organisation informed about short and long-term IT goals. This can best be done using techniques that make these goals comprehendible for non-IT personal, e.g. using graphical or audio-visual views of IT systems. Second method of achieving a trusted partner relationship can be to provide quick-wins to key players within an organisation, e.g. short-term solutions that have a high added value to a customer but can be implemented quickly.

The latter can be achieved by using this role of trusted IT partner of the key players within the organisation to shape the IT landscape to conform to the IT strategy. When the architect is in the drivers seat of the IT within an organisation, the architect has more freedom to start new projects, change existing systems, set IT standard and even change IT personal, all with the goal to realize the IT strategy. If the architect is not in charge of IT and its surrounding factors, the achievement of the long-term goals will be harder or even impossible.

The role of IT architect being the thought leader of IT within an organisation is vital to achieve the goals set by the IT architect and organisation. Using the principles of the experience economy the primary goal of achieving the organisations IT strategy will be made easier and therefore should be considered as secondary goal or means to achieve the primary goals.

Conclusion

In my view the concept of experience economy is important to the role of IT Architect. The abstractness of IT makes it hard to understand by many stakeholders within an organisation. Using the principles of the experience economy by not purely focussing on IT related goals but also address the way these goals achieved. In this process the explanation of IT related issues to non-technical people will assist in realizing the organisations IT strategy.

It’s not just the result that matters, it’s also the way the result was achieved that shapes the perception of a product.

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