Jan Bosch is a research center director, professor, consultant and angel investor in startups. You can contact him at jan@janbosch.com.


Business strategy and technology strategy

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Many years ago, together with a few colleagues, I wrote a paper on the BAPO model. The BAPO model says that business and business strategy should drive architecture and technology choices (A). These should, in turn, drive process, ways of working and tooling choices (P). Finally, these should be used to define an organization that makes sense to realize the business and technology strategy (O). Although this model is intuitively very appealing and in many ways makes a lot of sense, the challenge is that it misses an important point: technology is becoming increasingly central in business and the way that companies traditionally work with business strategy is becoming increasingly obsolete.

No matter what business you’re in, you’re a digital technology company. The success of the clothing store Zara is often attributed to its ability to detect trends in fashion and respond to these trends in weeks. The only way it can do this is by using digital technologies. Similarly, banks are huge IT houses and the budget for IT often is on par with, if not larger than, the other functions in a bank. The implication is that developing a business strategy without incorporating technology is impossible and makes no sense. Instead, the technology and business strategy are so tightly interwoven that these need to become one and the same.

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