Enamics Lets Companies Build Business-IT Collaboration

A new software program from Enamics helps companies align their IT architecture with business goals.

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

February 8, 2002

4 Min Read

Patrick Flynn thinks building IT architectures should be more like building motor vehicles.

"When we want to build a truck, we start out with CAD models," says Flynn, VP and CIO at truck manufacturer Paccar Inc. "Then we build tabletop models, then we build limited production, full-scale models." Once the models demonstrate that the designs work, actual trucks can be built. That approach incorporates input from both business and engineering every step of the way, "but we weren't doing that on the IT side," he says.

That will soon change as Paccar begins to make greater use of Enamics Inc. software, which is designed to help companies plan and implement IT initiatives that are more closely aligned with business goals. Enamics' Business Technology Management Platform is a combination of modeling software, process methodologies, and repositories of information on best practices, analysis, and research.

Business-technology executives access the software from Web browsers on their desktops and export business cases, blueprints, design specifications, and requests for proposals they've created into Microsoft Word documents, using templates provided by Enamics. Executives also have access to a repository on products from nearly 4,000 vendors, including white papers, reviews, and training information, to aid in vendor evaluation and selection for IT projects.

The $8 billion-a-year truck maker plans to use Enamics' products for initiatives related to customer-relationship management, supply-chain management, and infrastructure consolidation. In CRM, Flynn will be able to build different "if-then" scenarios and visual models using data from Enamics' repositories, plus its own business information, and determine how a particular CRM project would affect customer growth rates or revenue, taking into account things such as the cost of implementations. Once executives agree on a model that works, the software can be used to set technology standards for related projects in the future.

Enamics will provide a vast improvement over Paccar's attempt to develop a business-technology alignment process four years ago, Flynn says. The old process "was terrific in that it involved a lot of people across the business," he says. But what Paccar ended up with were lots of charts, PowerPoint presentations, and Excel spreadsheets that were difficult to update and access. The homegrown approach was used for some projects but ultimately became shelfware, Flynn says. Paccar has acquired two companies in recent years and operates on three continents, so there's a strong need to develop successful process models that can be easily replicated and distributed, he says.

Flynn sits on Enamics' advisory board with a dozen other executives who've taken an interest in the company or started using its offerings, including Ted Della Vecchia, former senior VP and CIO at Starbucks; Ron Griffin, former CIO at Home Depot and now executive VP and CIO at Fleming; Gordon Kerr, executive VP and CIO at Cbeyond Communications; and Barry Shuler, senior VP of information resources, strategy, and planning at Marriott International. Marriott CIO Carl Wilson also sits on Enamics' board of directors, and the hotel chain said in December it was launching a pilot of the Enamics platform.

Enamics facilitates better communication and collaboration, company founder Hoque says.

Enamics was founded in 1999 by chairman and CEO Faisal Hoque; in 1996, he also founded EC Cubed, a developer of Java application components for E-commerce. He left the company just prior to starting Enamics, and EC Cubed folded 18 months later, a dot-com collapse victim that ran out of investor funding. Hoque wrote the book e-Enterprise (Cambridge University Press, 2000), which introduced concepts that were precursors to his Business Technology Management methodologies. "The point of the platform is to facilitate better communication and collaboration between business and IT," Hoque says.

Enamics introduced its products in April 2001 and is now on version 1.5. It's targeting the management software, priced at $150,000 to $200,000, at large companies with complex environments, Hoque says.

Meta Group provided $1.5 million in seed money for Enamics, which employs about 35 people. It also provides much of the research for Enamics customers. The consulting firm funded the company because it offers a unique approach to an age-old problem, Meta CEO Dale Kutnick says. "They've built a process model for managing the creation of a technology architecture based on business requirements," he says. "Consultants do things like this on a custom basis all the time, but it's not repeatable, and they make it up as they go along." Enamics' success will depend on whether potential customers believe in the processes and methodologies it has developed, Kutnick adds.

Paccar's Flynn is a believer, having used the software to develop several IT models. Aligning technology with business goals is like cracking tough code for many IT executives, and they ultimately fail, he says. "An indicator of that is the high turnover in the CIO ranks," he says. "I expect some of that turnover is because [CIOs] don't get it right. They don't crack the code and get in sync from a technology perspective."

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights