Technological Ecosystem Maps for IT Governance: Application to a Higher Education Institution

Technological Ecosystem Maps for IT Governance: Application to a Higher Education Institution

Rafael Molina-Carmona (Universidad de Alicante, Spain), Patricia Compañ-Rosique (Universidad de Alicante, Spain), Rosana Satorre-Cuerda (Universidad de Alicante, Spain), Carlos J. Villagrá-Arnedo (Universidad de Alicante, Spain), Francisco J. Gallego-Durán (Universidad de Alicante, Spain) and Faraon Llorens-Largo (Universidad de Alicante, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-0905-9.ch003
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Abstract

Technological ecosystems are a widespread solution to address the challenges of the information technologies in organizations. It is important to have tools to correctly and quickly evaluate them. The Technological Ecosystem Map (TEmap) is a tool to intuitively interpret complex information maintaining both a global and a detailed vision of the technologies. It is a polygonal and structured representation of the main elements of the ecosystem. Each element is evaluated according to its maturity level, indicating how it contributes to fulfil the organization objectives. Each maturity level is represented by a colour, so that the TEmap takes the form of a heat map. The particular case of the University of Alicante is chosen to illustrate its construction. The TEmap is a simple but powerful way to identify the strengths and weaknesses of a technological ecosystem and the possible actions to improve the solution to the strategic questions of the organization.
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Introduction

The information technology governance (IT governance) is one of the main processes to be implemented in an organization to respond to the technological challenges of current times. IT governance is a high level process in which decision-making has become very critical since decisions that can lead to the whole organization success or failure. A reasoned and informed decision-making is based on the ability of the organization to anticipate events, collect and analyse internal and external data, and transform them into complete and useful information and knowledge. In this context, powerful information representation tools can help organizations to better know their internal situation and their environment. The key question is how to represent the huge quantity of information in an agile and intuitive way so that decisions can be made maintaining both a global and a detailed vision of the organization.

The current trend in organizations to address the IT problems is conceiving the technological solutions as an ecosystem. By analogy with natural ecosystems, a technological ecosystem is a community of methods, policies, regulations, applications, and people teams that coexist in the organization, so that their processes are interrelated and their implementation is based on the physical factors of the technological environment. All the elements and their relations make up together a very complex heterogeneous system, very difficult to manage and evaluate as a whole. The complicated nature of ecosystems makes them affordable from many levels so that it is particularly difficult to know where the organization is in the process of the ecosystem development.

In this chapter, the question to be answered is whether it is possible to evaluate the situation of the technological ecosystem of an organization at a glance, by representing the information in a simple and intuitive manner but maintaining the richness of the original information. To respond this question, the Technological Ecosystem Maps (TEmaps) are presented. A TEmap is a polygonal representation of the main elements of a technological ecosystem. It is divided into levels (levels of abstraction from which to study the ecosystem), facets (basic principles that guide the organization and are transferred to the technological ecosystem) and components (specific aspects that are affected by the technological ecosystem). Each component, at each facet, studied from each level, is evaluated according to its maturity level. To do so, a maturity model is required so that it can be measured how good the element of the ecosystem is to fulfil the required objectives. Each maturity level is represented by a colour, so that the TEmap finally takes the form of a heat map.

To illustrate the construction of the TEmap of an organization, the process is applied to a particular institution. The case of the University of Alicante is selected since the authors are university professors and responsible of the IT services of this university during the definition of its technological ecosystem. As an example, a whole facet, Open Knowledge, is built, including the assignment of maturity levels and the identification of the main strategies, operational decisions and projects.

TEmaps are an easy-to-build tool that gives a global vision and a diagnosis about the situation of the technological ecosystem of the organization. They allow the detection of colour patterns that provide global information about the organization situation and the strengths and weaknesses of its ecosystem.

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