The Triple Helix is an emblem for a modern, technology enabled organization. Three strands — people, business, and technology — each supporting and being supported by the other.  

These are at the essence of a reliable Technology Strategy. Understanding the role of each strand and how they relate is critical in the planning of a successful and enabling Technology Roadmap. In this article we'll discuss these strands in the context of our proven 4 step process for building an organization-wide Technology Roadmap.

🧬 The Business Helix

At the core of every organization is a strand that defines its purpose and aspirations. This strand is composed of the company’s needs, objectives, and strategic imperatives. It is the fundamental sequence of ideas that shapes the identity and direction of the company.

By considering the organization’s needs, its leaders can ensure that the business strand provides a strong foundation for all decisions and strategies. It is the starting point for building a technology roadmap, guiding the integration of technological solutions that are attuned to the company’s vision and operational requirements.

🧬 The Technology Helix

The second essential component of an organization’s strategy is the technology strand. This strand encompasses the practical tools and platforms, supported by processes, that enable concrete actions and results. This involves choosing systems that not only address current needs but are also scalable and adaptable to future demands.

Technology must complement and enable business strategies. It should not work in a vacuum but rather in a close relationship with business objectives. Technology is not static, and as such, this strand also involves the management of the technology lifecycle. This includes regular updates, maintenance, and eventual replacement or upgrading of systems. Lifecycle management ensures that technology remains a robust and effective enabler of business strategies.

🧬The Essential Third Helix: The People

Without the people — the leaders, teams, and individuals who drive the mission forward — our helix will collapse. It’s the talent, culture, and collective intelligence of an organization's people that transform strategic vision and technological capability into a living, breathing entity capable of growth and innovation.

People are the catalysts who activate the business vision, interpret the data, operate the technology, and pivot when the environment demands change. They are the agents of transformation who bring empathy to customer service, innovation to product development, and agility to management. An organization's people & change strategy must, therefore, be woven into every step of its broader strategy for implementing a Technology Roadmap.

It is too common in technology planning for organizations to focus on only one of these strands. When selecting a new platform, the long-term strategic needs of the business and the needs of all the people that will interact with the platform can be afterthoughts compared to the burning functional issue that gave rise to the change.  

Differly’s proven four step process to developing a Technology Roadmap, outlined below, is always implemented while keeping all three strands in mind at every stage to ensure a successful and impactful change.

1️⃣Align on North Star

Alignment is the glue that holds the organization together. We begin with alignment, ensuring that everything that follows is thoughtfully considered to support the vision and objectives of the organization.  

Throughout the alignment process the leadership ask the fundamental questions: How does the organization want to grow? What will drive this growth? Are the current structures adequate to support this vision?

2️⃣Identify Business Needs & Prioritize

Here the leadership considers the jobs to be done, identifying the bottlenecks and opportunities that represent the gaps between the current state of the organization and the vision.  

Which touchpoints or operational activities create, support, and deliver value? Do we agree on the ideal member/customer experience (as a north star for this evaluation)? Is there an opportunity to “re-think” certain processes? Which touchpoints or operational activities create, support, and deliver customer value?


3️⃣Map Current State & Tech Ecosystem

In this step we assess the performance of current technologies, refine our understanding of the business processes that the technologies must support, and identify the key integration points between platforms.  

This is where business requirements are leveraged to develop criteria from which new technology will be evaluated. These criteria facilitate an objective options analysis on any new tools or platforms/vendors.  

4️⃣ Build & Implement A New Road Map

Finally, at this stage the organization develops its tech road map, identifying the list of projects and initiatives required for scale and growth.  It involves carefully selecting the right tools, developing relationships with vendors, managing risk, planning for contingencies, and providing oversight and governance of change.  

These four steps to building your technology road map cannot be done without the intertwining of the three helixes:  business, technology, and people. None can succeed in isolation: each twist in one must be mirrored by a corresponding turn in the others two.

As we’ve always said since day one at Differly: technology doesn’t disrupt, people do.  

About the author

Ian Clark

Ian Clark has 20 years of experience leading business growth and innovation in retail and B2C environments supporting a diverse range of functions including operations, procurement, marketing, finance, and IT. For over 10 years his focus has been solving challenging business problems and driving bottom-line impact by leveraging data and digital technologies.

Throughout his career Ian has applied curiosity, creativity, and constant learning to improve business performance and advance the status quo. Ian has extensive experience with data analytics, systems integrations, cloud computing, data engineering, and full-stack web development. He used this knowledge to dramatically improve operational efficiency and introduce operational discipline.

View all of my posts