Cannes Conference Day 2: Proactively Engaging in the Transformation Process Paramount for Enterprise Architects

By The Open Group Conference Team

After the conference’s first night on the French Riviera, Day 2 of the Cannes Conference continued with the theme of transformation. The first plenary session led by Dr. Saeed Al Daheri, IT director of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), examined how one of the world’s emerging countries emphasized the alignment of IT and strategy.

MOFA wanted to increase performance by building up process, people and technology. Dr. Al Daheri was in charge of this project and decided to focus on three key initiatives: establishing EA, building IT capacity and running quick wins. MOFA wanted its Enterprise Architecture (EA) program to become central to the operation of IT and to have a mandate over all domains of the enterprise, including business strategy all the way down to business processes. EA provided the foundation to align IT and business, which was considered to be of paramount importance.

As with most major transformations within an organization, Dr. Al Daheri and his team faced several key challenges, which included leadership endorsement, recruitment and IT culture and the traditional view of IT. Through clear communication and education, the project received a top-down mandate that helped them receive buy-in from key stakeholders, which was essential for success. Regarding recruiting, the skills of an architect were hard to come by, especially one who speaks Arabic, so in order to succeed the IT department added 10 new positions to support this initiative and created a training program to develop the skill of existing staff. And finally through more proactive engagement with the rest of MOFA and by anticipating business needs and outlining clear roles and responsibilities, IT was able to work hand-in-hand with the business to achieve the ultimate goal of increased performance.

Through careful planning and proper implementation, MOFA was able to reduce vendor selection to 5 weeks, realize 26% cost savings and reduce project time by 17% – truly transformative results that were achieved through IT and business alignment.

A New Approach to EA: Less Thinking, More Doing

In the second plenary session, Peter Haviland, chief architect and head of business architecture within Ernst & Young‘s Advisory Services, along with two colleagues, Mick Adams and Garth Emrich, presented “World-Class EA 2012: Less Thinking, More Doing.” There’s a lot of talk of enterprise transformation, but how involved are enterprise architects in this process? Haviland started the presentation by asking the question, “How many architects are truly seeking out proactive opportunities?”

Haviland argued that EA is in prime position to help transform organizations through the improvement of the execution of strategy across business functions and the investment in process, tools, training and IT. But in order to do so, architects need to seek out opportunities to become a crucial part of enterprise transformation. Haviland listed out four questions that architects need to ask themselves to become more proactive.

  • What’s the context? Understanding the context of the situation is key to enabling enterprise transformation. EAs need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, rather than purely focusing on building models. This will ensure alignment with the overall business strategy.
  • How do you flex your capability? Once you have completed your situational analysis, how can your skills translate into producing the desired results? Using your skills to help the enterprise achieve its goal of enterprise transformation will ultimately raise the visibility of EA within your organization.
  • What are the risks, opportunities and costs? E&Y recently completed a global survey that explored the top 10 risks that can be turned into opportunities, with the number one risk being regulation and compliance. It’s essential to understand the risks, opportunities and costs before embarking on enterprise transformation, for that is where the biggest gains can be realized.
  • If I’m an architect, what do I want to own? Assess the project and determine where your skill set will provide the biggest overall impact. This will allow you to provide the most value as an architect and set you up for success.

Being more proactive will help architects not only become a more integral part of your organization, but it will also establish EA as a key driver of enterprise transformation.

How to Create Value in the FACE™ of Shrinking Government Budgets

Improving performance while cutting costs – this is the mandate of most organizations these days, including governments. While budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) budget require them to scale back on new platforms and funding for military technology procurements, the need for civilian safety and military performance continues to be a top priority. But how can the DoD do more with less?

Judy Cerenzia, The Open Group program director for the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium, and Kirk Avery, chief software architect for Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, addressed this question during final plenary session of the day. This session examined how FACE was able to help the DoD and the avionics industry provide complex mission capability faster in an environment of shrinking budgets.

In order to achieve this goal, FACE saw the need to transform the operating environment by developing a common operating environment (COE) to support applications across multiple DoD avionics systems – something that had never been done before. After reaching out to the DoD and other stakeholders including corporations that produce military components, FACE concluded that a successful COE would enable real time operating systems, stability, competition to prevent vendor lock-in, the ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions and a system life that spans many years.

With this in mind, FACE set out to develop a non-proprietary open environment that enabled a flexible software open systems architecture. The hard work of the consortium, which was established in June 2010, resulted in the creation of the FACE Business Guide and the recently released FACE Technical Standard. Both deliverables have helped the DoD and the avionics industry achieve their goal of providing complex mission capability faster with less budget and realize other benefits that include:

  • Reduction of time to field capabilities of new technologies
  • Interoperable software components within the environment
  • Portability of software components across an avionics platforms
  • Reduction of integration effort, schedule and cost
  • Enablement of truly open software components in existing and future avionics systems

Transformation within the government is quite an accomplishment, and FACE is looking to further develop common operating environments through continued collaboration between government and the avionics industry.

A Day 2 video recap by Peter Haviland will be published soon. To view the full list of conference sessions, please visit http://www3.opengroup.org/cannes2012

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Filed under Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, FACE™, TOGAF®

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