Monthly Archives: April 2013

What is Business Architecture?

By Allen Brown, President and CEO, The Open Group

I have heard and read the opinions of a number of people about what is Business Architecture, as I am sure many of us have but I wanted to understand it from the perspective of people who actually had Business Architect in their job title.  So I wrote to 183 people in Australia and New Zealand and asked them.

I chose Australia and New Zealand because of our conference in Sydney that was coming up at the time.  It is also worth mentioning that when counting the number of individuals in each country who have achieved TOGAF®9 certification, Australia is ranked 4th in the world and New Zealand is 20th.

I explained that I had thought of constructing a survey instrument but I always think that such an approach is only really suitable when you want to measure opinion on things that you know.  Since I really wanted to have an open mind, I asked everyone for their thoughts and provided a small number of open questions that showed the sort of thing I was interested in learning.

These were:

  • What is Business Architecture in the context of your organization?
  • Do you have Enterprise Architects in your organization? If so, what is it that you do that they do not? If not, how do you see Business Architecture differently from Enterprise Architecture?
  • Who do you report to? Is your line of reporting up to the CIO, the COO if you have one, or other senior level person?
  • How is Business Architecture perceived in your organization?

 It would also help me if I knew something about your organization.
  • Which industry are you in? e.g. IT, Oil, Finance, Healthcare, National or Local Government, etc.?
  • Is your organization primarily a consumer of Business Architecture or a supplier? e.g. consultant, trainer, vendor etc.
  • What type of organization do you work in? e.g. a for-profit entity, a government department, a charity, etc.
  • How big is the organization? Some idea of revenue or budget, number of employees – doesn’t have to be precise. You could just say small, medium or large.
  • How many Business Architects, Enterprise Architects or other architects are there in your organization?

And perhaps a little about yourself.
  • Your background e.g. Operations, Business Analysis, Project Management, IT, Finance etc.
  • Were you recruited for the role or did you develop into it?
  • I don’t wish to take up too much of your time but anything you can share would be very helpful. And please feel free to add anything else that you feel is relevant.

I have so far received 24 responses which is what I was hoping for but I am open to any other views people who are performing this role might have.  16 of the responses came from people employed by organizations that I think of as consumers of IT products and services (government departments, telcos, banks, accountants, energy companies, and mutuals) and 8 came from suppliers.

The responses were amazing and thank you to everyone who took the time to do so.  They included some wonderful insights into their role and into their organization, without of course divulging anything that they should not have.  But of course because I asked open questions, the responses are, at the same time both more complex and more interesting.  It’s a case of be careful of what you wish for – but I am really glad that I did.

So far I have been able to summarize the views of the consumers.  I will turn to the suppliers next.  It will be really interesting to see where the similarities and variations lay.

It is important to note that I am still in the process of seeking to understand, so I would be really pleased to hear from anyone who has such a role, to correct any misunderstandings I might have or erroneous conclusions I may have drawn.

A number of comments jumped out at me.  One example came from a Business Architect in a government department.  The reason it stood out was very simple.  Many times I am told that Business Architecture only applies to commercial business and cannot apply to governments or non-profits.  Which is strange to me, since I lead a non-profit and when I was at business school, part-time of course, a good proportion of my classmates were from the public sector.  The comment was in response to the question: who do you report to?  The answer was, “we report to the Secretary but all reporting lines are business focused”.

The first level of analysis, which should come as no surprise is that Business Architecture is a relatively new discipline for most organizations: in most cases it has been around for between 1 and 5 years.  Described by some as a growing capability, or as immature, or even as “largely missing”.  One respondent describes herself quite rightly as a pioneer.

A recurring theme was that the ability to have a company-wide or industry-wide model was critical as it provides a common terminology across the board to what the organization actually does and enables understanding of the implications of any changes.  Another was that the success or lack of it in Business Architecture really came down to the expertise of the people in the team; and another was that Business Architects acted very much, like internal consultants and often had a consulting background.

What Business Architects do is exactly that – their focus is on the “What”.  Some of the comments included:

  • Understanding strategic themes and drivers
  • Modeling value chains, value streams, configurations
  • Context modeling e.g. external interactions
  • Capabilities, including business capability, service capability (including both business and IT capabilities), capability maturity, targets and gaps
  • Calling out the interdependencies of all the business and architecture domains: strategy, governance, market, distribution, product, capability
  • Design – entities, people (organization structure, incentives), process, systems, functions, roles
  • Linking with and supporting the strategy and injecting into the investment planning cycle
  • The Business Architect provides processes, part of the input and information for the business to determine whether or not any investment will be made within their organisation

The “How” is in the domain of the Solution Architects, Application, Data and Technology Architects and the Business Analysts: business, process and data.

The crucial element is how well the Business Architects are integrated with the other architects and with the analysts.  In many cases Business Architecture was within the Enterprise Architecture function – as an aside it was pointed out by one or two respondents that they considered Enterprise Architecture as a function rather than a person – in other cases it was not.

The reporting lines for Business Architects varies from organization to organization.  Some reporting lines ultimately end up with the CIO or CTO, others to the COO and others did not.  In many cases they reported directly to a GM or Head of change management, transformation or business strategy or improvement.

In those cases where Business Architecture was not embedded within the Enterprise Architecture function the relationship was enabled via a forum or committee that brought the Business Architects together with those working on the other disciplines.   Gaining agreement on a common content framework, on business modeling standards and on governance procedures were cited as approaches that supported the collaboration.

Although in one case, Business Architecture was relegated to a sub-discipline of IT architecture to focus on the “business stuff”.  In most cases the Business Architects described a differentiated focus or role.

  • A focus on business performance, process design, organization design, strategy and planning
  • The documentation and governance of business processes, organizational elements, business requirements, regulatory requirements, business rules and risks
  • The description of what we are trying to do, what value it adds and how it can be done

The difference from the other architecture domains was often described under the general heading of technology.

  • Technical architecture and governance
  • Strategic solutioning
  • Information, application, data architecture
  • Portfolio management
  • The enterprise stack of tools
  • Innovation through new technology

Business Architecture often demands a certain amount of analysis work and in one case it was seen as glorified business analysis. I have also heard “industry experts” say that they do not understand the difference between Business Architects and Business Analysts.  But that is unfair both to the Business Architects and to the Business Analysts.  They are both important functions in their own right.  In fact it has been emphasized that you need all three disciplines: Business Analyst, Business Architect and the Solution, Information, Technology Architect.

Perhaps in smaller organizations you might get by with a Jack of all trades but the size of the organization represented by these respondents ranged from 1,500 employees to 50,000 employees and they need the benefit of the three different specializations.

While the Business Analysts are the source of the very detailed information needed, the Business Architect brings the skills needed to distil that information and discuss it with the business leaders.  The people they are talking with are the senior leaders, the strategic solutioning teams, the program directors of large change programs and others who need pragmatic, easily digestible information.  They need to understand the implications and gaps, the dependencies, the opportunities and the limitations.

As one person said, “the success gauge for Business Architecture is an organization that starts solving business problems by defining them within the organization’s context across the spectrum of change areas, minus the technology change area, and then works toward the technology, rather than starting at a technology solution that might solve the problem and playing catch-up from there.  I continue to hold to the view that investing in the Business Architecture up front saves on people, process and technology cost at the end.”

Again, I would like to thank everyone for taking the time to respond.  Everyone has a valuable story to tell and everyone is fully committed to the role and function of the Business Architect.  If I have misunderstood anything, please do not hesitate to correct me. I look forward to hearing your comments.

Allen Brown

Allen Brown is President and CEO, The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through IT standards.  For over 14 years Allen has been responsible for driving The Open Group’s strategic plan and day-to-day operations, including extending its reach into new global markets, such as China, the Middle East, South Africa and India. In addition, he was instrumental in the creation of the AEA, which was formed to increase job opportunities for all of its members and elevate their market value by advancing professional excellence.

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Filed under Business Architecture, Certifications, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Professional Development, TOGAF

Flexibility, Agility and Open Standards

By Jose M. Sanchez Knaack, IBM

Flexibility and agility are terms used almost interchangeably these days as attributes of IT architectures designed to cope with rapidly changing business requirements. Did you ever wonder if they are actually the same? Don’t you have the feeling that these terms remain abstract and without a concrete link to the design of an IT architecture?

This post searches to provide clear definitions for both flexibility and agility, and explain how both relate to the design of IT architectures that exploit open standards. A ‘real-life’ example will help to understand these concepts and render them relevant to the Enterprise Architect’s daily job.

First, here is some context on why flexibility and agility are increasingly important for businesses. Today, the average smart phone has more computing power than the original Apollo mission to the moon. We live in times of exponential change; the new technological revolution seems to be always around the corner and is safe to state that the trend will continue as nicely visualized in this infographic by TIME Magazine.

The average lifetime of a company in the S&P 500 has fallen by 80 percent since 1937. In other words, companies need to adapt fast to capitalize on business opportunities created by new technologies at the price of loosing their leadership position.

Thus, flexibility and agility have become ever present business goals that need to be supported by the underlying IT architecture. But, what is the precise meaning of these two terms? The online Merriam-Webster dictionary offers the following definitions:

Flexible: characterized by a ready capability to adapt to new, different, or changing requirements.

Agile: marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace.

To understand how these terms relate to IT architecture, let us explore an example based on an Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) scenario.

An ESB can be seen as the foundation for a flexible IT architecture allowing companies to integrate applications (processes) written in different programming languages and running on different platforms within and outside the corporate firewall.

ESB products are normally equipped with a set of pre-built adapters that allow integrating 70-80 percent of applications ‘out-of-the-box’, without additional programming efforts. For the remaining 20-30 percent of integration requirements, it is possible to develop custom adapters so that any application can be integrated with any other if required.

In other words, an ESB covers requirements regarding integration flexibility, that is, it can cope with changing requirements in terms of integrating additional applications via adapters, ‘out-of-the-box’ or custom built. How does this integration flexibility correlate to integration agility?

Let’s think of a scenario where the IT team has been requested to integrate an old manufacturing application with a new business partner. The integration needs to be ready within one month; otherwise the targeted business opportunity will not apply anymore.

The picture below shows the underlying IT architecture for this integration scenario.

jose diagram

Although the ESB is able to integrate the old manufacturing application, it requires an adapter to be custom developed since the application does not support any of the communication protocols covered by the pre-built adapters. To custom develop, test and deploy an adapter in a corporate environment is likely going to take longer that a month and the business opportunity will be lost because the IT architecture was not agile enough.

This is the subtle difference between flexible and agile.

Notice that if the manufacturing application had been able to communicate via open standards, the corresponding pre-built adapter would have significantly shortened the time required to integrate this application. Applications that do not support open standards still exist in corporate IT landscapes, like the above scenario illustrates. Thus, the importance of incorporating open standards when road mapping your IT architecture.

The key takeaway is that your architecture principles need to favor information technology built on open standards, and for that, you can leverage The Open Group Architecture Principle 20 on Interoperability.

Name Interoperability
Statement Software and hardware should conform to defined standards that promote interoperability for data, applications, and technology.

In summary, the accelerating pace of change requires corporate IT architectures to support the business goals of flexibility and agility. Establishing architecture principles that favor open standards as part of your architecture governance framework is one proven approach (although not the only one) to road map your IT architecture in the pursuit of resiliency.

linkedin - CopyJose M. Sanchez Knaack is Senior Manager with IBM Global Business Services in Switzerland. Mr. Sanchez Knaack professional background covers business aligned IT architecture strategy and complex system integration at global technology enabled transformation initiatives.

 

 

 

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The Interconnectedness of All Things

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

My admiration for Douglas Adams only seems to increase with the years.

Adams, in his quiet way, conveyed quite a few useful insights into both human behavior and how the world (and the universe) works – or seems to work – or seems at times not to work. One of his little masterpieces was “the interconnectedness of all things,” which was the insight that inspired the work of Dirk Gently, owner and sole operative of the Holistic Detective Agency. This wasn’t some piece of cosmic mysticism, but essentially a rather practical insistence on looking at the pieces of the puzzle as an interconnected whole, even when one doesn’t yet know what the completed puzzle will look like. Here’s how Dirk expressed it:

“I’m very glad you asked me that, Mrs. Rawlinson. The term `holistic’ refers to my conviction that what we are concerned with here is the fundamental interconnectedness of all things. I do not concern myself with such petty things as fingerprint powder, telltale pieces of pocket fluff and inane footprints. I see the solution to each problem as being detectable in the pattern and web of the whole. The connections between causes and effects are often much more subtle and complex than we with our rough and ready understanding of the physical world might naturally suppose, Mrs. Rawlinson.

Let me give you an example. If you go to an acupuncturist with toothache, he sticks a needle instead into your thigh. Do you know why he does that, Mrs. Rawlinson?

No, neither do I, Mrs. Rawlinson, but we intend to find out. A pleasure talking to you, Mrs. Rawlinson. Goodbye.”

Cloud, SOA, Enterprise Mobility, Social Media/Enterprise/Business, The Internet of Things, Big Data (you name it) – each in its own way is part of an overall tendency. The general trend is for enterprises to become increasingly involved in increasingly broad ecosystems. As a trend, it predates that list of Internet phenomena but it’s clear that they are dramatically accelerating the pace. Not only do they individually contribute to that trend but collectively they add another factor of both complexity and urgency to the picture. They are interconnected by cause and effect and by usage. Unfortunately that interconnectedness doesn’t (yet) involve very much interoperability.

Readers of this blog will know that The Open Group is starting a new initiative, Platform 3.0  which will be looking at these technologies as a whole and at how they might be considered to collectively represent some new kind of virtual computing platform. There’s an ongoing discussion of what the scope of such an initiative should be, to what extent it should concentrate on the technologies, to what extent on purely business aspects and to what extent we should concentrate on the whole, as opposed to the sum of the parts. One can also see this as one overarching phenomenon in which making a distinction between business and technology may not actually be meaningful.

Although no one (as far as I know) denies that each of these has its own specifics and deserves individual examination, people are starting to understand that we need to go with Dirk Gently and look at the “pattern and web of the whole”.

Open Group members and conference presenters have been pointing this out for a couple of years now but, like it or not, it often takes an analyst firm like Gartner to notice it for everyone else to start taking it seriously. What these organizations like to do is to pin labels on things. Give it a name, and you can kid yourself you know what it is. That fact in and of itself makes it easier for people – especially those who don’t like dealing with stuff you actually have to think about. It’s an example of the 42 problem I wrote about elsewhere.

Gartner frequently talks about the “Nexus of Forces.” Those of you who are not Trekkies may not understand why I fall over laughing at that one. For your benefit, the Nexus was this sort of cloud thing, which if you were able to jump into it, enabled you to live out your most treasured but unrealistic dreams. And in the Star Trek movie this was a big problem, because out there in the real world everything was going seriously pear shaped.

In my view, it’s crucial to tackle the general tendency. Organizations and in particular commercial organizations become part of what Jack Martin Leith calls a “Business Ecosystem”(jump to slide 11 in the link for the definition). If one goes back, say, ten years (maybe less), this tendency already manifested itself on the business side through the “outsourcing” of significant parts of the organization’s business processes to other organizations – partners. The result wasn’t simply a value chain but a value network, sometimes known as Extended Enterprise. Ten years later we see that Cloud can have the same effect on how even the processes retained within the organization are carried out. Social and mobile take this further and also take it out into the wider enterprise and out into that business ecosystem. Cloud, social and mobile involve technological interconnectedness. Social and mobile also involve business interconnectedness (one could argue that Cloud does too and I wouldn’t feel the need to disagree). The business of an enterprise becomes increasingly bound up with the business of other enterprises and as a result can be affected by changes and developments well outside its own range of control.

We know that the effects of these various technologies are interconnected at multiple levels, so it becomes increasingly important to understand how they will work together – or fail to work together. Or to put it more constructively, we need strategies and standards to ensure that they do work together to the extent that we can control them. We also need to understand what all the things are that we can’t control but might just jump out and bite us. There are already enough anti-patterns for the use of social media. Add to that the multi-channel implications of mobility, stir in a dose of Cloud and a bunch of machines exchanging messages without being able to ask each other, “excuse me, what did you mean by that?” It’s easy to see how things might go pear shaped while we’re having fun in the Nexus.

Does this lead to an unmanageable scope for Platform 3.0? I don’t think so. We’ll probably have to prioritize the work. Everyone has their own knowledge, experience and interests, so we may well do things of different granularity in parallel. That all needs to be discussed. But from my perspective, one of the first priorities will be to understand that interconnectedness, so we can work out where the needle needs to go to get rid of the pain.

Stuart Boardman is a Senior Business Consultant with KPN where he co-leads the Enterprise Architecture practice as well as the Cloud Computing solutions group. He is co-lead of The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group’s Security for the Cloud and SOA project and a founding member of both The Open Group Cloud Computing Work Group and The Open Group SOA Work Group. Stuart is the author of publications by the Information Security Platform (PvIB) in The Netherlands and of his previous employer, CGI. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topics of Cloud, SOA, and Identity. 

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Developing standards to secure our global supply chain

By Sally Long, Director of The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF)™

In a world where tainted and counterfeit products pose significant risks to organizations, we see an increasing need for a standard that protects both organizations and consumers. Altered or non-genuine products introduce the possibility of untracked malicious behavior or poor performance. These risks can damage both customers and suppliers resulting in the potential for failed or inferior products, revenue and brand equity loss and disclosure of intellectual property.

On top of this, cyber-attacks are growing more sophisticated, forcing technology suppliers and governments to take a more comprehensive approach to risk management as it applies to product integrity and supply chain security. Customers are now seeking assurances that their providers are following standards to mitigate the risks of tainted and counterfeit components, while providers of Commercial Off-the-Shelf (COTS) Information and Communication Technology (ICT) products are focusing on protecting the integrity of their products and services as they move through the global supply chain.

In this climate we need a standard more than ever, which is why today we’re proud to announce the publication of the Open Trusted Technology Provider Standard (O-TTPS)™(Standard). The O-TTPS is the first complete standard published by The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF)™ which will benefit global providers and acquirers of COTS and ICT products.

The first of its kind, the open standard has been developed to help organizations achieve Trusted Technology Provider status, assuring the integrity of COTS and ICT products worldwide and safeguarding the global supply chain against the increased sophistication of cyber security attacks.

Specifically intended to prevent maliciously tainted and counterfeit products from entering the supply chain, the standard codifies best practices across the entire COTS ICT product lifecycle, including the design, sourcing, build, fulfilment, distribution, sustainment, and disposal phases. Our intention is that it will help raise the bar globally by helping the technology industry and its customers to “Build with Integrity, Buy with Confidence.”™.

What’s next?

The OTTF is now working to develop an accreditation program to help provide assurance that Trusted Technology Providers conform to the O-TTPS Standard. The planned accreditation program is intended to mitigate maliciously tainted and counterfeit products by raising the assurance bar for: component suppliers, technology providers, and integrators, who are part of and depend on the global supply chain.Using the guidelines and best practices documented in the Standard as a basis, the OTTF will also release updated versions of the O-TTPS Standard based on changes to the threat landscape.

Interested in seeing the Standard for yourself? You can download it directly from The Open Group Bookstore, here. For more information on The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum, please click here, or keep checking back on the blog for updates.

 

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Connect at The Open Group Conference in Sydney (#ogSYD) via Social Media

By The Open Group Conference Team

By attending The Open Group’s conferences, attendees are able to learn from industry experts, understand the latest technologies and standards and discuss and debate current industry trends. One way to maximize the benefits is to make technology work for you. If you are attending The Open Group Conference in Sydney next week, we’ve put together a few tips on how to leverage social media to make networking at the conference easier, quicker and more effective.

Using Twitter at #ogSYD

Twitter is a real-time news-sharing tool that anyone can use. The official hashtag for the conference is #ogSYD. This enables anybody, whether they are physically attending the event or not, to follow what’s happening at The Open Group Conference in Sydney in real-time and interact with each other.

Before the conference, be sure to update your Twitter account to monitor #ogSYD and, of course, to tweet about the conference.

Using Facebook at The Open Group Conference in Sydney

You can also track what is happening at the conference on The Open Group Facebook Page. We will be posting photos from conference events throughout the week. If you’re willing to share, your photos with us, we’re happy to post them to our page with a photo credit. Please email your photos, captions, full name and organization to photo (at) opengroup.org!

LinkedIn during The Open Group Conference in Sydney

Motivated by one of the sessions? Interested in what your peers have to say? Start a discussion on The Open Group LinkedIn Group page. We’ll also be sharing interesting topics and questions related to The Open Group Conference as it is happening. If you’re not a member already, requesting membership is easy. Simply go to the group page and click the “Join Group” button. We’ll accept your request as soon as we can!

Blogging during The Open Group Conference in Sydney

Stay tuned for conference recaps here on The Open Group blog. In case you missed a session or you weren’t able to make it to Sydney, we’ll be posting the highlights and recaps on the blog. If you are attending the conference and would like to submit a recap of your own, please contact ukopengroup (at) hotwirepr.com.

If you have any questions about social media usage at the conference, feel free to tweet the conference team @theopengroup.

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The Open Group Speakers Discuss Enterprise Architecture, Business Architecture and Enterprise Transformation

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

Listen to the recorded podcast here: Expert Panel Explores Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture as Enterprise Transformation Agents, or read the transcript here.

Dana Gardner: Hello, and welcome to a special BriefingsDirect Thought Leadership interview series, coming to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference on April 15, in Sydney, Australia.

I’m Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and I’ll be your host and moderator throughout these business transformation discussions. The conference, The Open Group’s first in Australia, will focus on “How Does Enterprise Architecture Transform an Enterprise?” And there will be special attention devoted to how enterprise transformation impacts such vertical industries as finance and defense, as well as exploration, mining, and minerals. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

We’re here now with two of the main speakers at the conference — Hugh Evans, the Chief Executive Officer of Enterprise Architects, a specialist enterprise architecture (EA) firm based in Melbourne, Australia; and Craig Martin, Chief Operations Officer and Chief Architect at Enterprise Architects.

As some background, Hugh is both the founder and CEO at Enterprise Architects. His professional experience blends design and business, having started out in traditional architecture, computer games design, and digital media, before moving into enterprise IT and business transformation.
In 1999, Hugh founded the IT Strategy Architecture Forum, which included chief architects from most of the top 20 companies in Australia. He has also helped found the Australian Architecture Body  of Knowledge and the London Architecture Leadership Forum in the UK.

Since starting Enterprise Architects in 2002, Hugh has grown the team to more than 100 people, with offices in Australia, the UK, and the U.S.
With a career spanning more than 20 years, Craig has held executive positions in the communications, high tech, media, entertainment, and government markets and has operated as an Enterprise Architect and Chief Consulting Architect for a while.

In 2012, Craig became COO of Enterprise Architects to improve the global scalability of the organization, but he is also a key thought leader for strategy and architecture practices for all their clients and also across the EA field.

Craig has been a strong advocate of finding differentiation in businesses through identifying new mixes of business capabilities in those organizations. He advises that companies that do not optimize how they reassemble their capabilities will struggle, and he also believes that business decision making should be driven by economic lifecycles.

So welcome to you both. How are you doing?

Hugh Evans: Great, Dana. Good morning, Dana. Welcome everyone. Craig Martin: Thanks very much for having us.

Big-picture perspective

Gardner: I look forward to our talk. Let’s look at this first from a big-picture perspective and then drill down into what you are going to get into at the conference in a couple of weeks. What are some of the big problems that businesses are facing, that they need to solve, and that architecture-level solutions can really benefit them. I’ll open this up to both Hugh and Craig?

Evans: Thanks very much, Dana. I’ll start with the trend in the industry around fast-paced change and disruptive innovation. You’ll find that many organizations, many industries, at the moment in the U.S., Australia, and around the world are struggling with the challenges of how to reinvent themselves with an increasing number of interesting and innovative business models coming through. For many organizations, this means that they need to wrap their arms around an understanding of their current business activities and what options they’ve got to leverage their strategic advantages.

We’re seeing business architecture as a tool for business model innovation, and on the other side, we’re also seeing business architecture as a tool that’s being used to better manage risk, compliance, security, and new technology trends around things like cloud, big data, and so on.

Martin: Yes, there is a strong drive within the industry to try and reduce complexity.  As organizations are growing, the business stakeholders are confronted with a large amount of information, especially within the architecture space. We’re seeing that they’re struggling with this complexity and have to make accurate and efficient business decisions on all this information.

What we are seeing, and based upon what Hugh has already discussed, is that some of those industry drivers are around disruptive business models. For example, we’re seeing it with the likes of higher education, the utility space, and financial services space, which are the dominant three.
There is a lot of change occurring in those spaces, and businesses are looking for ways to make them more agile to adapt to that change, and looking towards disciplined architecture and the business-architecture discipline to try and help them in that process.

Gardner: I think I know a bit about how we got here — computing, globalization, outsourcing, companies expanding across borders, the ability to enter new markets freely, and dealing with security, but also great opportunity. Did I miss anything? Is there anything about the past 10 or 15 years in business practices that have led now to this need for a greater emphasis on that strategic architectural level of thinking?

Martin: A lot has to do with basically building blocks. We’ve seen a journey that’s travelled within the architecture disciplines specifically. We call it the commodification of the business, and we’ve seen that maturity in the IT space. A lot of processes that used to be innovative in our business are now becoming fairly utility and core to the business. In any Tier 1 organization, a lot of the processes that used to differentiate them are now freely available in a number of vendor platforms, and any of their competitors can acquire those.

Looking for differentiation

So they are looking for that differentiation, the ability to be able to differentiate themselves from their competitors, and away from that sort of utility space. That’s a shift that’s beginning to occur. Because a lot of those IT aspects have become industrialized, that’s also moving up into the business space.

In other words, how can we now take complex mysteries in the business space and codify them? In other words, how can we create building blocks for them, so that organizations now can actually effectively work with those building blocks and string them together in different ways to solve more complex business problems.

Evans: I’ll add to that Dana. EA is now around 30 years old, but the rise in EA has really come from the need for IT systems to interoperate and to create common standards and common understanding within an organization for how an IT estate is going to come together and deliver the right type of business value.

Through the ’90s we saw the proliferation of technologies as a result of the extension of distributed computing models and the emergence of the Internet. We’ve seen now the ubiquity of the Internet and technology across business. The same sort of concepts that ring true in technology architecture extend out into the business, around how the business interoperates with its components.

The need to change very fast for business, which is occurring now in the current economy, with the entrepreneurship and the innovation going on, is seeing this type of thinking come to the fore. This type of thinking enables organizations to change more rapidly. The architecture itself won’t make the organization change rapidly, but it will provide the appropriate references and enable people to have the right conversations to make that happen.

Gardner: So architecture can come as a benefit when the complexity kicks in. When you try to change an organization, you don’t get lost along the way. Give me a sense about what sort of paybacks your clients get when they do this correctly, and what happens when you don’t do this very well?

Evans: Business architecture, as well as strategic architecture, is still quite a nascent capability for organizations, and many organizations are really still trying to get a grip on this. The general rule is that organizations don’t manage this so well at the moment, but organizations are looking to improving in this area, because of the obvious, even heuristic, payoffs that you get from being better organized.

You end up spending less money, because you’re a more efficient organization, and you end up delivering better value to customers, because you’re a more effective organization. This efficiency and effectiveness need within organizations is worth the price of investment in this area.
The actual tangible benefits that we’re seeing across our customers includes reduced cost of their IT estate.

Meeting profiles

You have improved security and improved compliance, because organizations can see where their capabilities are meeting the various risk and compliance profiles, and you are also seeing organizations bring products to market quicker. The ability to move through the product management process, bring products to market more rapidly, and respond to customer need more rapidly puts organizations in front and makes them more competitive.

The sorts of industries we’re seeing acting in this area would include the postal industry, where they are moving from a traditional mail- to parcels, which is a result of a move towards online retailing. You’re also seeing it in the telco sector and you’re seeing it in the banking and finance sector.
In the banking and finance sector, we’ve also seen a lot of this investment driven by the merger and acquisition (M&A) activity that’s come out of the financial crisis in various countries where we operate. These organizations are getting real value from understanding where the enterprise boundaries are, how they bring the business together, how they better integrate the organizations and acquisitions, and how they better divest.

Martin: We’re seeing, especially at the strategic level, that the architecture discipline is able to give business decision makers a view into different strategic scenarios. For example, where a number of environmental factors and market pressures would have been inputs into a discussion around how to change a business, we’re also seeing business decision makers getting a lot of value from running those scenarios through an actual hypothesis of the business model.

For example, they could be considering four or five different strategic scenarios, and what we are seeing is that, using the architecture discipline, it’s showing them effectively what those scenarios look like as they cascade through the business. It’s showing the impact on capabilities, on people and the approaches and technologies, and the impact on capital expenditures (CAPEX) and operational expenditures (OPEX). Those views of each of those strategic scenarios allows them to basically pull the trigger on the better strategic scenario to pursue, before they’ve invested all of their efforts and all that analysis to possibly get to the point where it wasn’t the right decision in the first place. So that might be referred to as sort of the strategic enablement piece.

We’re also seeing a lot of value for organizations within the portfolio space. We traditionally get questions like, “I have 180 projects out there. Am I doing the right things? Are those the right 180 projects, and are they going to help me achieve the types of CAPEX and OPEX reductions that I am looking for?”

With the architecture discipline, you don’t take a portfolio lens into what’s occurring within the business. You take an architectural lens, and you’re able to give executives an overview of exactly where the spend is occurring. You give them an overview of where the duplication is occurring, and where the loss of cohesion is occurring.

Common problems

A common problem we find, when we go into do these types of gigs, is the amount of duplication occurring across a number of projects. In a worst-case scenario, 75 percent of the projects are all trying to do the same thing, on the same capability, with the same processes.
So there’s a reduction of complexity and the production of efforts that’s occurring across the organizations to try and bring it and get it into more synergistic sessions.

We’re also seeing a lot of value occurring up at the customer experience space. That is really taking a strong look at this customer experience view, which is less around all of the underlying building blocks and capabilities of an organization and looking more at what sort of experiences we want to give our customer? What type of product offerings must we assemble, and what underlying building blocks of the organization must be assembled to enable those offerings and those value propositions?

That sort of traceability through the cycle gives you a view of what levers you must pull to optimize your customer experience. Organizations are seeing a lot of value there and that’s basically increasing their effectiveness in the market and having a direct impact on their market share.
And that’s something that we see time and time again, regardless of what the driver was behind the investment in the architecture project, seeing the team interact and build a coalition for action and for change. That’s the most impressive thing that we get to see.

Gardner: Let’s drill down a little bit into some of what you’ll be discussing at the conference in Sydney in April. One of the things that’s puzzling to me, when I go to these Open Group Conferences, is to better understand the relationship between business architecture and IT architecture and where they converge and where they differ. Perhaps you could offer some insights and maybe tease out what some discussion points for that would be at the conference.

Martin: That’s actually quite a hot topic. In general, the architecture discipline has grown from the IT space, and that’s a good progression for it to take, because we’re seeing the fruits of that discipline in how they industrialize IT components. We’re seeing the fruits of that in complex enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, the modularization of those ERP systems, their ability to be customized, and adapt to businesses. It’s a fairly mature space, and the natural progression of that is to apply those same thinking patterns back up into the business space.

In order for this to work effectively well, when somebody asks a question like that, we normally respond with a “depends” statement. We have in this organization a thing called the mandate curve, and it relates to what the mandate is within the business. What is the organization looking to solve?

Are they looking to build an HR management system? Are they looking to gain efficiencies from an enterprise-wide ERP solution? Are they looking to reduce the value chain losses that they’re having on a monthly basis? Are they looking to improve customer experience across a group of companies? Or are they looking to improve shareholder value across the organization for an M&A, or maybe reduce cost-to-income.

Problem spaces

Those are some of the problem spaces, and we often get into that mind space to ask, “Those are the problems that you are solving, but what mandate is given to architecture to solve them?” We often find that the mandate for the IT architecture space is sitting beneath the CIO, and the CIO tends to use business architecture as a communication tool with business. In other words, to understand business better, to begin to apply architecture rigor to the business process.

Evans: It’s interesting, Dana. I spent a lot of time last year in the UK, working with the team across a number of business-architecture requirements. We were building business-architecture teams. We were also delivering some projects, where the initial investigation was a business- architecture piece, and we also ran some executive roundtables in the UK.

One thing that struck me in that investigation was the separation that existed in the business- architecture community from the traditional enterprise and technology architecture or IT architecture communities in those organizations that we were dealing with.
One insurance company, in particular, that was building a business-architecture team was looking for people that didn’t necessarily have an architecture background, but possibly could apply that insight. They were looking for deep business domain knowledge inside the various aspects of the insurance organization that they were looking to cover.

So to your question about the relationship between business architecture and IT architecture, where they converge and how they differ, it’s our view that business architecture is a subset of the broader EA picture and that these are actually integrated and unified disciplines.
However, in practice you’ll find that there is often quite a separation between these two groups. I think that the major reason for that is that the drivers that are actually creating the investment for business architecture are actually now from coming outside of IT, and to some extent, IT is replicating that investment to build the engagement capability to engage with business so that they can have a more strategic discussion, rather than just take orders from the business.

I think that over this year, we’re going to see more convergence between these two groups, and that’s certainly something that we are looking to foster in EA.

Gardner: I just came back from The Open Group Conference in California a few weeks ago, where the topic was focused largely on big data, but analysis was certainly a big part of that. Now, business analysis and business analysts, I suppose, are also part of this ecosystem. Are they subsets of the business architect? How do you see the role of business analysts now fitting into this, given the importance of data and the ability for organizations to manage data with new efficiency and scale?

Martin: Once again, that’s also a hot topic. There is a convergence occurring, and we see that across the landscape, when it comes to the number of frameworks and standards that people certify on. Ultimately, it comes to this knife-edge point, in which we need to interact with the business stakeholder and we need to elicit requirements from that stakeholder and be able to model them successfully.
The business-analysis community is slightly more mature in this particular space. They have, for example, the Business Analysis Body of Knowledge (BABOK). Within that space, they leverage a competency model, which in effect goes through a cycle, from an entry level BA, right up to what they refer to as the generalist BA, which is where they see the start of the business- architecture role.

Career path

There’s a career path from a traditional business analyst role, which is around requirements solicitation and requirements management, which seems to be quite project focused. In other words, dropping down onto project environments, understanding stakeholder needs and requirements, and modeling those and documenting them, helping the IT teams model the data flows, the data structures but with a specific link into the business space.

As you move up that curve, you get into the business-architecture space, which is a broader structural view around how all the building blocks fit together. In other words, it’s a far broader view than what the business analyst traditional part would take, and looks at a number of different domains. The business architect tends to focus a lot on, as you mentioned, the information space, and we see a difference between the information and the data space.

So the business architect is looking at performance, market-related aspects, and customer, information, as well as the business processes and functional aspects of an organization. You can see that the business analysts could almost be seen as the soldiers of these types of functions. In other words, they’re the guys that are in the trenches seeing what’s working on a day-to-day basis. They’ve got a number of tools that they’re equipped with, which for example the BABOK has given them. And there are all different ways and techniques that they are using to elicit those requirements from various business stakeholders, until they move out that curve up into the business architecture and strategic architecture space.

Evans: There’s an interesting pattern that I’ve noticed with the business-analyst-to-business- architecture career journey and the traditional IT track, where you see a number of people move into solution architect roles. There might be a solution architect on a project, they might move to multiple projects and ultimately do a program, and a number of those people then pop out to a much broader enterprise view, as they go through their career.

The business analyst is, in many respects, tracking that journey, where business analysts might focus on a project and requirements for a project, might look across at a high view, and possibly get to a point where they have a strong domain understanding that can drive high level sort of strategic discussions within the organization.

There is certainly a pattern emerging, and there are great opportunities for business analysts to come across into the architecture sphere. However, I believe that the broader EA discipline does need to make the effort to bridge that gap. Architecture needs to come across and find those connection points with the analyst community and help to elevate and converge the two sides.

Gardner: Craig, in your presentation at The Open Group Conference in Sydney, what do you hope to accomplish, and will this issue of how the business analyst fits in be prominent in that?

Martin: It’s a general theme that we’re using leading right up to the conference. We have a couple of webinars, which deal specifically with this topic. That’s leading up to the plenary talk at The Open Group Conference, which is really looking at how we can use these tools of the architecture discipline to be able to achieve the types of outcomes that we’ve spoken about here.

Building cohesion

In other words, how do I build cohesion in an organization? How do I look at different types of scenarios that I can execute against? What are the better ways to assemble all the efforts in my organization to achieve those outcomes? That’s taking us through a variety of examples that will be quite visual.

We’ll also be addressing the specific role of where we see the career path and the complementary nature of the business analyst and business architect, as they travel through the cycle of trying to operate at a strategic level and as a strategic enabler within the organization.

Gardner: Maybe you could also help me better understand something. When organizations decide that this is the right thing for them — as you mentioned earlier, this is still somewhat nascent — what are some good foundational considerations to get started? What needs to be put in place? Maybe it’s a mindset. How do you often find that enterprises get beyond the inertia and into this discussion about architecture and about the strategic benefits of it?

Martin: Once again, it’s a “depends” answer. For example, we often have two market segments, where a Tier 1 type company would want to build the capability themselves. So there’s a journey that we need to take them on around how to have a business-architecture capability while delivering the actual outcomes?

Tier 2 and Tier 3 clients often don’t necessarily want to build that type of capability, so we would focus directly on the outcomes. And those outcomes start with two views. Traditionally, we’re seeing the view driven almost on a bottom-up view, as the sponsors of these types of exercises try to get credibility within the organization.

That relates to helping the clients build what we refer to as the utility of the business-architecture space. Our teams go in and, in effect, build a bunch of what we refer to as anchor models to try and get a consistent representation of the business and a consistent language occurring across the entire enterprise, not just within a specific project.

And that gives them a common language they can talk about, for example, common capabilities and common outcomes that they’re looking to achieve. In other words, it’s not just a bunch of building blocks, but the actual outcome of each of those building blocks and how does it match something like a business-motivation model.

They also look within each of those building blocks to see what the resources are that creates each of those building blocks — things like people, process and tools. How do we mix those resources in the right way to achieve those types of outcomes that the business is looking for? Normally, the first path that we go through is to try to get that sort of consistent language occurring within an organization. As an organization matures, that artifact starts to lose its value, and we then find that, because it has created a consistent language in the organization, you can now overlay a variety of different types of views to give business people insights. Ultimately, they don’t necessarily want all these models, but they actually want insight into their organizations to enable them to make decisions.

We can overlay objectives, current project spend, CAPEX, and OPEX. We can overlay where duplication is occurring, where overspend is occurring, where there’s conflict occurring at a global scale around duplication of efforts, and with the impact of costs and reduction and efficiencies, all of those types of questions can be answered by merely overlaying a variety of views across this common language.

Elevating the value

That starts to elevate the value of these types of artifacts, and we start to see our business sponsors walking into meetings with all of these overlays on them, and having conversations between them and their colleagues, specifically around the insights that are drawn from these artifacts. We want the architecture to tell the story, not necessarily lengthy PowerPoint presentations, but as people are looking at these types of artifacts, they are actually seeing all the insights that come specifically from it.

The third and final part is often around the business getting to a level of maturity, in that they’re starting to use these types of artifacts and then are looking for different ways that they can now mix and assemble. That’s normally a sign of a mature organization and the business-architecture practice.

They have the building blocks. They’ve seen the value or the types of insights that they can provide. Are there different ways that I can string together my capabilities to achieve different outcomes? Maybe I have got different critical success factors that I am looking to achieve. Maybe there are new shift or new pressures coming in from the environment. How can I assemble the underlying structures of my organization to better cope with it? That’s the third phase that we take customers through, once they get to that level of maturity.

Evans: Just to add to that, Dana, I agree with Craig on the point that, if you show the business what can actually be delivered such as views on a page that elicit the right types of discussions and that demonstrate the issues, when they see what they’re going to get delivered, typically the eyes light up and they say, “I want one of those things.”

The thing with architecture that I have noticed over the years is that architecture is done by a lot of very intelligent people, who have great insights and great understanding, but it’s not just enough to know the answer. You have to know how to engage somebody with the material. So when the architecture content that’s coming through is engaging, clear, understandable, and can be consumed by a variety of stakeholders, they go, “That’s what I want. I want one of those.”

So my advice to somebody who is going down this path is that if they want to get support and sponsorship for this sort of thing, make sure they get some good examples of what gets delivered when it’s done well, as that’s a great way to actually get people behind it.

Gardner: I’m afraid we will have to leave it there. We’ve been talking with Hugh Evans, the CEO of Enterprise Architects, a specialist EA firm in Melbourne; and Craig Martin, the COO and Chief Architect at Enterprise Architects. Thanks to you both.

Evans: Thanks very much Dana, it has been a pleasure.

Martin: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: This BriefingsDirect discussion comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference, the first in Australia, on April 15 in Sydney. The focus will be on “How Does Enterprise Architecture Transform an Enterprise?”

So thanks again to both Hugh and Craig, and I know they will be joined by many more thought leaders and speakers on the EA subject and other architecture issues at the conference, and I certainly encourage our readers and listeners to attend that conference, if they’re in the Asia- Pacific region.

This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, your host and moderator through these thought leadership interviews. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

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The Open Group Conference in Sydney Plenary Sessions Preview

By The Open Group Conference Team

Taking place April 15-18, 2013, The Open Group Conference in Sydney will bring together industry experts to discuss the evolving role of Enterprise Architecture and how it transforms the enterprise. As the conference quickly approaches, let’s take a deeper look into the plenary sessions that kick-off day one and two. And if you haven’t already, register for The Open Group Conference in Sydney today!

Enterprise Transformation and the Role of Open Standards

By Allen Brown, President & CEO, The Open Group

Enterprise transformation seems to be gathering momentum within the Enterprise Architecture community.  The term, enterprise transformation, suggests the process of fundamentally changing an enterprise.  Sometimes the transformation is dramatic but for most of us it is a steady process. Allen will kick off the conference by discussing how to set expectations, the planning process for enterprise transformation and the role of standards, and provide an overview of ongoing projects by The Open Group’s members.

TOGAF® as a Powerful Took to Kick Start Business Transformation

By Peter Haviland, Chief Business Architect, and Martin Keywood, Partner, Ernst & Young

Business transformation is a tricky beast. It requires many people to work together toward a singular vision, and even more people to be aligned to an often multi-year execution program throughout which personal and organizational priorities will change. As a firm with considerable Business Architecture and transformation experience, Ernst & Young (EY) deploys multi-disciplinary teams of functional and technical experts and uses a number of approaches, anchored on TOGAF framework, to address these issues. This is necessary to get a handle on the complexity inherent to today’s business environment so that stakeholders are aligned and remain actively engaged, past investments in both processes and systems can be maximized, and transformation programs are set up for success and can be driven with sustained momentum.

In this session Peter and Martin will take us through EY’s Transformation Design approach – an approach that, within 12 weeks, can define a transformation vision, get executives on board, create a high level multi-domain architecture, broadly outline transformation alternatives and finally provide initial estimates of the necessary work packages to achieve transformation. They will also share case studies and metrics from the approach of financial services, oil and gas and professional services sectors. The session should interest executives looking to increase buy-in amongst their peers or professionals charged with stakeholder engagement and alignment. It will also show how to use the TOGAF framework within this situation.

Building a More Cohesive Organization Using Business Architecture

 By Craig Martin, COO & Chief Architect, Enterprise Architects

In shifting the focus away from Enterprise Architecture being seen purely as an IT discipline, organizations are beginning to formalize the development of Business Architecture practices and outcomes. The Open Group has made the differentiation between business, IT and enterprise architects through various working groups and certification tracks. However, industry at present is grappling to try to understand where the discipline of Business Architecture resides in the business and what value it can provide separate of the traditional project based business analysis focus.

Craig will provide an overview of some of the critical questions being asked by businesses and how these are addressed through Business Architecture. Using both method as well as case study examples, he will show an approach to building more cohesion across the business landscape. Craig will focus on the use of business motivation models, strategic scenario planning and capability based planning techniques to provide input into the strategic planning process.

Other plenary speakers include:

  • Capability Based Strategic Planning in Transforming a Mining Environment by David David, EA Manager, Rio Tinto
  • Development of the National Broadband Network IT Architecture – A Greenfield Telco Transformation by Roger Venning, Chief IT Architect, NBN Co. Ltd
  • Business Architecture in Finance Panel moderated by Chris Forde, VP Enterprise Architecture, The Open Group

More details about the conference can be found here: http://www.opengroup.org/sydney2013

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