By Stuart Macgregor, Chief Executive, Real IRM Solutions
Decision-makers in large enterprises today face a number of paradoxes when it comes to implementing a business operating model and deploying Enterprise Architecture:
- How to stabilize and embed concrete systems that ensure control and predictability, but at the same time remain flexible and open to new innovations?
- How to employ new technology to improve the productivity of the enterprise and its staff in the face of continual pressures on the IT budget?
- How to ensure that Enterprise Architecture delivers tangible results today, but remains relevant in an uncertain future environment.
Answering these tough questions requires an enterprise to elevate its thinking beyond ‘business processes’ and develop a thorough understanding of its ‘business capabilities’. It demands that the enterprise optimizes and leverages these capabilities to improve every aspect of the business – from coal-face operations to blue-sky strategy.
Business capabilities articulate an organization’s inner-workings: the people, process, technology, tools, and content (information). Capabilities map the ways in which each component interfaces with each other, developing an intricate line-drawing of the entire organizational ecosystem at a technical and social level. By understanding one’s current business capabilities, an organization is armed with a strategic planning tool. We refer to what is known as the BIDAT framework – which addresses the business, information, data, applications and technology architecture domains.
From this analysis, the journey to addressing the organization’s Enterprise Architecture estate begins. This culminates in the organization being able to dynamically optimize, add and improve on its capabilities as the external environment shifts and evolves. A BIDAT approach provides a permanent bridge between the two islands of business architecture and technology architecture.
Put another way, business capability management utilizes the right architectural solutions to deliver the business strategy. In this way, Enterprise Architecture is inextricably linked to capability management. It is the integrated architecture (combined with effective organizational change leadership) that develops the business capabilities and unleashes their power.
This can at times feel very conceptual and hard to apply to real-world environments. Perhaps the best recent example of tangible widespread implementations of a capability-based Enterprise Architecture approach is in South Africa’s minerals and mining sector.
Known as the Exploration and Mining Business Capability Reference Map, and published as part of a set of standards, this framework was developed by The Open Group Exploration, Mining, Metals and Minerals (EMMM™) Forum. Focusing on all levels of mining operations, from strategic planning, portfolio planning, program enablement and project enablement – and based on the principles of open standards – this framework provides miners with a capability-based approach to information, processes, technology, and people.
The Reference Map isolates specific capabilities within mining organizations, analyzes them from multiple dimensions, and shows their various relationships to other parts of the organization. In the context of increased automation in the mining sector, this becomes an invaluable tool in determining those functions that are ripe for automation.
In this new dimension, this new era of business, there is no reason why achievements from the EMMM’s Business Capability Reference Map cannot be repeated in every industry, and in every mid- to large-scale enterprise throughout the globe.
For more information on joining The Open Group, please visit: http://www.opengroup.org/getinvolved/becomeamember
For more information on joining The Open Group EMMM™ Forum, please visit: http://opengroup.co.za/emmm
Stuart Macgregor is the Chief Executive of the South African company, Real IRM Solutions. Through his personal achievements, he has gained the reputation of an Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance specialist, both in South Africa and internationally.
Macgregor participated in the development of the Microsoft Enterprise Computing Roadmap in Seattle. He was then invited by John Zachman to Scottsdale Arizona to present a paper on using the Zachman framework to implement ERP systems. In addition, Macgregor was selected as a member of both the SAP AG Global Customer Council for Knowledge Management, and of the panel that developed COBIT 3rd Edition Management Guidelines. He has also assisted a global Life Sciences manufacturer to define their IT Governance framework, a major financial institution to define their global, regional and local IT organizational designs and strategy. He was also selected as a core member of the team that developed the South African Breweries (SABMiller) plc global IT strategy.
Stuart, as the lead researcher, assisted the IT Governance Institute map CobiT 4.0 to TOGAF® This mapping document was published by ISACA and The Open Group. More recently, he participated in the COBIT 5 development workshop held in London during May 2010.