Category Archives: Business Architecture

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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Filed under ArchiMate®, Business Architecture, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Professional Development, TOGAF®

#ogChat Summary – Business Architecture

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

The Open Group hosted a tweet jam (#ogChat) to discuss the evolution of Business Architecture and its role in enterprise transformation. In case you missed the conversation, here is a recap of the event.

The Participants

A total of 16 participants joined in the hour-long discussion, including:

The Discussion

Here is a high-level  snapshot of yesterday’s #ogChat discussion:

Q1 How do you define #BizArch? #ogChat

While not everyone could agree on a single definition, all agreed that Business Architecture enables operational ease and business model innovation.

  • @Dana_Gardner: Q1 Aligning the strategies and operational priorities of all a business’s groups along a common, coorindated path. #ogChat #BizArch #EA
  • @enterprisearchs: Q1 At @enterprisearchs we also believe #BizArch is the design of business to enable business model innovation #ogChat
  • @bmichelson: #ogchat q1: in reality, business architecture is more the meta model of business, used to understand, measure, deliver capability #BizArch
  • @MartinGladwell: Q1 Orchestrating the delivery of changes needed to realise the strategy #ogchat

 

Q2 What is the role of the business architect? What real world #business problems does #BizArch solve? #ogChat

Most agreed that the lines are blurred between the roles of the Business Architect and the Enterprise Architect. Both manage complexity, agility and data proactively within a business or enterprise.

  • @bmichelson: #ogchat q2: so, I differ here. I think *true* business architect designs the business; in reality, we assign “architect” to business analyst
  • @Dana_Gardner: Q2 #BizArch allows for managing complexity, fostering agility, makes a data-driven enterprise more able to act in proactive manner #ogChat
  • @editingwhiz: So much software now is aimed at line-of-business people that acquiring IT business architect creds would be a huge attribute. #ogChat
  • @MartinGladwell: Q2 Is an MBA an advantage for a BA? Is it necessary? #ogchat
  • @enterprisearchs: A2 Ensures an org is correctly positioned and the environmental/industry factors are understood in order to achieve its strategy #ogChat
  • @DaveHornford: Q2: all my answers chase their tails into architecture – what must I have to get what I want – what must change  #ogchat #bizarch

 

Q3 How is the role of the Business Architect changing? What are the drivers of this change? #ogChat #BizArch

Some argued that the role of the Business Architect is not changing at all, but rather just emerging (or evolving?), and that Business Architects are differentiating themselves from other organizational roles. Others argued that the role is changing to accommodate emerging trends and areas of focus (i.e,. customer experience).

  • @enterprisearchs: A3 Businesses are looking to differentiate, an increased focus on Customer Experience is raising questions on how to increase NPS #ogChat
  • @blake6677: #ogchat At the core of my Business Architecture practice is business capability modeling
  • @DaveHornford: Q3 – changing? Is just starting to appear – distinction between architect, strategist, analyst, change leader often hard to see  #ogchat

 

Q4 How does #BizArch differ from #EntArch? #ogChat

Similar to the discussion around question two, most participants agreed that the roles of Business and Enterprise Architects are difficult to separate, while some argued about the differences in scope of the two roles.

  • @NadhanAtHP: A4: @theopengroup Biz Architecture provides the business foundation for the Enterprise Architecture which is more holistic #ogChat
  • @DaveHornford: Q4: difference is in scope #BizArch is one of many domains comprising #EntArch #ogchat
  • @harryhendrickx: Q3 #BizArch evolves towards operational position serving many initiatives. Not sure how practice evolves #ogChat
  • Len Fehskens: Q4 “There is a lot of confusion about the meanings of #business and #enterprise, and many people use them synonymously” #Len #ogChat
  • @MartinGladwell @theopengroup Len I think there is no truth of the matter, we must choose to use these terms in a way that advances our common cause #ogchat
  • @enterprisearchs: A4 In TOGAF ADM we see #BizArch predominantly supporting the prelim and arch vision phases #ogchat

 

Q5 How can Business Architects and Enterprise Architects work together? #ogChat #BizArch #EntArch

All agreed that Business Architects and Enterprise Architects exist to support one another. When discussing the first step to establishing successful Business Architecture, participants suggested knowing its purpose first, then tapping professional accreditation and community involvement resources second.

  • @Dave Hornford: Ethnography within the enterprise, it’s ecosystem or both? #ogchat
  • @Dana_Gardner: Q5 They make each other stronger, and can provide an example to the rest on how these methods and tools can work harmoniously. #ogChat
  • @bmichelson: “@theopengroup: What is the first step toward establishing a successful #BizArch? #ogChat” < knowing why you want to establish practice
  • @MartinGladwell: @theopengroup #ogchat professional accreditation, community, role models

 

Q6 What’s in store for #BizArch in the future? #ogChat

When looking towards the future, panelists suggested erasing ambiguity when it comes to the difference between Business and Enterprise Architects. Others also predicted that the rising demand for Business Architects will spark a need for certification and training programs.

  • Len Fehskens: Q6 I fear conventional wisdom contradictions and ambiguities will be ‘resolved’ by setting arbitrary distinctions in concrete #Len #ogChat
  • @Dana_Gardner: Q6 I hope to see more stature given to the role of #BizArch, so that it becomes an executive-tier requirement. #ogChat
  • @bmichelson: #ogchat q6: learning how to enable continuous change via: visibility, context, correctness & responsiveness #BizArch
  • @MartinGladwell: Q6 #ogchat We will see information as a design activity not an analysis activity
  • @enterprisearchs: A6 The demand for #BizArch will  generate a need for recognised certification and training #ogChat
  • @allenbrownopen: Business architecture like other functions such as legal and finance can inform C level decisions, it can’t make them #ogchat

 

A big thank you to all the participants who made this such a great discussion!  Join us for our next tweet jam on Platform 3.0!

 

patricia donovanPatricia Donovan is Vice President, Membership & Events, at The Open Group and a member of its executive management team. In this role she is involved in determining the company’s strategic direction and policy as well as the overall management of that business area. Patricia joined The Open Group in 1988 and has played a key role in the organization’s evolution, development and growth since then. She also oversees the company’s marketing, conferences and member meetings. She is based in the U.S.

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Filed under Business Architecture, Tweet Jam

Gaining Greater Cohesion: Bringing Business Analysis and Business Architecture into Focus

By Craig Martin, Enterprise Architects

Having delivered many talks on Business Architecture over the years, I’m often struck by the common vision driving many members in the audience – a vision of building cohesion in a business, achieving the right balance between competing forces and bringing the business strategy and operations into harmony.  However, as with many ambitious visions, the challenge in this case is immense.  As I will explain, many of the people who envision this future state of nirvana are, in practice, inadvertently preventing it from happening.

Standards Silos
There are a host of standards and disciplines that are brought into play by enterprises to improve business performance and capabilities. For example standards such as PRINCE2, BABOK, BIZBOK, TOGAF, COBIT, ITIL and PMBOK are designed to ensure reliability of team output and approach across various business activities. However, in many instances these standards, operating together, present important gaps and overlaps. One wonders whose job it is to integrate and unify these standards. Whose job is it to understand the business requirements, business processes, drivers, capabilities and so on?

Apples to Apples?
As these standards evolve they often introduce new jargon to support their view of the world. Have you ever had to ask your business to explain what they do on a single page? The diversity of the views and models can be quite astonishing:

  • The target operating model
  • The business model
  • The process model
  • The capability model
  • The value chain model
  • The functional model
  • The business services model
  • The component business model
  • The business reference model
  • Business anchor model

The list goes on and on…

Each has a purpose and brings value in isolation. However, in the common scenario where they are developed using differing tools, methods, frameworks and techniques, the result is usually greater fragmentation, not more cohesion – and consequently we can end up with some very confused and exacerbated business stakeholders who care less about what standard we use and more about finding clarity to just get the job done.

The Convergence of Business Architecture and Business Analysis
Ask a room filled with business analysts and business architects how their jobs differ and relate, and I guarantee that would receive a multitude of alternative and sometimes conflicting perspectives.

Both of these disciplines try to develop standardised methods and frameworks for the description of the building blocks of an organization. They also seek to standardise the means by which to string them together to create better outcomes.

In other words, they are the disciplines that seek to create balance between two important business goals:

  • To produce consistent, predictable outcomes
  • To produce outcomes that meet desired objectives

In his book, “The Design of Business: Why Design Thinking is the Next Competitive Advantage,” Roger Martin describes the relationships and trade-offs between analytical thinking and intuitive thinking in business. He refers to the “knowledge funnel,” which charts the movement of business focus from solving business mysteries using heuristics to creating algorithms that increase reliability, reducing business complexity and costs and improving business performance.

The disciplines of Business Architecture and business analysis are both currently seeking to address this challenge. Martin refers to this as ”design thinking.”

Thinking Types v2

Vision Vs. Reality For Business Analysts and Business Architects

When examining the competency models for business analysis and Business Architecture, the desire is to position these two disciplines right across the spectrum of reliability and validity.

The reality is that both the business architect and the business analyst spend a large portion of their time in the reliability space, and I believe I’ve found the reason why.

Both the BABOK and the BIZBOK provide a body of knowledge focused predominantly around the reliability space. In other words, they look at how we define the building blocks of an organization, and less so at how we invent better building blocks within the organization.

Integrating the Disciplines

While we still have some way to go to integrate, the Business Architecture and business analysis disciplines are currently bringing great value to business through greater reliability and repeatability.

However, there is a significant opportunity to enable the intuitive thinkers to look at the bigger picture and identify opportunities to innovate their business models, their go-to-market, their product and service offerings and their operations.

Perhaps we might consider introducing a new function to bridge and unify the disciplines?

This newly created function might integrate a number of incumbent roles and functions and cover:

  • A holistic structural view covering the business model and the high-level relationships and interactions between all business systems
  • A market model view in which the focus is on understanding the market dynamics, segments and customer need
  • A products and services model view focusing on customer experience, value proposition, product and service mix and customer value
  • An operating model view – this is the current focus area of the business architect and business analyst. You need these building blocks defined in a reliable, repeatable and manageable structure. This enables agility within the organization and will support the assembly and mixing of building blocks to improve customer experience and value

At the end of the day, what matters most is not business analysis or Business Architecture themselves, but how the business will bridge the reliability and validity spectrum to reliably produce desired business outcomes.

I will discuss this topic in more detail at The Open Group Conference in Sydney, April 15-18, which will be the first Open Group event to be held in Australia.

Craig-MARTIN-ea-updated-3Craig Martin is the Chief Operating Officer and Chief Architect at Enterprise Architects, which is a specialist Enterprise Architecture firm operating in the U.S., UK, Asia and Australia. He is presenting the Business Architecture plenary at the upcoming Open Group conference in Sydney. 

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Questions for the Upcoming Business Architecture Tweet Jam – March 19

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

Earlier this week, we announced our upcoming tweet jam on Tuesday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. GMT/ Wednesday, March 20 at 8:00 a.m. EDT (Sydney Australia), which will examine the way in which Business Architecture is impacting enterprises and businesses of all sizes.

The discussion will be moderated by The Open Group (@theopengroup), and we welcome both members of The Open Group and interested participants alike to join the session.

The discussion will be guided by these six questions:

  1. How do you define Business Architecture?
  2. What is the role of the business architect? What real world business problems does Business Architecture solve?
  3. How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?
  4. How does Business Architecture differ from Enterprise Architecture?
  5. How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?
  6. What’s in store for Business Architecture in the future?

To join the discussion, please follow the #ogChat hashtag during the allotted discussion time. Other hashtags we recommend you use during the event include:

  • Enterprise Architecture : #EntArch
  • Business Architecture: #BizArch
  • The Open Group Architecture Forum : #ogArch

For more information about the tweet jam, guidelines and general background information, please visit our previous blog post.

If you have any questions prior to the event or would like to join as a participant, please direct them to Rod McLeod (rmcleod at bateman-group dot com), or leave a comment below. We anticipate a lively chat and hope you will be able to join us!

patricia donovanPatricia Donovan is Vice President, Membership & Events, at The Open Group and a member of its executive management team. In this role she is involved in determining the company’s strategic direction and policy as well as the overall management of that business area. Patricia joined The Open Group in 1988 and has played a key role in the organization’s evolution, development and growth since then. She also oversees the company’s marketing, conferences and member meetings. She is based in the U.S.

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Business Architecture Tweet Jam – March 19

By Patty Donovan, The Open Group

On Tuesday, March 19 at 2:00 p.m. PT/9:00 p.m. BST/Wednesday, March 20 at 8:00 a.m. EDT (Sydney, Australia), The Open Group will host a tweet jam examining the topic of Business Architecture.

Today, Business Architecture is shaping and fostering enterprise transformation initiatives and continuous improvement throughout companies of all sizes. In The Open Group’s 2013 Predictions, Steve Philp, marketing Director for Open CA and Open CITS at The Open Group predicted that Business Architecture would continue to grow in prominence and visibility among executives. According to Steve’s prediction, “there are a number of key technology areas for 2013 where business architects will be called upon to engage with the business such as Cloud Computing, Big Data and social networking.” Steve also predicted that “the need to have competent Business Architects is a high priority in both the developed and emerging markets and the demand for Business Architects currently exceeds the supply.” Steve’s sentiments mirror an industry-wide perspective: It’s certain that Business Architecture will impact enterprises, but to what extent?

This tweet jam, sponsored by The Open Group, will take a step back and allow participants to discuss what the nascent topic of Business Architecture actually means. How is Business Architecture defined? What is the role of the business architect and how does Business Architecture relate to Enterprise Architecture?

Please join us for our upcoming Business Architecture tweet jam where leading experts will discuss this evolving topic.

And for those of you who are unfamiliar with tweet jams, here is some background information:

What Is a Tweet Jam?

A tweet jam is a one hour “discussion” hosted on Twitter. The purpose of the tweet jam is to share knowledge and answer questions on Business Architecture. Each tweet jam is led by a moderator and a dedicated group of experts to keep the discussion flowing. The public (or anyone using Twitter interested in the topic) is encouraged to join the discussion.

Participation Guidance

Whether you’re a newbie or veteran Twitter user, here are a few tips to keep in mind:

  • Have your first #ogChat tweet be a self-introduction: name, affiliation, occupation.
  • Start all other tweets with the question number you’re responding to and the #ogChat hashtag.
    • Sample: “Q1 Business Architecture has different meanings to different people within my organization #ogChat”
    • Please refrain from product or service promotions. The goal of a tweet jam is to encourage an exchange of knowledge and stimulate discussion.
    • While this is a professional get-together, we don’t have to be stiff! Informality will not be an issue!
    • A tweet jam is akin to a public forum, panel discussion or Town Hall meeting – let’s be focused and thoughtful.

If you have any questions prior to the event or would like to join as a participant, please direct them to Rod McLeod (rmcleod at bateman-group dot com). We anticipate a lively chat and hope you will be able to join!

patricia donovanPatricia Donovan is Vice President, Membership & Events, at The Open Group and a member of its executive management team. In this role she is involved in determining the company’s strategic direction and policy as well as the overall management of that business area. Patricia joined The Open Group in 1988 and has played a key role in the organization’s evolution, development and growth since then. She also oversees the company’s marketing, conferences and member meetings. She is based in the U.S.

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2013 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 2

By The Open Group

Continuing on the theme of predictions, here are a few more, which focus on global IT trends, business architecture, OTTF and Open Group events in 2013.

Global Enterprise Architecture

By Chris Forde, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Membership Capabilities

Cloud is no longer a bleeding edge technology – most organizations are already well on their way to deploying cloud technology.  However, Cloud implementations are resurrecting a perennial problem for organizations—integration. Now that Cloud infrastructures are being deployed, organizations are having trouble integrating different systems, especially with systems hosted by third parties outside their organization. What will happen when two, three or four technical delivery systems are hosted on AND off premise? This presents a looming integration problem.

As we see more and more organizations buying into cloud infrastructures, we’ll see an increase in cross-platform integration architectures globally in 2013. The role of the enterprise architect will become more complex. Architectures must not only ensure that systems are integrated properly, but architects also need to figure out a way to integrate outsourced teams and services and determine responsibility across all systems. Additionally, outsourcing and integration will lead to increased focus on security in the coming year, especially in healthcare and financial sectors. When so many people are involved, and responsibility is shared or lost in the process, gaping holes can be left unnoticed. As data is increasingly shared between organizations and current trends escalate, security will also become more and more of a concern. Integration may yield great rewards architecturally, but it also means greater exposure to vulnerabilities outside of your firewall.

Within the Architecture Forum, we will be working on improvements to the TOGAF® standard throughout 2013, as well as an effort to continue to harmonize the TOGAF specification with the ArchiMate® modelling language.  The Forum also expects to publish a whitepaper on application portfolio management in the new year, as well as be involved in the upcoming Cloud Reference Architecture.

In China, The Open Group is progressing well. In 2013, we’ll continue translating The Open Group website, books and whitepapers from English to Chinese. Partnerships and Open CA certification will remain in the forefront of global priorities, as well as enrolling TOGAF trainers throughout Asia Pacific as Open Group members. There are a lot of exciting developments arising, and we will keep you updated as we expand our footprint in China and the rest of Asia.

Open Group Events in 2013

By Patty Donovan, Vice President of Membership and Events

In 2013, the biggest change for us will be our quarterly summit. The focus will shift toward an emphasis on verticals. This new focus will debut at our April event in Sydney where the vertical themes include Mining, Government, and Finance. Additional vertical themes that we plan to cover throughout the year include: Healthcare, Transportation, Retail, just to name a few. We will also continue to increase the number of our popular Livestream sessions as we have seen an extremely positive reaction to them as well as all of our On-Demand sessions – listen to best selling authors and industry leaders who participated as keynote and track speakers throughout the year.

Regarding social media, we made big strides in 2012 and will continue to make this a primary focus of The Open Group. If you haven’t already, please “like” us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, join the chat on (#ogchat) one of our Security focused Tweet Jams, and join our LinkedIn Group. And if you have the time, we’d love for you to contribute to The Open Group blog.

We’re always open to new suggestions, so if you have a creative idea on how we can improve your membership, Open Group events, webinars, podcasts, please let me know! Also, please be sure to attend the upcoming Open Group Conference in Newport Beach, Calif., which is taking place on January 28-31. The conference will address Big Data.

Business Architecture

By Steve Philp, Marketing Director for Open CA and Open CITS

Business Architecture is still a relatively new discipline, but in 2013 I think it will continue to grow in prominence and visibility from an executive perspective. C-Level decision makers are not just looking at operational efficiency initiatives and cost reduction programs to grow their future revenue streams; they are also looking at market strategy and opportunity analysis.

Business Architects are extremely valuable to an organization when they understand market and technology trends in a particular sector. They can then work with business leaders to develop strategies based on the capabilities and positioning of the company to increase revenue, enhance their market position and improve customer loyalty.

Senior management recognizes that technology also plays a crucial role in how organizations can achieve their business goals. A major role of the Business Architect is to help merge technology with business processes to help facilitate this business transformation.

There are a number of key technology areas for 2013 where Business Architects will be called upon to engage with the business such as Cloud Computing, Big Data and social networking. Therefore, the need to have competent Business Architects is a high priority in both the developed and emerging markets and the demand for Business Architects currently exceeds the supply. There are some training and certification programs available based on a body of knowledge, but how do you establish who is a practicing Business Architect if you are looking to recruit?

The Open Group is trying to address this issue and has incorporated a Business Architecture stream into The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) program. There has already been significant interest in this stream from both organizations and practitioners alike. This is because Open CA is a skills- and experience-based program that recognizes, at different levels, those individuals who are actually performing in a Business Architecture role. You must complete a candidate application package and be interviewed by your peers. Achieving certification demonstrates your competency as a Business Architect and therefore will stand you in good stead for both next year and beyond.

You can view the conformance criteria for the Open CA Business Architecture stream at https://www2.opengroup.org/ogsys/catalog/X120.

Trusted Technology

By Sally Long, Director of Consortia Services

The interdependency of all countries on global technology providers and technology providers’ dependencies on component suppliers around the world is more certain than ever before.  The need to work together in a vendor-neutral, country-neutral environment to assure there are standards for securing technology development and supply chain operations will become increasingly apparent in 2013. Securing the global supply chain can not be done in a vacuum, by a few providers or a few governments, it must be achieved by working together with all governments, providers, component suppliers and integrators and it must be done through open standards and accreditation programs that demonstrate conformance to those standards and are available to everyone.

The Open Group’s Trusted Technology Forum is providing that open, vendor and country-neutral environment, where suppliers from all countries and governments from around the world can work together in a trusted collaborative environment, to create a standard and an accreditation program for securing the global supply chain. The Open Trusted Technology Provider Standard (O-TTPS) Snapshot (Draft) was published in March of 2012 and is the basis for our 2013 predictions.

We predict that in 2013:

  • Version 1.0 of the O-TTPS (Standard) will be published.
  • Version 1.0 will be submitted to the ISO PAS process in 2013, and will likely become part of the ISO/IEC 27036 standard, where Part 5 of that ISO standard is already reserved for the O-TTPS work
  • An O-TTPS Accreditation Program – open to all providers, component suppliers, and integrators, will be launched
  • The Forum will continue the trend of increased member participation from governments and suppliers around the world

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2013 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 1

By The Open Group

A big thank you to all of our members and staff who have made 2012 another great year for The Open Group. There were many notable achievements this year, including the release of ArchiMate 2.0, the launch of the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™) Technical Standard and the publication of the SOA Reference Architecture (SOA RA) and the Service-Oriented Cloud Computing Infrastructure Framework (SOCCI).

As we wrap up 2012, we couldn’t help but look towards what is to come in 2013 for The Open Group and the industries we‘re a part of. Without further ado, here they are:

Big Data
By Dave Lounsbury, Chief Technical Officer

Big Data is on top of everyone’s mind these days. Consumerization, mobile smart devices, and expanding retail and sensor networks are generating massive amounts of data on behavior, environment, location, buying patterns – etc. – producing what is being called “Big Data”. In addition, as the use of personal devices and social networks continue to gain popularity so does the expectation to have access to such data and the computational power to use it anytime, anywhere. Organizations will turn to IT to restructure its services so it meets the growing expectation of control and access to data.

Organizations must embrace Big Data to drive their decision-making and to provide the optimal service mix services to customers. Big Data is becoming so big that the big challenge is how to use it to make timely decisions. IT naturally focuses on collecting data so Big Data itself is not an issue.. To allow humans to keep on top of this flood of data, industry will need to move away from programming computers for storing and processing data to teaching computers how to assess large amounts of uncorrelated data and draw inferences from this data on their own. We also need to start thinking about the skills that people need in the IT world to not only handle Big Data, but to make it actionable. Do we need “Data Architects” and if so, what would their role be?

In 2013, we will see the beginning of the Intellectual Computing era. IT will play an essential role in this new era and will need to help enterprises look at uncorrelated data to find the answer.

Security

By Jim Hietala, Vice President of Security

As 2012 comes to a close, some of the big developments in security over the past year include:

  • Continuation of hacktivism attacks.
  • Increase of significant and persistent threats targeting government and large enterprises. The notable U.S. National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace started to make progress in the second half of the year in terms of industry and government movement to address fundamental security issues.
  • Security breaches were discovered by third parties, where the organizations affected had no idea that they were breached. Data from the 2012 Verizon report suggests that 92 percent of companies breached were notified by a third party.
  • Acknowledgement from senior U.S. cybersecurity professionals that organizations fall into two groups: those that know they’ve been penetrated, and those that have been penetrated, but don’t yet know it.

In 2013, we’ll no doubt see more of the same on the attack front, plus increased focus on mobile attack vectors. We’ll also see more focus on detective security controls, reflecting greater awareness of the threat and on the reality that many large organizations have already been penetrated, and therefore responding appropriately requires far more attention on detection and incident response.

We’ll also likely see the U.S. move forward with cybersecurity guidance from the executive branch, in the form of a Presidential directive. New national cybersecurity legislation seemed to come close to happening in 2012, and when it failed to become a reality, there were many indications that the administration would make something happen by executive order.

Enterprise Architecture

By Leonard Fehskens, Vice President of Skills and Capabilities

Preparatory to my looking back at 2012 and forward to 2013, I reviewed what I wrote last year about 2011 and 2012.

Probably the most significant thing from my perspective is that so little has changed. In fact, I think in many respects the confusion about what Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Business Architecture are about has gotten worse.

The stress within the EA community as both the demands being placed on it and the diversity of opinion within it increase continues to grow.  This year, I saw a lot more concern about the value proposition for EA, but not a lot of (read “almost no”) convergence on what that value proposition is.

Last year I wrote “As I expected at this time last year, the conventional wisdom about Enterprise Architecture continues to spin its wheels.”  No need to change a word of that. What little progress at the leading edge was made in 2011 seems to have had no effect in 2012. I think this is largely a consequence of the dust thrown in the eyes of the community by the ascendance of the concept of “Business Architecture,” which is still struggling to define itself.  Business Architecture seems to me to have supplanted last year’s infatuation with “enterprise transformation” as the means of compensating for the EA community’s entrenched IT-centric perspective.

I think this trend and the quest for a value proposition are symptomatic of the same thing — the urgent need for Enterprise Architecture to make its case to its stakeholder community, especially to the people who are paying the bills. Something I saw in 2011 that became almost epidemic in 2012 is conflation — the inclusion under the Enterprise Architecture umbrella of nearly anything with the slightest taste of “business” to it. This has had the unfortunate effect of further obscuring the unique contribution of Enterprise Architecture, which is to bring architectural thinking to bear on the design of human enterprise.

So, while I’m not quite mired in the slough of despond, I am discouraged by the community’s inability to advance the state of the art. In a private communication to some colleagues I wrote, “the conventional wisdom on EA is at about the same state of maturity as 14th century cosmology. It is obvious to even the most casual observer that the earth is both flat and the center of the universe. We debate what happens when you fall off the edge of the Earth, and is the flat earth carried on the back of a turtle or an elephant?  Does the walking of the turtle or elephant rotate the crystalline sphere of the heavens, or does the rotation of the sphere require the turtlephant to walk to keep the earth level?  These are obviously the questions we need to answer.”

Cloud

By Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability

2012 has seen the establishment of Cloud Computing as a mainstream resource for enterprise architects and the emergence of Big Data as the latest hot topic, likely to be mainstream for the future. Meanwhile, Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) has kept its position as an architectural style of choice for delivering distributed solutions, and the move to ever more powerful mobile devices continues. These trends have been reflected in the activities of our Cloud Computing Work Group and in the continuing support by members of our SOA work.

The use of Cloud, Mobile Computing, and Big Data to deliver on-line systems that are available anywhere at any time is setting a new norm for customer expectations. In 2013, we will see the development of Enterprise Architecture practice to ensure the consistent delivery of these systems by IT professionals, and to support the evolution of creative new computing solutions.

IT systems are there to enable the business to operate more effectively. Customers expect constant on-line access through mobile and other devices. Business organizations work better when they focus on their core capabilities, and let external service providers take care of the rest. On-line data is a huge resource, so far largely untapped. Distributed, Cloud-enabled systems, using Big Data, and architected on service-oriented principles, are the best enablers of effective business operations. There will be a convergence of SOA, Mobility, Cloud Computing, and Big Data as they are seen from the overall perspective of the enterprise architect.

Within The Open Group, the SOA and Cloud Work Groups will continue their individual work, and will collaborate with other forums and work groups, and with outside organizations, to foster the convergence of IT disciplines for distributed computing.

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Different Words Meant Different Things, Part 3

By Leonard Fehskens, The Open Group

In the second part of this series, I examined the effect of our definition of enterprise on how we think about EA.

To close, I’ll consider the implications of a more inclusive concept of enterprise on the future of Enterprise Architecture.

The current cohort of EAs who have grown accustomed to a misnamed and narrowly focused discipline will eventually retire.  They will be replaced, over time, by EAs who learn the discipline in academic programs rather than by making it up on the job.  They will chuckle in amusement at a “body of knowledge” that is like that of medicine before germ theory, geology before plate tectonics, or astronomy before heliocentrism.  These programs are being created now, and academics are not interested in teaching a discipline with an irrational and inconsistent vocabulary.  They don’t want to have to explain to their students that it is for “historical reasons” that “enterprise means the IT part of a business.”

The focus of an academic program on Enterprise Architecture will necessarily reflect the prevailing concept of enterprise.  The commonly used model of Enterprise Architecture being about people, process and technology provides a useful context for considering this influence.

An IT-centric concept of Enterprise Architecture, like the one currently espoused by most of the community, will emphasize the role of information technology in supporting the needs of the business.  It will include just enough about business and people to enable practitioners to address the goal of “aligning IT with the business.”

A concept of Enterprise Architecture based on the idea of enterprise as business will emphasize business, especially business processes, as they are the primary locus of technological support.  It will include just enough about information technology and people to enable practitioners to address the goal of making IT a strategic asset for businesses.

A concept of Enterprise Architecture based on the idea of enterprise as human endeavor will emphasize the role of people, and be built around the sociology and psychology of individuals, groups and organizations, especially leadership and management as means to achieving organizational goals.  It will devote some attention to business as a particular kind of enterprise, but will look at other forms of enterprise and their unique concerns as well.  Finally, it will consider technology in its most general sense as the means of instantiating the infrastructure necessary to realize an enterprise.  There will be a lot of harumphing about how the conventional wisdom is correct by definition because it is what is practiced by the majority of practitioners, but there is a noisy and insistent contingent that will continue to point out that the world is not flat and the sun does not go around the earth.  Only time will tell, but however you measure it, over 90% of most organizations is “not-IT”, and the IT-centric perspective is simply so imbalanced that it can’t ultimately prevail.

Adopting a broader concept of enterprise consistent with its meaning in common English usage does not in any way invalidate any of the current applications or interpretations of Enterprise Architecture.  It simply allows the application of architectural thinking to other kinds of purposeful human activity besides commercial business organizations to be subsumed under the rubric “Enterprise Architecture”.  All entities that are enterprises by these more restrictive definitions clearly fit unchanged into this more inclusive definition of enterprise.

 Len Fehskens is Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open GroupHe is responsible for The Open Group’s activities relating to the professionalization of the discipline of enterprise architecture. Prior to joining The Open Group, Len led the Worldwide Architecture Profession Office for HP Services at Hewlett-Packard. He majored in Computer Science at MIT, and has over 40 years of experience in the IT business as both an individual contributor and a manager, within both product engineering and services business units. Len has worked for Digital Equipment Corporation, Data General Corporation, Prime Computer, Compaq and Hewlett Packard.  He is the lead inventor on six software patents on the object oriented management of distributed systems.

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Different Words Mean Different Things, Part 2

By Leonard Fehskens, The Open Group

In the first part of this series, I proposed distinct meanings of enterprise, business, organization and corporation.

As I noted earlier, you don’t have to agree with the distinctions I am making here.  But words are a finite, “nonrenewable” resource – if you treat these four words as interchangeable synonyms, you will not be able to make these distinctions without finding other words to make them for you.  In particular, you will not be able to distinguish an endeavor from the means of realizing it (similar to confusing an architecture and a blueprint).  You will not be able to distinguish one particular kind of endeavor (for example, a commercial endeavor) from other kinds of endeavors.  You will not be able to distinguish one particular kind of organization from other kinds of organizations.

Treating these four words as synonyms makes these words unavailable to describe larger and more inclusive domains for the application of architectural thinking.  What’s more, it does so needlessly.  This discipline doesn’t need synonyms any more than an organization needs multiple different systems that do the same thing.  Synonyms are redundancies that reduce the expressive power of the language we use to talk about what we do.  We need to be able to make distinctions between things that are important to distinguish from one another, and there are only so many words available to us to do so.

I acknowledge that for most of the community of practicing business and enterprise architects, most if not all of their practice occurs in the context of business-as-commercial-entities.  It is therefore not surprising that many people in the Business and Enterprise Architecture communities would not believe these distinctions are worth making, and be perfectly happy to (if not insistent that we) treat these words as synonyms.  But we have to be careful to avoid the example of the six blind men and the elephant, and being able to explain a predisposition to make these words synonymous doesn’t make it the right thing to do.

There’s even a contingent that insists that enterprise doesn’t just mean a commercial business organization, that it means a specific kind of commercial business organization, one that exceeds some critical threshold with respect to its scale, complexity, sophistication, ambition or consequence.  This is a bit like insisting that the implied “building” in “(building) architecture” means “commercial building”, or more specifically, “skyscraper.”

The problem with this concept of enterprise arises when one tries to specify the objective criteria by which one distinguishes a mere business from the bigger, more complex, more sophisticated, more ambitious or more consequential business that deserves to be called an enterprise.  It is certainly the case that the larger, more complex, more sophisticated, more ambitious and more consequential a commercial business organization is, the more likely architectural thinking will be necessary and beneficial.  But this observation about Enterprise Architecture does not mean that we ought to define enterprise to mean a large, complex, sophisticated, ambitious and consequential commercial business organization.

Why have so many naval vessels been named Enterprise?  Why was the Starship Enterprise from the Star Trek franchise so named, and why was this thought to be an appropriate name for the first space shuttle?  It was not because these vessels embodied some idea of a commercial business organization or because the word connoted a big, complex, sophisticated, ambitious or consequential business.  And surely if the latter had been the reason, there would be many lesser vessels named simply “Business”?

There are two significant consequences to basing Enterprise Architecture (EA) on a concept of enterprise that is limited to a particular kind of organization.  The first has to do with the applicability of the discipline, and the second has to do with how we educate enterprise architects.

If we restrict the definition of enterprise to a specific kind of purposeful activity, whether the criteria we use for this restriction are subjective or objective, we must either argue that architectural thinking is inapplicable to those purposeful activities that do not satisfy these restrictions, or we have to find a word to denote the larger class of purposeful activities to which architectural thinking applies, a class that includes both the restricted concept of enterprise and all other activities to which architectural thinking applies.

If enterprise means the same thing as commercial business organization, what do we call an entity that is not a commercial business organization (e.g., a church, a hospital, a government, or an army)?  Does Enterprise Architecture not apply to such endeavors because they are not created primarily to conduct business transactions?  What do we call organizations that are not businesses?  If we want to talk about an organization that is a business, why can’t we just use the compound “business organization”, which not only does not erase the distinction, it makes clear the relationship between the two?  Similarly, if we want to talk about an enterprise that is a business, as an enterprise, why can’t we just use the compound “business enterprise”?

Similarly, what should we call the architectural discipline that applies to human enterprise in general, and of which any more narrowly defined concept of Enterprise Architecture is necessarily a specialization?

Expanding definitions

The recent surge of interest in “Business Architecture” is, in my opinion, reflective of both the realization by the community that the historically IT-centric focus of Enterprise Architecture is unnecessarily circumscribed, and the lack of a systematic and internally consistent concept of Enterprise Architecture shared throughout that community.

There is a growing faction within the EA community that argues that most of Enterprise Architecture as practiced is actually enterprise IT architecture (EITA), and calling this practice EA is a misuse of the term.  Despite this, the widespread adoption of the egregiously oversimplified model of an enterprise as comprising “the business” and IT, and thus, Enterprise Architecture as comprising “Business Architecture” and “IT Architecture”, has led to the emergence of “Business Architecture” as a distinct if ill-defined concept.

It seems to me that many people consider Enterprise Architecture to be so hopelessly tainted by its historic IT-centricity that they view the best course to be allowing Enterprise Architecture to continue to be misused to mean EITA, and letting Business Architecture take its place as what EA “should have meant.”  I note in passing that there are some people who insist that EA “has always meant,” or at least “originally” meant, the architecture of the enterprise as a whole, but was hijacked by the IT community, though no one has been able to provide other than thirty year old recollections to support this assertion.

As I noted at the outset, I think Enterprise Architecture should encompass the application of architectural thinking to human endeavors of all kinds, not just those that are primarily business in nature, including, for example, governmental, military, religious, academic, or medical enterprises.  Yes, these endeavors all have some business aspects, but they are not what we normally call businesses, and calling the discipline “Business Architecture” almost unavoidably encourages us to overlook the architectural needs of such non-business-centric endeavors and focus instead on the needs of one specific kind of endeavor.

We have the words to name these things properly. We simply have to start doing so.

In part 3 of this series, I’ll consider the implications of a more inclusive concept of enterprise on the future of Enterprise Architecture.

 Len Fehskens is Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open GroupHe is responsible for The Open Group’s activities relating to the professionalization of the discipline of enterprise architecture. Prior to joining The Open Group, Len led the Worldwide Architecture Profession Office for HP Services at Hewlett-Packard. He majored in Computer Science at MIT, and has over 40 years of experience in the IT business as both an individual contributor and a manager, within both product engineering and services business units. Len has worked for Digital Equipment Corporation, Data General Corporation, Prime Computer, Compaq and Hewlett Packard.  He is the lead inventor on six software patents on the object oriented management of distributed systems.

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Different Words Mean Different Things, Part 1

By Leonard Fehskens, The Open Group

Over on the LinkedIn Enterprise Architecture Network discussion group there is a thread on the relationship between Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Business Architecture that as of late November 2012 had run to over 4100 comments.

Some of the sprawl of this thread is due to the usual lack of discipline in staying on topic.  Some of it is due to the rehashing of well-worn themes as newcomers arrive.  It seems clear to me though, that even when long time contributors try to move the subject forward, a lot of the back and forth that fails to converge is a consequence of the community’s lack of an appropriate and widely shared vocabulary.

In particular, there are four words that many in the Enterprise and Business Architecture communities seem to use interchangeably – enterprise, business, organization and corporation.

Before I tackle this subject, there is some context I should provide.

First, people who know me consider me to be obsessive about the precise use of language, and they’re right.  I think of Enterprise Architecture as more a craft than a science, and as such, the language we use to express it is ordinary language (as opposed to, for example, mathematics).  To me it follows that it is especially important that we use that language carefully.

Second, I’m coming at this from the perspective of creating a profession and its supporting ecosystem.  I believe a profession should be broadly applicable, with specializations within the profession addressing more narrowly focused concerns.

Finally, though much of the discussion about Enterprise Architecture is in English, I acknowledge that for a large fraction of the community English is a second (or third) language.  So, while this post is specifically about English usage, I suspect much of it applies as well to other languages, and I don’t want to imply that the conventions of English usage are the only ones worthy of consideration.

That’s enough by way of preamble.

The EA community may not have agreed upon definitions of many of the words it uses, but as these words are drawn from the vernacular, the rest of the world does.  This conventional usage makes clear distinctions between enterprise, business, organization and corporation.

While it is true that these words all have some sense in which they are roughly synonymous, they have primary definitions that distinguish them from one another.  I think we ought to observe these distinctions because they are useful, especially in that they allow us to sensibly relate the concepts they represent to one another, and they do not needlessly foreclose the broader application of these concepts.

First, I’m going to propose definitions for these words to be used in the context of Enterprise Architecture.  Then I’m going to look at what these definitions imply about the relationships between the things these words denote, and how the current usage obscures or denies these relationships.

It’s very possible, if not likely, that you will not agree with these definitions.  I’ll deal with that later.

Enterprise

The Oxford English Dictionary (Compact Edition, 1971) defines “enterprise” as:

Derived from the French entreprendre, “to take in hand, undertake”.

    1. A design of which the execution is attempted; a piece of work taken in hand, an undertaking; chiefly, and now exclusively, a bold, arduous, or momentous undertaking.
      • b. engagement in such undertaking
    2. Disposition or readiness to engage in undertakings of difficulty, risk, or danger; daring spirit.
    3. The action of taking in hand; management, superintendence. Obsolete.

So, enterprise means “undertaking” or “endeavor,” especially one that is relatively ambitious.  Implicit in this concept of enterprise is the intentional action of one of more people.  It is intentional in the sense that the action is intended to achieve some outcome.  The role of people is important; we do not generally consider machines, regardless of their purpose, to exhibit “enterprise” in this sense.  For me, the essential properties of an enterprise are people and their activity in pursuit of explicit intent.

This is a deliberately, very broadly inclusive concept of enterprise.  All of the following are, in my opinion, enterprises:

  • A child’s lemonade stand
  • A club
  • A professional society
  • A committee or working group
  • A town, state or country government
  • An international/multinational coalition
  • A military unit
  • A department or ministry of defense
  • A for-profit, non-profit or not-for-profit corporation
  • A partnership
  • A consortium
  • A church
  • A university or college
  • A hospital

Business

English speakers commonly use the word “business” to mean three things, and are usually able to infer the intended meaning from context.  These three common meanings of business are:

Business-as-commerce: The exchange of goods and services for some form of compensation for the costs and risks of doing so.

Business-as-commercial-entity: An entity whose primary activity is the conduct of some form of business-as-commerce.  In colloquial terms, the primary purpose of such an entity is to “make money”, and if it does not “make money” it will “go out of business.”

Business-as-primary-concern: The primary concern or activity of some entity.

These three different commonly understood meanings of business make it possible for someone to say something like:

“The business of my business is business.”

I.e., “The business-as-primary-concern of my business-as-commercial-entity is business-as-commerce.”

Organization

An “organization” is a structured (i.e., “organized”) group of people and resources, usually acting in concert to achieve some shared purpose.

Corporation

Finally, a “corporation” is an organization structured and operated in a particular way so as to satisfy certain legal constraints and thus benefit from the legal consequences of that conformance.  Strictly speaking, a corporation is a legal entity that has an organization associated with it.  In the case of a “shell” or “dummy” corporation, the associated organization’s people and resources may be minimal.

Observations

Based on these definitions, one can make some observations.

An organization is typically the means by which an enterprise is realized.  Small scale enterprises may be realized by a single individual, which is a trivial case of an organization.

Not all organizations are business-as-commercial-entities.  Organizations that are not businesses will almost certainly conduct some business-as-commerce as an adjunct activity in support of their primary intent.

Not all enterprises have as their intent some form of business-as-commerce. An organization that realizes such an enterprise will not be a business-as-commercial-entity.  While all business-as-commercial-entities realize an enterprise, not all enterprises are realized by business-as-commercial-entities.

Not all organizations are corporations.

Not all business-as-commercial-entities are corporations.

These relationships are depicted below.

 Len diagram

This is a three-part series that discusses how our vocabulary affects the way we conceptualize Enterprise Architecture, Business Architecture and their relationship.  Part 2 will examine the effect of our definition of enterprise on how we think about EA. 

 Len Fehskens is Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open GroupHe is responsible for The Open Group’s activities relating to the professionalization of the discipline of enterprise architecture. Prior to joining The Open Group, Len led the Worldwide Architecture Profession Office for HP Services at Hewlett-Packard. He majored in Computer Science at MIT, and has over 40 years of experience in the IT business as both an individual contributor and a manager, within both product engineering and services business units. Len has worked for Digital Equipment Corporation, Data General Corporation, Prime Computer, Compaq and Hewlett Packard.  He is the lead inventor on six software patents on the object oriented management of distributed systems.

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Alex Osterwalder’s Business Model Canvas

By The Open Group Conference Team

At The Open Group Conference in Cannes, Alex Osterwalder, entrepreneur, “Business Model Generation” author and creator of the Business Model Canvas, discussed how enterprise architects can contribute to business models. He suggested that there needs to be a bridge between Enterprise Architecture and the highest strategic level of business, bringing strategic and implementation concepts together.  Osterwalder also encouraged organizations to have a shared discussion in a shared language with all stakeholders – a concept that enterprise architects are very familiar with.

To hear more from Alex Osterwalder on how enterprise architects can become more involved in the business model development process, please watch this video:

 

Later this month, The Open Group is hosting its Barcelona conference from October 22-25, where industry thought leaders, like Osterwalder, will be discussing emerging IT trends, specifically the concept of Big Data – the next frontier in the enterprise.

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TOGAF® and BIAN – A strong proposition for the Banking Industry

By Thomas Obitz, KPMG

Earlier this year, a working group led by Paul Bonnie, ING and I published a white paper on the integration of TOGAF® and BIAN, the framework of the Banking Industry Architecture Network. Gartner even suggested that the white paper greatly aids the big problem of arriving at a consistent reference model for banks. So how does a white paper help practicing architects in banks?

Every enterprise architect knows the two most difficult questions in a complex transformation initiative: How to describe the architecture of an organization – how to break down its functions and services, and arrive at a model which makes sense to everybody; and where to get started – what needs to be done, and how do the outputs fit together?

For this second question, the industry has pretty much agreed on the answer – TOGAF. It is a best practice process with a tremendous acceptance in the market place. However, it is industry independent, and, therefore, will not provide any models describing the specifics of a bank, or even the banking IT landscape. This gap of vertical content is a significant hurdle when attempting to get architecture initiatives off the ground.

Looking at our options within The Open Group Architecture Forum to address this challenge, creating industry-specific variants of the TOGAF framework would have stretched resources a bit too thin – and so the Architecture Forum decided to find a partner to collaborate with. We found it in BIAN.

BIAN, the Banking Industry Architecture Network, publishes a reference model for the services required as building blocks in the IT landscape of a bank. Like TOGAF, it leverages the experience of its members to identify best practices, and it has the support of major banks, leading software vendors and consultancies. The current services landscape has reached a certain level of maturity, describing more than 250 services.

The white paper describes how TOGAF and BIAN fit together, and where and how to use the BIAN collateral. Adapting the frameworks together yields several key benefits:

  • The services landscape provides architects with a canvas to structure the IT landscape, to map their inherent challenges, and scope solutions quickly. Hence, it speeds up activities in the time critical mobilization phase of a transformation initiative and helps to keep momentum.
  • Once a solution has been scoped in alignment with the services landscape, vendors supporting the BIAN reference model can provide components that implement the services. Consequently, it helps in the process of vendor selection.
  • As the responsibilities of components and the business objects exchanged between them are defined, integration between components of the landscape becomes much easier, reducing integration cost and complexity.

In a recent engagement with a retail bank, I used the services landscape as the starting point for the analysis of the challenges the bank was facing and to map out potential solutions. It allowed the team to start out quickly with a structure that was accepted and natural.

So when you are looking for an approach to making a large transformation initiative fly – have a look at our paper, and use it as a tool for making your life easier. And please do give us feedback on your experiences with it via email or in the comments section of this blog post.


Thomas Obitz is a Principal Advisor with KPMG LLP in London. Building on more than 20 years of experience in the IT industry, he acts primarily as a lead architect of major initiatives, as an enterprise architect, and a business architect. He has more than 13 years of experience in the Financial Services industry, with a strong focus on Investment Banking and Capital Markets. 

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Video Highlights Day 2 of Washington, D.C.

By The Open Group Conference Team

How can you use the tools of Enterprise Architecture and open standards to improve the capability of your company doing business? The Day 2 speakers of The Open Group Conference in Washington, D.C. addressed this question, focusing on Enterprise Transformation. Sessions included:

  • “Case Study: University Health Network (Toronto),” by Jason Uppal, chief enterprise architect at QR Systems, Inc. and winner of the 2012 Edison Award for Innovation
  • “Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™): Transforming the DoD Avionics Software Industry Through the Use of Open Standards,” by Judy Cerenzia, FACE™ program director at The Open Group, Kirk Avery, chief software architect at Lockheed Martin and Philip Minor, director at System of Systems of Engineering Directorate at the Office of Chief Systems Engineer, ASA(ALT)
  • “Using the TOGAF® Architecture Content Framework with the ArchiMate® Modeling Language,” by Henry Franken, CEO of BIZZdesign, and Iver Band, enterprise architect at Standard Insurance

David Lounsbury, CTO of The Open Group summarizes some of the day’s sessions:

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What’s New in ArchiMate 2.0?

By Andrew Josey, The Open Group, Henry Franken, BiZZdesign

ArchiMate® 2.0, an Open Group Standard, is an upwards-compatible evolution from ArchiMate 1.0 adding new features, as well as addressing usage feedback and comments raised.

ArchiMate 2.0 standard supports modeling throughout the TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM).

Figure 1: Correspondence between ArchiMate and the TOGAF ADM

ArchiMate 2.0 consists of:

  • The ArchiMate Core, which contains several minor improvements on the 1.0 version.
  • The Motivation extension, to model stakeholders, drivers for change, business goals, principles, and requirements. This extension mainly addresses the needs in the early TOGAF phases and the requirements management process.
  • The Implementation and Migration extension, to support project portfolio management, gap analysis, and transition and migration planning. This extension mainly addresses the needs in the later phases of the TOGAF ADM cycle.

ArchiMate 2.0 offers a modeling language to create fully integrated models of the organization’s enterprise architecture, the motivation for the enterprise architecture, and the programs, projects and migration paths to implement this enterprise architecture. In this way, full (forward and backward) traceability between the elements in the enterprise architecture, their motivations and their implementation can be obtained.

In the ArchiMate Core, a large number of minor improvements have been made compared to ArchiMate 1.0: inconsistencies have been removed, examples have been improved and additional text has been inserted to clarify certain aspects. Two new concepts have been added based on needs experienced by practitioners:

  • Location: To model a conceptual point or extent in space that can be assigned to structural elements and, indirectly, of behavior elements.
  • Infrastructure Function: To model the internal behavior of a node in the technology layer. This makes the technology layer more consistent with the other two layers.

The Motivation extension defines the following concepts:

  • Stakeholder: The role of an individual, team, or organization (or classes thereof) that represents their interests in, or concerns relative to, the outcome of the architecture.
  • Driver: Something that creates, motivates, and fuels the change in an organization.
  • Assessment: The outcome of some analysis of some driver.
  • Goal: An end state that a stakeholder intends to achieve.
  • Requirement: A statement of need that must be realized by a system.
  • Constraint: A restriction on the way in which a system is realized.
  • Principle: A normative property of all systems in a given context or the way in which they are realized.

For motivation elements, a limited set of relationships has been defined, partly re-used from the ArchiMate Core: aggregation (decomposition), realization, and (positive or negative) influence.

The Implementation and Migration extension defines the following concepts (and re-uses the relationships of the Core):

  • Work Package: A series of actions designed to accomplish a unique goal within a specified time.
  • Deliverable: A precisely defined outcome of a work package.
  • Plateau: A relatively stable state of the architecture that exists during a limited period of time.
  • Gap: An outcome of a gap analysis between two plateaus.

ArchiMate 2 Certification

New with ArchiMate 2.0 is the introduction of a certification program. This includes certification for people and accreditation for training courses. It also includes certification for tools supporting the ArchiMate standard.

The ArchiMate 2 Certification for People program enables professionals around the globe to demonstrate their knowledge of the ArchiMate standard. ArchiMate 2 Certification for People is achieved through an examination and practical exercises as part of an Accredited ArchiMate 2 Training Course.

The Open Group Accreditation for ArchiMate training courses provides an authoritative and independent assurance of the quality and relevance of the training courses.

The Open Group ArchiMate Tool Certification Program makes certification available to tools supporting ArchiMate. The goal of the program is to ensure that architecture artifacts created with a certified tool are conformant to the language.

Further Reading

ArchiMate 2.0 is available for online reading and download from The Open Group Bookstore at www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog/c118.htm.

A white paper with further details on ArchiMate 2.0 is available to download from The Open Group Bookstore at www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog/w121.htm .

Andrew Josey is Director of Standards within The Open Group. He is currently managing the standards process for The Open Group, and has recently led the standards development projects for TOGAF 9.1, ArchiMate 2.0, IEEE Std 1003.1-2008 (POSIX), and the core specifications of the Single UNIX Specification, Version 4. Previously, he has led the development and operation of many of The Open Group certification development projects, including industry-wide certification programs for the UNIX system, the Linux Standard Base, TOGAF, and IEEE POSIX. He is a member of the IEEE, USENIX, UKUUG, and the Association of Enterprise Architects.

Henry Franken is the managing director of BiZZdesign and is chair of The Open Group ArchiMate Forum. As chair of The Open Group ArchiMate Forum, Henry led the development of the ArchiMate Version 2.o standard. Henry is a speaker at many conferences and has co-authored several international publications and Open Group White Papers. Henry is co-founder of the BPM-Forum. At BiZZdesign, Henry is responsible for research and innovation.

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Enterprise Architects and Paradigm Shifts

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

It’s interesting looking back at what people have written over the course of the year and seeing which themes appear regularly in their blogs. I thought I’d do the same with my own posts for The Open Group and see whether I could pull some of it together. I saw that the recurring themes for me have been dealing with uncertainty, the changing nature of the enterprise and the influence of information technology from outside the enterprise – and all of this in relation to the practice of enterprise architecture. I also explored the mutual influences these themes have on each other.

Unsurprisingly I’m not alone in picking up on these themes. At the risk of offending anyone I don’t mention, I note that Serge Thorn, Raghuraman Krishnamurthy and Len Fehskens have given their own perspectives on The Open Group’s Blog on some or all of these themes. And of course there’s plenty of writing on these themes going on in the blogosphere at large. In one sense I think writing about this is part of a process of trying to understand what’s going on in the world.

After some reflection, it seems to me that all of this converges in what tends to be called ”social business.” For better or worse, there is no fixed definition of the term. I would say it describes a way of working where, both within and across organizations, hierarchies and rules are being replaced by networks and collaboration. The concept of the enterprise in such a system is then definitively extended to include a whole ecosystem of customers and suppliers as well as investors and beneficiaries. Any one organization is just a part of the enterprise – a stakeholder. And of course the enterprise will look different dependent on the viewpoint of a particular stakeholder. That should be a familiar concept anyway for an enterprise architect. That one participant can be a stakeholder in multiple enterprises is not really new – it’s just something we now have no choice but to take into account.

Within any one organization, social business means that creativity and strategy development takes place at and across multiple levels. We can speak of networked, podular or fractal forms of organization. It also means a lot of other things with wider economic, social and political implications but that’s not my focus here.

Another important aspect is the relationship with newer developments in information and communication technology. We can’t separate social business from the technology which has helped it to develop and which in turn is stimulated by its existence and demands. I don’t mean any one technology and I won’t even insist on restricting it to information technology. But it’s clear that there is at least a high degree of synergy between newer IT developments and social business. In other words, the more an organization becomes a social business, the more its business will involve the use of information technology – not as a support function but as an essential part of how it does its business.  Moreover exactly this usage of IT is not and cannot be (entirely) under its own control.

A social business therefore demonstrates, in all aspects of the enterprise, fuzzy boundaries and a higher level of what I call entropy (uncertainty, rate of change, sensitivity to change). It means we need new ways of dealing with complexity, which fortunately is a topic a lot of people are looking at. It means that simplicity is not in every case a desirable goal and that, scary as it may seem, we may actually need to encourage entropy (in some places) in order to develop the agility to respond to change – effectively and without making any unnecessary long term assumptions.

So, if indeed the world is evolving to such a state, what can enterprise architects do to help their own organizations become successful social businesses (social governments – whatever)?

Enterprise Architecture is a practice that is founded in communication. To support and add value to that communication we have developed analysis methods and frameworks, which help us model what we learn and, in turn, communicate the results. Enterprise Architects work across organizations to understand how the activities of the participants relate to the strategy of the organization and how the performance of each person/group’s activities can optimally support and reinforce everyone else’s. We don’t do their work for them and don’t, if we do our work properly, have any sectional interests. We are the ultimate generalists, specialized in bringing together all those aspects, in which other people are the experts. We’re therefore ideally placed to facilitate the development of a unified vision and a complementary set of practices. OK, that sounds a bit idealistic. We know reality is never perfect but, if we don’t have ideals, we’d be hypocrites to be doing this work anyway. Pragmatism and ideals can be a positive combination.

Yes, there’s plenty of work to do to adapt our models to this new reality. Our goals, the things we try to achieve with EA will not be different. In some significant aspects, the results will be – if only because of the scope and diversity of the enterprise. We’ll certainly need to produce some good example EA artifacts to show what these results will look like. I can see an obvious impact in business architecture and in governance – most likely other areas too. But the issues faced in governance may be similar to those being tackled by The Open Group’s Cloud Governance project. And business architecture is long due for expansion outside of the single organization, so there’s synergy there as well. We can also look outside of our own community for inspiration – in the area of complexity theory, in business modeling, in material about innovation and strategy development and in economic and even political thinking about social business.

We’ll also be faced with organizational challenges. EA has for too long and too often been seen as the property of the IT department. That’s always been a problem anyway, but to face the challenges of social business, EA must avoid the slightest whiff of sectional interest and IT centrism. And, ironically, the best hope for the IT department in this scary new world may come from letting go of what it does not need to control and taking on a new role as a positive enabler of change.

There could hardly be a more appropriate time to be working on TOGAF Next. What an opportunity!

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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2012 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 2

By The Open Group

Continuing on the theme of predictions, here are a few more, which focus on enterprise architecture, business architecture, general IT and Open Group events in 2012.

Enterprise Architecture – The Industry

By Leonard Fehskens, VP of Skills and Capabilities

Looking back at 2011 and looking forward to 2012, I see growing stress within the EA community as both the demands being placed on it and the diversity of opinions within it increase. While this stress is not likely to fracture the community, it is going to make it much more difficult for both enterprise architects and the communities they serve to make sense of EA in general, and its value proposition in particular.

As I predicted around this time last year, the conventional wisdom about EA continues to spin its wheels.  At the same time, there has been a bit more progress at the leading edge than I had expected or hoped for. The net effect is that the gap between the conventional wisdom and the leading edge has widened. I expect this to continue through the next year as progress at the leading edge is something like the snowball rolling downhill, and newcomers to the discipline will pronounce that it’s obvious the Earth is both flat and the center of the universe.

What I had not expected is the vigor with which the loosely defined concept of business architecture has been adopted as the answer to the vexing challenge of “business/IT alignment.” The big idea seems to be that the enterprise comprises “the business” and IT, and enterprise architecture comprises business architecture and IT architecture. We already know how to do the IT part, so if we can just figure out the business part, we’ll finally have EA down to a science. What’s troubling is how much of the EA community does not see this as an inherently IT-centric perspective that will not win over the “business community.” The key to a truly enterprise-centric concept of EA lies inside that black box labeled “the business” – a black box that accounts for 95% or more of the enterprise.

As if to compensate for this entrenched IT-centric perspective, the EA community has lately adopted the mantra of “enterprise transformation”, a dangerous strategy that risks promising even more when far too many EA efforts have been unable to deliver on the promises they have already made.

At the same time, there is a growing interest in professionalizing the discipline, exemplified by the membership of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA) passing 20,000, TOGAF® 9 certifications passing 10,000, and the formation of the Federation of Enterprise Architecture Professional Organizations (FEAPO). The challenge that we face in 2012 and beyond is bringing order to the increasing chaos that characterizes the EA space. The biggest question looming seems to be whether this should be driven by IT. If so, will we be honest about this IT focus and will the potential for EA to become a truly enterprise-wide capability be realized?

Enterprise Architecture – The Profession

By Steve Nunn, COO of The Open Group and CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects

It’s an exciting time for enterprise architecture, both as an industry and as a profession. There are an abundance of trends in EA, but I wanted to focus on three that have emerged and will continue to evolve in 2012 and beyond.

  • A Defined Career Path for Enterprise Architects: Today, there is no clear career path for the enterprise architect. I’ve heard this from college students, IT and business professionals and current EAs. Up until now, the skills necessary to succeed and the roles within an organization that an EA can and should fill have not been defined. It’s imperative that we determine the skill sets EAs need and the path for EAs to acquire these skills in a linear progression throughout their career. Expect this topic to become top priority in 2012.
  • Continued EA Certification Adoption: Certification will continue to grow as EAs seek ways to differentiate themselves within the industry and to employers. Certifications and memberships through professional bodies such as the Association of Enterprise Architects will offer value to members and employers alike by identifying competent and capable architects. This growth will also be supported by EA certification adoption in emerging markets like India and China, as those countries continue to explore ways to build value and quality for current and perspective clients, and to establish more international credibility.
  • Greater Involvement from the Business: As IT investments become business driven, business executives controlling corporate strategy will need to become more involved in EA and eventually drive the process. Business executive involvement will be especially helpful when outsourcing IT processes, such as Cloud Computing. Expect to see greater interest from executives and business schools that will implement coursework and training to reflect this shift, as well as increased discussion on the value of business architecture.

Business Architecture – Part 2

By Kevin Daley, IBM and Vice-Chair of The Open Group Business Forum

Several key technologies have reached a tipping point in 2011 that will move them out of the investigation and validation by enterprise architects and into the domain of strategy and realization for business architects. Five areas where business architects will be called upon for participation and effort in 2012 are related to:

  • Cloud: This increasingly adopted and disruptive technology will help increase the speed of development and change. The business architect will be called upon to ensure the strategic relevancy of transformation in a repeatable fashion as cycle times and rollouts happen faster.
  • Social Networking / Mobile Computing: Prevalent consumer usage, global user adoption and improvements in hardware and security make this a trend that cannot be ignored. The business architect will help develop new strategies as organizations strive for new markets and broader demographic reach.
  • Internet of Things: This concept from 2000 is reaching critical mass as more and more devices become communicative. The business architect will be called on to facilitate the conversation and design efforts between operational efforts and technologies managing the flood of new and usable information.
  • Big Data and Business Intelligence: Massive amounts of previously untapped data are being exposed, analyzed and made insightful and useful. The business architect will be utilized to help contain the complexity of business possibilities while identifying tactical areas where the new insights can be integrated into existing technologies to optimize automation and business process domains.
  • ERP Resurgence and Smarter Software: Software purchasing looks to continue its 2011 trend towards broader, more intuitive and feature-rich software and applications.  The business architect will be called upon to identify and help drive getting the maximum amount of operational value and output from these platforms to both preserve and extend organizational differentiation.

The State of IT

By Dave Lounsbury, CTO

What will have a profound effect on the IT industry throughout 2012 are the twin horses of mobility and consumerization, both of which are galloping at full tilt within the IT industry right now. Key to these trends are the increased use of personal devices, as well as favorite consumer Cloud services and social networks, which drive a rapidly growing comfort among end users with both data and computational power being everywhere. This comfort brings a level of expectations to end users who will increasingly want to control how they access and use their data, and with what devices. The expectation of control and access will be increasingly brought from home to the workplace.

This has profound implications for core IT organizations. There will be less reliance on core IT services, and with that an increased expectation of “I’ll buy the services, you show me know to knit them in” as the prevalent user approach to IT – thus requiring increased attention to use of standards conformance. IT departments will change from being the only service providers within organizations to being a guiding force when it comes to core business processes, with IT budgets being impacted. I see a rapid tipping point in this direction in 2012.

What does this mean for corporate data? The matters of scale that have been a part of IT—the overarching need for good architecture, security, standards and governance—will now apply to a wide range of users and their devices and services. Security issues will loom larger. Data, apps and hardware are coming from everywhere, and companies will need to develop criteria for knowing whether systems are robust, secure and trustworthy. Governments worldwide will take a close look at this in 2012, but industry must take the lead to keep up with the pace of technology evolution, such as The Open Group and its members have done with the OTTF standard.

Open Group Events in 2012

By Patty Donovan, VP of Membership and Events

In 2012, we will continue to connect with members globally through all mediums available to us – our quarterly conferences, virtual and regional events and social media. Through coordination with our local partners in Brazil, China, France, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates, we’ve been able to increase our global footprint and connect members and non-members who may not have been able to attend the quarterly conferences with the issues facing today’s IT professionals. These events in conjunction with our efforts in social media has led to a rise in member participation and helped further develop The Open Group community, and we hope to have continued growth in the coming year and beyond.

We’re always open to new suggestions, so if you have a creative idea on how to connect members, please let me know! Also, please be sure to attend the upcoming Open Group Conference in San Francisco, which is taking place on January 30 through February 3. The conference will address enterprise transformation as well as other key issues in 2012 and beyond.

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2012 Open Group Predictions, Vol. 1

By The Open Group

Foreword

By Allen Brown, CEO

2011 was a big year for The Open Group, thanks to the efforts of our members and our staff – you all deserve a very big thank you. There have been so many big achievements, that to list them all here would mean we would never get to our predictions. Significantly though, The Open Group continues to grow and this year the number of enterprise members passed the 400 mark which means that around 30,000 people are involved, some more so than others, from all over the world.

Making predictions is always risky but we thought it might be fun anyway. Here are three trends that will wield great influence on IT in 2012 and beyond:

  • This year we experienced the consumerization of IT accelerating the pace of change for the enterprise at an astonishing rate as business users embraced new technologies that transformed their organizations. As this trend continues in 2012, the enterprise architect will play a critical role in supporting this change and enabling the business to realize their goals.
  • Enterprise architecture will continue its maturity in becoming a recognized profession. As the profession matures, employers of enterprise architects and other IT professionals, for that matter, will increasingly look for industry recognized certifications.
  • As globalization continues, security and compliance will be increasing issues for companies delivering products or services and there will be a growing spotlight on what might be inside IT products. Vendors will be expected to warrant that the products they purchase and integrate into their own products come from a trusted source and that their own processes can be trusted in order not to introduce potential threats to their customers. At the same time, customers will be increasingly sensitive to the security and dependability of their IT assets. To address this situation, security will continue to be designed in from the outset and be tightly coupled with enterprise architecture.

In addition to my predictions, Other Open Group staff members also wanted to share their predictions for 2012 with you:

Security

By Jim Hietala, VP of Security

Cloud security in 2012 becomes all about point solutions to address specific security pain points. Customers are realizing that to achieve an acceptable level of security, whether for IaaS, SaaS, or PaaS, they need to apply controls in addition to the native platform controls from the Cloud service provider. In 2012, this will manifest as early Cloud security technologies target specific and narrow security functionality gaps. Specific areas where we see this playing out include data encryption, data loss prevention, identity and access management, and others.

Cloud

By Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability

There is a major trend towards shared computing resources that are “on the Cloud” – accessed by increasingly powerful and mobile personal computing devices but decoupled from the users.

This may bring some much-needed economic growth in 2012, but history shows that real growth can only come from markets based on standards. Cloud portability and interoperability standards will enable development of re-usable components as commodity items, but the need for them is not yet appreciated. And, even if the vendors wanted these standards for Cloud Computing, they do not yet have the experience to create good ones.  But, by the end of the year, we should understand Cloud Computing better and will perhaps have made a start on the standardization that will lead to growth in the years ahead.

Here are some more Cloud predictions from my colleagues in The Open Group Cloud Work Group: http://blog.opengroup.org/2011/12/19/cloud-computing-predictions-for-2012/

Business Architecture

By Steve Philp, Professional Certification

There are a number of areas for 2012 where Business Architects will be called upon to engage in transforming the business and applying technologies such as Cloud Computing, social networking and big data. Therefore, the need to have competent Business Architects is greater than ever. This year organizations have been recruiting and developing Business Architects and the profession as a whole is now starting to take shape. But how do you establish who is a practicing Business Architect?

In response to requests from our membership, next year The Open Group will incorporate a Business Architecture stream into The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) program. There has already been significant interest in this stream from both organizations and practitioners alike. This is because Open CA is a skills and experience based program that recognizes, at different levels, those individuals who are performing in a Business Architecture role. I believe this initiative will further help to develop the profession over the next few years and especially in 2012.

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Taking Decisions In The Face Of Uncertainty (Responsible Moments)

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

Ruth Malan recently tweeted a link to a piece by Alistair Cockburn about the Last Responsible Moment concept (LRM) in Lean Software Development. I’ve been out of software development for a while now but I could guess what that might mean in an “agile” context and wondered how it might apply to problems I’ve been considering recently in Enterprise Architecture. Anyway, Alistair Cockburn is an interesting writer who would be deservedly famous even if he’d never done anything after writing the most practical and insightful book ever written about use cases. So I read on. The basic idea of the LRM is that in order to deal with uncertainty you avoid taking deterministic decisions until just before it would become irresponsible (for cost or delivery reasons) not to take them. Or to put it another way, don’t take decisions you don’t yet need to take if the result will be to constrain your options but do be ready to take them when it’s dangerous to wait longer.

Alistair’s not a big fan of LRM. He makes the following statement: “If you keep all decisions open until the hypothetical LRM, then your brain will be completely cluttered with open decisions and you won’t be able to keep track of them all.” Later in the discussion, he modifies this a bit but it certainly struck a chord with me. I’ve argued recently in this column that the degree of uncertainty (I called this entropy) in which enterprise architects have to operate is only increasing and that this in turn is due to three factors: the increasing rate of change happening in or affecting the enterprise; the increasing complexity of the environment in which the enterprise exists; and the decreasing extent to which any one enterprise can control that environment. This in turn increases the level of complexity in decision making. I’ll come back to these factors later but if you give me the benefit of the doubt for the moment, you can see that there’s actually a pretty good argument for taking any decision you can reasonably take (i.e. one which does not unjustifiably constrain everything else), as early as you can – in order to minimize complexity as you go along.

This is not (repeat not) a dogma. If it’s totally unclear what decision you should take, you’d probably be better off waiting for more information – and a last responsible moment will undoubtedly arrive.

So assuming you gave me the benefit of the doubt, you might now reasonably be thinking that this is theoretically all very well but how can we actually put it into practice. To do that we need first to look at the three sources of complexity I mentioned:

  • That the rate of change is increasing is pretty much a truism. Some change is due to market forces such as competition, availability/desirability of new capabilities, withdrawal of existing capabilities or changes in the business models of partners and suppliers. Some change is due to regulation (or deregulation) or to indirect factors such as changing demographics. Factors such as social media and Cloud are perhaps more optional but are certainly disruptive – and themselves constantly in change.
  • The increase in complexity of the environment is largely due to the increase in the number of partners and to more or less formal value networks (extended enterprise), to an increased number of delivery channels and to lack of standardization at both the supply and delivery ends.
  • The decrease in control (or more accurately in exclusive and total control) arises from all forms of shared services, which the enterprise one way or another makes use of. This can be Cloud (in which case we talk about multi-tenancy), social media (in which case we talk about anarchy) but equally well the extended enterprise network where not merely do our partners and suppliers have other customers but they also have their own partners and suppliers who have other customers. A consequence of most of this is that you can’t expect to be consulted before change decisions are made.

At best you will be notified well enough in advance of it happening. So you need to take that into account in what you implement.

Each of these factors may affect what the organization is – its core values, its key value propositions, its strategy. They may also affect how it carries out its business – its key activities and processes, its partners and even its customers. And they can affect how those activities and processes are implemented, which by the way can in turn drive change at the strategic level – it’s not just one way traffic – but this is a subject worthy of its own blog.

The point is that, if we want to be able to deal with this, to make sensible decisions in a non-deterministic environment, we would do well to address them where they first manifest themselves in order to avoid a geometric expansion of complexity further on. I’m inclined to think this is primarily in the business architecture (assuming we all accept that business architecture is not just a collection of process models). Almost all of the factors are encountered first here and subsequently reflected possibly in strategy and nearly always on the implementation side. If we make the reasonable assumption that the implementation side will encounter its own complexities, we can at least keep that manageable by not passing on all the possible options from the business architecture.

I said almost all factors are encountered first in the business architecture. The most obvious exceptions I can think of are the Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service variants on Cloud. There’s a good case to be made that the effects of these are primarily felt within IT (strategy and implementation). But wherever we start, the principle doesn’t change – start the analysis at the first point of impact.

The next thing we need to do is look for ways to a) reduce the level of entropy in the part of the system we start with and b) understand how to make decisions that don’t create unnecessary lock in.  There’s not enough space in a blog to go into this in detail but it’s worth mentioning some new and some established techniques.

My attention has recently been drawn (by Verna Allee and others) to the study of networks of things, organizations and people. This in turn makes a lot of use of visualizations. These enable us to “see” the level of entropy around the particular element we’re focusing on – without the penalty of losing sight of the big picture. An example that I found useful is by Eric Berlow.  Another concept in this area involves identifying what are referred to as communities (because the idea came out of the study of social networks – clusters of related elements, which are only loosely coupled to other communities. These techniques allow us to reduce the scope (and therefore complexity) of the problem we’re trying to solve at any one time without falling into the trap of assuming it’s entirely self- contained.

A few blogs ago I mentioned an idea of Robert Phipps’s, where he visualizes the various forces within an organization as vectors. Each vector represents some factor driving (or even constraining) change. Those can be formal or informal organizational groupings (people), stakeholders both within and external to the organization, economic factors around supply or revenue, changes in the business model or even in technology. In that blog I used this as a way of illustrating entropy but Robert is actually looking at ways of applying measures to these vectors in order to be able to establish their actual force (and direction) and therefore their impact on change. Turning an apparently random factor into something knowable reduces the level of entropy and makes us more confident about taking decisions early – and therefore in turn reduces the entropy at a later stage.

One more example: Ruth Malan and Dana Bredemeyer produced a paper last year in which they examined the idea that organizations can make the most use of the creativity of their personnel by replacing the traditional hierarchical and compartmentalized structures with what they called a fractal approach. The idea is that patterns of strategy creation are reflected in all parts of an organization, thus making strategy integral to an organization rather than merely dictated from “above”. It has the added benefit of making the overall complexity more manageable. Architects belong in each fractal both as creators and interpreters of strategy. I can’t possibly do this long paper justice here but I wanted to mention an additional thought I had. What can also help architects is to look for these fractals even in formally hierarchical organizations. There’s a great chance that they really exist and are just waiting for someone to pay them attention.

Having achieved focus on a manageable area and gathered as much meaningful data as possible, we can then apply some basic (but often forgotten or ignored) design principles. Think of separation of concerns, low coupling, high cohesion. All that starts by focusing on the core purpose of the element(s) of the architecture we’ve zoomed in on. And folks, the good news is that this will all have to wait for another occasion.

The very last thing I want to say is something I tend to hammer on about. You have to take some risks. No creative, successful organization does not take risks. You need a degree of confidence about the level and potential impact of the risk but at the end of the day you’ll have to make a decision anyway. Even if you believe that everything is potentially knowable, you know that we often don’t have the information available to achieve that. So you take a gamble on something that seems to deliver value and where the risk is at worst manageable. And by doing that you reduce the total entropy in the system and make taking other decisions easier.

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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Enterprise Architecture and Emergence of Social Media

By Raghuraman Krishnamurthy, Cognizant Technology Solutions

If your enterprise is predominantly a consumer goods enterprise, you would have noticed tectonic shifts in the marketing focus. Traditionally, the goods and services were promoted through the enterprise websites and advertisements; however today the added focus is on having a vibrant social media presence. Success stories of Intuit and McDonald add credence to this trend. Stories like how customer complaints that are tweeted gain immediate attention abound in the world of consumer goods. Digital media has enabled conversations and enterprises are eager at the possibility of hearing directly from the customers. The new mantras are: more listening than talking, formation of communities, word of mouth as the ultimate marketing vehicle, active monitoring of social media, identification of key advocates, etc. Internally, within enterprises, Yammer is a very popular tool for tweeting. That information systems that acquired distinct organizational flavor are now making ground for customer/human flavor is no more a fiction.

This trend of social media brings in challenges and opportunities to EA. EA aims to holistically understand business; recent attempts on extended enterprises tended to predominantly focus on “firms part of the value chain” of enterprise. Social media is a new plane of reality where customers influence the enterprise success in the marketplace. The notion of extended enterprises now need to embrace social presence. Any EA effort that does not take cognizance of emerging forces will invite greater risk in building overall understanding of enterprise and its operating environment.  Earlier CRM efforts were focused on understanding individual customers; the need of the today is to understand the communities.

Like how The Open Group suggested changes to TOGAF to accommodate SOA, we need to work on integrating social media. Some suggested approaches for EA are:

Business Architecture:

  • Focus on forming & cultivating community, nurturing and ensuring vibrancy
  • Promote word of mouth and induce consumers to share experiences
  • Listen to social media

Information Architecture:

  • Integrate information from social media to internal systems
  • Develop analytical capabilities towards measuring effective presence in the social world

Opportunities & Solutions:

  • Build vs Buy – subscription models to get feeds

How are you addressing the social media channel in your enterprise? Would love to hear your experiences.

Raghuraman Krishnamurthy works as a Principal Architect at Cognizant Technology Solutions and is based in India. He can be reached at Raghuraman.krishnamurthy2@cognizant.com.

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PODCAST: Exploring business-IT alignment: A 20-year struggle culminating in the role and impact of Business Architecture

Listen to this recorded podcast here: Exploring Business-IT Alignment: A 20-Year Struggle Culminating in the Role and Impact of Business Architecture

The following is the transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on defining the role and scope of the Business Architect, in conjunction with the The Open Group Conference, Austin 2011.

Dana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and you’re listening to BriefingsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with The Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011. We’ve assembled a distinguished panel to delve into the role and opportunity for business architecture. We’ll examine how the definition of business architect has matured and we’ll see why it’s so important for this new role to flourish in today’s dynamic business and IT landscapes. We’ll also see how certification and training are helping to shape the business architecture leaders of tomorrow.

Here to help better understand the essential impact of business architecture on business success, is Harry Hendrickx, the Chief Technology Officer, CME Industry Unit, HP Enterprise Services and a Certified Global Enterprise Architect. Welcome, Harry.

Harry Hendrickx: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: We’re also here with Dave van Gelder, Global Architect in the Financial Services Strategic Business Unit at Capgemini. Welcome, Dave.

Dave van Gelder: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And we’re also here with Mieke Mahakena. She is the Label Leader for Architecture in the Training Portfolio at Capgemini Academy and also a Certified Architect. Welcome, Mieke.

Mieke Mahakena: Thank you.

Gardner: Also, Peter Haviland, head of Architecture Services in the Americas for Ernst & Young. Hello, Peter.

Peter Haviland: Morning, Dana.

Gardner: And last, Kevin Daley, Chief Architect in the Technology and Innovation Group at IBM Global Business Services. Hello, Kevin.

Kevin Daley: Hello, Dana.

Gardner: Let me start by addressing both Harry and Kevin. There’s been a new paper that you are working on refining the definition of business architecture, but I’m interested why this is so important now. We see that CEOs around the world really are seeking fundamental change. They recognize that we’re at an inflection point. Why is that the case? Why is the role of business architect so important now? Let’s start with Harry, please.

Business-IT alignment

Hendrickx: Thank you very much, Dana. Yes, it is a very important question, of course. Why are we putting so much effort in getting business architecture on the scene? Over the past one or two decades, business-IT alignment has been number one on the CIO agenda, and apparently the organizations have increasing difficulty getting business-IT alignment resolved.

There are quite a few people pioneering in business-IT alignment, but apparently there was no urgency yet to recognize this role more specifically. HP, in the past two years, interviewed CIOs worldwide, and they all indicated that they face quite large and complex transformation processes. They also recognize that business-IT alignment is one of key issues. We think that the business architect really can provide some resolution to get those processes in better shape and more successful.

Gardner: Kevin, your thoughts. Why is it so important right now?

Daley: At IBM, we have a CEO study and a CIO study that come out in alternating years. One of the things that started coming out loud and clear in 2010 was that managing complexity and building operating dexterity required a better understanding across the entire company.

We’ve started seeing a trend to move not just from business IT alignment, but to business and IT convergence. There’s an understanding more and more that information technology, and technology in general, is a core part of the business model now. There’s an understanding that now we have a situation where business and IT aren’t so much aligned, because of the fact that IT is part of business.

Where we did interviews and surveys and then compiled them for thousands of CEOs, we came up with three key elements. Amongst those was managing and taking advantage of complexity while building operating dexterity. That’s the key theme.

One of the problems that we’re seeing from the CEOs is having for decades separated IT as if it was its own business unit, instead of part of the true sense of the business. It’s been an interpretive science. To manage that complexity they needed a means by which to start with the design of where they’re going and have have a business strategy.

How do they take that strategy and transform it into technology and into information management? They needed an ability to have a framework in which to have that substantive discussion between the people who were responsible, such as the CIO who is responsible for technology and the operations and the COOs, who are really about the execution of the overall picture.

What we’ve seen from our CEOs is a need to start being more integrated. There have been market pressures that they having to respond to. The big economic downturn was a big change for everyone, and they are trying to address it.

They’re looking at means that they can start integrating more globally. They can start to increase their cost variability and start becoming more agile in how they operate their business. To do that they need a means by which they can more effectively communicate.

Driving understanding

So far, we’ve been seeing that business architecture is a perfect way to start driving an understanding. It’s a place where both people who are used to seeing standard business models like revenue and capability are able to associate that to the different types of architectures and designs that we see coming out of the technology group.

It’s giving them a common place to meet and jointly move forward with what they’re trying to do in terms of managing the complexity, so they can be more agile and dexterous.

Gardner: Dave van Gelder, it sounds as if what we’re trying to do here is at a very high level in the organization. Does a business architect and architecture have to be at a high level to be successful? Where in the org chart do we typically see this role? Is it near the top? Does it matter?

van Gelder: It depends on the maturity of an organization. Within Capgemini nowadays, we talk about business technology. As Kevin said, business and technology are not separate. Technology is part of the total business.

When we started the Business Architecture Working Group in 2006, there was a lot of discussion about two words, business and architecture, and nobody knew exactly what we were talking about. Everybody had a different understanding of those words. In the last years what you have seen is that business architecture is looked at in a different way. Currently in the Business Architecture Working Group, we see business architecture as something that brings the balance between all the other architectures in the company — that’s IT architecture, financial architecture, money, people architecture, and a lot of other architectures.

If business architecture is bringing the balance between the different aspects of a company, then business architecture is something that should be handled in the top of the organization, because balance should be created between all the different aspects in the organization.

Gardner: Based on what Dave said. it sounds, Mieke, as if we’re talking about a federation of architectures,. What then is the fundamental problem that the business architect needs to solve? Is this getting into the actual mechanisms or is it about organizing the people around some sort of a vision or strategy?

Mahakena: It’s more like making sure that, whatever transformation you’re going to implement, you align all those different aspects. As Dave told us, there are a number of aspects in an organization that might need to change, and you can have all those different architectures for those aspects. But, if every aspect goes its own way in changing, then they will never be aligned. Business architecture is meant to align all of those aspects to make sure that you have a balanced, consistent, and coherent set of operations at the end.

Gardner: It sounds as if we’re in agreement that this is a high level function, but what is it that people might stumble upon, if they direct this in a wrong direction? What is business architecture not good at? Peter, what should we avoid? What’s a misstep in terms of either the level in the organization or the target of the activity?

Many things at once

Haviland: 

Business architecture is similar to other forms of architecture, in that it tends to try to do many things all at once. The idea of enterprise alignment is definitely the right outcome, but there is enough complexity there to blow steam out of your head for many, many years to come.

Certainly in our experience of implementing these types of functions in organizations, functions that constrain scope very well also tend to communicate very well around what their status is, what their progress is against milestones, and what outcomes they’ve achieved: and they tend to articulate those outcomes in terms of real business value. What business architecture is not very good at are broad-reaching types of goals that don’t have measurable outcomes.

Gardner: So, it’s not just let’s have a designated business architect and a laurels-wearing individual, but move more towards something that’s very practical and that shows results. That leads to a question about how to professionalize this role.

Anyone could stand up and call themselves a business architect, but what is The Open Group, in particular, doing about actually certifying and moving towards a standardization of some sort. Does anybody have any thoughts about how to make this more rigorous?

Hendrickx: The first question we get asked is, what’s the difference between a business consultant and a business architect or a business analyst and a business architect? We also have enterprise architects and technology architects. Is there a reason for being for the business architect?

This is something we did a lot of research on at HP and we delineated the role of the business architect quite clearly from the business consulting and the business analyst aspect. The business architect’s role is distinct, because he combines the organizational strategy with the operations. He identifies the implications of this strategy, as well as that of the technology for the business operations. This is opposed to the business consultant, who is more outwardly looking to the commercial aspects of the organization and what that means for the structure. The business analyst is looking more at not the structure of the operation, but at the solution level.

When we look at the enterprise architect and the solution architect, the business architect focuses more on the complete implications of the strategy and technology trends on the operations, whereas the enterprise architect is more interested in the IT and the implications for the IT strategy and how IT should be deployed. The business architect is much more focused on the complete performance of the business operations.

So, the bottom line of these delineations of the past one-and-a-half years is that there is a reason for being for a business architect. It is a distinct role and it has a real solution for a problem.

Gardner: Thank you, Harry. Anyone else with some thoughts about how to make the certification and standardization of this stick?

Defining the profession

Mahakena: What we’ve been doing in the Business Forum, after we decided that business architecture has its own reason for existence, we described the business architecture profession – what’s the scope and what should be the outcome of business architecture. Now, we’re working on the practice of business architecture by defining a framework, looking at methods, and defining approaches you can use to do business architecture.

Parallel to that, if you know what the profession is and what the practice is, you’re able to create the business architecture certification, because those things help you define the required skills and experience a business architect needs. So, we are working on that in the Business Forum.

Daley: Let’s look at business architecture from the concept that has existed, combining the thoughts of what Mieke and Harry have already talked about. When we work with clients, for those of us that are in consultancies, we see that there is normally something that’s similar to business architecture, but it’s either a shadow organization inside a purely business unit that isn’t technology focused, or it is things like the enterprise architects who are having to learn the business concepts around business architect anecdotally, so that they can be successful in their roles.

I’d suggest that we’re seeing a need to make it more refined and more explicit, so that we’re able to identify the people that fit for this. They have specific things, instead of having general things that we have today. For me, the certification helps provide that certainty as a hiring manager or as somebody who is looking to staff an organization.

It provides that kind of clarity of what they should be doing, giving them specific activities, specific things they do that create value for the company. It takes out of the behind the scenes action and pull something that’s critical to success into the front with people who are specifically aligned and educated to do that.

Gardner: Thank you, Kevin. Let’s speak a little bit about why the strategic and top-level aspects of this certified individual or office is so important. It seems to me that, on one hand, we have more need for different technology competencies in an organization, but at the same time, we’re starting to see consolidation, particularly at the data center level, fewer data centers, more powerful and vast data centers and consolidation across different regions. How does globalization fit into this? Do we need to think about the fact that if we have fewer data centers but more technology requirements, doesn’t the role of somebody or some group need to come together so that there is a pan organizational or even global type of effect?

Let’s start with you Peter. How does the globalization impact the importance of this role?

Haviland: Globalization is creating more and more complexity in the business modelsthat organizations are trying to operate. Over the last couple of decades, with the science and the engineering of IT, there has been enormous investment by companies to actually operate, maintain, and improve their IT in their current world.

In many cases this IT work has outpaced the comparable business efforts inside those organizations when they think about their business, their business models, and their business operating principles. What we’re actually seeing now is that the rigor, the engineering, and the effort that’s put into technical architecture and IT architecture is now being proposed on the business side, with many businesses managing process improvement activities. These tend to be at quite a low level, however, when you compare them to business architecture initiatives at the enterprise level.

What we’re actually seeing now is that the rigor, the engineering, and the effort that’s put into technical architecture and IT architecture is now being proposed on the business side and many businesses have process improvement activities. Many of them see to be at the process level. Those processes are defined at quite a low level, when you compare it to some architecture initiatives that are enterprise wide.

Scope and challenge

If those architecture initiatives are at the high levels that are needed, you start to consider the scope and challenges that come into play, when you start talking about globalization. So, with the increase in scope and the global way that people are operating across cultures, geographies, and languages, that requires this discipline, which does operate at that high level to start to organize the other areas, but perhaps at a lower level.

Gardner: Harry Hendrickx, thoughts about this issue of increased complexity and yet more consolidation in terms of where IT is housed, managed, and governed?

Hendrickx: There are two aspects that need to be paid more attention to with globalization and more complexity. First, the business architect is, or should be, equipped to look at the organization, not only within the boundaries of an organization, but also the ecosystem of organizations that will mold together and have to be connected to produce the value.

Since these are more formalized contracts or relationship with different organizations connected to each other, there is a dynamic that is hardly seen anymore, that is not transparent anymore. There clearly needs to be some more detailed insights and transparency for each organization, so that people understand what the impact of certain developments or events will be. This can’t be done just by logic or just by watching carefully. This really needs some in-depth analysis for which the business architecture is built.

The second part of it is that the due to the complexity, the decision making process has become more complex and there will be more stakeholders involved in the different areas of decision making. The business architect has a clear task and challenge as well. By absorbing the strategy, technology trends, and the different developments and focusing on the applications for operations, he has the opportunity to discuss with the different stakeholders. He has the opportunity to get those stakeholders either mobilized or focused on specific decisions: the deliverables you will provide.

Gardner: We certainly see a lot of important characteristics in this role: global, strategic high level, encompassing business understanding, as well as technology. Dave van Gelder, where do you go to find these kinds of people? Who tends to make a good business architect or is there no real pattern yet established as to who steps up to the plate to be able to manage this type of a job?

van Gelder: To all the complexity already mentioned, I’d want to add something else that we found in the Business Architecture Working Group, which is more research in the whole field. That’s the problem of communication. How do people communicate with each other?

If you look in the IT world, most people come from an engineering background. It’s hard enough to talk to each other and to be clear to each other about what’s possible and how you should go or what you should go for. If you start talking to all those other areas in the business, then suddenly people have a completely other way of thinking. Sometimes they use the same words and don’t understand each other.

It’s not easy to have these kinds of people that need very good communication skills next to all the complexity that you have to handle. On the other hand, you need an architect when it’s complex. You don’t need an architect when it’s simple, because everybody can do it. But an architect is just a person. I say if I am a simple person, I can only handle simple things. What you need are people who can structure. I can only work with things when I can structure it, when the complexity is fairly well-structured. I then have overview of all those complexities, and then I can start communicating with all the parties I have to communicate with.

No real training

At the moment, I don’t see any real training or development of these kinds of people that you need. Most of them come with a lot of experience in a lot of fields, and because of that, they have the possibility to talk to all kinds of people and to bring the message.

Gardner: Mieke, at Capgemini Academy, you’ve obviously encouraged and encountered folks moving towards a business architect role. What are your thoughts on what it takes and where they tend to come from?

Mahakena: Let’s have a look where they can come from. What you see is that this role of business architect can be a next step in one’s career. For example, a business analyst, who has been creating a lot of experience in all kinds of fields, and he could evolve to watch a business architect. This person needs to get away from the detail and move towards the strategy and a more holistic view.

Another example could be an enterprise architect who already has analytics skills and communication skills. But, enterprise architects are more or less focusing on IT, so they should move more towards the business part and towards strategy and operations.

One could be the business consultant who is now focusing on strategy, also should have those communication skills, and will be able to communicate with stakeholders in high positions in companies. Business consultants have a lot of industry knowledge. So they should need more knowledge about technology and perhaps improve their analytics skills and learn more to how to structure operations.

So, there are number of existing roles that already have a lot of skills required for business architecture. They just have to enhance skills and get new skills to do this new role.

Gardner: We talked about how this is important because of the internal organizational shifts and the need for transformation. We’ve seen how globalization makes this more important, but I’d like to also look a little bit at some of the trends and technology.

We’ve seen a great deal of emphasis on cloud computing, hybrid computing, the role of mobile devices, wirelessly connected devices, sensors, and fabric of information which, of course, leads to massive data, and they need to then analyze that data.

This is just a handful of some of the major technology trends. Kevin Daley, it seems to me that managing these trends and these new capabilities for organizations also undergirds and supports this need. So how do you see the technology impetus for encouraging the role of business architect?

Daley: I’m seeing from my work in the field that we’ve got all these things that are converging. Certainly, you’ve got all these enabling technologies and things that are emerging that are making it easier to do technology types of things and speeding them up. So, as they start maturing and as organizations start consuming them, what we’re seeing is that there’s a lack of alignment.

Business relevancy

What this trend is really doing is making sure that you have something that is your controlling device that says what is the business relevancy? Are we measuring these peer-to-peer — measuring something such as massive data and information fabrics compared to something like cloud computing, where you are dispersing the ability to access that more readily. It creates a problem in that you have to make sure that people are aligned on what they’re trying to accomplish.

We’re seeing that the technologies that are emerging are actually enabling business architecture in a fashion. It provides that unified vision, that holism, that you can start looking at combinations of these technologies, instead of having to look at them as we’ve had to in the past of siloed elements of technologies that have their own implications.

We’re using business architecture as a means to provide the information back to the business analyst who is going to look and help. You can provide the business implications, but then you have to analyze what that implication means and make decisions for how much of that you’re willing to accept within your organization.

In the notions around how I investigate risk, how I look at what is going to improve market, and what is the capacity of what I can do, there’s a disconnect that business for which architecture is helping provide the filler for to get to the people that are doing these corporate strategies and corporate analysis at a level. That allows them to virtualize the concept of the technology, consume what it means and what that relates to for a business or in terms of its operation and strategy and the technology itself.

We’re seeing this become the means by which you can have that universal understanding that these are the implications, and that those implications can now be layered, so that you can look at them in combination instead of having to deal with each technology trend as if it’s a standalone piece.

We’re seeing this as a means by which to provide some clarity around what any adoption would be. When you adopt technology, it obviously has a level of maturity it has to reach, but it also has a level of complexity. It’s being able to start taking advantage of more than just one technology trend at the same time and being able to realistically deliver that into their business model.

What I have been seeing is that the technologies are driving the need for business architecture, because they need that framework to make sure that they are talking apples to apples and that they are meaning the same thing, so that we get out of the interpretation that we have had in the past and get into something that’s very tactical and very tactile, and that you can structure and align in the same way, so you understand what the full ramifications are.

Gardner: Peter Haviland, we have these multiple technology developments overlapping. They can be opportunities for businesses, but they can also perhaps be problems, if you don’t manage them.

What are the stakes here for business architecture and for organizations that can master this? It seems to me that they would have a significant advantage. For those that don’t, it could mean a significant cratering of their business potentially. So are we talking about an existential level importance for business architecture? How important is this now?

Haviland: IIt’s extremely important. What I see is that this is a discipline that’s just crying out for more people and more maturity. You almost need it to become pervasive throughout organizations now.

Feeding technology

The most common story I encounter is simply that organizations spent a lot of time in the past creating their processes and then they spent a lot of time feeding technology solutions to those processes. In recent times, the pace of technology change has moved faster than that previous paradigm.

What you’re looking at is at people saying, well, I am the business, there are all of these technology options out there. I cannot find a way forward and so how do I exploit those? That is where the business architecture profession is really being pushed to the front.

That said, there is a slight risk here that it may be considered too much in isolation. I mean, it is an architecture profession, it is a part of architecture, and the value of architecture is to provide that aligned view across the various domains that are important in terms of business, technology, information, security, and those types of elements.

When it comes back to what’s at stake for businesses that are investing in this particular area and for businesses that are trying to reconsider the way that they can operate themselves to support technology, they are moving ahead and they have competitive advantage. Businesses that aren’t doing that tend to be left behind, because the pace of change of technology is going to get faster.

Gardner: We’re here at The Open Group Conference. I wonder if any of you could fill us in on what The Open Group is now doing to advance this definition, mature the role, promulgate certification, and hasten the effect and benefits of business architecture in the field. Who can update us briefly on where we stand with The Open Group’s movement on certification and definition?

Mahakena: All those subjects you mentioned are part of the work of the Business Forum. The Business Forum is working in parallel on all those things. For example, it’s defining the profession and defining business architecture, working on methods and frameworks and approaches, and working on certification.

We need to do that in parallel, because all those aspects have to be aligned. We also need alignment in our own work to make sure that the certification, for example, are just the skills you actually need to do the business architecture and to create the outcomes we have defined in the profession and practice part.

We’re on our way as a Business Forum and we have done a huge amount of work, but we’re not ready yet. There are still a number of subjects we need to discuss, and we need to align everything we have now to make sure that we have a consistent package of deliverables that can be used by the members of The Open Group and anyone outside as well.

That’s where we are at this moment, and we are hoping to deliver a set of documents that will be accepted by The Open Group, by the members, and then they can be shared.

Hendrickx: I want to extend a little bit on where we are, because there has been some investigation in the 28 frameworks, which are very close or are meant to be frameworks for business architects. From this it resulted that none of these really had a complete holistic approach, as the role is identified currently, or at least how the needs have been identified in the marketplace.

Some have gaps

Some are quite close, but quite a few have gaps in one of the areas that should be touched, like strategy, operations, processes, or technology. We currently try to identify and fill that gap. That’s one point.

The other one is that most of the techniques used by the business architect are very well- embedded in academic research and are often and sometimes already used by different roles as well.

I’m thinking of things like the systems approach, and the systems thinkers have quite a few techniques. There are also techniques developed by IBM, HP, and Capgemini on the business architecture, which are well-versed and well-embedded in academic research of the past 20, 30 years. So, it’s not just a set of techniques that are built together. These are really based on insights which we have gained over several decades.

Gardner: Very good. I understand that many of these resources and the ability to take part in some of these working groups are all available on the newly redesigned Open Group website. That would be opengroup.org online and easily found from search.

I want to close up by thanking our guests. We’ve been discussing the burgeoning role of, and the opportunity for, business architecture and its practitioners in a dynamic global business environment.

This podcast is coming to you as a sponsored activity in conjunction with The Open Group Conference in Austin, Texas, the week of July 18, 2011.

So thanks to our guests. We’ve been joined by Harry Hendrickx, Chief Technology Officer, CME Industry Unit in HP’s Enterprise Services, and also a Certified Global Enterprise Architect. Thank you, Harry.

Hendrickx: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: And also Dave van Gelder, Global Architect in the Financial Services Strategic Business unit at Capgemini. Thank you, Dave.

van Gelder: Thank you, Dana.

Gardner: We’re also here with Mieke Mahakena. She is the Label Leader for Architecture in the Training Portfolio at Capgemini Academy, and also a Certified Architect. Thank you, Mieke.

Mahakena: You are welcome, Dana.

Gardner: Peter Haviland, Head of the Architecture Services for Americas at Ernst & Young has also joined us. Thank you, Peter.

Haviland: Thanks, Dana. Thanks everyone.

Gardner: And lastly, Kevin Daley, Chief Architect in the Technology and Innovation Group at IBM Global Business Services. Thanks so much, Kevin.

Daley: Thank you, Dana. Again, thanks to everyone else also.

Gardner: This is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks again for listening, and come back next time.

Listen to the podcast. Find it on iTunes/iPod and Podcast.com.

Copyright The Open Group 2011. All rights reserved.

Dana Gardner is the Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, which identifies and interprets the trends in Services-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and enterprise software infrastructure markets. Interarbor Solutions creates in-depth Web content and distributes it via BriefingsDirect™ blogs, podcasts and video-podcasts to support conversational education about SOA, software infrastructure, Enterprise 2.0, and application development and deployment strategies.

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