Category Archives: Enterprise Architecture

Healthcare Transformation – Let’s be Provocative

by Jason Uppal, Chief Architect, QRS

Recently, I attended a one-day healthcare transformation event in Toronto. The master of ceremony, a renowned doctor, asked the speakers to be provocative in how to tackle the issues in healthcare and healthcare delivery in a specific way. After about 8 speakers – I must admit I did not hear anything that social media will classify as “remarkable” either in terms of problem definition or the solution direction – all speeches emphasized the importance of better healthcare. I watched one video, Jess’s Story, and I am convinced without discussion that we need a better way to deliver care.

I am an Engineer and not a Medical Doctor. In my profession, we spend 90% of our effort defining the problem and 10% solving it with known solution patterns. In this blog, I would like to define the healthcare delivery problem and offer a potential solution direction.

 First the Basic Facts

Table 1: Healthcare Spending and Quality

Country 1980 [$] 2007 [$] 2010 [$] 2012 [$] Healthcare Quality Ranking
US 1106 6102 8233 8946 6
Canada 3165 4445 5
Germany 3005 4338 1

Note: $ represent per capita spend per year, sources of information are public; references can be made available if required. Healthcare Quality Ranking – lower the number the better

Firstly, the obvious fact is that the US spends more on healthcare per capita and gets less for it.  These facts as well as many other studies lead to the same conclusion.

Problem Definition, Option 1 – Straight-forward reduction of healthcare costs: US healthcare roughly represents 18% of the US GDP. Reduction in spending will result in shrinking the GDP, unless politicians spend the saved money somewhere else. This is not a good option as we all know the impact of austerity measures without altering the underlying process. Or even closer to home, the impact of the recent sequesters on air traffic in major us airports has resulted in terrible delays and has significantly inconvenienced the traveling public.  We learned during the 1980s when “reengineering” was a sexy terms that when we reduced labour by 30%, we simply hoped the remaining souls would figure out how to do work with less.  We all knew what that approach did, fat paycheques for the CEO and senior management and entire industries got wiped out.

Problem Definition, Option 2 – Reduce healthcare costs and issue health  dividends: Let’s target to reduce the base healthcare spending to $4000 per person per year. This will bring spending to the 1980 level with inflation factored. The remaining funds, $4946 per capita ($8946 –$ 4000), be given as a health dividend to the population and providers. This will go to both the population as a tax credit and to providers as an incentive to keep those that they care for healthy. This will not reduce health care spending, have no impact on the GDP, but will certainly improve the health of our biggest producers and consumers in the economy.

There is proof that this model could work to reduce overall cost and improve population health if both the population and providers are incented appropriately. Recently, I had an argument with my General Practitioner’s (GP) secretary who wanted me to come to the office three times for the following:

1)     to receive the results of my blood test,

2)     to have an annual physical check-up,

3)     to remove  couple of annoying skin tags.

Each procedure was no more than 2 to 7 minutes long, they insisted that it have to be three separate appointments. A total of 10 minutes of consult for three procedures with my GP would have cost me an additional 7 hours in my productivity loss (2.0 hours to drive, 0.5 hour wait and 1.0 hour productivity loss due to distractions of the appointments). A reason for this behaviour is that the way physicians are incented; they are able to bill the system more based on the number of visits alone. Not based on what is good for both the patient and provider.

Therefore, I will define the problem this way: reduce the cost of base care to $4000 per capita and incent both the population and provider to stay and keep their customers healthy. Let the innovation begin. There is no shortage of very smart architects, engineers  and very motivated providers who want to live to their oath of “do no harm”.

Call to Action:

  • To help develop next generation healthcare delivery organization – we need the help of healthcare Zuckerbergs, Steve Jobs, Pierre Omidyar, Jeffrey P. Bezos; people who can think outside the box and bypass the current entitled establishment for the better.
  • We are taking first step to define an alternative architecture – join us in Philadelphia on July 16th for a one-day active workshop.
  • Website: http://www.opengroup.org/philadelphia2013
  • Program Outline: http://www.opengroup.org/events/timetable/1548
    • Tuesday: Healthcare Transformation
    • Keynote Speaker: Dr David Nash, Dean of Population Health Jefferson University
    • Reactors Panel: Hear from other experts on what is possible
    • Workshops
      • Be part of organized workshops and learn from your fellow providers and enterprise architects on how to transform healthcare for the next generation
      • This is your trip to the Gemba

uppalJason Uppal, P.Eng. is the Chief Architect at QRS and was the first Master IT Architect certified by The Open Group, by direct review, in October 2005. He is now a Distinguished Chief Architect in the Open CA program. He holds an undergraduate degree in Mechanical Engineering, graduate degree in Economics and a post graduate diploma in Computer Science. Jason’s commitment to Enterprise Architecture Life Cycle (EALC) has led him to focus on training (TOGAF®), education (UOIT) and mentoring services to his clients as well as being the responsible individual for both Architecture and Portfolio & Project Management for a number of major projects.

Comments Off

Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Open CA

What is Business Architecture? Part 2

By Allen Brown, President and CEO, The Open Group

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

The initial summary (blog) of the responses I received was focused on the feedback from Business Architects who were employed by organizations I think of as consumers; this one is focused on the feedback from consultants, ranging from those who are working on their own to others who are working with some of the largest consulting firms that we know.

Why I chose the countries I did and the questions I asked are contained in that earlier blog.

Again the responses have been amazing and thank you to everyone who took the time to do so.  They included some wonderful insights into their role and into their beliefs with respect to Business Architecture.

Summarizing the feedback from the consultants is even more difficult than that of the consumers.  Understandably, each of them has their own approach.  I have found it very difficult to decide what to leave out in order to get this down to a reasonable length for a blog.

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

The first point of note from the responses is that Business Architecture is still evolving and finding its place in the enterprise.  While the consumers saw it as somewhere between immature and missing in action, the consultants tended to look at the how and why of its evolution.  In one case the view was that Business Architecture is evolving in response to a demand for greater business oriented control over transformation, while another reported, disappointedly, that business architecture is often seen as Business Process Review/Improvement on steroids.  Other comments included:

  • Generally Business Architecture is seen as business process review and/or business process improvement. There is not much real Business Architecture going on at the moment.
  • It is not widely understood at this point in time.  This first initiative will be conducted in a lightweight manner to gain the business buy in and get some projects onto the roadmap.  Delivery time will be a key factor in prioritization as we will be looking for some projects with shorter duration and lower complexity so some tangible benefits can be realized
  • It is not formally recognized.  Last year I was in the supply chain team (who also deal with Lean and other operational improvement skills).  We have Business Analysts, and a People and Change Team.  We have several areas than do Operating Models.  To me various elements of these would be included under the Business Architecture banner.

In common with the consumer viewpoint, the focus of Business Architecture is on the “What”.  Some of the comments included:

  • The Business Architecture will exist with or without technology, but as soon as technology is involved, the technology exists to service the business architecture, and the business architecture should be the input to the technology and application architecture.
  • Make recommendations of what projects the business should perform, in addition to relevant and timely corrections to the governance structure, business processes, and the structure of business information
  • The business architecture I am referring to is not the traditional element of the IT based Enterprise Architecture, but a framework that is totally business oriented and in which the whole business, including IT, can commit to in order to truly understand their problems and most of all the potential to genuinely improve the business.
  • “Business Architecture is not about telling people how to do their job at a detail level. Its function is to help us all to understand how together we can achieve the business goals and objectives
  • The primary focus of the Business Architect includes the analysis of business motivations and business operations, through the use of business analysis frameworks and related networks that link these aspects of the enterprise together. The Business Architect works to develop an integrated view of the business unit, in the context of the enterprise, using a repeatable approach, cohesive framework, and available industry standard techniques.

In some cases the focus of activity was the entire enterprise: the CEO view.  In others it was at the line of business or business unit level.  In all cases the focus was very much on the business issues:

  • Strategy
  • Business goals, objectives and drivers
  • Business operating model
  • Organization structure
  • Functions, roles, actors
  • Business processes
  • Key data elements

Being able to see the big picture and have the ability to communicate with key stakeholders was emphasized time and again.

  • Make it relevant and “makes sense” to senior management, operations and IT groups.  Visualize problems; have a way to communicate with the business team
  • Be able to relate – what big decision we need to make and to package it up so that execs can make a decision
  • The only person who cares about the whole picture is the CEO.  BA provides the CEO with a one page picture of the whole enterprise in a logical fashion
  • Show the CEO where impact is on a page – give confidence – control.  Help him make decisions around priorities.
  • The secret of good architecture is taking all the complexity and presenting it in a simplistic way that anyone can understand on a ‘need to know’ basis and quickly find the right answer to the current and/or planned state of business components.
  • BA facilitates strategic consistency with the business.  Where do we need to differentiate more than others?  How do we build in once or move to one instance?
  • Drive prioritization of when to invest based on the businesses strategic goals
  • Distil, communicate and relate to a business person
  • A key purpose of this new business driven architecture is to provide the means for communicating and controlling the strategic and operational intentions of the business in a way that is easy to understand for everyone in the organization

A common feature in the feedback is that underneath the models the information is rich – enables drill down – traceability to underlying requirements linked to the requirements.

Two areas of activity stood out the most: Capabilities and Value Streams.  Both of these are focused on WHAT a company needs to be able to do to execute its business strategy and to bring a product or service to a consumer.  Comments included:

  • Capabilities – combination of people, process and technology to deliver product features
  • Logical building blocks – gather information and compare the level of maturity in each capability, compare with others, understand where could we go to
  • Define/ champion 1 common reference model / capability model / logical building blocks of the enterprise.
  • Establish Capability, Information maps, Value Streams, stages and business processes.
  • Have intimate knowledge of the Business Capability (As Is/To Be), Business Component Structure, Business Processes, Value Streams and Conceptual Business Models.
  • Have the capability picture
  • … not only the capability of each component but also the relationship between components from every appropriate perspective (purpose, technical, compliance, risk, acceptability, etc.)
  • The Business Architecture is the first stage in a broader EA initiative.  Subsequent phases will align capabilities to applications and look at the major data flows between those applications

Since value stream mapping is a lean manufacturing technique, lean techniques are also called out as being relevant to business architecture because they identify areas of waste, which often change work processes or procedures, which may or may not impact applications and technology.  Feedback included:

  • Each value steam has Inputs (that triggers the value stream) and Outputs (the value based result of completing the business activities).
  • Each value stream is designed against Critical Success Factors, founded on the strategic intentions and priorities of the business, that represent the required business performance with Time, Cost, Quality, Risk and Compliance.
    • Time – How long the process should take from a Customer Perspective
    • Cost – How much the process should cost, measured using for example TDABC (Time Driven Activity Based Costing)
    • Quality – A statement clearly describing the (fit for) purpose of the activity
    • Risk – The protected acceptable residual risk involved due to effective control within the proposed design
    • Compliance – The specific interpreted requirements placed on the activity by interpreting the obligations of associated legislation and regulations.
    • Value streams are directed or informed by policies, plans, procedures, governance, regulations, business rules and other guidance, and are enabled by roles, IT Systems and other resources that will directly or indirectly support their completion.
    • The As-Is Architecture consists of the related value streams, indicating how the business is currently performing.   Under the facilitation of the business architect, design teams investigate how these can be improved to produce the Target State version of the Value Stream.

It was argued that displaying the relationship between the guidance, the enablers and the value streams, opens up the potential to discuss many things related to the business performance; that this alignment is critical for ensuring the business functions operate as expected; and that this is the major feature of business architecture and provides answers to so many previously unanswered questions for business managers.

Incidentally, since value stream maps are often drawn by hand in pencil (to keep the mapping process real-time, simple and iterative by allowing for simple correction) this tends to reinforce the comment by one of the consumer respondents that his most useful tools are pencil and paper.

The role and relationship of Business Architects, Business Analysts and other folk that might come under the general heading of Enterprise Architecture, varied from one organization to another, often seemingly dependent upon the size of the consulting firm.  At different ends of the spectrum were:

  • To a greater or lesser extent, Business Architects are supported by Business Analysts (“the knowledge processing factory) and by people with deep skills in design and process, Lean, 6 Sigma, HR, organization design and training.  The Business Architects ensure that all of the pieces fit together in a logical manor and that the impact can be shown in dollar terms
  • The Enterprise Architect is a person who can perform as both Solution Architect (SA) and a Business Architect (as needed) and has some ability as an Information Architect. In addition, an EA can perform at an enterprise level, something that is NOT required of either an SA or BA

The feedback on the title of Enterprise Architect was as varied as the number of responses.  The comments included:

  • Enterprise Architecture seen as a bad word
  • With hindsight, referring to it as architecture was a mistake
  • Enterprise Architecture is an IT version of technical specifications and drawings and not architecture, as such, and Enterprise Architects are mainly focused on the Application and Technology areas.
  • I think the technology story wave is coming to an end.  The focus will be more on the BusArch and InfoArch as that is where, in my view, the business IP sits. In the future more Bus/Info architects will become Enterprise WIDE architects, not so much enterprise architects

In most cases but not all, there is no such job as an Enterprise Architect.  It is in instead the overall term for Business Architects, Solution Architects, Information Architects, Value architects, Journey architects and so on.

The key differences that were highlighted between the roles of Business Architect and Enterprise Architect was a matter of depth and potentially also of education:

  • Enterprise Architects will tend to have more depth in technology; Business Architects will tend to have more depth in business techniques
  • Enterprise Architects will tend to have a Computer Science degree, or similar; Business Architects will tend to have a business degree or experience.

It was also stated that Business Architecture is a logical growth path for an experienced Business Analyst provided they get an Enterprise level understanding of the Business and Architecture.

When I actually look at the background of the respondents, I can see experience in:

  • IT consulting
  • Operations management
  • Product management
  • Project management
  • Business Analyst
  • Aeronautical Engineering
  • Logistics
  • … and much more besides

and education backgrounds are similarly varied.

The common theme is a deep interest in the business issues and what makes organizations work.

The evolution of Business Architecture clearly has a long way to go and depends upon the ability of the practitioners to relate to the business leaders.  One respondent predicted a shift and a segmentation in these comments:

  • For business that serve the “mum and dads”. I believe you will see a grouping of the different architectures based upon the business objectives and capabilities.
  • I think the technology story wave is coming to an end.  The focus will be more on the BusArch and InfoArch as that is where, in my view, the business IP sits. Applications and Technologies are all COTS nowadays (unless you are developing them). I think in the future more Bus/Info architects will become Enterprise WIDE Architects, not so much Enterprise Architects

The last word goes to the feedback that one Business Architect reported:

“In my time with this amazing new methodology I have had two separate reactions that stand out:

The first from an Acting CEO that was one of the biggest sceptics when I started the initiative and in admitting he had been, said that he owed me a big apology that he found the Business Architecture to be both highly useful and quite remarkable.

The second was in relation to a BPO initiative for a long standing traditional finance industry organization, when the chairman of the board said it [Business Architecture] had made a major decision relatively easy, that would have otherwise been one of the most difficult in the company‘s history.”

Allen Brown

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

4 Comments

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

The Open Group Certified Architect (Open CA) Program Transformed My Career

By Bala Prasad Peddigari, Tata Consultancy Services Limited

openca

Learning has been a continuous journey for me throughout my career, but certification in TOGAF® truly benchmarked my knowledge and Open CA qualified my capability as a practitioner. Open CA not only tested my skills as a practitioner, but also gave me valuable recognition and respect as an Enterprise Architect within my organization.

When I was nominated to undergo the Open CA Certification in 2010, I didn’t realize that this certification would transform my career, improve my architecture maturity and provide me with the such wide spread peer recognition.

The Open CA certification has enabled me to gain increased recognition at my organization. Furthermore, our internal leadership recognizes my abilities and has helped me to get into elite panels of jury regarding key initiatives at the organization level and at my parent company’s organization level. The Open CA certification has helped me to improve my Architecture Maturity and drive enterprise solutions.

With recognition, comes a greater responsibility – hence my attempt to create a community of architects to within my organization and expand the Enterprise Architecture culture. I started the Architects Cool Community a year ago. Today, this community has grown to roughly 350 associates who continuously share knowledge, come together to solve architecture problems, share best practices and contribute to The Open Group Working Groups to build reference architectures.

I can without a doubt state that TOGAF and Open CA have made a difference in my career transformation: they created organization-wide visibility, helped me to get both internal and external recognition as an Enterprise Architect and helped me to achieve required growth. My Open CA certification has also been well received by customers, particularly when I meet enterprise customers from Australia and the U.S. The Open CA certification exemplifies solid practitioner knowledge and large-scale end-to-end thinking. The certification also provided me with self-confidence in architecture problem solving to drive the right rationale.

I would like to thank my leadership team, who provided the platform and offered lot of support to drive the architecture initiatives. I would like to thank The Open Group’s Open CA team and the board who interviewed me to measure and certify my skills. I strongly believe you earn the certification because you are able to support your claims to satisfy the conformance requirements and achieving it proves that you have the skills and capabilities to carry out architecture work.

You can find out if you can meet the requirements of the program by completing the Open CA Self Assessment Tool.

balaBala Prasad Peddigari (Bala) is an Enterprise Architect and Business Value Consultant with Tata Consultancy Services Limited. Bala specializes in Enterprise Architecture, IT Strategies, Business Value consulting, Cloud based technology solutions and Scalable architectures. Bala has been instrumental in delivering IT Solutions for Finance, Insurance, Telecom and HiTech verticals. Bala currently heads the HiTech Innovative Solutions Technology Excellence Group with a focus on Cloud, Microsoft, Social Computing, Java and Open source technologies. He received accolades in Microsoft Tech Ed for his cloud architectural strengths and Won the Microsoft ALM Challenge. Bala published his papers in IEEE and regular speaker in Open Group conference and Microsoft events. Bala serves on the Open CA Certification Board for The Open Group.

Comments Off

Filed under Certifications, Open CA, Professional Development, TOGAF, TOGAF®

The Open Group Sydney – My Conference Highlights

By Mac Lemon, MD Australia at Enterprise Architects

Sydney

Well the dust has settled now with the conclusion of The Open Group ‘Enterprise Transformation’ Conference held in Sydney, Australia for the first time on April 15-20. Enterprise Architects is proud to have been recognised at the event by The Open Group as being pivotal in the success of this event. A number of our clients including NBN, Australia Post, QGC, RIO and Westpac presented excellent papers on leading edge approaches in strategy and architecture and a number of EA’s own thought leaders in Craig Martin, Christine Stephenson and Ana Kukec also delivered widely acclaimed papers.

Attendance at the conference was impressive and demonstrated that there is substantial appetite for a dedicated event focussed on the challenges of business and technology strategy and architecture. We saw many international visitors both as delegates and presenting papers and there is no question that a 2014 Open Group Forum will be the stand out event in the calendar for business and technology strategy and architecture professionals.

My top 10 take-outs from the conference include the following:

  1. The universal maturing in understanding the criticality of Business Architecture and the total convergence upon Business Capability Modelling as a cornerstone of business architecture;
  2. The improving appreciation of techniques for understanding and expressing business strategy and motivation, such as strategy maps, business model canvass and business motivation modelling;
  3. That customer experience is emerging as a common driver for many transformation initiatives;
  4. While the process for establishing the case and roadmap for transformation appears well enough understood, the process for management of the blueprint through transformation is not and generally remains a major program risk;
  5. Then next version of TOGAF® should offer material uplift in support for security architecture which otherwise remains at low levels of maturity from a framework standardisation perspective;
  6. ArchiMate® is generating real interest as a preferred enterprise architecture modelling notation – and that stronger alignment of ArchiMate® and TOGAF® meta models in then next version of TOGAF® is highly anticipated;
  7. There is industry demand for recognised certification of architects to demonstrate learning alongside experience as the mark of a good architect. There remains an unsatisfied requirement for certification that falls in the gap between TOGAF® and the Open CA certification;
  8. Australia can be proud of its position in having the second highest per capita TOGAF® certification globally behind the Netherlands;
  9. While the topic of interoperability in government revealed many battle scarred veterans convinced of the hopelessness of the cause – there remain an equal number of campaigners willing to tackle the challenge and their free and frank exchange of views was entertaining enough to justify worth the price of a conference ticket;
  10. Unashamedly – Enterprise Architects remains in a league of its own in the concentration of strategy and architecture thought leadership in Australia – if not globally.

Mac LemonMac Lemon is the Managing Director of Enterprise Architects Pty Ltd and is based in Melbourne, Australia.

This is an extract from Mac’s recent blog post on the Enterprise Architects web site which you can view here.

Comments Off

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

Corso Introduces Roadmapping Support for TOGAF® 9 in its Strategic Planning Platform

By Martin Owen, CEO, Corso

Last week, we announced new roadmapping support for TOGAF® in IBM Rational System Architect®, a leading Enterprise Architecture and modeling software.

The new TOGAF extension supports the modeling, migration and implementation of an Enterprise Architecture within Corso’s Strategic Planning Platform, which integrates Enterprise Architecture, IT planning and strategic planning into a single, comprehensive solution. The new TOGAF extension provides capabilities in managing current and future state architectures, work packages and timelines/lifecycles /heatmaps—key areas for successful roadmapping and transition planning.

Corso now offers roadmapping solutions for both ArchiMate® 2.0 and TOGAF as part of its Strategic Planning Platform. Both solutions are available as SaaS option, on-premise or standard perpetual license solution. A roadmapping datasheet and white paper are available.

Roadmapping is critical for building change-tolerant Enterprise Architectures that accurately describe and manage strategic business transformations. Our new solution gives Enterprise Architects the tools within TOGAF to more quickly map out a transition plan with deliverables for the organization. By tying plans to the business strategy, the architects can drive a faster development and implementation lifecycle.

Our new TOGAF solution offers these key capabilities:

  • Automatic generation of timeline diagrams with milestones and dimensions.
  • Work package definitions and resources so users can group and track specific actions.
  • Heat maps that display a visual map of the state of the business and IT infrastructure and highlight cost overruns.
  • Improved gap analysis through enhanced support for plateaus and gaps.
  • Roadmap reports that enable users to see the current and future states of the architecture and work packages.
  • Integration with IBM Rational Focal Point® so that work packages and milestones can be used in portfolio management and prioritization initiatives.
  • Lifecycle support for standard states such as application portfolio management.

Corso’s Strategic Planning Platform is a comprehensive solution that integrates Enterprise Architecture, IT and strategic planning into a fully charged change process that uses cloud technology to elevate decision-making to a strategic level. This approach unites business and architecture views into one central platform and leverages existing tools and the Web to share information and decision-making across various teams within the organization. For more information about Corso and its roadmapping solutions, visit http://www.corso.co.uk.

owen_martin

Martin Owen, CEO, Corso has spent over 20 years in Enterprise Architecture and is a co-author of the original Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN) standard. Martin has run teams driving the product directions, strategies and roadmaps for the Enterprise Architecture tools at IBM.

Comments Off

Filed under ArchiMate®, Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF®

What is Business Architecture?

By Allen Brown, President and CEO, The Open Group

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

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

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

These were:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Allen Brown

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

2 Comments

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

Flexibility, Agility and Open Standards

By Jose M. Sanchez Knaack, IBM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jose diagram

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

This is the subtle difference between flexible and agile.

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 

Comments Off

Filed under Enterprise Architecture

The Interconnectedness of All Things

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3 Comments

Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Platform 3.0

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.

1 Comment

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

Thinking About Big Data

By Dave Lounsbury, The Open Group

“We can not solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.”

- Albert Einstein

The growing consumerization of technology and convergence of technologies such as the “Internet of Things”, social networks and mobile devices are causing big changes for enterprises and the marketplace. They are also generating massive amounts of data related to behavior, environment, location, buying patterns and more.

Having massive amounts of data readily available is invaluable. More data means greater insight, which leads to more informed decision-making. So far, we are keeping ahead of this data by smarter analytics and improving the way we handle this data. The question is, how long can we keep up? The rate of data production is increasing; as an example, an IDC report[1] predicts that the production of data will increase 50X in the coming decade. To magnify this problem, there’s an accompanying explosion of data about the data – cataloging information, metadata, and the results of analytics are all data in themselves. At the same time, data scientists and engineers who can deal with such data are already a scarce commodity, and the number of such people is expected to grow only by 1.5X in the same period.

It isn’t hard to draw the curve. Turning data into actionable insight is going to be a challenge – data flow is accelerating at a faster rate than the available humans can absorb, and our databases and data analytic systems can only help so much.

Markets never leave gaps like this unfilled, and because of this we should expect to see a fundamental shift in the IT tools we use to deal with the growing tide of data. In order to solve the challenges of managing data with the volume, variety and velocities we expect, we will need to teach machines to do more of the analysis for us and help to make the best use of scarce human talents.

The Study of Machine Learning

Machine Learning, sometimes called “cognitive computing”[2] or “intelligent computing”, looks at the study of building computers with the capability to learn and perform tasks based on experience. Experience in this context includes looking at vast data sets, using multiple “senses” or types of media, recognizing patterns from past history or precedent, and extrapolating this information to reason about the problem at hand. An example of machine learning that is currently underway in the healthcare sector is medical decision aids that learn to predict therapies or to help with patient management, based on correlating a vast body of medical and drug experience data with the information about the patients under treatment

A well-known example of this is Watson, a machine learning system IBM unveiled a few years ago. While Watson is best known for winning Jeopardy, that was just the beginning. IBM has since built six Watsons to assist with their primary objective: to help health care professionals find answers to complex medical questions and help with patient management[3]. The sophistication of Watson is the reaction of all this data action that is going on. Watson of course isn’t the only example in this field, with others ranging from Apple’s Siri intelligent voice-operated assistant to DARPA’s SyNAPSE program[4].

Evolution of the Technological Landscape

As the consumerization of technology continues to grow and converge, our way of constructing business models and systems need to evolve as well. We need to let data drive the business process, and incorporate intelligent machines like Watson into our infrastructure to help us turn data into actionable results.

There is an opportunity for information technology and companies to help drive this forward. However, in order for us to properly teach computers how to learn, we first need to understand the environments in which they will be asked to learn in – Cloud, Big Data, etc. Ultimately, though, any full consideration of these problems will require a look at how machine learning can help us make decisions – machine learning systems may be the real platform in these areas.

The Open Group is already laying the foundation to help organizations take advantage of these convergent technologies with its new forum, Platform 3.0. The forum brings together a community of industry thought leaders to analyze the use of Cloud, Social, Mobile computing and Big Data, and describe the business benefits that enterprises can gain from them. We’ll also be looking at trends like these at our Philadelphia conference this summer.  Please join us in the discussion.


2 Comments

Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Data management, Enterprise Architecture

The Open Group Approves EMMM Technical Standard for Natural Resources Industry

By The Open Group Staff

The Open Group, a vendor- and technology-neutral consortium, which is represented locally by Real IRM, has approved the Exploration and Mining Business Reference Model (EM Model) as an Open Group Technical Standard. This is the first approved standard for the natural resources industry developed by the Exploration, Mining, Metals and Minerals (EMMM™) Forum, a Forum of The Open Group.

The development of the EM Model was overseen by The Open Group South Africa, and is the first step toward establishing a blueprint for organisations in the natural resources industry, providing standard operating practices and support for vendors delivering technical and business solutions to the industry.

“Designed to cater to business activities across a variety of different types of mining organisations, the model is helping companies align both their business and technical procedures to provide better measures for shared services, health, safety and environmental processes,” says Sarina Viljoen, senior consultant at Real IRM and Forum Director of The Open Group EMMM Forum. “I can confirm that the business reference model was accepted as an Open Group standard and will now form part of the standards information base.”

This is a significant development as the EMMM Forum aims to enable sustainable business value through collaboration around a common reference framework, and to support vendors in their delivery of technical and business solutions. Its outputs are common reference deliverables such as mining process, capability and information models. The first technical standard in the business space, the EM Model focuses on business processes within the exploration and mining sectors.

“Using the EM Model as a reference with clients allows us to engage with any client and any mining method. Since the model first went public I have not used anything else as a basis for discussion,” says Mike Woodhall, a mining executive with MineRP, one of the world’s largest providers of mining technical software, support and mining consulting services. “The EM Model captures the mining business generically and allows us and the clients to discuss further levels of detail based on understanding the specifics of the mining method. This is one of the two most significant parts of the exercise: the fact we have a multiparty definition – no one person could have produced the model – and the fact that we could capture it legibly on one page.”

Viljoen adds that Forum member organisations find the collaboration especially useful as it drives insight and clarity on shared challenges: “The Forum has built on the very significant endorsement of its first business process model by Gartner in its report ‘Process for Defining Architecture in an Integrated Mining Enterprise, 2020.’

“In the report, Gartner suggests that companies in the mining industry look to enterprise architectures as a way of creating better efficiencies and integration across the business, information and technology processes within mining companies,” says Viljoen.

Gartner highlights the following features of the EM Model as being particularly important in its approach, differing from many traditional models that have been developed by mining companies themselves:

  • Breadth – covers all aspects of mining and mining-related activities
  • Scale-Independent –suitable for any size businesses, even the largest of enterprise corporations
  • Product and Mining-Method Neutral – supports all products and mining methods
  • Extended and Extensible Model –provides a general level of process detail that can be extended by organisations to the activity or task level, as appropriate

The EM Model is available for download from The Open Group Bookstore here.

About The Open Group Exploration, Mining, Metals and Minerals Forum

The Open Group Exploration, Mining, Metals and Minerals (EMMM™) Forum is a global, vendor-neutral collaboration where members work to create a reference framework containing applicable standards for the exploration and  mining industry focused on all metals and minerals. The EMMM Forum functions to realize sustainable business value for the organisations within the industry through collaboration, and to support vendors in their delivery of technical and business solutions.

About Real IRM Solutions

Real IRM is the leading South African enterprise architecture specialist, offering a comprehensive portfolio of products and services to local and international organisations. www.realirm.com.

About The Open Group

The Open Group is an international vendor- and technology-neutral consortium upon which organizations rely to lead the development of IT standards and certifications, and to provide them with access to key industry peers, suppliers and best practices. The Open Group provides guidance and an open environment in order to ensure interoperability and vendor neutrality. Further information on The Open Group can be found at www.opengroup.org.

1 Comment

Filed under EMMMv™

An Update on ArchiMate® 2 Certification

By Andrew Josey, The Open Group

In this blog we provide latest news on the status of the ArchiMate® Certification for People program. Recent changes to the program include the availability of the ArchiMate 2 Examination through Prometric test centers and also the addition of the ArchiMate 2 Foundation qualification.

Program Vision

The vision for the ArchiMate 2 Certification Program is to define and promote a market-driven education and certification program to support the ArchiMate modeling language standard. The program is supported by an Accredited ArchiMate Training program, in which there are currently 10 accredited courses. There are self-study materials available.

Certification Levels

There are two levels defined for ArchiMate 2 People Certification:

  • Level 1: ArchiMate 2 Foundation
  • Level 2: ArchiMate 2 Certified

The difference between the two certification levels is that for ArchiMate 2 Certified there are further requirements in addition to passing the ArchiMate 2 Examination as shown in the figure below.

What are the study paths to become certified?

ArchiMate 2

The path to certification depends on the Level. For Level 2, ArchiMate Certified: you achieve certification only after satisfactorily completing an Accredited ArchiMate Training Course, including completion of practical exercises, together with an examination. For Level 1 you may choose to self study or attend a training course. For Level 1 the requirement is only to pass the ArchiMate 2 examination.

How can I find out about the syllabus and examinations?

To obtain a high level view, read the datasheets that describe certification that are available from the ArchiMate Certification website. For detail on what is expected from candidates, see the Conformance Requirements document. The Conformance Requirements apply to both Level 1 and Level 2.

The ArchiMate 2 examination comprises 40 questions in simple multiple choice format. A Practice examination is included as part of an Accredited ArchiMate Training course and also in the ArchiMate 2 Foundation Study Guide.

For Level 2, a set of Practical exercises are included as part of the training course and these must be successfully completed. They are assessed by the trainer as part of an accredited training course.

More Information and Resources

More information on the program is available at the ArchiMate 2 Certification site at http://www.opengroup.org/certifications/archimate/

Details of the ArchiMate 2 Examination are available at: http://www.opengroup.org/certifications/archimate/docs/exam

The calendar of Accredited ArchiMate 2 Training courses is available at: http://www.opengrou.org/archimate/training-calendar/

The ArchiMate 2 Foundation Self Study Pack is available for purchase and immediate download at http://www.opengroup.org/bookstore/catalog/b132.htm

ArchiMate is a registered trademark of The Open Group.

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.

6 Comments

Filed under ArchiMate®, Uncategorized

Complexity from Big Data and Cloud Trends Makes Architecture Tools like ArchiMate and TOGAF More Powerful, Says Expert Panel

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

Listen to the recorded podcast here: Complexity from Big Data and Cloud Trends Makes Architecture Tools like ArchiMate and TOGAF More Powerful, Says Expert Panel, or read the transcript here.

We recently assembled a panel of Enterprise Architecture (EA) experts to explain how such simultaneous and complex trends as big data, Cloud Computing, security, and overall IT transformation can be helped by the combined strengths of The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF®) and the ArchiMate® modeling language.

The panel consisted of Chris Forde, General Manager for Asia-Pacific and Vice President of Enterprise Architecture at The Open Group; Iver Band, Vice Chair of The Open Group ArchiMate Forum and Enterprise Architect at The Standard, a diversified financial services company; Mike Walker, Senior Enterprise Architecture Adviser and Strategist at HP and former Director of Enterprise Architecture at DellHenry Franken, the Chairman of The Open Group ArchiMate Forum and Managing Director at BIZZdesign, and Dave Hornford, Chairman of the Architecture Forum at The Open Group and Managing Partner at Conexiam. I served as the moderator.

This special BriefingsDirect thought leadership interview series comes to you in conjunction with The Open Group Conference recently held in Newport Beach, California. The conference focused on “Big Data — he transformation we need to embrace today.” [Disclosure: The Open Group and HP are sponsors ofBriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Is there something about the role of the enterprise architect that is shifting?

Walker: There is less of a focus on the traditional things we come to think of EA such as standards, governance and policies, but rather into emerging areas such as the soft skills, Business Architecture, and strategy.

To this end I see a lot in the realm of working directly with the executive chain to understand the key value drivers for the company and rationalize where they want to go with their business. So we’re moving into a business-transformation role in this practice.

At the same time, we’ve got to be mindful of the disruptive external technology forces coming in as well. EA can’t just divorce from the other aspects of architecture as well. So the role that enterprise architects play becomes more and more important and elevated in the organization.

Two examples of this disruptive technology that are being focused on at the conference are Big Data and Cloud Computing. Both are providing impacts to our businesses not because of some new business idea but because technology is available to enhance or provide new capabilities to our business. The EA’s still do have to understand these new technology innovations and determine how they will apply to the business.

We need to get really good enterprise architects, it’s difficult to find good ones. There is a shortage right now especially given that a lot of focus is being put on the EA department to really deliver sound architectures.

Not standalone

Gardner: We’ve been talking a lot here about Big Data, but usually that’s not just a standalone topic. It’s Big Data and Cloud, Cloud, mobile and security.

So with these overlapping and complex relationships among multiple trends, why is EA and things like the TOGAF framework and the ArchiMate modeling language especially useful?

Band: One of the things that has been clear for a while now is that people outside of IT don’t necessarily have to go through the technology function to avail themselves of these technologies any more. Whether they ever had to is really a question as well.

One of things that EA is doing, and especially in the practice that I work in, is using approaches like the ArchiMate modeling language to effect clear communication between the business, IT, partners and other stakeholders. That’s what I do in my daily work, overseeing our major systems modernization efforts. I work with major partners, some of which are offshore.

I’m increasingly called upon to make sure that we have clear processes for making decisions and clear ways of visualizing the different choices in front of us. We can’t always unilaterally dictate the choice, but we can make the conversation clearer by using frameworks like the TOGAF standard and the ArchiMate modeling language, which I use virtually every day in my work.

Hornford: The fundamental benefit of these tools is the organization realizing its capability and strategy. I just came from a session where a fellow quoted a Harvard study, which said that around a third of executives thought their company was good at executing on its strategy. He highlighted that this means that two-thirds are not good at executing on their strategy.

If you’re not good at executing on your strategy and you’ve got Big Data, mobile, consumerization of IT and Cloud, where are you going? What’s the correct approach? How does this fit into what you were trying to accomplish as an enterprise?

An enterprise architect that is doing their job is bringing together the strategy, goals and objectives of the organization. Also, its capabilities with the techniques that are available, whether it’s offshoring, onshoring, Cloud, or Big Data, so that the organization is able to move forward to where it needs to be, as opposed to where it’s going to randomly walk to.

Forde: One of the things that has come out in several of the presentations is this kind of capability-based planning, a technique in EA to get their arms around this thing from a business-driver perspective. Just to polish what Dave said a little bit, it’s connecting all of those things. We see enterprises talking about a capability-based view of things on that basis.

Gardner: Let’s get a quick update. The TOGAF framework, where are we and what have been the highlights from this particular event?

Minor upgrade

Hornford: In the last year, we’ve published a minor upgrade for TOGAF version 9.1 which was based upon cleaning up consistency in the language in the TOGAF documentation. What we’re working on right now is a significant new release, the next release of the TOGAF standard, which is dividing the TOGAF documentation to make it more consumable, more consistent and more useful for someone.

Today, the TOGAF standard has guidance on how to do something mixed into the framework of what you should be doing. We’re peeling those apart. So with that peeled apart, we won’t have guidance that is tied to classic application architecture in a world of Cloud.

What we find when we have done work with the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) for banking architecture, Sherwood Applied Business Security Architecture (SABSA) for security architecture, and the TeleManagement Forum, is that the concepts in the TOGAF framework work across industries and across trends. We need to move the guidance into a place so that we can be far nimbler on how to tie Cloud with my current strategy, how to tie consumerization of IT with on-shoring?

Franken: The ArchiMate modeling language turned two last year, and the ArchiMate 1.0 standard is the language to model out the core of your EA. The ArchiMate 2.0 standard added two specifics to it to make it better aligned also to the process of EA.

According to the TOGAF standard, this is being able to model out the motivation, why you’re doing EA, stakeholders and the goals that drive us. The second extension to the ArchiMate standard is being able to model out its planning and migration.

So with the core EA and these two extensions, together with the TOGAF standard process working, you have a good basis on getting EA to work in your organization.

Gardner: Mike, fill us in on some of your thoughts about the role of information architecture vis-à-vis the larger business architect and enterprise architect roles.

Walker: Information architecture is an interesting topic in that it hasn’t been getting a whole lot of attention until recently.

Information architecture is an aspect of Enterprise Architecture that enables an information strategy or business solution through the definition of the company’s business information assets, their sources, structure, classification and associations that will prescribe the required application architecture and technical capabilities.

Information architecture is the bridge between the Business Architecture world and the application and technology architecture activities.

The reason I say that is because information architecture is a business-driven discipline that details the information strategy of the company. As we know, and from what we’ve heard at the conference keynotes like in the case of NASA, Big Data, and security presentations, the preservation and classification of that information is vital to understanding what your architecture should be.

Least matured

From an industry perspective, this is one of the least matured, as far as being incorporated into a formal discipline. The TOGAF standard actually has a phase dedicated to it in data architecture. Again, there are still lots of opportunities to grow and incorporate additional methods, models and tools by the enterprise information management discipline.

Enterprise information management not only it captures traditional topic areas like master data management (MDM), metadata and unstructured types of information architecture but also focusing on the information governance, and the architecture patterns and styles implemented in MDM, Big Data, etc. There is a great deal of opportunity there.

From the role of information architects, I’m seeing more and more traction in the industry as a whole. I’ve dealt with an entire group that’s focused on information architecture and building up an enterprise information management practice, so that we can take our top line business strategies and understand what architectures we need to put there.

This is a critical enabler for global companies, because oftentimes they’re restricted by regulation, typically handled at a government or regional area. This means we have to understand that we build our architecture. So it’s not about the application, but rather the data that it processes, moves, or transforms.

Gardner: Up until not too long ago, the conventional thinking was that applications generate data. Then you treat the data in some way so that it can be used, perhaps by other applications, but that the data was secondary to the application.

But there’s some shift in that thinking now more toward the idea that the data is the application and that new applications are designed to actually expand on the data’s value and deliver it out to mobile tiers perhaps. Does that follow in your thinking that the data is actually more prominent as a resource perhaps on par with applications?

Walker: You’re spot on, Dana. Before the commoditization of these technologies that resided on premises, we could get away with starting at the application layer and work our way back because we had access to the source code or hardware behind our firewalls. We could throw servers out, and we used to put the firewalls in front of the data to solve the problem with infrastructure. So we didn’t have to treat information as a first-class citizen. Times have changed, though.

Information access and processing is now democratized and it’s being pushed as the first point of presentment. A lot of times this is on a mobile device and even then it’s not the corporate’s mobile device, but your personal device. So how do you handle that data?

It’s the same way with Cloud, and I’ll give you a great example of this. I was working as an adviser for a company, and they were looking at their Cloud strategy. They had made a big bet on one of the big infrastructures and Cloud-service providers. They looked first at what the features and functions that that Cloud provider could provide, and not necessarily the information requirements. There were two major issues that they ran into, and that was essentially a showstopper. They had to pull off that infrastructure.

The first one was that in that specific Cloud provider’s terms of service around intellectual property (IP) ownership. Essentially, that company was forced to cut off their IP rights.

Big business

As you know, IP is a big business these days, and so that was a showstopper. It actually broke the core regulatory laws around being able to discover information.

So focusing on the applications to make sure it meets your functional needs is important. However, we should take a step back and look at the information first and make sure that for the people in your organization who can’t say no, their requirements are satisfied.

Gardner: Data architecture is it different from EA and Business Architecture, or is it a subset? What’s the relationship, Dave?

Hornford: Data architecture is part of an EA. I won’t use the word subset, because a subset starts to imply that it is a distinct thing that you can look at on its own. You cannot look at your Business Architecture without understanding your information architecture. When you think about Big Data, cool. We’ve got this pile of data in the corner. Where did it come from? Can we use it? Do we actually have legitimate rights, as Mike highlighted, to use this information? Are we allowed to mix it and who mixes it?

When we look at how our business is optimized, they normally optimize around work product, what the organization is delivering. That’s very easy. You can see who consumes your work product. With information, you often have no idea who consumes your information. So now we have provenance, we have source and as we move for global companies, we have the trends around consumerization, Cloud and simply tightening cycle time.

Gardner: Of course, the end game for a lot of the practitioners here is to create that feedback loop of a lifecycle approach, rapid information injection and rapid analysis that could be applied. So what are some of the ways that these disciplines and tools can help foster that complete lifecycle?

Band: The disciplines and tools can facilitate the right conversations among different stakeholders. One of the things that we’re doing at The Standard is building cadres equally balanced between people in business and IT.

We’re training them in information management, going through a particular curriculum, and having them study for an information management certification that introduces a lot of these different frameworks and standard concepts.

Creating cadres

We want to create these cadres to be able to solve tough and persistent information management problems that affect all companies in financial services, because information is a shared asset. The purpose of the frameworks is to ensure proper stewardship of that asset across disciplines and across organizations within an enterprise.

Hornford: The core is from the two standards that we have, the ArchiMate standard and the TOGAF standard. The TOGAF standard has, from its early roots, focused on the components of EA and how to build a consistent method of understanding of what I’m trying to accomplish, understanding where I am, and where I need to be to reach my goal.

When we bring in the ArchiMate standard, I have a language, a descriptor, a visual descriptor that allows me to cross all of those domains in a consistent description, so that I can do that traceability. When I pull in this lever or I have this regulatory impact, what does it hit me with, or if I have this constraint, what does it hit me with?

If I don’t do this, if I don’t use the framework of the TOGAF standard, or I don’t use the discipline of formal modeling in the ArchiMate standard, we’re going to do it anecdotally. We’re going to trip. We’re going to fall. We’re going to have a non-ending series of surprises, as Mike highlighted.

“Oh, terms of service. I am violating the regulations. Beautiful. Let’s take that to our executive and tell him right as we are about to go live that we have to stop, because we can’t get where we want to go, because we didn’t think about what it took to get there.” And that’s the core of EA in the frameworks.

Walker: To build on what Dave has just talked about and going back to your first question Dana, the value statement on TOGAF from a business perspective. The businesses value of TOGAF is that they get a repeatable and a predictable process for building out our architectures that properly manage risks and reliably produces value.

The TOGAF framework provides a methodology to ask what problems you’re trying to solve and where you are trying to go with your business opportunities or challenges. That leads to Business Architecture, which is really a rationalization in technical or architectural terms the distillation of the corporate strategy.

From there, what you want to understand is information — how does that translate, what information architecture do we need to put in place? You get into all sorts of things around risk management, etc., and then it goes on from there, until what we were talking about earlier about information architecture.

If the TOGAF standard is applied properly you can achieve the same result every time, That is what interests business stakeholders in my opinion. And the ArchiMate modeling language is great because, as we talked about, it provides very rich visualizations so that people cannot only show a picture, but tie information together. Different from other aspects of architecture, information architecture is less about the boxes and more about the lines.

Quality of the individuals

Forde: Building on what Dave was saying earlier and also what Iver was saying is that while the process and the methodology and the tools are of interest, it’s the discipline and the quality of the individuals doing the work

Iver talked about how the conversation is shifting and the practice is improving to build communications groups that have a discipline to operate around. What I am hearing is implied, but actually I know what specifically occurs, is that we end up with assets that are well described and reusable.

And there is a point at which you reach a critical mass that these assets become an accelerator for decision making. So the ability of the enterprise and the decision makers in the enterprise at the right level to respond is improved, because they have a well disciplined foundation beneath them.

A set of assets that are reasonably well-known at the right level of granularity for them to absorb the information and the conversation is being structured so that the technical people and the business people are in the right room together to talk about the problems.

This is actually a fairly sophisticated set of operations that I am discussing and doesn’t happen overnight, but is definitely one of the things that we see occurring with our members in certain cases.

Hornford: I want to build on that what Chris said. It’s actually the word “asset.” While he was talking, I was thinking about how people have talked about information as an asset. Most of us don’t know what information we have, how it’s collected, where it is, but we know we have got a valuable asset.

I’ll use an analogy. I have a factory some place in the world that makes stuff. Is that an asset? If I know that my factory is able to produce a particular set of goods and it’s hooked into my supply chain here, I’ve got an asset. Before that, I just owned a thing.

I was very encouraged listening to what Iver talked about. We’re building cadres. We’re building out this approach and I have seen this. I’m not using that word, but now I’m stealing that word. It’s how people build effective teams, which is not to take a couple of specialists and put them in an ivory tower, but it’s to provide the method and the discipline of how we converse about it, so that we can have a consistent conversation.

When I tie it with some of the tools from the Architecture Forum and the ArchiMate Forum, I’m able to consistently describe it, so that I now have an asset I can identify, consume and produce value from.

Business context

Forde: And this is very different from data modeling. We are not talking about entity relationship, junk at the technical detail, or third normal form and that kind of stuff. We’re talking about a conversation that’s occurring around the business context of what needs to go on supported by the right level of technical detail when you need to go there in order to clarify.

Comments Off

Filed under ArchiMate®, Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF®

Welcome to Platform 3.0

By Dave Lounsbury, The Open Group

The space around us is forever changing.

As I write now, the planet’s molten core is in motion far beneath my feet, and way above my head, our atmosphere and the universe are in constant flux too.

Man also makes his own changes as well. Innovation in technology and business constantly create new ways to work together and create economic value.

Over the past few years, we have witnessed the birth, evolution and use of a number of such changes, each of which has the potential to fundamentally change the way we engage with one another. These include: Mobile, Social (both Social Networks and Social Enterprise), Big Data, the Internet of Things, Cloud Computing as well as devices and application architectures.

Now however, these once disparate forces are converging – united by the growing Consumerization of Technology and the resulting evolution in user behavior – to create new business models and system designs.

You can see evidence of this convergence of trends in the following key architectural shifts:

  • Exponential growth of data inside and outside organizations converging with end point usage in mobile devices, analytics, embedded technology and Cloud hosted environments
  • Speed of technology and business innovation is rapidly changing the focus from asset ownership to the usage of services, and the predication of more agile architecture models to be able to adapt to new technology change and offerings
  • New value networks resulting from the interaction and growth of the Internet of Things and multi-devices and connectivity targeting specific vertical industry sector needs
  • Performance and security implications involving cross technology platforms , cache and bandwidth strategies, existing across federated environments
  • Social behavior and market channel changes resulting in multiple ways to search and select IT and business services
  • Cross device and user-centric driven service design and mainstream use of online marketplace platforms for a growing range of services

The analyst community was the first to recognize and define this evolution in the technological landscape which we are calling Platform 3.0.

At Gartner’s Symposium conference, the keynote touched on the emergence of what it called a ‘Nexus of Forces,’ and warning that it would soon render existing Business Architectures “obsolete.”

However, for those organizations who could get it right, Gartner called the Nexus a “key differentiator of business and technology management” and recommended that “strategizing on how to take advantage of the Nexus should be a top priority for companies around the world.”[i]

Similarly, according to IDC Chief Analyst, Frank Gens, “Vendors’ ability (or inability) to compete on the 3rd Platform [Platform 3.0] right now — even at the risk of cannibalizing their own 2nd Platform franchises — will reorder leadership ranks within the IT market and, ultimately, every industry that uses IT.”[ii]

Of course, while organizations will be looking to make use of Platform 3.0 to create innovative new products and services, this will not be an easy transition for many. Significantly, there will be architectural issues and structural considerations to consider when using and combining these convergent technologies which will need to be overcome. Accomplishing this will in turn require cooperation among suppliers and users of these products and services.

That is why we’re excited to announce the formation of a new – as yet unnamed – forum, specifically designed to advance The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™ by helping enterprises to take advantage of these convergent technologies. This will be accomplished by identifying a set of new platform capabilities, and architecting and standardizing an IT platform by which enterprises can reap the business benefits of Platform 3.0. It is our intention that these capabilities will enable enterprises to:

  • Process data “in the Cloud”
  • Integrate mobile devices with enterprise computing
  • Incorporate new sources of data, including social media and sensors in the Internet of Things
  • Manage and share data that has high volume, velocity, variety and distribution
  • Turn the data into usable information through correlation, fusion, analysis and visualization

The forum will bring together a community of industry experts and thought leaders whose purpose it will be to meet these goals, initiate and manage programs to support them, and promote the results. Owing to the nature of the forum it is expected that this forum will also leverage work underway in this area by The Open Group’s existing Cloud Work Group, and would coordinate with other forums for specific overlapping or cross-cutting activities.

Looking ahead, the first deliverables will analyze the use of Cloud, Social, Mobile Computing and Big Data, and describe the business benefits that enterprises can gain from them. The forum will then proceed to describe the new IT platform in the light of this analysis.

If this area is as exciting and important to you and your organization as it is to us, please join us in the discussion. We will use this blog and other communication channels of The Open Group to let you know how you can participate, and we’d of course welcome your comments and thoughts on this idea.

21 Comments

Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Professional Development

What are Words Worth?

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

“Words are stupid, words are fun 

Words can put you on the run.”*

Many years ago I learned, at my own cost, how easily words can be re- and/or misinterpreted. The story itself is not important. What matters is that a bunch of us were trying to achieve something we thought was worthwhile, thought we’d achieved it but got conned by someone more cunning with words than we were. The result was pretty much completely the opposite result to what we intended.

I’ve spent a lot of time since then trying to find ways of tying down meanings so that, if someone disagreed with me, it would at least be clear to everyone what we were disagreeing about.. That basically involved looking for a very precise choice of words and offering a definition of what I was using them for. Nothing very original there. It’s the same motivation which leads us to create a glossary or taxonomy.

Which brings me to the problem I want to address: Definitions can actually get in the way of the discussion. In the professional world, inhabited by pretty much anyone likely to be reading this, we tend to borrow words from natural language to describe very specific concepts: concepts which we have made specific. Sometimes we borrow these words from other disciplines, which may themselves have specialized out of natural language. Sometimes the usage is often a form of metaphor or analogy, but with familiarization that fact becomes forgotten and it becomes just another word we take for granted.

Recently I had a (friendly) public debate with Tom Graves about the meaning of the word entropy, which we used separately from each other to characterize related but different phenomena affecting enterprises. We both used it as an analogy or parallel and we based our analogies on different definitions of the terms within the world where it originated, physics. These definitions are not contradictory in physics but are pretty divergent when used as analogy or metaphor. Tom and I are friends, so the discussion didn’t become rancorous, but we have yet to achieve a satisfactory resolution – at least not on an agreeable definition.

Also recently, I have witnessed a debate in the Enterprise Architecture community (on LinkedIn) about the meaning of the words business and enterprise. These are words common in natural language whereas here they were being used in the context of our specific discipline. In that context it was a relevant and perhaps even important discussion. The meaning you associate with them, unless you believe they are semantically identical, has a significant impact on your view of Enterprise Architecture (EA).

Unfortunately, the debate rather quickly developed into a heated discussion about who had the correct definition of each of these words. All kinds of “experts” from the worlds of economics and management science were quoted along with various dictionaries, which only served to prove that almost any position could be justified. The net result was that the substantial discussion got lost in definition wars. And that’s a pity because there were some important differences in perspective, which could have been useful to explore and from which everyone could have learned something – even if we all stuck to our own definitions of the words.

We may not be doing anything obscure with these words in EA, but we’re still giving them a very specific context, which may not be identical to what the man on the number 9 bus (or a professor in a business school) thinks of. If even then we are able to give them different, reasonable definitions, it’s clear that we should be seeking to focus on the underlying discussion, as intended/defined by the person who started the discussion. Otherwise we’ll never get beyond a meta-discussion.

So how can we get away from the meta-discussions? To come back to Tom and me and entropy, the discussion about the definition of the word was useful to the extent that it helped me understand what he was getting at. (Beyond that it was of no value at all in the context of the substantive discussion, which is why we parked it.) Later on, Tom observed that the important thing in a discussion about terms is the process of discussion itself. Interestingly my partner made the identical point last night and she comes from an entirely different discipline as a healthcare professional: What’s useful in such a discussion is not the statement we make but the story we tell. A statement is static. A story is dynamic. So then, instead of saying “my definition of entropy is X. What’s yours?” we say, “I use the word entropy to refer to the following phenomena/behaviors. What things are you trying to capture?” We’ve pushed that definition out of the way. Later on we may come back to it, if we think at that point it would be useful to tie the term down.

Another recent discussion on Ruth Malan’s Requisite Variety site reminded me of the importance of visuals – sketching something. In fact I’m seeing an increasing number of people talking about visual thinking You don’t have to be a great artist to sketch something out, which is a good thing because I can’t draw to save my life. You just need to realize that in your head you are very often visualizing something and not necessarily a physical object. I think that’s particularly true when we use analogy or metaphor. And how often do we talk of seeing something in our “mind’s eye”? Let’s get that vision out there, show what we think is going on and how things affect each other. Take a look at that discussion on Ruth’s site and check out the links provided by Peter Bakker.

Of course definitions have their uses and are important if a group of people developing standards need to agree on how terms will be used. The group also wants other people to understand what they’re trying to say. They hope that, even if they know another reasonable definition, they’ll accept this one for the purposes of the discussion. But sometimes people are sufficiently uncomfortable with your definition – with your use of the word – that it becomes a barrier to the discussion. That’s what happened in the enterprise/business argument I mentioned before.

Let’s think about the term enterprise again. TOGAF™ has a clear definition of enterprise, which I happily use in discussions with people who know TOGAF. There are, however, people who for perfectly good reasons have a problem with a government or non-profit organization being called an enterprise or who believe the term only applies to organizations above a certain size and complexity. There are also people for whom an enterprise is necessarily identical to an organization. I personally tend to a much more generous definition. What am I going to do when I’m talking to those whose definition of an enterprise is different from mine? Should I try to convince them my definition is right or should I say “OK, fine, we’ll use your definition but let’s talk about all those other things I wanted to include and try to understand how they affect our organization.”

I need to draw pictures. A picture doesn’t force anyone to agree on a definition. It provides a canvas (there we go, another common visual metaphor) on which to place the elements of the discussion. This picture, courtesy of Tom Graves, provides an example of such a canvas. You don’t have to agree on a definition to understand what is being said. And there’s an accompanying story. Then we can investigate what it was I was trying to say and whether we can agree about the what, how and why of mechanisms in play. That doesn’t mean they’re going to agree but at least we’ll be arguing about the actual substance and there’s a fair chance we’ll all learn from the process. The label we pin on it is then a secondary consideration.

“Words in papers, words in books

Words on tv, words for crooks

Words of comfort, words of peace

Words to make the fighting cease

Words to tell you what to do

Words are working hard for you

Eat your words but don’t go hungry

Words have always nearly hung me.”*

*From Wordy Rappinghood by Tom Tom Club (1981)

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. 

11 Comments

Filed under Enterprise Architecture

Three Best Practices for Successful Implementation of Enterprise Architecture Using the TOGAF® Framework and the ArchiMate® Modeling Language

By Henry Franken, Sven van Dijk and Bas van Gils, BiZZdesign

The discipline of Enterprise Architecture (EA) was developed in the 1980s with a strong focus on the information systems landscape of organizations. Since those days, the scope of the discipline has slowly widened to include more and more aspects of the enterprise as a whole. This holistic perspective takes into account the concerns of a wide variety of stakeholders. Architects, especially at the strategic level, attempt to answer the question: “How should we organize ourselves in order to be successful?”

An architecture framework is a foundational structure or set of structures for developing a broad range of architectures and consists of a process and a modeling component. The TOGAF® framework and the ArchiMate® modeling language – both maintained by The Open Group – are two leading and widely adopted standards in this field.

TA 

While both the TOGAF framework and the ArchiMate modeling language have a broad (enterprise-wide) scope and provide a practical starting point for an effective EA capability, a key factor is the successful embedding of EA standards and tools in the organization. From this perspective, the implementation of EA means that an organization adopts processes for the development and governance of EA artifacts and deliverables. Standards need to be tailored, and tools need to be configured in the right way in order to create the right fit. Or more popularly stated, “For an effective EA, it has to walk the walk, and talk the talk of the organization!”

EA touches on many aspects such as business, IT (and especially the alignment of these two), strategic portfolio management, project management and risk management. EA is by definition about cooperation and therefore it is impossible to operate in isolation. Successful embedding of an EA capability in the organization is typically approached as a change project with clearly defined goals, metrics, stakeholders, appropriate governance and accountability, and with assigned responsibilities in place.

With this in mind, we share three best practices for the successful implementation of Enterprise Architecture:

Think big, start small

The potential footprint of a mature EA capability is as big as the entire organization, but one of the key success factors for being successful with EA is to deliver value early on. Experience from our consultancy practice proves that a “think big, start small” approach has the most potential for success. This means that the process of implementing an EA capability is a process with iterative and incremental steps, based on a long term vision. Each step in the process must add measurable value to the EA practice, and priorities should be based on the needs and the change capacity of the organization.

Combine process and modeling

The TOGAF framework and the ArchiMate modeling language are a powerful combination. Deliverables in the architecture process are more effective when based on an approach that combines formal models with powerful visualization capabilities.

The TOGAF standard describes the architecture process in detail. The Architecture Development Method (ADM) is the core of the TOGAF standard. The ADM is a customer-focused and value-driven process for the sustainable development of a business capability. The ADM specifies deliverables throughout the architecture life-cycle with a focus on the effective communication to a variety of stakeholders. ArchiMate is fully complementary to the content as specified in the TOGAF standard. The ArchiMate standard can be used to describe all aspects of the EA in a coherent way, while tailoring the content for a specific audience. Even more, an architecture repository is a valuable asset that can be reused throughout the enterprise. This greatly benefits communication and cooperation of Enterprise Architects and their stakeholders.

Use a tool!

It is true, “a fool with a tool is still a fool.” In our teaching and consulting practice we have found; however, that adoption of a flexible and easy to use tool can be a strong driver in pushing the EA initiative forward.

EA brings together valuable information that greatly enhances decision making, whether on a strategic or more operational level. This knowledge not only needs to be efficiently managed and maintained, it also needs to be communicated to the right stakeholder at the right time, and even more importantly, in the right format. EA has a diverse audience that has business and technical backgrounds, and each of the stakeholders needs to be addressed in a language that is understood by all. Therefore, essential qualifications for EA tools are: rigidity when it comes to the management and maintenance of knowledge and flexibility when it comes to the analysis (ad-hoc, what-if, etc.), presentation and communication of the information to diverse audiences.

So what you are looking for is a tool with solid repository capabilities, flexible modeling and analysis functionality.

Conclusion

EA brings value to the organization because it answers more accurately the question: “How should we organize ourselves?” Standards for EA help monetize on investments in EA more quickly. The TOGAF framework and the ArchiMate modeling language are popular, widespread, open and complete standards for EA, both from a process and a language perspective. EA becomes even more effective if these standards are used in the right way. The EA capability needs to be carefully embedded in the organization. This is usually a process based on a long term vision and has the most potential for success if approached as “think big, start small.” Enterprise Architects can benefit from tool support, provided that it supports flexible presentation of content, so that it can be tailored for the communication to specific audiences.

More information on this subject can be found on our website: www.bizzdesign.com. Whitepapers are available for download, and our blog section features a number of very interesting posts regarding the subjects covered in this paper.

If you would like to know more or comment on this blog, or please do not hesitate to contact us directly!

Henry Franken

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.

 

 

sven Sven van Dijk Msc. is a consultant and trainer at BiZZdesign North America. He worked as an application consultant on large scale ERP implementations and as a business consultant in projects on information management and IT strategy in various industries such as finance and construction. He gained nearly eight years of experience in applying structured methods and tools for Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture.

 

basBas van Gils is a consultant, trainer and researcher for BiZZdesign. His primary focus is on strategic use of enterprise architecture. Bas has worked in several countries, across a wide range of organizations in industry, retail, and (semi)governmental settings.  Bas is passionate about his work, has published in various professional and academic journals and writes for several blogs.

2 Comments

Filed under ArchiMate®, Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF®

“New Now” Planning

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

In my last post I introduced the idea of “the new now,” which I borrowed from Jack Martin Leith. I suggested that the planning of large transformation projects needs to focus more on the first step than on the end goal, because that first step, once taken, will be the “new now” – the reality with which the organization will have to work. There were some interesting comments that have helped me further develop my ideas. I also got pointed, via Twitter to this interesting and completely independent piece that comes to very similar conclusions.

I promised to try to explain how this might work in practice, so it here goes…

As I see it, we would start our transformation program by looking at both the first step and the long term vision more or less in parallel.

In order to establish what that first step should be, we need to ask what we want the “new now” to look like. If we could have a “new now” – right now – what would that be? In other words, what is it that we can’t do at the moment that we believe we really need to be able to do? This is a question that should be asked as broadly as possible across the organization. There are three reasons for that:

  1. We’ll probably come across a variety of opinions and we’ll need to know why they vary and why people think they are important, if we are to define something feasible and useful. It’s also possible that out of this mixture of views something altogether different may emerge.
  2. Changes in the relatively near future will tend to be changes to operational practices and those are best determined and managed by the part of the organization that performs them (see Stafford Beer’s Viable Systems Model and associated work by Patrick Hoverstadt and others).
  3. Everyone’s going to experience the “new now” (that’s why we call it the “new now”), so it would be good not to just drop it on them as if this were a new form of big bang. By involving them now, they’ll have known what’s coming and be more likely to accept it than if they were just “informed.” And at least we’ll know how people will react if the “new now” doesn’t meet their particular wishes.

This process addresses, I hope, both Ron van den Burg’s comment about different people having different “horizons” and an interesting observation made by Mark Skilton at The Open Group Conference in Newport Beach that at any one time an organization may have a large number of “strategies” in play.

The longer term perspective is about vision and strategy. What is the vision of the enterprise and what does it want to become? What are the strategies to achieve that? That’s something typically determined at the highest levels of an organization, even though one might hope these days that the whole organization would be able to contribute. For the moment, we’ll regard it as a board decision.

Maybe the board is perfectly happy and doesn’t need to change the vision or strategy. In that case we’re not talking about transformation, so let’s assume they do see a need to change something. A strategic change doesn’t necessarily have to affect the entire organization. It may be that the way a particular aspect of the enterprise’s mission is performed needs to be changed. Nonetheless if it’s at a strategic level it’s going to involve a transformation.

Now we can lay the “new now” and the long term vision next to each other and see how well they fit. Is the first step indeed a step towards the vision? If not we need to understand why. Traditionally we would tend to say the first step must then be wrong. That’s a possibility but it’s equally possible that the long-term view is simply too long-term and is missing key facts about the organization. The fact alone that the two don’t fit may indicate a disconnect within the organization and require a different change altogether. So simply by performing this action, we are addressing one of the risks to a transformation project. If we had simply defined the first step based on the long term vision, we’d probably have missed it. If, however, the fit is indeed good, then we know we have organizational buy-in for the transformation.

Once we have broad alignment, we need to re-examine the first step for feasibility. It mustn’t be more ambitious than we can deliver within a reasonable time and budget. Nothing new there. What is different is that while we require the first step to be aware of the long term vision, we don’t expect it to put a platform in place for everything the future may bring. That’s exactly what it shouldn’t do, because the only thing we know for certain is that we need to be adaptable to change

What about the second step? We’ve delivered the first step. We’re at the “new now.” How does that feel? Where would we like to be now? This essentially an iteration over the process we used for the first step. There’s a strong chance that we’ll get a different result than we would have had, if we’d planned this second step back at the beginning. After all, we have a new “now,” so our starting state is something that we couldn’t experience back then. We also need to revisit the vision/strategy aspect. The world (the Environment in VSM terms) will not have stood still in the meantime. One would hope that our vision wasn’t so fragile that it would change drastically but at the very least we need to re-validate it.

So now we can compare the new next step and the (revised) vision, just as we did with our first step. And then we move on.

So what this process comes down to is essentially a series of movements to a “new now.” After each movement we have a new reality. So yes, we’re still planning. We’re just not making hard plans for fuzzy objectives. Our planning process is as flexible as our results need to be. Of course that doesn’t mean we can’t start thinking about step two before we actually arrive at step one but these plans only become concrete when we know what the “new now” feels like and therefore exactly what the following “new now” should be.

In their comments on the previous blog both Matt Kern and Peter Bakker made the reasonable points that without a plan, you’re probably not going to get funding. The other side of the coin is that these days (and actually for a few years now) it’s increasingly difficult to get funding for multi-year transformation processes, exactly because the return on investment takes too long – and is too uncertain. That’s exactly what I’m trying to address. The fundamental concept of “new now” planning is that something of agreed value is delivered within an acceptable timescale. Isn’t that more likely to get funding?

Once again, I’d be delighted to see people’s reaction to these ideas. I’m 100 percent certain they can be improved.

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. 

2 Comments

Filed under Enterprise Architecture

Successful Enterprise Architecture using the TOGAF® and ArchiMate® Standards

By Henry Franken, BiZZdesign

The discipline of Enterprise Architecture was developed in the 1980s with a strong focus on the information systems landscape of organizations. Since those days, the scope of the discipline has slowly widened to include more and more aspects of the enterprise as a whole. This holistic perspective takes into account the concerns of a wide variety of stakeholders. Architects, especially at the strategic level, attempt to answer the question “How should we organize ourselves in order to be successful?”

An architecture framework is a foundational structure, or set of structures, which can be used for developing a broad range of different architectures and consists of a process and a modeling component. TOGAF® framework and the ArchiMate® modeling language – both maintained by The Open Group® – are the two leading standards in this field.

TA

Much has been written on this topic in online forums, whitepapers, and blogs. On the BiZZdesign blog we have published several series on EA in general and these standards in particular, with a strong focus on the question: what should we do to be successful with EA using TOGAF framework and the ArchiMate modeling language? I would like to summarize some of our findings here:

Tip 1 One of the key success factors for being successful with EA is to deliver value early on. We have found that organizations who understand that a long-term vision and incremental delivery (“think big, act small”) have a larger chance of developing an effective EA capability
 
Tip 2 Combine process and modeling: TOGAF framework and the ArchiMate modeling language are a powerful combination. Deliverables in the architecture process are more effective when based on an approach that combines formal models with powerful visualization capabilities. Even more, an architecture repository is an valuable asset that can be reused throughout the enterprise
 
Tip 3 Use a tool! It is true that “a fool with a tool is still a fool”. In our teaching and consulting practice we have found, however, that adoption of a flexible and easy to use tool can be a strong driver in pushing the EA-initiative forward.

There will be several interesting presentations on this subject at the upcoming Open Group conference (Newport Beach, CA, USA, January 28 – 31: Look here), ranging from theory to case practice, focusing on getting started with EA as well as on advanced topics.

I will also present on this subject and will elaborate on the combined use of The Open Group standards for EA. I also gladly invite you to join me at the panel sessions. Look forward to see you there!

Henry FrankenHenry 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.

2 Comments

Filed under ArchiMate®, Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF®

The Death of Planning

By Stuart Boardman, KPN

If I were to announce that planning large scale transformation projects was a waste of time, you’d probably think I’d taken leave of my senses. And yet, somehow this thought has been nagging at me for some time now. Bear with me.

It’s not so long ago that we still had debates about whether complex projects should be delivered as a “big bang” or in phases. These days the big bang has pretty much been forgotten. Why is that? I think the main reason is the level of risk involved with running a long process and dropping it into the operational environment just like that. This applies to any significant change, whether related to a business model and processes or IT architecture or physical building developments. Even if it all works properly, the level of sudden organizational change involved may stop it in its tracks.

So it has become normal to plan the change as a series of phases. We develop a roadmap to get us from here (as-is) to the end goal (to-be). And this is where I begin to identify the problem.

A few months ago I spent an enjoyable and thought provoking day with Jack Martin Leith (@jackmartinleith). Jack is a master in demystifying clichés but when he announced his irritation with “change is a journey,” I could only respond, “but Jack, it is.” What Jack made me see is that, whilst the original usage was a useful insight, it’s become a cliché which is commonly completely misused. It results in some pretty frustrating journeys! To understand that let’s take the analogy literally. Suppose your objective is to travel to San Diego but there are no direct flights from where you live. If the first step on your journey is a 4 hour layover at JFK, that’s at best a waste of your time and energy. There’s no value in this step. A day in Manhattan might be a different story. We can (and do) deal with this kind of thing for journeys of a day or so but imagine a journey that takes three or more years and all you see on the way is the inside of airports.

My experience has been that the same problem too often manifests itself in transformation programs. The first step may be logical from an implementation perspective, but it delivers no discernible value (tangible or intangible). It’s simply a validation that something has been done, as if, in our travel analogy, we were celebrating travelling the first 1000 kilometers, even if that put us somewhere over the middle of Lake Erie.

What would be better? An obvious conclusion that many have drawn is that we need to ensure every step delivers business value but that’s easier said than done.

Why is it so hard? The next thing Jack said helped me understand why. His point is that when you’ve taken the first step on your journey, it’s not just some intermediate station. It’s the “new now.” The new reality. The new as-is. And if the new reality is hanging around in some grotty airport trying to do your job via a Wi-Fi connection of dubious security and spending too much money on coffee and cookies…….you get the picture.

The problem with identifying that business value is that we’re not focusing on the new now but on something much more long-term. We’re trying to interpolate the near term business value out of the long term goal, which wasn’t defined based on near term needs.

What makes this all the more urgent is the increasing rate and unpredictability of change – in all aspects of doing business. This has led us to shorter planning horizons and an increasing tendency to regard that “to be” as nothing more than a general sense of direction. We’re thinking, “If we could deliver the whole thing really, really quickly on the basis of what we know we’d like to be able to do now, if it were possible, then it would look like this” – but knowing all the time that by the time we get anywhere near that end goal, it will have changed. It’s pretty obvious then that a first step, whose justification is entirely based on that imagined end goal, can easily be of extremely limited value.

So why not put more focus on the first step? That’s going to be the “new now.” How about making that our real target? Something that the enterprise sees as real value and that is actually feasible in a reasonable time scale (whatever that is). Instead of scoping that step as an intermediate (and rather immature) layover, why not put all our efforts into making it something really good? And when we get there and people know how the new now looks and feels, we can all think afresh about where to go next. After all, a journey is not simply defined by its destination but by how you get there and what you see and do on the way. If the actual journey itself is valuable, we may not want to get to the end of it.

Now that doesn’t mean we have to forget all about where we might want to be in three or even five years — not at all. The long term view is still important in helping us to make smart decisions about shorter term changes. It helps us allow for future change, even if only because it lets us see how much might change. And that helps us make sound decisions. But we should accept that our three or five year horizon needs to be continually open to revision – not on some artificial yearly cycle but every time there’s a “new now.” And this needs to include the times where the new now is not something we planned but is an emergent development from within or outside of the enterprise or is due to a major regulatory or market change.

So, if the focus is all on the first step and if our innovation cycle is getting steadily shorter, what’s the value of planning anything? Relax, I’m not about to fire the entire planning profession. If you don’t plan how you’re going to do something, what your dependencies are, how to react to the unexpected, etc., you’re unlikely to achieve your goal at all. Arguably that’s just project planning.

What about program planning? Well, if the program is so exposed to change maybe our concept of program planning needs to change. Instead of the plan being a thing fixed in stone that dictates everything, it could become a process in which the whole enterprise participates – itself open to emergence. The more I think about it, the more appealing that idea seems.

In my next post, I’ll go into more detail about how this might work, in particular from the perspective of Enterprise Architecture. I’ll also look more at how “the new planning” relates to innovation, emergence and social business and at the conflicts and synergies between these concerns. In the meantime, feel free to throw stones and see where the story doesn’t hold up.

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. 

7 Comments

Filed under Enterprise Architecture, Uncategorized

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

4 Comments

Filed under Business Architecture, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, O-TTF, OTTF