Tag Archives: Business Architecture

The Open Group TweetJam on Digital-Disruption – by Tom Graves

On 2 October 2013, the Open Group ran one of its occasional ‘TweetJam’ Twitter-discussions – also known as an #ogChat. This time it was on digital disruption – disruption to existing business-models, typically (but, as we will see, not only) by changes in technology.

I think I captured almost all of the one-hour conversation – all tweets tagged with the #ogChat hashtag – but I may well have missed a few here and there. I’ve also attempted to bring the cross-chat (@soandso references) into correct sense-order, but I’ll admit I’m likely to have made more errors there. Each text-line is essentially as published on Twitter, minus the RT @ prefix and the identifying #ogChat tag.

The legal bit: Copyright of each statement is as per Twitter’s published policy: I make no claim whatsoever to any of the tweets here other than my own (i.e. tetradian). The material is re-published here under ‘fair-use’ rules for copyright, as a public service to the enterprise-architecture community.

The TweetJam was split into seven sections, each guided by a question previously summarised on the Open Group website – see Open Group, ‘Leading Business Disruption Strategy with Enterprise Architecture‘. I’ve also added a few extra comments of my own after each section.

Introductions

(The TweetJam started with a request for each person to introduce themselves, which also serves as a useful cross-reference between name and Twitter-ID. Not every who joined in the TweetJam did this, but most did so – enough to help make sense of the conversation, anyway.)

  • theopengroup: Please introduce yourself and get ready for question 1, identified by “Q1″ …and so on. You may respond with “A1″ and so on using #ogChat // And do tweet your agreement/disagreement with other participants’ views using #ogChat, we’re interested to hear from all sides #EntArch
  • enterprisearchs: Hi all, from Hugh Evans, Enterprise Architects (@enterprisearchs), CEO and Founder
  • tetradian: Tom Graves (tetradian)
  • eatraining: Craig Martin
  • TheWombatWho: Andrew Gallagher – Change Strategy / Business Architect
  • chrisjharding: Hi from Chris Harding, The Open Group Forum Director for Open Platform 3.0
  • dianedanamac: Good day! Social Media Manager, Membership & Events at @theopengroup   I’m your contact if you have questions on The Open Group.
  • InfoRacer: Chris Bradley
  • David_A_OHara: Hi all, Dave O’Hara here, enteprise/biz architect
  • TalmanAJ: Aarne Talman – IT Startegy/EA consultant at Accenture
  • zslayton: Good morning.  Zach Slayton here from Collaborative Consulting @consultcollab
  • efeatherston: Good morning. Ed Featherston, Enterprise Arch from Collaborative Consulting
  • filiphdr: Filip Hendrickx, business architect @AE_NV
  • Frustin_Jetwell: Hello, I’m late, Justin Fretwell here, technical enterprise architecture

Question 1: What is ‘disruption’?

  • theopengroup: Let’s kick things off: Q1 What is #Disruption? #EntArch
  • TheWombatWho: A1 Disruption is normality
  • enterprisearchs: A1 Disruptors offer a new #BizModel that defines a different frontier of value
  • enterprisearchs: A1 Disruptors often introduce new technologies or processes that set them apart
  • chrisjharding: A1 Could be many things. Cloud, mobile, social, and other new technologies are disrupting the relation between business and IT
  • tetradian: A1: anything that changes business-as-usual (scale from trivial to world-shaking)
  • enterprisearchs: A1 Disruptors offer equal or better performance at prices incumbents can’t match
  • TheWombatWho: A1 agree with @tetradian but add that it is normal state of things.
  • David_A_OHara: A1,  not just tech-led disruption, but consumers actively driving innovation by finding new ways to use tech in work & social lives
  • zslayton: A1:  Disruptors are anything that breaks a norm or widely-held paradigm
  • enterprisearchs: A1 #Disruption begins when the entrant catches up to incumbents
  • InfoRacer: A1 Disruption is inevitable & BAU for many organisations these day
  • chrisjharding: @TheWombatWho Yes we live in disruptive (and interesting) times.
  • enterprisearchs: A1 Thanks to disruptive forces business models now have a much shorter shelf-life
  • DadaBeatnik: A1: To disrupt doesn’t mean more of the same. Example – iPhone was a true disrupter – no more Blackberry!
  • TalmanAJ: A1: Business disruptors offer new business model(s).
  • eatraining: A1 Innovation that creates a new value network or reorganized value system
  • TheWombatWho: A1 Disruptors can be global mega trends but can be localised.  Localised can provide ‘canary down the mine’ opportunity
  • TalmanAJ: A1: IT disruptors fundamentally change the way IT supports business models or change the business model
  • tetradian: .@TheWombatWho: A1 “…but add that [disruption] is normal state of things” – problem is that many folks don’t recognise that! :-)
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara and disrupting traditional organization because they want to use it hands on, not through IT department
  • efeatherston: @chrisjharding good point on the bypassing IT, thats the #mobile disruption in full force
  • DadaBeatnik: Re: “disruption” read http://t.co/y0HrM3fcKH
  • eatraining: A1 Digital allows a far more effective entrepreneur and innovator environment, putting disruptive pressures on incumbents

Note an important point that’s perhaps easily missed (as some responders in fact do): that ‘disruption’ may include technology, or may be driven by technology – but that’s not always the case at all. Consider, for example, the huge disruption – on a literally global scale – caused by financial deregulation in the US in the 1980s and beyond: changes in law, not technology.

And, yes, as several people commented above, significant disruptions are becoming more common and more intense – a trend that most of us in EA would probably accept is only accelerating. As some might suggest, “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet…”: certainly the old stable-seeming business-models and seeming-guaranteed ‘sustainable competitive-advantage’ and the like would seem to be like pleasant fantasies from a fast-fading past…

Question 2: What is ‘digital disruption’?

  • theopengroup: Q2 Some interesting views on disruption, but what then, is #DigitalDisruption?
  • efeatherston: A2: disruption that is focused/based on technology issue, changes in technology, how things are done
  • enterprisearchs: A2 Disruptive business models that leverage digital capabilities to create, distribute or market their offerings
  • enterprisearchs: A2 Commonly applies #Cloud, #Mobile, #Social and or #BigData capabilities
  • efeatherston: A2: yes, #SMAC is the latest #digitaldisruption
  • TheWombatWho: A2 key with digital is not the medium it is the shift of power & control to the end user.  Digital enables it but its power shift
  • tetradian: A2: ‘digital’ used to mean technology, also to mean e.g. social/mobile (i.e. not solely technology) or more open business generally
  • enterprisearchs: A2 Many incumbents defend #digitaldisruption by moving to customer centric #BizModel
  • chrisjharding: A2 Disruption caused by digital technology – the main source of enterprise disruption today
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #digitaldisruption is seeing a convergence of business, technology and marketing disciplines
  • eatraining: A1&A2 Disruption not always digital but is it always technological? JEEP disruption on modern warfare
  • zslayton: @TheWombatWho Agreed…excellent point.  Shift towards user is key for #SMAC especially
  • Technodad: @TalmanAJ Agree – but digital disruption also invalidates existing business models.
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #Cloud enables ubiquitous access and effortless scalability
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #Mobile offers access anywhere, anytime and opens up previously untapped socioeconomic segments
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #Social accelerates viral uptake of demand and opinion, creating brand opportunities and threats
  • chrisjharding: @efeatherston They do what works for the business
  • TheWombatWho: A2 @enterprisearchs is it really marketing?  That discipline is going through fundamental change – hardly recognisable old vs new
  • David_A_OHara: @eatraining  real disruption now social rather than purely technical but enabled by seamless integration of tech in daily life
  • zslayton: @enterprisearchs #cloud = effortless scalability…a bit of an over-simplification but I do get your point.
  • efeatherston: @chrisjharding agree completely, just changes the paradigm for IT who are struggling to adapt
  • enterprisearchs: A2 #BigData enables ultra-personalisation of customer experience and powerful market insights
  • InfoRacer: A2 Digital Disruption also means avoiding blind alleys & the “me too” chase after some trends.  Eg #BigData isn’t necessarily…
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs its where work of Marshall McLuhan is worth a revisit.
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara @eatraining social disruption caused by tech-based social media
  • DadaBeatnik: Some of these answers sound like they come from one of those buzzword phrase generators!
  • InfoRacer: @DadaBeatnik Like Predictive big cloud master data governance ;-) Surely the next big thang!
  • David_A_OHara: @enterprisearchs easier to deploy mobile internet vs fixed in growing economies: demand from developing world is uncharted territory
  • eatraining: A2 Digital reduces barriers to entry and blurs category boundaries
  • efeatherston: @David_A_OHara @eatraining #socialmedia definitely having impact, how people interact with tech in personal now fully into business
  • zslayton: @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs Business models in developing world also uncharted.  New opportunities and challenges
  • David_A_OHara: @chrisjharding @eatraining yup, we have lived through a rapid (tech-enabled) social revolution almost without realising!
  • TheWombatWho: A2 its not the ‘technology’ it’s what ‘they do with it’ that changes everything.  Old IT paradigms are yet to adapt to this
  • Technodad: @David_A_OHara Agree – Near-ubiquitous global-scale communication channels changes balance between customer and enterprise.
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara @eatraining yes – and it’s not finished yet!
  • InfoRacer: @TheWombatWho Right, it’s not just the technology.  #BigData 3 Vs but without 4th V (value) then big data = little information
  • David_A_OHara: @TheWombatWho Bang on!  so there’s the real challenge for EA, right? Changing the traditional IT mindset…?
  • afigueiredo: A2 Development that transforms lives, businesses, causing impact to global economy

To me there are two quite different things going on, but which are often blurred together:

– ‘digital-disruption proper’ – disruptions within which existing and/or new digital-based technologies are explicitly the core drivers

– ‘disruption-with-digital’: ‘digital’ as a catch-all for sociotechnical changes in which digital-based technologies are, at most, an important yet never the sole enabler – in other words, where the social side of ‘sociotechnical’ is more central than the technology itself

In my experience and understanding, most of so-called ‘digital disruption’ is more correctly in the latter category, not the former. Hence, for example, my comment about the [UK] Government Digital Service: it’s actually far more about changes in the nature of government-services itself – in effect, a much more ‘customer-centric’ view of service – rather than a focus on ‘going digital’ for digital’s sake. This is not to say that the technology doesn’t matter – for example, I do understand and agree with Andrew McAfee’s complaint about critiques of his ‘Enterprise 2.0′ concept, that “it’s not not about the technology” – but again, it’s more sociotechnical, not merely technical as such, and that distinction is often extremely important.

Interestingly, most of the examples cited above as ‘digital-disruptions – the often-overhyped ‘cloud’ and ‘big-data’ and suchlike – are ultimately more sociotechnical issues than technical. By contrast, most of the themes I’d see as ‘digital-disruption proper’ – for example, the rapidly-expanding developments around ‘smart-materials’, ‘smart-cities’ and ‘the internet of things’ – don’t get a mention here at all. Odd…

 Question 3: What are good examples of disruptive business-models?

  • theopengroup: Q3 Bearing these points in mind, what are good examples of disruptive #Bizmodels? #EntArch
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @Airbnb: Disrupting the hotel industry with a #Cloud & #Social based model to open up lodging capacity for people seeking accom
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @Uber: leveraging #Cloud and #Mobile to release existing capacity in the personal transport industry http://t.co/31Xmj7LwQ6
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @99designs: Rethinking how we access good design through #Social, #Cloud and competitive #crowdsourcing
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @Groupon: re-architecting retail to provide #Social buying power, reducing cost per unit and increasing vendor volumes
  • eatraining: @zslayton Reverse innovation in developing countries producing disruption in developed nations
  • chrisjharding: A3: marketing using social media
  • TheWombatWho: @InfoRacer and combined with behavioural sciences & predictive analytics
  • efeatherston: A3: Netflix is a disruptive business model, they threw the whole cable/broadcast/rental industry on its ears
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @iTunesMusic: creating a #Cloud based platform to lock in customers and deliver #Digital content
  • eatraining: Reverse Innovation in Tech Startups: The Story of Capillary Technologies – @HarvardBiz http://t.co/Ud7UN7ZxzQ
  • TheWombatWho: @David_A_OHara not just mindset but also disciplines around portfolio & programme planning, aspects of project mgmt etc
  • enterprisearchs: A3 @facebook: Using #Social #Cloud #Mobile and #BigData to get you & 1 billion other people to generate their product: your updates
  • David_A_OHara: @enterprisearchs @Groupon Here’s retail disruption: why cant I just walk into store, scan stuff on my phone and walk out with it?
  • zslayton: @efeatherston Absolutely.  Discussed this in a recent blog posts:  http://t.co/zWzzAN4Fsn
  • Technodad: @David_A_OHara @TheWombatWho Don’t assume enterprises lead or control change. Many examples imposed externally, e.g. Music industry
  • eatraining: @efeatherston Agree – @netflix: Shifting the #ValueProposition to low-cost on demand video content from the #Cloud
  • tetradian: A3 (also A2): UK Government Digital Service (GDS) – is ‘digital’, but change of business-service/paradigm is even more important
  • mjcavaretta: Value from #BigData primarily from…  RT @TheWombatWho: @InfoRacer behavioural sciences & #predictive #analytics
  • zslayton: @Technodad @David_A_OHara @TheWombatWho Spot on.  External event triggers change.  Org treats as opportunity/threat. IT must adapt
  • InfoRacer: A3 Expedia, Travelocity etc … where are High st travel agents now?
  • enterprisearchs: A3 ING Direct: delivering a simple #ValueProposition of no-frills and trusted high returns for depositors
  • Technodad: @enterprisearchs Disagree. ITunes was the enterprise consolidation -original disruption was peer-to-peer delivery of ripped music.
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs @Groupon or plan a mixed bus/train journey on my ‘phone and download tickets to it?
  • eatraining: A3 DELL – game changing cost structures
  • TheWombatWho: @tetradian Great example.  UK Gov digital is fascinating.  Take that approach & apply it to competitive commercial enviro.
  • eatraining: A3 MOOC Platforms disrupting education? Scalability disruption
  • eatraining: A3 Nespresso – getting us to pay 8 times more for a cup of coffee.
  • tetradian: A3: many non-IT-oriented technologies – nanotechnology, micro-satellites, materials-science (water-filtration etc)
  • filiphdr: @chrisjharding @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs @Groupon bus/train combo: yes – download tickets: no
  • zslayton: @Technodad @enterprisearchs Maybe.  But now with Google, spotify etc, a new model has emerged.

Some good examples, but I’ll admit that I find it disappointing that almost all of them focus primarily on shunting data around in the ‘social/local/mobile’ space – yes, all of them valid, but a very narrow subset of the actual ‘digital-disruption’ that’s going on these days. (Near the end, there is a good example of the broader view: “Nespresso – getting us to pay 8 times more for a cup of coffee”.)

As enterprise-architects and business-architects, we really do need to break out of the seemingly-reflex assumptions of IT-centrism, and learn instead to look at the contexts from a much broader perspective. For example, a common illustration I use is that the key competition for Netflix is not some other streaming-video provider, but booksellers, bars and restaurants – other types of services entirely, but that compete for the same social/time-slots in potential-customers’ lives.

Question 4: What is the role of enterprise-architecture in driving and responding to disruption?

  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will identify which capabilities will be needed, and when, to enable disruptive strategies
  • efeatherston: A4: #entArch is key to surviving tech disruption, need the high level view/impact on the business
  • chrisjharding: A4: #EntArch must be business-led, not technology-led
  • InfoRacer: A4 #EntArch can play an orchestration, impact analysis and sanity check role
  • efeatherston: Agree 100%, its all about the impact to the business RT @chrisjharding: A4: #EntArch must be business-led, not technology-led
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will lead enterprise response to #disruption by plotting the execution path to winning strategies http://t.co/FdgqXOVKug
  • chrisjharding: A4: and #Entarch must be able to focus on business differentiation not common technology
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will lead enterprise response to #disruption by plotting the execution path to winning strategies http://t.co/FdgqXOVKug
  • afigueiredo: A4 #entarch should be flexible to accommodate/support #disruption caused by new advances and changes
  • TheWombatWho: A4 help clarify & stick to intent of business.  It is key in choosing the critical capabilities vs non essential capabilities
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will provide the strategic insights to identify what business changes are viable
  • chrisjharding: @InfoRacer or enable business users to orchestrate – give them the tools
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will provide the strategic infrastructure to bring cohesion to business change
  • TalmanAJ: A4: identify existing and needed business and IT capabilities and ensure agility to respond to disruption #entarch
  • efeatherston: a4: #entarch needs to work with business to determine how to leverage/use/survive  #disruption to help the business processes
  • David_A_OHara: @enterprisearchs so you need very business-savvy and creative EAs (no longer a tech discipline but sustainable biz innovation role?)
  • InfoRacer: RT @enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will provide the strategic insights to identify what business changes are viable
  • TheWombatWho: A4 have to travel light so linking intent to critical capability is essential if Biz is to remain flexible & adaptable
  • zslayton: A4 #EntArch must steer the IT ship to adapt in the new world.  steady hand on the tiller!
  • TheWombatWho: A4 have to travel light so linking intent to critical capability is essential if Biz is to remain flexible & adaptable
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs agree
  • chrisjharding: @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs Yup!
  • efeatherston: @David_A_OHara @enterprisearchs Agree, EA’S need both business and tech, act as the bridge for the business to help them respond
  • enterprisearchs: A4 #EntArch will assist in managing lifecycles at the #BizModel, market model, product & service and operating model levels
  • zslayton: @chrisjharding Absolutely.  Focus on commoditized tech will lead to lagging IT.  Focus on differentiators is key.
  • eatraining: A4 Business design and architecture will facilitate a more structured approach to business prototyping
  • tetradian: A4: identifying/describing the overall shared-enterprise space (tech + human); also lean-startup style ‘jobs to be done’ etc
  • Technodad: @TheWombatWho yes, but a tough job- how would #entarch have advised Tower Records in face of digital music disruption, loss of ROE?
  • David_A_OHara: @Technodad @TheWombatWho good challenge: same question can be posed re: Game and HMV in the UK…
  • eatraining: A4 Business model prototyping is the conversation we have with our ideas – @tomwujec
  • tetradian: @eatraining re business-prototyping – yes, strong agree
  • tetradian: A4 for ‘digital disruption’, crucial that #entarch covers a much broader space than just IT – pref. out to entire shared-enterprise
  • enterprisearchs: @tetradian agree – the boundaries of the enterprise are defined by the value discipline orientation, not by the balance sheet

In contradiction to what I said just above, that too-common predominance of IT-centrism in current EA is not so much in evidence here. It’s a pleasant contrast, but it doesn’t last…

Question 5: Why is enterprise-architecture well placed to respond to disruption?

  • theopengroup: Q5 And on a similar note, what is the role of #EntArch in driving and responding to #disruption?
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch has a unique appreciation of existing and required business capabilities to execute strategy
  • enterprisearchs: A5 Speed to change is now a competitive advantage. #EntArch can map the shortest path to deliver business outcomes
  • filiphdr: A5 Keep short term decisions in line w/ long term vision
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch provides the tools to better manage investment lifecycles, helping to time capability deployment and divestment
  • InfoRacer: A5 Advising, giving informed analysis, recommendations & impact so the Business officers can make decision with their eyes open!
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch is the only discipline that stitches strategic and business management disciplines together in a coherent manner
  • enterprisearchs: A5 Speed of response requires a clear mandate and execution plan. #EntArch will deliver this
  • zslayton: @enterprisearchs Agreed.  Toss in leadership and we may have something!
  • TheWombatWho: @Technodad key is “why was tower special?”  Advice, passion & knowledge…..still relevant?  Not the music – was the knowledge.
  • efeatherston: @enterprisearchs well said #entarch
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch provides vital information about which capabilities currently exist and which need to be acquired or built
  • chrisjharding: A5: Set principles and standards to give consistent use of disruptive technologies in enterprise
  • eatraining: @Technodad @TheWombatWho A few cycles of business model prototyping might have revealed a an opportunity to respond better
  • zslayton: @Technodad @TheWombatWho Netflix again a good example.  Cannibalized their soon to be dying biz to innovate in new biz.
  • TalmanAJ: A5: #entarch should be the tool to drive/respond to disruptions in a controlled manner
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #ArchitectureThinking provides a robust approach to optimise change initiatives and accelerate delivery
  • David_A_OHara: @Technodad @TheWombatWho consider future of games consoles i.e. there will be NO consoles: smart TV will access all digital content
  • TheWombatWho: @David_A_OHara @Technodad HMV interesting – wasn’t  retail store a response to original disruption?
  • chrisjharding: A5: and ensure solutions comply with legal constraints and enterprise obligations
  • zslayton: @David_A_OHara @Technodad @TheWombatWho SmartTV is just a big ole, vertical tablet. #mobile
  • TheWombatWho: @zslayton @David_A_OHara @Technodad and value opportunity is how to keep finger prints off the screen!!!!
  • TheWombatWho: @David_A_OHara @Technodad so accessing content is not where value is?  Where is the value in that arena?
  • enterprisearchs: A5 #EntArch offers insight into which technology capabilities can be strategically applied
  • eatraining: A5 #EntArch can offer an extended value proposition not just into capability mixes but product and market mixes as well
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs @Technodad yes, yes, yes and yes.  I agree
  • Technodad: @zslayton Exactly. Decision to dump physical & go all-in on digital delivery & content was key. Wonder if #entarch led change?
  • David_A_OHara: @TheWombatWho @Technodad not much if U R console manuf!  Content IS the value, right? Smart TV democratises access to content
  • mjcavaretta: Value from #BigData primarily from…  RT @TheWombatWho: @InfoRacer behavioural sciences & #predictive #analytics
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs @Technodad getting Biz to talk through canvas & over-laying their discussions with IT choices is essential
  • zslayton: @Technodad I’m guessing product but #entarch had to rapidly adapt IT enviro to enable the product e.g. respond to the disruption
  • efeatherston: @zslayton @Technodad  Netflix seems to thrive on disruption, look at their testing model, chaos monkey , hope #entarch is involved

In a sense, the same as for Question 4: the too-usual IT-centrism is not so much in apparent evidence. Yet actually it is: I don’t think there’s a single example that moves more than half a step outside of some form of IT. Where are the references to EA for smart-materials, smart-sensors, nanotechnologies, changes in law, custom, even religion? – they’re conspicuous only by their absence. Again, we need to stop using IT as ‘the centre of everything’, because it really isn’t in the real-world: instead, we need to rethink our entire approach to architecture, shifting towards a more realistic awareness that “everything and nothing is ‘the centre’ of the architecture, all at the same time”.

Question 6: Who are the key stakeholders enterprise-architecture needs to engage when developing a disruption strategy?

  • theopengroup: Q6 So who are the key stakeholders #EntArch needs to engage when developing a #Disruption strategy?
  • filiphdr: A6 Customers
  • enterprisearchs: A6 #Disruption is the concern of the entire executive team and the board of directors – this is where #EntArch should be aiming
  • TalmanAJ: A6: Business leaders first, IT leaders second
  • chrisjharding: A6: CIOs
  • InfoRacer: A6 Customers, Shareholders, Investors, Partners
  • enterprisearchs: A6 Clearly the CEO is the key stakeholder for #EntArch to reach when contemplating new #BizModels
  • eatraining: A6 Welcome the arrival of the CDO. The chief digital officer. Is this the new sponsor for EA?
  • efeatherston: A6: As has been said, the C-level (not just CIO), as the focus must always be the business drivers, and what impact that has
  • zslayton: @Technodad emphasizing partnership and alignment between Tech #entarch and Biz entarch.
  • eatraining: A6 The Customer!!??
  • Technodad: @mjcavaretta Do you think replacement of knowledge workers by machine learning is next big disruption?
  • InfoRacer: @eatraining Hmm Chief Data Officer, because lets be honest the CIO mostly isn’t a Chief INFORMATION Officer anymore
  • TheWombatWho: A6 starts with biz, increasingly should include customers & suppliers & then IT
  • tetradian: A6: _all_ stakeholder-groups – that’s the whole point! (don’t centre it around any single stakeholder – all are ‘equal citizens’)
  • TheWombatWho: @tetradian A6 agree with Tom.  My bent is Biz 1st but you mine intel from all – whenever opportunity arrives.  Continual engagement

I’ll say straight off that I was shocked at most of the above: a sad mixture of IT-centrism and/or organisation-centrism, with only occasional indications – such as can be seen in Craig Martin’s plea of “The Customer!!??” – of much of a wider awareness. What we perhaps need to hammer home to the entire EA/BA ‘trade’ is that whilst we create an architecture for an organisation, it must be about the ‘enterprise’ or ecosystem within which that organisation operates. Crucial to this is the awareness that the enterprise is much larger than the organisation, and hence we’d usually be wise to start ‘outside-in‘ or even ‘outside-out’, rather than the literally self-centric ‘inside-in’ or ‘inside-out’.

Question 7: What current gaps in enterprise-architecture must be filled to effectively lead disruption strategy?

  • theopengroup: Q7, last one guys! What current gaps in #EntArch must be filled to effectively lead #Disruption strategy?
  • enterprisearchs: #EntArch should engage the biz to look at what sustaining & disruptive innovations are viable with the existing enterprise platform
  • zslayton: @efeatherston @Technodad Proactive disruption!  Technical tools to enable and anticipate change.  Great example.
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArch needs to move beyond an IT mandate
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArch needs to be recognised as a key guide in strategic business planning
  • InfoRacer: A7 Engage with biz.  Get away from tech.  Treat Information as real asset, get CDO role
  • eatraining: A7 The #EntArch mandate needs to move out of the IT space
  • chrisjharding: A7: #EntArch needs a new platform to deploy disruptive technologies – Open Platform 3.0
  • zslayton: A7 #entarch involvement during the idea stage of biz, not just the implementation.  True knight at the round table.
  • TheWombatWho: @enterprisearchs @Technodad its one of my best friends.  Evan the discipline of thought process sans formality of canvas
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to improve their business engagement skills and vocabulary
  • zslayton: @eatraining Agreed!  Balance Biz #entarch with Tech #entarch.
  • efeatherston: A7: #entarch MUST be part of the business planning process, they are the connecting tissue between business drivers and IT
  • David_A_OHara: @theopengroup creative business modelling inc. hypothetical models, not simple IT response to mid term view based on today’s probs
  • TalmanAJ: A7: #entArch needs to move from its IT and technical focus to more business strategy focus
  • eatraining: @efeatherston Agreed
  • efeatherston: A7: #entarch  needs to get business to understand, they are not just the tech guys
  • eatraining: A7 There is room to expand into the products and services space as well as market model space
  • InfoRacer: A7 Common vocabulary eg by exploiting Conceptual model; Information is the lingua franca
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to be more business-outcome oriented
  • chrisjharding: A7: Open Platform 3.0 #ogP3 will let architects worry about the business, not the technology
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to be recruited from business domains and taught robust architecture practises
  • Technodad: A7 #EntArch can’t lose role of tracking/anticipating tech change, or business will be blindsided by next disruption.
  • filiphdr: @efeatherston Very true, and that’s a skills & communication challenge
  • eatraining: A7 Architects must focus more on becoming super mixers than on architecture utility development
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to be experts in the application of #Cloud, #Mobile, #Social, #BigData and #Digital strategy
  • zslayton: @enterprisearchs Agreed.  We tend to have to push process more than models.  That is often the “ah ha”.  #entarch
  • eatraining: A7 Architecture must focus on actual change in helping design solutions that shift and change behavior as well
  • tetradian: A7: kill off the obsession with IT!!! :-) #entarch needs to cover the whole scope, not the trivial subset that is ‘digital’ alone…
  • enterprisearchs: @tetradian Disagree – Digital is a huge accelerant to #Disruption and #EntArchs in the near term need to have a v strong grip
  • tetradian: RT @enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArch needs to move beyond an IT mandate -> yes yes yes!!!
  • TalmanAJ: @tetradian Yes. Technology is just one aspect of the enterprise. Processes, strategies and people etc. are too.
  • scmunk: @tetradian this shows non-IT importance of #EntArch, also a pipeline for changes http://t.co/O4Cm4D5G7q
  • enterprisearchs: A7 #EntArchs need to be able to clearly articulate business context and motivation http://t.co/Sf4Ci8Ob7P
  • eatraining: @TheWombatWho Roadmap and plans implemented don’t show the true value because stakeholders shift back to old behavior habits.
  • TheWombatWho: A7 need to be evangelist for the ‘value’ in the Biz model not the hierarchy or structure or status quo
  • TheWombatWho: @eatraining agree.  Roadmap is point in time.  Need to establish principles, & links across value chain rather than structural links
  • DadaBeatnik: Never did understand the obsession with IT in #Entarch. Why is this? Not all biz IT-centric. Because of tools/language?
  • TheWombatWho: @DadaBeatnik accident of history?
  • TalmanAJ: @DadaBeatnik Could be historical. Origins of EA are in IT, EA function usually is in IT and EA people usually have IT background.

At least here we did see more awareness of the need to break out of the IT-centric box: it’s just that so many of the responses to the previous questions indicated that much of EA is still very much stuck there. Oh well. But, yeah, good signs that some moves are solidly underway now, at least.

One point I do need to pick up on from the tweets above. Yes, I’ll admit I somewhat dropped back to my usual rant – “kill off the obsession with IT!!! :-) ” – but please, please note that I do still very much include all forms of IT within the enterprise-architecture. I’m not objecting to IT at all: all that I’m saying is that we should not reflexively elevate IT above everything else. In other words, we need to start from an awareness – a strictly conventional, mainstream systemic-awareness – that in a viable ‘architecture of the enterprise, everything in that ‘ecosystem-as-system’ is necessary to that system, and hence necessarily an ‘equal citizen’ with everything else. Hence I do understand where Hugh Evans (@enterprisearchs) is coming from, in his riposte of “Disagree – Digital is a huge accelerant to #Disruption and #EntArchs in the near term need to have a v strong grip”: in a sense, he’s absolutely right. But the danger – and I’m sorry, but it is a huge danger – is that there’s still such as strong pull towards IT-centrism in current EA that we do need to be explicit in mitigating against it at just every step of the way. Yes, “digital is a huge accelerant to disruption”, and yes, we do need to be aware of the potential affordances offered by each new technology, yet we must always to start from the overall potential-disruption opportunity/risk first – and not from the technology.

Wrap-up

(This consisted of various people saying ‘thank you’, and ‘goodbye’, which is nice and socially-important and suchlike, yet not particularly central to the content of the TweetJam itself: I’ve dropped them from the record here, but you can chase them up on Twitter if you really need them. However, there were a couple of tweets pointing to further resources that might be helpful to some folks, so I’ll finish here with those.)

  • enterprisearchs: Look out for our upcoming webinar: http://t.co/lWvJ630BVJ ‘Leading Business Disruption Strategy with #EntArch’ Oct 10
  • dianedanamac: Thanks for joining! Continue the conversation at #ogLON, The Open Group London event Oct. 21-24

That’s it. Hope that’s been useful, anyways: over to you?

GravesTom_sq Tom Graves has been an independent consultant for more than three decades, in business transformation, enterprise architecture and knowledge management. His clients in Europe, Australasia and the Americas cover a broad range of industries including banking, utilities, manufacturing, logistics, engineering, media, telecoms, research, defence and government. He has a special interest in architecture for non-IT-centric enterprises, and integration between IT-based and non-IT-based services.

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Future Technologies

By Dave Lounsbury, The Open Group

The Open Group is looking toward the future – what will happen in the next five to ten years?

Those who know us think of The Open Group as being all about consensus, creating standards that are useful to the buy and supply side by creating a stable representation of industry experience – and they would be right. But in order to form this consensus, we must keep an eye on the horizon to see if there are areas that we should be talking about now. The Open Group needs to keep eyes on the future in order to keep pace with businesses looking to gain business advantage by incorporating emerging technologies. According to the McKinsey Global institute[1], “leaders need to plan for a range of scenarios, abandoning assumptions about where competition and risk could come from and not to be afraid to look beyond long-established models.”

To make sure we have this perspective, The Open Group has started a series of Future Technologies workshops. We initiated this at The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia with the goal of identifying emerging business and technical trends that change the shape of enterprise IT.  What are the potential disruptors? How should we be preparing?

As always at The Open Group, we look to our membership to guide us. We assembled a fantastic panel of experts on the topic who offered up insights into the future:

  • Dr. William Lafontaine, VP High Performance Computing, Analytics & Cognitive Markets at IBM Research: Global technology Outlook 2013.
  • Mike Walker, Strategy and Enterprise Architecture Advisor at HP: An Enterprise Architecture’s Journey to 2020.

If you were not able to join us in Philadelphia, you can view the Livestream session on-demand.

Dr. William Lafontaine shared aspects of the company’s Global Technology Outlook 2013, naming the top trends that the company is keeping top of mind, starting with a confluence of social, mobile analytics and cloud.

According to Lafontaine and his colleagues, businesses must prepare for not “mobile also” but “mobile first.” In fact, there will be companies that will exist in a mobile-only environment.

  • Growing scale/lower barrier of entry – More data created, but also more people able to create ways of taking advantage of this data, such as companies that excel at personal interface. Multimedia analytics will become a growing concern for businesses that will be receiving swells of information video and images.
  • Increasing complexity – the Confluence of Social, Mobile, Cloud and Big Data / Analytics will result in masses of data coming from newer, more “complex” places, such as scanners, mobile devices and other “Internet of Things”. Yet, these complex and varied streams of data are more consumable and will have an end-product which is more easily delivered to clients or user.  Smaller businesses are also moving closer toward enterprise complexity. For example, when you swipe your credit card, you will also be shown additional purchasing opportunities based on your past spending habits.  These can include alerts to nearby coffee shops that serve your favorite tea to local bookstores that sell mysteries or your favorite genre.
  •  Fast pace – According to Lafontaine, ideas will be coming to market faster than ever. He introduced the concept of the Minimum Buyable Product, which means take an idea (sometimes barely formed) to inventors to test its capabilities and to evaluate as quickly as possible. Processes that once took months or years can now take weeks. Lafontaine used the MOOC innovator Coursera as an example: Eighteen months ago, it had no clients and existed in zero countries. Now it’s serving over 4 million students around the world in over 29 countries. Deployment of open APIs will become a strategic tool for creation of value.
  • Contextual overload – Businesses have more data than they know what to do with: our likes and dislikes, how we like to engage with our mobile devices, our ages, our locations, along with traditional data of record. The next five years, businesses will be attempting to make sense of it.
  • Machine learning – Cognitive systems will form the “third era” of computing. We will see businesses using machines capable of complex reasoning and interaction to extend human cognition.  Examples are a “medical sieve” for medical imaging diagnosis, used by legal firms in suggesting defense / prosecution arguments and in next generation call centers.
  • IT shops need to be run as a business – Mike Walker spoke about how the business of IT is fundamentally changing and that end-consumers are driving corporate behaviors.  Expectations have changed and the bar has been raised.  The tolerance for failure is low and getting lower.  It is no longer acceptable to tell end-consumers that they will be receiving the latest product in a year.  Because customers want their products faster, EAs and businesses will have to react in creative ways.
  • Build a BRIC house: According to Forrester, $2.1 trillion will be spent on IT in 2013 with “apps and the US leading the charge.” Walker emphasized the importance of building information systems, products and services that support the BRIC areas of the world (Brazil, Russia, India and China) since they comprise nearly a third of the global GDP. Hewlett-Packard is banking big on “The New Style of IT”: Cloud, risk management and security and information management.  This is the future of business and IT, says Meg Whitman, CEO and president of HP. All of the company’s products and services presently pivot around these three concepts.
  • IT is the business: Gartner found that 67% of all EA organizations are either starting (39%), restarting (7%) or renewing (21%). There’s a shift from legacy EA, with 80% of organizations focused on how they can leverage EA to either align business and IT standards (25%), deliver strategic business and IT value (39%) or enable major business transformation (16%).

Good as these views are, they only represent two data points on a line that The Open Group wants to draw out toward the end of the decade. So we will be continuing these Future Technologies sessions to gather additional views, with the next session being held at The Open Group London Conference in October.  Please join us there! We’d also like to get your input on this blog.  Please post your thoughts on:

  • Perspectives on what business and technology trends will impact IT and EA in the next 5-10 years
  • Points of potential disruption – what will change the way we do business?
  • What actions should we be taking now to prepare for this future?

[1] McKinsey Global Institute, Disruptive technologies: Advances that will transform life, business, and the global economy. May 2013

Dave LounsburyDave Lounsbury is The Open Group‘s Chief Technology Officer, previously VP of Collaboration Services.  Dave holds three U.S. patents and is based in the U.S.

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The Open Group Philadelphia – Day Two Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications at The Open Group.

philly 2.jpgDay 2 at The Open Group conference in the City of Brotherly Love, as Philadelphia is also known, was another busy and remarkable day.

The plenary started with a fascinating presentation, “Managing the Health of the Nation” by David Nash, MD, MBA, Dean of Jefferson School of Population Health.  Healthcare is the number one industry in the city of Philadelphia, with the highest number of patients in beds in the top 10 US cities. The key theme of his thought-provoking speech was “boundaryless information sharing” (sound familiar?), which will enable a healthcare system that is “safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, equitable, efficient”.

Following Dr. Nash’s presentation was the Healthcare Transformation Panel moderated by Allen Brown, CEO of The Open Group.  Participants were:  Gina Uppal (Fulbright-Killam Fellow, American University Program), Mike Lambert (Open Group Fellow, Architecting the Enterprise), Rosemary Kennedy (Associate Professor, Thomas Jefferson University), Blaine Warkentine, MD, MPH and Fran Charney (Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority). The group brought different sets of experiences within the healthcare system and provided reaction to Dr. Nash’s speech.  All agree on the need for fundamental change and that technology will be key.

The conference featured a spotlight on The Open Group’s newest forum, Open Platform 3.0™ by Dr. Chris Harding, Director of Interoperability.  Open Platform 3.0 was formed to advance The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™ to help enterprises in the use of Cloud, Social, Mobile Computing and Big Data.  For more info; http://www.opengroup.org/getinvolved/forums/platform3.0

The Open Group flourishes because of people interaction and collaboration.  The accolades continued with several members being recognized for their outstanding contributions to The Open Group Trusted Technology Forum (OTTF) and the Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) and Cloud Computing Work Groups.  To learn more about our Forums and Work Groups and how to get involved, please visit http://www.opengroup.org/getinvolved

Presentations and workshops were also held in the Healthcare, Finance and Government vertical industries. Presenters included Larry Schmidt (Chief Technologist, HP), Rajamanicka Ponmudi (IT Architect, IBM) and Robert Weisman (CEO, Build the Vision, Inc.).

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The Open Group Philadelphia – Day One Highlights

By Loren K.  Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications at The Open Group.

PhillyOn Monday, July 15th, we kicked off our conference in Philadelphia. As Allen Brown, CEO of The Open Group, commented in his opening remarks, Philadelphia is the birthplace of American democracy.  This is the first time The Open Group has hosted a conference in this historical city.

Today’s plenary sessions featured keynote speakers covering topics ranging from an announcement of a new Open Group standard, appointment of a new Fellow, Enterprise Architecture and Transformation, Big Data and spotlights on The Open Group forums, Real-time Embedded Systems and Open Trusted Technology, as well as a new initiative on Healthcare.

Allen Brown noted that The Open Group has 432 member organizations with headquarters in 32 countries and over 40,000 individual members in 126 countries.

The Open Group Vision is Boundaryless Information Flow™ achieved through global interoperability in a secure, reliable and timely manner.  But as stated by Allen, “Boundaryless does not mean there are no boundaries.  It means that boundaries are permeable to enable business”

Allen also presented an overview of the new “Dependability Through Assuredness™ Standard.  The Open Group Real-time Embedded Systems Forum is the home of this standard. More news to come!

Allen introduced Dr. Mario Tokoro, (CEO of Sony Computer Systems Laboratories) who began this project in 2006. Dr. Tokoro stated, “Thank you from the bottom of my heart for understanding the need for this standard.”

Eric Sweden, MSIH MBA, Program Director, Enterprise Architecture & Governance\National Association of State CIOs (NASCIO) offered a presentation entitled “State of the States – NASCIO on Enterprise Architecture: An Emphasis on Cross-Jurisdictional Collaboration across States”.  Eric noted “Enterprise Architecture is a blueprint for better government.” Furthermore, “Cybersecurity is a top priority for government”.

Dr. Michael Cavaretta, Technical Lead and Data Scientist with Ford Motor Company discussed “The Impact of Big Data on the Enterprise”.  The five keys, according to Dr. Cavaretta, are “perform, analyze, assess, track and monitor”.  Please see the following transcript from a Big Data analytics podcast, hosted by The Open Group, Dr. Cavaretta participated in earlier this year. http://blog.opengroup.org/2013/01/28/the-open-group-conference-plenary-speaker-sees-big-data-analytics-as-a-way-to-bolster-quality-manufacturing-and-business-processes/

The final presentation during Monday morning’s plenary was “Enabling Transformation Through Architecture” by Lori Summers (Director of Technology) and Amit Mayabhate (Business Architect Manager) with Fannie Mae Multifamily.

Lori stated that their organization had adopted Business Architecture and today they have an integrated team who will complete the transformation, realize value delivery and achieve their goals.

Amit noted “Traceability from the business to architecture principles was key to our design.”

In addition to the many interesting and engaging presentations, several awards were presented.  Joe Bergmann, Director, Real-time and Embedded Systems Forum, The Open Group, was appointed Fellow by Allen Brown in recognition of Joe’s major achievements over the past 20+ years with The Open Group.

Other special recognition recipients include members from Oracle, IBM, HP and Red Hat.

In addition to the plenary session, we hosted meetings on Finance, Government and Healthcare industry verticals. Today is only Day One of The Open Group conference in Philadelphia. Please stay tuned for more exciting conference highlights over the next couple days.

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NASCIO Defines State of Enterprise Architecture at The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

I have attended and blogged about many Open Group conferences. The keynotes at these conferences like other conferences provide valuable insight into the key messages and the underlying theme for the conference – which is Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Transformation for The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia. Therefore, it is no surprise that Eric Sweden, Program Director, Enterprise Architecture & Governance, NASCIO will be delivering one of the keynotes on “State of the States: NASCIO on Enterprise Architecture”. Sweden asserts “Enterprise Architecture” provides an operating discipline for creating, operating, continual re-evaluation and transformation of an “Enterprise.” Not only do I agree with this assertion, but I would add that the proper creation, operation and continuous evaluation of the “Enterprise” systemically drives its transformation. Let’s see how.

Creation. This phase involves the definition of the Enterprise Architecture (EA) in the first place. Most often, this involves the definition of an architecture that factors in what is in place today while taking into account the future direction. TOGAF® (The Open Group Architecture Framework) provides a framework for developing this architecture from a business, application, data, infrastructure and technology standpoint; in alignment with the overall Architecture Vision with associated architectural governance.

Operation. EA is not a done deal once it has been defined. It is vital that the EA defined is sustained on a consistent basis with the advent of new projects, new initiatives, new technologies, and new paradigms. As the abstract states, EA is a comprehensive business discipline that drives business and IT investments. In addition to driving investments, the operation phase also includes making the requisite changes to the EA as a result of these investments.

Continuous Evaluation. We live in a landscape of continuous change with innovative solutions and technologies constantly emerging. Moreover, the business objectives of the enterprise are constantly impacted by market dynamics, mergers and acquisitions. Therefore, the EA defined and in operation must be continuously evaluated against the architectural principles, while exercising architectural governance across the enterprise.

Transformation. EA is an operating discipline for the transformation of an enterprise. Enterprise Transformation is not a destination — it is a journey that needs to be managed — as characterized by Twentieth Century Fox CIO, John Herbert. To Forrester Analyst Phil Murphy, Transformation is like the Little Engine That Could — focusing on the business functions that matter. (Big Data – highlighted in another keynote at this conference by Michael Cavaretta — is a paradigm gaining a lot of ground for enterprises to stay competitive in the future.)

Global organizations are enterprises of enterprises, undergoing transformation faced with the challenges of systemic architectural governance. NASCIO has valuable insight into the challenges faced by the 50 “enterprises” represented by each of the United States. Challenges that contrast the need for healthy co-existence of these states with the desire to retain a degree of autonomy. Therefore, I look forward to this keynote to see how EA done right can drive the transformation of the Enterprise.

By the way, remember when Enterprise Architecture was done wrong close to the venue of another Open Group conference?

How does Enterprise Architecture drive the transformation of your enterprise? Please let me know.

A version of this blog post originally appeared on the HP Journey through Enterprise IT Services Blog.

HP Distinguished Technologist and Cloud Advisor, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. 

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Driving Boundaryless Information Flow in Healthcare

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

I look forward with great interest to the upcoming Open Group conference on EA & Enterprise Transformation in Finance, Government & Healthcare in Philadelphia in July 2013. In particular, I am interested in the sessions planned on topics related to the Healthcare Industry. This industry is riddled with several challenges of uncontrolled medical costs, legislative pressures, increased plan participation, and improved longevity of individuals. Come to think of it, these challenges are not that different from those faced when defining a comprehensive enterprise architecture. Therefore, can the fundamental principles of Enterprise Architecture be applied towards the resolution of these challenges in the Healthcare industry? The Open Group certainly thinks so.

Enterprise Architecture is a discipline, methodology, and practice for translating business vision and strategy into the fundamental structures and dynamics of an enterprise at various levels of abstraction. As defined by TOGAF®, enterprise architecture needs to be developed through multiple phases. These include Business Architecture, Applications, Information, and Technology Architecture. All this must be in alignment with the overall vision. The TOGAF Architecture Development Method enables a systematic approach to addressing these challenges while simplifying the problem domain.

This approach to the development of Enterprise Architecture can be applied towards the complex problem domain that manifests itself in Healthcare. Thus, it is no surprise that The Open Group is sponsoring the Population Health Working Group, which has a vision to enable “boundary-less information flow” between the stakeholders that participate in healthcare delivery. Checkout the presentation delivered by Larry Schmidt, Chief Technologist, Health and Life Sciences Industries, HP, US at the Open Group conference in Philadelphia.

As a Platinum member of The Open Group, HP has co-chaired the release of multiple standards, including the first technical cloud standard. The Open Group is also leading the definition of the Cloud Governance Framework. Having co-chaired these projects, I look forward to the launch of the Population Health Working Group with great interest.

Given the role of information in today’s landscape, “boundary-less information flow” between the stakeholders that participate in healthcare delivery is vital. At the same time, how about injecting a healthy dose of innovation given that enterprise Architects are best positioned for innovation – a post triggered by Forrester Analyst Brian Hopkins’s thoughts on this topic. The Open Group — with its multifaceted representation from a wide array of enterprises — provides incredible opportunities for innovation in the context of the complex landscape of the healthcare industry. Take a look at the steps taken by HP Labs to innovate and improve patient care one day at a time.

I would strongly encourage you to attend Schmidt’s session, as well as the Healthcare Transformation Panel moderated by Open Group CEO, Allen Brown at this conference.

How about you? What are some of the challenges that you are facing within the Healthcare industry today? Have you applied Enterprise Architecture development methods to problem domains in other industries? Please let me know.

Connect with Nadhan on: Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and Journey Blog.

A version of this blog post originally appeared on the HP Enterprise Services Blog.

HP Distinguished Technologist and Cloud Advisor, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. 

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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.

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