Tag Archives: Enterprise Transformation

Different Words Mean Different Things, Part 1

By Leonard Fehskens, The Open Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s enough by way of preamble.

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

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

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

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

Enterprise

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

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

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

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

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

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

Business

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

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

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

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

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

“The business of my business is business.”

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

Organization

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

Corporation

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

Observations

Based on these definitions, one can make some observations.

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

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

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

Not all organizations are corporations.

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

These relationships are depicted below.

 Len diagram

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

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

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Challenges to Building a Global Identity Ecosystem

By Jim Hietala and Ian Dobson, The Open Group

In our five identity videos from the Jericho Forum, a forum of The Open Group:

  • Video #1 explained the “Identity First Principles” – about people (or any entity) having a core identity and how we all operate with a number of personas.
  • Video #2 “Operating with Personas” explained how we use a digital core identifier to create digital personas –as many as we like – to mirror the way we use personas in our daily lives.
  • Video #3 described how “Trust and Privacy interact to provide a trusted privacy-enhanced identity ecosystem.
  • Video #4 “Entities and Entitlement” explained why identity is not just about people – we must include all entities that we want to identify in our digital world, and how “entitlement” rules control access to resources.

In this fifth video – Building a Global Identity Ecosystem – we highlight what we need to change and develop to build a viable identity ecosystem.

The Internet is global, so any identity ecosystem similarly must be capable of being adopted and implemented globally.

This means that establishing a trust ecosystem is essential to widespread adoption of an identity ecosystem. To achieve this, an identity ecosystem must demonstrate its architecture is sufficiently robust to scale to handle the many billions of entities that people all over the world will want, not only to be able to assert their identities and attributes, but also to handle the identities they will also want for all their other types of entities.

It also means that we need to develop an open implementation reference model, so that anyone in the world can develop and implement interoperable identity ecosystem identifiers, personas, and supporting services.

In addition, the trust ecosystem for asserting identities and attributes must be robust, to allow entities to make assertions that relying parties can be confident to consume and therefore use to make risk-based decisions. Agile roots of trust are vital if the identity ecosystem is to have the necessary levels of trust in entities, personas and attributes.

Key to the trust in this whole identity ecosystem is being able to immutably (enduringly and changelessly) link an entity to a digital Core Identifier, so that we can place full trust in knowing that only the person (or other type of entity) holding that Core Identifier can be the person (or other type of entity) it was created from, and no-one or thing can impersonate it. This immutable binding must be created in a form that guarantees the binding and include the interfaces necessary to connect with the digital world.  It should also be easy and cost-effective for all to use.

Of course, the cryptography and standards that this identity ecosystem depends on must be fully open, peer-reviewed and accepted, and freely available, so that all governments and interested parties can assure themselves, just as they can with AES encryption today, that it’s truly open and there are no barriers to implementation. The technologies needed around cryptography, one-way trusts, and zero-knowledge proofs, all exist today, and some of these are already implemented. They need to be gathered into a standard that will support the required model.

Adoption of an identity ecosystem requires a major mindset change in the thinking of relying parties – to receive, accept and use trusted identities and attributes from the identity ecosystem, rather than creating, collecting and verifying all this information for themselves. Being able to consume trusted identities and attributes will bring significant added value to relying parties, because the information will be up-to-date and from authoritative sources, all at significantly lower cost.

Now that you have followed these five Identity Key Concepts videos, we encourage you to use our Identity, Entitlement and Access (IdEA) commandments as the test to evaluate the effectiveness of all identity solutions – existing and proposed. The Open Group is also hosting an hour-long webinar that will preview all five videos and host an expert Q&A shortly afterward on Thursday, August 16.

Jim Hietala, CISSP, GSEC, is the Vice President, Security for The Open Group, where he manages all IT security and risk management programs and standards activities. He participates in the SANS Analyst/Expert program and has also published numerous articles on information security, risk management, and compliance topics in publications including The ISSA Journal, Bank Accounting & Finance, Risk Factor, SC Magazine, and others.

 

Ian Dobson is the director of the Security Forum and the Jericho Forum for The Open Group, coordinating and facilitating the members to achieve their goals in our challenging information security world.  In the Security Forum, his focus is on supporting development of open standards and guides on security architectures and management of risk and security, while in the Jericho Forum he works with members to anticipate the requirements for the security solutions we will need in future.

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Video Highlights of Day 2 at the Cannes Conference

By The Open Group Conference Team

How important is top-down buy-in when building a strategy for enterprise transformation? The Day 2 speakers of The Open Group Conference in Cannes address this question, and Peter Haviland, chief architect and head of business architecture within Ernst & Young’s Advisory Services practice, summarizes each of the plenary sessions, including:

  • “IT Capacity Build Up and Enterprise Architecture Enablement – Transformation at Ministry of Foreign Affairs” by Saeed Al Daheri, IT director of the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  • “World Class EA 2012: Putting Your Architecture Team In the Middle of Enterprise Transformation” by Peter Haviland, chief architect and head of business architecture advisory services at Ernst & Young, U.S.
  • “Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™): Transforming the DoD Avionics Software Industry Through the Use of Open Standards” by Kirk Avery, Lockheed Martin and Judy Cerenzia, The Open Group

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Cannes Conference Day 2: Proactively Engaging in the Transformation Process Paramount for Enterprise Architects

By The Open Group Conference Team

After the conference’s first night on the French Riviera, Day 2 of the Cannes Conference continued with the theme of transformation. The first plenary session led by Dr. Saeed Al Daheri, IT director of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), examined how one of the world’s emerging countries emphasized the alignment of IT and strategy.

MOFA wanted to increase performance by building up process, people and technology. Dr. Al Daheri was in charge of this project and decided to focus on three key initiatives: establishing EA, building IT capacity and running quick wins. MOFA wanted its Enterprise Architecture (EA) program to become central to the operation of IT and to have a mandate over all domains of the enterprise, including business strategy all the way down to business processes. EA provided the foundation to align IT and business, which was considered to be of paramount importance.

As with most major transformations within an organization, Dr. Al Daheri and his team faced several key challenges, which included leadership endorsement, recruitment and IT culture and the traditional view of IT. Through clear communication and education, the project received a top-down mandate that helped them receive buy-in from key stakeholders, which was essential for success. Regarding recruiting, the skills of an architect were hard to come by, especially one who speaks Arabic, so in order to succeed the IT department added 10 new positions to support this initiative and created a training program to develop the skill of existing staff. And finally through more proactive engagement with the rest of MOFA and by anticipating business needs and outlining clear roles and responsibilities, IT was able to work hand-in-hand with the business to achieve the ultimate goal of increased performance.

Through careful planning and proper implementation, MOFA was able to reduce vendor selection to 5 weeks, realize 26% cost savings and reduce project time by 17% – truly transformative results that were achieved through IT and business alignment.

A New Approach to EA: Less Thinking, More Doing

In the second plenary session, Peter Haviland, chief architect and head of business architecture within Ernst & Young‘s Advisory Services, along with two colleagues, Mick Adams and Garth Emrich, presented “World-Class EA 2012: Less Thinking, More Doing.” There’s a lot of talk of enterprise transformation, but how involved are enterprise architects in this process? Haviland started the presentation by asking the question, “How many architects are truly seeking out proactive opportunities?”

Haviland argued that EA is in prime position to help transform organizations through the improvement of the execution of strategy across business functions and the investment in process, tools, training and IT. But in order to do so, architects need to seek out opportunities to become a crucial part of enterprise transformation. Haviland listed out four questions that architects need to ask themselves to become more proactive.

  • What’s the context? Understanding the context of the situation is key to enabling enterprise transformation. EAs need to take a step back and look at the bigger picture, rather than purely focusing on building models. This will ensure alignment with the overall business strategy.
  • How do you flex your capability? Once you have completed your situational analysis, how can your skills translate into producing the desired results? Using your skills to help the enterprise achieve its goal of enterprise transformation will ultimately raise the visibility of EA within your organization.
  • What are the risks, opportunities and costs? E&Y recently completed a global survey that explored the top 10 risks that can be turned into opportunities, with the number one risk being regulation and compliance. It’s essential to understand the risks, opportunities and costs before embarking on enterprise transformation, for that is where the biggest gains can be realized.
  • If I’m an architect, what do I want to own? Assess the project and determine where your skill set will provide the biggest overall impact. This will allow you to provide the most value as an architect and set you up for success.

Being more proactive will help architects not only become a more integral part of your organization, but it will also establish EA as a key driver of enterprise transformation.

How to Create Value in the FACE™ of Shrinking Government Budgets

Improving performance while cutting costs – this is the mandate of most organizations these days, including governments. While budget cuts to the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) budget require them to scale back on new platforms and funding for military technology procurements, the need for civilian safety and military performance continues to be a top priority. But how can the DoD do more with less?

Judy Cerenzia, The Open Group program director for the Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE) Consortium, and Kirk Avery, chief software architect for Lockheed Martin Mission Systems and Sensors, addressed this question during final plenary session of the day. This session examined how FACE was able to help the DoD and the avionics industry provide complex mission capability faster in an environment of shrinking budgets.

In order to achieve this goal, FACE saw the need to transform the operating environment by developing a common operating environment (COE) to support applications across multiple DoD avionics systems – something that had never been done before. After reaching out to the DoD and other stakeholders including corporations that produce military components, FACE concluded that a successful COE would enable real time operating systems, stability, competition to prevent vendor lock-in, the ability to withstand extreme environmental conditions and a system life that spans many years.

With this in mind, FACE set out to develop a non-proprietary open environment that enabled a flexible software open systems architecture. The hard work of the consortium, which was established in June 2010, resulted in the creation of the FACE Business Guide and the recently released FACE Technical Standard. Both deliverables have helped the DoD and the avionics industry achieve their goal of providing complex mission capability faster with less budget and realize other benefits that include:

  • Reduction of time to field capabilities of new technologies
  • Interoperable software components within the environment
  • Portability of software components across an avionics platforms
  • Reduction of integration effort, schedule and cost
  • Enablement of truly open software components in existing and future avionics systems

Transformation within the government is quite an accomplishment, and FACE is looking to further develop common operating environments through continued collaboration between government and the avionics industry.

A Day 2 video recap by Peter Haviland will be published soon. To view the full list of conference sessions, please visit http://www3.opengroup.org/cannes2012

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Cannes Conference Day 1: Communication Key for Business Transformation, According to Open Group Speakers

By The Open Group Conference Team

Video recap by Dave Lounsbury, CTO of The Open Group

Much like the wind that blows through the Côte d’Azur, talk of business transformation swept through Cannes like a warm breeze yesterday as Day 1 of The Open Group Cannes Conference concluded. The underlying theme of the day was communication and shared languages – a common concept for all enterprise architects, but this time with a slight twist.

Innovator Dr. Alex Osterwalder presented the first session of the day entitled “Business Models, IT and Enterprise Transformation,” which discussed concepts from his well-known book “Business Model Generation.” As Dr. Osterwalder explained, often times there’s a language gap between IT and strategy when it comes to business models, which is why long meetings are largely unproductive.

Dr. Alex Osterwalder explaining the business model canvas

Dr. Osterwalder stressed the importance of simplicity in models, meaning that business models should be created in such a way that anyone in the company can understand them upon first glance. This is the basis for a concept Osterwalder calls the business model canvas, a literal illustration of an organization’s business model using the following key assets – key partners, key activities, key resources, value propositions, customer relationship, channels, customer segments, cost structure and revenue streams.

The audience was then encouraged to work in pairs and use the business model canvas to break down the business model of one participant. Each group had eight minutes to map out the nine components on a large sheet of paper representing the business model canvas using post-its. The audience enjoyed this exercise, which demonstrated that creating a business model does not have to be a laborious process, and that simple is often times best.

Dr. Osterwalder went on to discuss real-life examples such as Apple’s iPod and Nestle Nespresso, dissecting each company’s business model utilizing the business model canvas to learn why both endeavors were so successful. Apple was disruptive because as Steve Jobs said when the first iPod was released, “It’s a thousand songs in your pocket.” The iPod created a dependency on the product and the iTunes service, and one of the unknown factors of the customer relationships was that iTunes made it so easy to upload and manage your music that the barrier to transfer services was too high for most consumers. Nespresso’s business model was built on the creation of the single drink aluminum cans, the product’s key resource, which are only made by Nespresso.

Companies of all sizes have used the business model canvas to adjust their business models, including Fortune 500 companies and government organizations, and Dr. Osterwalder thought that enterprise architects can act as a bridge between strategy and IT facilitating communication between all facets of the business and overseeing the management of business models.

BNP Paribas saves 1.5B Euro through Careful Business Transformation

In the next plenary session, Eric Boulay, CEO of Arismore, and Hervé Gouezel, Advisor to the CEO of BNP Paribas, looked at how enterprise architects can do a better job of presenting CEOs with Enterprise Architecture’s value proposition. Conversely, Boulay stated that the CEOs also need to outline what expectations need to be met by enterprise architects in order to enable business transformation via enterprise architects.

Boulay argued that a director of transformation is now needed within organizations to manage and develop transformation capability. The results of Enterprise Architecture must be merchandised at the C-level in order to communicate business value, and the director of transformation would be enable architects to continue to invent through this new role.

In the same session, Hervé Gouezel discussed the 2009 merger of BNP Paribas and Fortis Bank and the strategy that went into creating a somewhat seamless transition. The original plan had three phases: phase 1 – take six days to pick new management and six weeks to define taskforces, workgroup organizations and stabilization measures; phase 2 – take six months to plan and synergize; and phase 3 – implement projects and programs over a three year period.

Needless to say, this was a huge undertaking, and the goal of the three-phase process was to save the company 500 million Euros. With careful planning and implementation and by following the three-phased approach, BNP Paribas saved over 1.5 billion Euros – three times the targeted amount! This goes to show that careful planning and implementation can lead to true business transformation.

The Semantics of Enterprise Architecture

Len Fehskens, VP of skills and capabilities at The Open Group, presented the final plenary of the day. Fehskens revisited Enterprise Architecture’s most basic, yet seemingly impossible question: How do you define Enterprise Architecture?

Bewildered by the fact that so many different opinions exist around a discipline that nominally has one name, Fehskens went on to discuss the danger of assumptions and the fact that assumptions are rarely made explicit. He also exposed the biggest assumption of all: We’re all sharing the same assumptions about Enterprise Architecture (EA).

Fehskens urged architects to remain open-minded and be aware of the differing perspectives regarding what EA is. The definition of Enterprise Architecture at this point encompasses a variety of opinions, and even if your definition is “correct,” it’s necessary for architects to understand that logical arguments do not change strongly held beliefs. Fehskens ended the session by presenting the teachings St. Augustine, “Let us, on both sides, lay aside all arrogance. Let us not, on either side, claim that we have already discovered the truth. Let us seek it together as something which is known to neither of us. For then only may we seek it, lovingly and tranquilly, if there be no bold presumption that it is already discovered and possessed.”

In other words, Fehskens said, before Enterprise Architecture can move forward as a discipline and fulfill its potential within the enterprise, architects must first learn to agree to disagree regarding the definition of EA. Communication must first be established before true business transformation (and the value of EA) can be realized.

Day 2 of the conference looks to be equally exciting, continuing the theme of enterprise transformation. To view the sessions for the remainder of the conference, please visit: http://www3.opengroup.org/cannes2012

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Enterprise Transformation Takes the French Riviera

By The Open Group Conference Team

The Open Group Conference in Cannes, France is just around the corner. Taking place April 23-27, the conference will bring together leading minds in technology to discuss the process of Enterprise Transformation, and the role of Enterprise Architecture (EA) and IT in Enterprise Transformation.

The French Riviera is a true playground for the rich and famous. As the location of the next Open Group Conference, (not to mention the next Open Cannes Awards) it seems only fitting that we not only have an incredible venue for the event, the JW Marriott Cannes, but have our own star-studded lineup of speakers, sessions and activities that are sure to make the conference an unforgettable experience.

In addition to tutorial sessions on TOGAF and ArchiMate, the conference offers roughly 60 sessions on a varied of topics, including:

  • Enterprise Transformation, including Enterprise Architecture and SOA
  • Cybersecurity, Cloud Security and Trusted Technology for the Supply Chain
  • Cloud Computing for Business, Collaborative Cloud Frameworks and Cloud Architectures

The conference theme “Enterprise Transformation” will highlight how Enterprise Architecture can be used to truly change how companies do business and create models and architectures that help them make those changes. Keynote speakers include:

  • Dr. Alexander Osterwalder, Best-selling Author and Entrepreneur

Dr. Osterwalder is a renowned thought leader on business model design and innovation. Many executives and entrepreneurs and world-leading organizations have applied Dr. Osterwalderʼs approach to strengthen their business model and achieve a competitive advantage through business model innovation. His keynote session at the conference, titled: “Business Models, IT, and Enterprise Transformation,” will discuss how to use the Business Model Canvas approach to better align IT and business strategy, empower multi-disciplinary teams and contribute to Enterprise Transformation.

  • Herve Gouezel, Advisor to the CEO at BNP Paribas & Eric Boulay, Founder and CEO of Arismore

Keynote: “EA and Transformation: An Enterprise Issue, a New Role for the CIO?” will examine governance within the Enterprise and what steps need to take place to create a collaborative Enterprise.

  • Peter Haviland, Chief Architect and Head of Business Architecture Advisory Services at Ernst & Young, US

Keynote: “World Class EA 2012: Putting Your Architecture Team in the Middle of Enterprise Transformation,” will identify and discuss key activities leading practice architecture teams are performing to create and sustain value, to remain at the forefront of enterprise transformation.

  • Kirk Avery, Software Architect at Lockheed Martin & Robert Sweeney, MSMA Lead Systems Engineer at Naval Air Systems Command

Keynote: “FACE: Transforming the DoD Avionics Software Industry Through the Use of Open Standards,” will address the DoD Avionics Industry’s need for providing complex mission capability in less time and in an environment of shrinking government budgets

The Common Criteria Workshop and the European Commission

We are also pleased to be hosting the first Common Criteria Workshop during the Cannes Conference. This two-day event – taking place April 25 to 26 – offers a rich opportunity to hear from distinguished speakers from the Common Criteria Security community, explore viewpoints through panel discussions and work with minded people towards common goals.

One of the keynote speakers during the workshop is Andrea Servida, the Deputy Head of the Internet, Network and Information Security unit with the European Commission in Brussels, Belgium. With extensive experience defining and implementing strategies and policies on network and information security and critical information infrastructure protection, Mr. Servida is an ideal speaker as we kick-off the first workshop.

The Open Cannes Awards

What trip would be complete to Cannes without an awards ceremony? Presented by The Open Group, The Open Cannes Awards is an opportunity for our members to recognize each other’s accomplishments within The Open Group with a little fun during the gala ceremony on the night of Tuesday, April 24. The goal is to acknowledge the success stories, the hard work and dedication that members, either as individuals or as organizations, have devoted to The Open Group’s ideals and vision over the past decade.

We hope to see you in Cannes! For more information on the conference tracks or to register, please visit our conference registration page, and please stay tuned throughout the next month as we continue to release blog posts and information leading up to The Open Group Conference in Cannes, France!

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Filed under Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Conference, Cybersecurity, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, FACE™, Semantic Interoperability, Service Oriented Architecture

Enterprise Transformation, Innovation, Emergence and the Sewers of Vienna

By Stuart Boardman, KPN 

Enterprise transformation is a topic central to The Open Group’s agenda these days, so I don’t suppose the following assertion is exactly radical. The success of transformation starts by understanding the drivers for change, the goals of the transformation and the factors that can be expected to have a positive or negative influence on it.

Transformation doesn’t necessarily have to involve innovation but it often does. Sometimes innovation is itself a driver for transformation. For some organizations innovation is a fundamental part of their business model. Apple, for example, wouldn’t have survived without it. You can have the best user interface and the grooviest products but to reach a wider market or indeed to get your existing market to buy new stuff, you need to keep innovating. And to do that well you have to enjoy doing it and you have to understand how it works.

Once upon a time, giants like the old IBM and the old Microsoft didn’t need to do that, because they owned so much of the market. But that’s changed too, because, partly as a result of their own competition, there is now an ecosystem of all kinds of players (from a Google or an Apple to the huge number of startups and app developers), who can and do come out of left field with disruptive innovation. And this isn’t only true in the technology world.

These days it’s hard to read about innovation without coming across the concept of emergence. Emergent innovation develops through interaction in an ecosystem and cannot simply be explained by looking at what each individual member of the ecosystem does. This kind innovation is in a sense serendipitous and is never going to be achieved via the traditional R&D approach. It’s cheaper and faster than that and, exactly because of the way it has developed, more likely to be of immediately applicable value. Achieving transformation with emergent innovation is about the ability to recognize, adopt, adapt and “productize” that innovation. This applies equally whether the innovation is outwardly (product/service) or inwardly (operations) oriented.

Back to transformation. We need, as I said, to be able to understand the factors that will positively or negatively affect the success of our transformation. If we haven’t properly understood them, they might turn out to be very urgent drivers for (re)transformation.

At the beginning of this century mobile communications providers were trying to transform their business models and operations in order to get their share of the internet revolution. They wanted to reach a new market and to escape the trap of becoming just a “bit pipe” for other people’s value added services. The operators spent a lot of money on 3G. The equipment manufacturers spent a lot of money developing new phones and interfaces. By 2003 we already had all the necessary technological capabilities and there was no shortage of marketing but it simply didn’t take off.

Why? It wasn’t really cost, because, when the iPhone arrived a few years later and turned everything around, data was still expensive (and the phone even more so). And it wasn’t really speed or usability, because the download speed was adequate for the services on offer and there were some pretty nifty devices. It just wasn’t very interesting. There was simply not enough valuable content available to justify the outlay. So the operators just reverted to milking the reliable voice and text cow.

When the iPhone arrived, what really made the difference was the ecosystem that came with it. Suddenly there was a world of app developers producing things people didn’t know they needed but discovered were cool. And there was the App Store that made it easy to get your product to market and easy for the customer to discover it. Yes, of course it was a groovy device and a revolutionary interface but without the ecosystem it would have been restricted to a market of Apple fans and people with lots of money to spend on looking hip.

So then what happened? Well the mobile operators (those who could get their hands on the device) finally started getting a return on their investment in 3G. What was largely a new group of smartphone manufacturers (HTC, Samsung, LG etc.) rushed to produce their own versions. And then Google came along with Android and we finally had a really large ecosystem built around innovation.

With that came another form of emergence as the users and the app developers started discovering all kinds of things you could do with these devices and the information available on and via them. That had a negative influence on the mobile operators’ revenues, as people used a whole range of IP based services (with the Mbs paid for in their monthly bundle) to avoid the expensive voice and text services. This was something the operators had ignored, even though they’d predicted years before that it would happen, which of course was exactly what provoked the earlier attempted transformation. In other words, they failed to understand what was going on in their ecosystem and how it might affect them.

All organizations inhabit an ecosystem consisting of their customers, partners, suppliers and in many cases legal and regulatory bodies (and arguably their competitors too). Ecosystems are really the heart of this blog, so here’s a definition. An ecosystem is a collection of entities, whose members are (at least partially) interdependent. Specifically we’re looking at what Jack Martin Leith calls a Business Ecosystem. Jack’s definition is further amended by Ruth Malan to “A business ecosystem is a network of organizations that affect each other, possibly indirectly.” What we see today is that for many (maybe most) organizations the ecosystem is becoming bigger and more diffuse. Apart from the examples above, this is apparent in the extended enterprise, Cloud and social business – and the effect is amplified by emergence.

Now one of the things about an ecosystem is that not all the members are necessarily aware of each other. But as the definition makes clear, they all have an influence on and are influenced by the ecosystem as a whole. Each organization has its own view on the ecosystem, which really defines its enterprise. That doesn’t mean it can’t be affected by what goes on elsewhere in the ecosystem.

A little while ago Peter Bakker published a provocative little blog with the title “Infrastructure Architecture is way more important than Enterprise Architecture.” After a flurry of comments and replies, I understood that Peter was talking about the infrastructure of complete ecosystems. He used the example of the infrastructure of the City of New York. It consists of all the road, rail and waterways, the transportation services (passengers and freight), construction and maintenance services, energy supply, port and harbor services and planning, regulatory and licensing activities. And that’s leaving aside the electronic communications infrastructure and the voice, data and TV services that run on it. These products and services are delivered by multiple providers (commercial organizations, the city council and other public bodies), who are all part of an ecosystem, which also includes the users of the infrastructure (people and organizations including of course the providers themselves). So yes, this infrastructure is much bigger than any one of the enterprises that contributes to it and it is critical to the health of the ecosystem (the efficient functioning of the City of New York) in a way that no individual member could be – not even the City Council.

But that information isn’t much use to us unless we can do something with it. So I set off on a journey to see if I could find a way of modeling such an ecosystem as a sort of Enterprise Architecture. That probably sounds a bit grandiose but you need to see this as just a set of techniques, which could help us create a usable and meaningful overview of an ecosystem – something you can project your proposed changes onto.

It’s not about details. Even if I thought one could capture all the details, the result would be unmanageable and therefore unusable! So the detailed view is constrained to the individual enterprise from whose perspective one is viewing this.

The journey’s just begun. I’ve built the basics of the story, which is about the mythical city of Metropolis. I’m sticking to this city infrastructure example, because it’s familiar to everyone and doesn’t need too much background explanation. I’m now looking at the techniques that might be useful in achieving this. I’m looking at and have started working on Customer Journeys. If you’re interested, you can find some text here and images here.

I think it will be very useful to create a Business Model Canvas (or some similar technique of your preference) for some or all of the organizations involved. In the most cases we’d be looking at generic organization types. So for, example, there won’t be a canvas for every single bus company but the fact that there usually are multiple passenger transport companies means that competition is an important factor.

So we probably need an additional model, which is capable of taking that into account – like Tom Graves’s Enterprise Canvas. I’m also considering a service model (what are all the relevant services, how do they interact, etc.). Stafford Beer’s Viable Systems Model may be a good way to capture the system as a whole, so I’m working on that now. I’d be only too pleased to exchange ideas about the whole approach with anyone who doesn’t think I’ve taken leave of my senses – and maybe even with those who do! My thanks to Jack, Ruth, Peter, Tom and Charles for the good ideas and encouragement. Please don’t blame them, if you think it’s rubbish.

So finally – you might be wondering what this has to do with the sewers of Vienna. If you’ve seen The Third Man, you might figure it out. For those who haven’t: in the film Orson Wells plays Harry Lime, a wanted man in the Western sector of post-war Vienna. He fakes his death and disappears to the Russian controlled East – and continues his operation in the West using the sewer system to get across (under) the city avoiding all control posts and remaining effectively invisible. It’s just a somewhat lighthearted example of an innovative (one might say emergent) transformation of an infrastructure to serve a totally different purpose. And it does illustrate how you can get caught out if you don’t understand your ecosystem properly.

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

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Part 2 of 3: Building an Enterprise Architecture Value Proposition Using TOGAF® 9.1. and ArchiMate® 2.0

By Serge Thorn, Architecting the Enterprise

This is the second post in a three-part series by Serge Thorn.

Continuing from Part One of this series, here are more examples of what an enterprise cannot achieve without Enterprise Architecture:

Reduce IT costs by consolidating, standardizing, rationalizing and integrating corporate information systems

Cost avoidance can be achieved by identifying overlapping functional scope of two or more proposed projects in an organization or the potential cost savings of IT support by standardizing on one solution.

Consolidation can happen at various levels for architectures — for shared enterprise services, applications and information, for technologies and even data centers.

This could involve consolidating the number of database servers, application or web servers and storage devices, consolidating redundant security platforms, or adopting virtualization, grid computing and related consolidation initiatives. Consolidation may be a by-product of another technology transformation or it may be the driver of these transformations.

Whatever motivates the change, the key is to be in alignment, once again, with the overall business strategy. Enterprise architects understand where the business is going, so they can pick the appropriate consolidation strategy. Rationalization, standardization and consolidation processes helps organizations understand their current enterprise maturity level and move forward on the appropriate roadmap.

More spending on innovation

Enterprise Architecture should serve as a driver of innovation. Innovation is highly important when developing a target Enterprise Architecture and in realizing the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. For example, it may help to connect the dots between business requirements and the new approaches SOA and cloud services can deliver.

Enabling strategic business goals via better operational excellence

Building Enterprise Architecture defines the structure and operation of an organization. The intent of Enterprise Architecture is to determine how an organization can most effectively achieve its current and future objectives. It must be designed to support an organization’s specific business strategies.

Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, David C. Robertson in “Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business” wrote “Companies with more-mature architectures reported greater success in achieving strategic goals” (p. 89). “This included better operational excellence, more customer intimacy, and greater product leadership” (p. 100).

Customer intimacy

Enterprises that are customer focused and aim to provide solutions for their customers should design their business model, IT systems and operational activities to support this strategy at the process level. This involves the selection of one or few high-value customer niches, followed by an obsessive effort at getting to know these customers in detail.

Greater product leadership

This approach enabled by Enterprise Architecture is dedicated to providing the best possible products from the perspective of the features and benefits offered to the customer. It is the basic philosophy about products that push performance boundaries. Products or services delivered by the business will be refined by leveraging IT to do the end customer’s job better. This will be accomplished by the delivery of new business capabilities (e.g. on-line websites, BI, etc.).

Comply with regulatory requirements

Enterprise Architecture helps companies to know and represent their processes and systems and how they correlate. This is fundamental for risk management and managing regulation requirements, such as those derived from Sarbanes-Oxley, COSO, HIPAA, etc.

This list could be continued as there are many other reasons why Enterprise Architecture brings benefits to organizations. Once your benefits have been documented you could also consider some value management techniques. TOGAF® 9.1 refers in the Architecture Vision phase to a target value proposition for a specific project.  In the next blog, we’ll address the issue of applying the value proposition to the Enterprise Architecture initiative as a whole.

The third and final part of this blog series will discuss value management. 

Serge Thorn is CIO of Architecting the Enterprise.  He has worked in the IT Industry for over 25 years, in a variety of roles, which include; Development and Systems Design, Project Management, Business Analysis, IT Operations, IT Management, IT Strategy, Research and Innovation, IT Governance, Architecture and Service Management (ITIL). He is the Chairman of the itSMF (IT Service Management forum) Swiss chapter and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Transformation: Related But Distinct Concepts That Can Change the World

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

For some, if you want enterprise transformation, you really need the organizing benefits of Enterprise Architecture to succeed.

For others, the elevation of Enterprise Architecture as an essential ingredient to enterprise transformation improperly conflates the role of Enterprise Architecture, and waters down Enterprise Architecture while risking its powerful contribution.

So how should we view these important roles and functions? How high into the enterprise transformation firmament should Enterprise Architecture rise? And will rising too high, in effect, melt its wings and cause it to crash back to earth and perhaps become irrelevant?

Or is enterprise transformation nowadays significantly dependent upon Enterprise Architecture, and therefore, we should make Enterprise Architecture a critical aspect for any business moving forward?

We posed these and other questions to a panel of business and EA experts at last month’s Open Group Conference in San Francisco to deeply examine the fascinating relationship between Enterprise Architecture and enterprise transformation.

The panel: Len Fehskens, Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open GroupMadhav Naidu, Lead Enterprise Architect at Ciena Corp.; Bill Rouse, Professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the College of Computing, as well as Executive Director of the Tennenbaum Institute, all at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Jeanne Ross, Director and Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Information Systems Research.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Why is enterprise transformation not significantly dependent upon Enterprise Architecture, and why would it be a disservice to bring Enterprise Architecture into the same category?

Fehskens: My biggest concern is the identification of Enterprise Architecture with enterprise transformation.

First of all, these two disciplines have different names, and there’s a reason for that. Architecture is a means to transformation, but it is not the same as transformation. Architecture enables transformation, but by itself is not enough to effect successful transformation. There are a whole bunch of other things that you have to do.

My second concern is that right now, the discipline of Enterprise Architecture is sort of undergoing — I wouldn’t call it an identity crisis — but certainly, it’s the case that we still really haven’t come to a widespread, universally shared understanding of what Enterprise Architecture really means.

My position is that they’re two separate disciplines. Enterprise Architecture is a valuable contributor to enterprise transformation, but the fact of the matter is that people have been transforming enterprises reasonably successfully for a long time without using Enterprise Architecture. So it’s not necessary, but it certainly helps. … There are other things that you need to be able to do besides developing architectures in order to successfully transform an enterprise.

Gardner: As a practitioner of Enterprise Architecture at Ciena Corp., are you finding that your role, the value that you’re bringing to your company as an enterprise architect, is transformative? Do you think that there’s really a confluence between these different disciplines at this time?

Means and ends

Naidu: Transformation itself is more like a wedding and EA is more like a wedding planner. I know we have seen many weddings without a wedding planner, but it makes it easier if you have a wedding planner, because they have gone through certain steps (as part of their experience). They walk us through those processes, those methods, and those approaches. It makes it easier.

I agree with what Len said. Enterprise transformation is different. It’s a huge task and it is the actual end. Enterprise Architecture is a profession that can help lead the transformation successfully.

Almost everybody in the enterprise is engaged in [transformation] one way or another. The enterprise architect plays more like a facilitator role. They are bringing the folks together, aligning them with the transformation, the vision of it, and then driving the transformation and building the capabilities. Those are the roles I will look at EA handling, but definitely, these two are two different aspects.

Gardner: Is there something about the state of affairs right now that makes Enterprise Architecture specifically important or particularly important for enterprise transformation?

Naidu: We know many organizations that have successfully transformed without really calling a function EA and without really using help from a team called EA. But indirectly they are using the same processes, methods, and best practices. They may not be calling those things out, but they are using the best practices.

Rouse: There are two distinctions I’d like to draw. First of all, in the many transformation experiences we’ve studied, you can simplistically say there are three key issues: people, organizations, and technology, and the technology is the easy part. The people and organizations are the hard part.

The other thing is I think you’re talking about is the enterprise IT architecture. If I draw an Enterprise Architecture, I actually map out organizations and relationships among organizations and work and how it gets done by people and view that as the architecture of the enterprise.

Important enabler

Sometimes, we think of an enterprise quite broadly, like the architecture of the healthcare enterprise is not synonymous with information technology (IT). In fact, if you were to magically overnight have a wonderful IT architecture throughout our healthcare system in United States, it would be quite helpful but we would still have a problem with our system because the incentives aren’t right. The whole incentive system is messed up.

So I do think that the enterprise IT architecture, is an important enabler, a crucial enabler, to many aspects of enterprise transformation. But I don’t see them as close at all in terms of thinking of them as synonymous.

Gardner: Len Fehskens, are we actually talking about IT architecture or Enterprise Architecture and what’s the key difference?

Fehskens: Well, again that’s this part of the problem, and there’s a big debate going on within the Enterprise Architecture community whether Enterprise Architecture is really about IT, in which case it probably ought to be called enterprise IT architecture or whether it’s about the enterprise as a whole.

For example, when you look at the commitment of resources to the IT function in most organizations, depending on how you count, whether you count by headcount or dollars invested or whatever, the numbers typically run about 5-10 percent. So there’s 90 percent of most organizations that is not about IT, and in the true enterprise transformation, that other 90 percent has to transform itself as well.

So part of it is just glib naming of the discipline. Certainly, what most people mean when they say Enterprise Architecture and what is actually practiced under the rubric of Enterprise Architecture is mostly about IT. That is, the implementation of the architecture, the effects of the architecture occurs primarily in the IT domain.

Gardner: But, Len, don’t TOGAF® at The Open Group and ArchiMate really step far beyond IT? Isn’t that sort of the trend?

Fehskens: It certainly is a trend, but I think we’ve still got a long way to go. Just look at the language that’s used in the architecture development method (ADM) for TOGAF, for example, and the model of an Enterprise Architecture. There’s business, information, application, and technology.

Well, three of those concepts are very much related to IT and only one of them is really about business. And mostly, the business part is about that part of the business that IT can provide support for. Yes, we do know organizations that are using TOGAF to do architecture outside of the IT realm, but the way it’s described, the way it was originally intended, is largely focused on IT.

Not a lot going on

What is going on is generally not called architecture. It’s called organizational design or management or it goes under a whole bunch of other stuff. And it’s not referred to as Enterprise Architecture, but there is a lot of that stuff happening. As I said earlier, it is essential to making enterprise transformation successful.

My personal opinion is that virtually all forms of design involve doing some architectural thinking. Whether you call it that or not, architecture is a particular aspect of the design process, and people do it without recognizing it, and therefore are probably not doing it explicitly.

But Bill made a really important observation, which is that it can’t be solely about IT. There’s lots of other stuff in the enterprise that needs to transform.

Ross: Go back to the challenge we have here of Enterprise Architecture being buried in the IT unit. Enterprise Architecture is an enterprise effort, initiative, and impact. Because Enterprise Architecture is so often buried in IT, IT people are trying to do things and accomplish things that cannot be done within IT.

We’ve got to continue to push that Enterprise Architecture is about designing the way this company will do it business, and that it’s far beyond the scope of IT alone. I take it back to the transformation discussion. What we find is that when a company really understands Enterprise Architecture and embraces it, it will go through a transformation, because it’s not used to thinking that way and it’s not used to acting that way.

Disciplined processes

If management says we’re going to start using IT strategically, we’re going to start designing ourselves so that we have disciplined business processes and that we use data well. The company is embracing Enterprise Architecture and that will lead to a transformation.

Gardner: You said that someday CIOs are going to report to the enterprise architects, and that’s the way it ought to be. Does that get closer to this notion that IT can’t do this alone, that a different level of thinking across disciplines and functions needs to occur?

Ross: I certainly think so. Look at companies that have really embraced and gotten benefits from Enterprise Architecture like Procter & GambleTetra Pak, and Maersk. At P&G’s, IT is reporting to the CIO but he is also the President of Shared Services. At Maersk and Tetra Pak, it’s the Head of Global Business Processes.

Once we get CIOs either in charge with more of a business role and they are in charge of process, and of the technology, or are reporting to a COO or head of business process, head of business transformation, or head of shared services, then we know what it is we’re architecting, and the whole organization is designed so that architecture is a critical element.

I don’t think that title-wise, this is ever going to happen. I don’t think we’re ever going to see a CIO report to chief enterprise architect. But in practice, what we’re seeing is more CIOs reporting to someone who is, in fact, in charge of designing the architecture of the organization.

By that, I mean business processes and its use of data. When we get there, first of all, we will transform to get to that point and secondly, we’ll really start seeing some benefits and real strategic impact of Enterprise Architecture.

Gardner: There’s some cynicism and skepticism around architecture, and yet, what we’re hearing is it’s not in name only. It is important, and it’s increasingly important, even at higher and higher abstractions in the organization.

How to evangelize?

How then do you evangelize or propel architectural thinking into companies? How do you get the thinking around an architectural approach more deeply engrained in these companies?

Fehskens: Dana, I think that’s the $64,000 question. The fundamental way to get architectural thinking accepted is to demonstrate value. I mean to show that it really brings something to the party. That’s part of my concern about the conflation of enterprise transformation with Enterprise Architecture and making even bigger promises that probably can’t be kept.

The reason that in organizations who’ve tried Enterprise Architecture and decided that it didn’t taste good, it was because the effort didn’t actually deliver any value.

The way to get architectural thinking integrated into an organization is to use it in places where it can deliver obvious, readily apparent value in the short-term and then grow out from that nucleus. Trying to bite off more than you can chew only results in you choking. That’s the big problem we’ve had historically.

It’s about making promises that you can actually keep. Once you’ve done that, and done that consistently and repeatedly, then people will say that there’s really something to this. There’s some reason why these guys are actually delivering on a big promise.

Rouse: We ran a study recently about what competencies you need to transform an organization based on a series of successful case studies and we did a survey with hundreds of top executives in the industry.

The number one and two things you need are the top leader has to have a vision of where you’re going and they have to be committed to making that happen. Without those two things, it seldom happens at all. From that perspective, I’d argue that the CIO probably already does report to the chief architect. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs architected Microsoft and AppleCarnegie and Rockefeller architected the steel and oil industries.

If you look at the business histories of people with these very successful companies, often they had a really keen architectural sense of what the pieces were and how they needed to fit together. So if we’re going to really be in the transformation business with TOGAF and stuff, we need to be talking to the CEO, not the CIO.

Corporate strategy

Ross: I totally agree. The industries and companies that you cited, Bill, instinctively did what every company is going to need to do in the digital economy, which is think about corporate strategy not just in terms of what products do we offer, what markets are we in, what companies do we acquire, and what things do we sell up.

At the highest level, we have to get our arms around it. Success is dependent on understanding how we are fundamentally going to operate. A lot of CEOs have deferred that responsibility to others and when that mandate is not clear, it gets very murky.

What does happen in a lot of companies, because CEOs have a lot of things to pay attention to, is that once they have stated the very high-level vision, they absolutely can put a head of business process or a head of shared services or a COO type in charge of providing the clarification, providing the day-to-day oversight, establishing the relationships in the organizations so everybody really understands how this vision is going to work. I totally agree that this goes nowhere if the CEO isn’t at least responsible for a very high-level vision.

Gardner: So if what I think I’m hearing is correct, how you do things is just as important as what you do. Because we’re in such a dynamic environment, when it comes to supply chains and communications and the way in which technology influences more and more aspects of business, it needs to be architected, rather than be left to a fiat or a linear or older organizational functioning.

So Bill Rouse, the COO, the chief operating officer, wouldn’t this person be perhaps more aligned with Enterprise Architecture in the way that we’re discussing?

Rouse: Let’s start with the basic data. We can’t find a single instance of a major enterprise transformation in a major company happening successfully without total commitment of top leadership. Organizations just don’t spontaneously transform on their own.

A lot of the ideas and a lot of the insights can come from elsewhere in the organization, but, given that the CEO is totally committed to making this happen, certainly the COO can play a crucial role in how it’s then pursued, and the COO of course will be keenly aware of a whole notion of processes and the need to understand processes.

One of the companies I work very closely with tried to merge three companies by putting inERP. After $300 million, they walked away from the investment, because they realized they had no idea of what the processes were. So the COO is a critical function here.

Just to go back to original point, you want total commitment by the CEO. You can’t just launch the visionary message and walk away. At the same time, you need people who are actually dealing with the business processes to do a lot of the work.

Gardner: What the is the proper relationship between Enterprise Architecture and enterprise transformation?

Ross: I’d say the relationship between Enterprise Architecture and enterprise transformation is two-way. If an organization feels the need for a transformation — in other words, if it feels it needs to do something — it will absolutely need Enterprise Architecture as one of the tools for accomplishing that.

It will provide the clarity the organization needs in a time of mass change. People need to know where they’re headed, and that is true in how they do their processes, how they design their data, and then how they implement IT.

It works just as well in reverse. If a company hasn’t had a clear vision of how they want to operate, then they might introduce architecture to provide some of that discipline and clarity and it will inevitably lead to a transformation. When you go from just doing what every individual thought was best or every business unit thought was best to an enterprise vision of how a company will operate, you’re imposing a transformation. So I think we are going to see these two hand-in-hand.

What’s the relationship?

Rouse: I think enterprise transformation often involves a significant fundamental change of the Enterprise Architecture, broadly defined, which can then be enabled by the enterprise IT architecture.

Naidu: Like I mentioned in the beginning, one is end, another one is means. I look at the enterprise transformation as an end and Enterprise Architecture providing the kind of means. In one way it’s like reaching the destination using some kind of transportation mechanism. That’s how I look at the difference between EA and ET.

Fehskens: One of the fundamental principles of architecture is taking advantage of reuse when it’s appropriate. So I’m just going to reuse what everybody just said. I can’t say it better. Enterprise Architecture is a powerful tool for effecting enterprise transformation.

Jeanne is right. It’s a symmetric or bidirectional back-and-forth kind of relationship.

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and Cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news editor covering the emerging software development and enterprise infrastructure arenas for the last 18 years.

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Architecture and Change

By Leonard Fehskens, The Open Group

The enterprise transformation theme of The Open Group’s San Francisco conference reminded me of the common assertion that architecture is about change, and the implication that Enterprise Architecture is thus about enterprise transformation.

We have to be careful that we don’t make change an end in itself. We have to remember that change is a means to the end of getting something we want that is different from what we have. In the enterprise context, that something has been labeled in different ways. One is “alignment”, specifically “business/IT alignment.” Some have concluded that alignment isn’t quite the right idea, and it’s really “integration” we are pursuing. Others have suggested that “coherency” is a better characterization of what we want.

I think all of these are still just means to an end, and that end is fitness for purpose. The pragmatist in me says I don’t really care if all the parts of a system are “aligned” or “integrated” or “coherent”, as long as that system is fit for purpose, i.e., does what it’s supposed to do.

I’m sure some will argue that alignment and integration and coherency ensure that a system is “optimal” or “efficient”, but doing the wrong thing optimally or efficiently isn’t what we want systems to do. It’s easy to imagine a system that is aligned, integrated and coherent but still not fit for purpose, and it’s just as easy to imagine a system that is not aligned, not integrated and not coherent but that is fit for purpose. Of course, we can insist that alignment, integration and coherency be with respect to a system’s purpose, but if that’s the case, why don’t we say so directly? Why use words that strongly suggest internal properties of the system rather than its relationship to an external purpose?

Whatever we call it, continuous pursuit of something is ultimately the continuous failure to achieve it. It isn’t the chase that matters, it’s the catch. While I am sympathetic to the idea that there is intrinsic value in “doing architecture,” the real value is in the resulting architecture and its implementation. Until we actually implement the architecture, we can only answer the question, “Are we there yet?” with, “No, not yet”.

Let me be clear that I’m not arguing, or even assuming, that things don’t change and we don’t need to cope with change.  Of course they do, and of course we do. But we should take a cue from rock climbers – the ones who don’t fall generally follow the principle “only move one limb at a time, from a secure position.” What stakeholders mean by fitness for purpose must be periodically revisited and revised. It’s fashionable to say “Enterprise Architecture is a journey, not a destination,” and this is reflected in definitions of Enterprise Architecture that refer to it as a “continuous process.” However, the fact is that journey has to pass through specific waypoints. There may be no final destination, but there is always a next destination.

Finally, we should not forget that while the pursuit of fitness for purpose may require that some things change; it may also require that some things not change. We risk losing this insight if we conclude that the primary purpose of architecture is to enable change. The primary purpose of architecture is to ensure fitness for purpose.

For a fuller treatment of the connection between architecture and fitness for purpose, see my presentations to The Open Group Conferences in Boston, July 2010, “What ‘Architecture’ in ‘Enterprise Architecture’ Ought to Mean,” and Amsterdam, October 2010, “Deriving Execution from Strategy: Architecture and the Enterprise.”

Len Fehskens is Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open Group. He is responsible for The Open Group’s activities relating to the professionalization of the discipline of enterprise architecture. Prior to joining The Open Group, Len led the Worldwide Architecture Profession Office for HP Services at Hewlett-Packard. Len is based in the US.

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The Open Group San Francisco Conference: Day 1 Highlights

By The Open Group Conference Team

With the end of the first day of the conference, here are a few key takeaways from Monday’s key note sessions:

The Enterprise Architect: Architecting Business Success

Jeanne Ross, Director & Principal Research Scientist, MIT Center for Information Systems Research

Ms. Ross began the plenary discussing the impact of enterprise architecture on the whole enterprise. According to Ross “we live in a digital economy, and in order to succeed, we need to excel in enterprise architecture.” She went on to say that the current “plan, build, use” model has led to a lot of application silos. Ms. Ross also mentioned that enablement doesn’t work well; while capabilities are being built, they are grossly underutilized within most organizations.

Enterprise architects need to think about what capabilities their firms will exploit – both in the short- and long-terms. Ms. Ross went on to present case studies from Aetna, Protection 1, USAA, Pepsi America and Commonwealth of Australia. In each of these examples, architects provided the following business value:

  • Helped senior executives clarify business goals
  • Identified architectural capability that can be readily exploited
  • Presented Option and their implications for business goals
  • Built Capabilities incrementally

A well-received quote from Ms. Ross during the Q&A portion of the session was, “Someday, CIOs will report to EA – that’s the way it ought to be!”

How Enterprise Architecture is Helping Nissan IT Transformation

Celso Guiotoko, Corporate Vice President and CIO, Nissan Motor Co., Ltd.

Mr. Guiotoko presented the steps that Nissan took to improve the efficiency of its information systems. The company adapted BEST – an IT mid-term plan that helped led enterprise transformation within the organization. BEST was comprised of the following components:

  • Business Alignment
  • Enterprise Architecture
  • Selective Sourcing
  • Technology Simplification

Guided by BEST and led by strong Enterprise Architecture, Nissan saw the following results:

  • Reduced cost per user from 1.09 to 0.63
  • 230,000 return with 404 applications reduced
  • Improved solution deployment time
  • Significantly reduced hardware costs

Nissan recently created the next IT mid-term plan called “VITESSE,” which stands for value information, technology, simplification and service excellence. Mr. Guiotoko said that VITESSE will help the company achieve its IT and business goals as it moves toward the production of zero-emissions vehicles.

The Transformed Enterprise

Andy Mulholland, Global CTO, Capgemini

Mr. Mulholland began the presentation by discussing what parts of technology comprise today’s enterprise and asking the question, “What needs to be done to integrate these together?” Enterprise technology is changing rapidly and  the consumerization of IT only increasing. Mr. Mulholland presented a statistic from Gartner predicting that up to 35 percent of enterprise IT expenditures will be managed outside of the IT department’s budget by 2015. He then referenced the PC revolution when enterprises were too slow to adapt to employees needs and adoption of technology.

There are three core technology clusters and standards that are emerging today in the form of Cloud, mobility and big data, but there are no business process standards to govern them. In order to not repeat the same mistakes of the PC revolution, organizations need to move from an inside-out model to an outside-in model – looking at the activities and problems within the enterprise then looking outward versus looking at those problems from the outside in. Outside-in, Mulholland argued, will increase productivity and lead to innovative business models, ultimately enabling your enterprise to keep up the current technology trends.

Making Business Drive IT Transformation through Enterprise Architecture

Lauren States, VP & CTO of Cloud Computing and Growth Initiatives, IBM Corp.

Ms. States began her presentation by describing today’s enterprise – flat, transparent and collaborative. In order to empower this emerging type of enterprise, she argued that CEOs need to consider data a strategic initiative.

Giving the example of the CMO within the enterprise to reflect how changing technologies affect their role, she stated, “CMOS are overwhelming underprepared for the data explosion and recognize a need to invest in and integrate technology and analytics.” CIOs and architects need to use business goals and strategy to set the expectation of IT. Ms. States also said that organizations need to focus on enabling growth, productivity and cultural change – factors are all related and lead to enterprise transformation.

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The conference will continue tomorrow with overarching themes that include enterprise transformation, security and SOA. For more information about the conference, please go here: http://www3.opengroup.org/sanfrancisco2012

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Capgemini’s CTO on How Cloud Computing Exposes the Duality Between IT and Business Transformation

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

This BriefingsDirect thought leadership interview comes in conjunction with The Open Group Conference this month in San Francisco.

The conference will focus on how IT and enterprise architecture support enterprise transformation. Speakers in conference events will also explore the latest in service oriented architecture (SOA), cloud computing, and security.

We’re now joined by one of the main speakers, Andy Mulholland, the Global Chief Technology Officer and Corporate Vice President at Capgemini. In 2009, Andy was voted one of the top 25 most influential CTOs in the world by InfoWorld. And in 2010, his CTO Blog was voted best blog for business managers and CIOs for the third year running by Computer Weekly.

Capgemini is about to publish a white paper on cloud computing. It draws distinctions between what cloud means to IT, and what it means to business — while examining the complex dual relationship between the two.

As a lead-in to his Open Group conference presentation on the transformed enterprise, Andy draws on the paper and further drills down on one of the decade’s hottest technology and business trends, cloud computing, and how it impacts business and IT. The interview is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. The full podcast can be found here.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Why do business people think they have a revolution on their hands, while IT people look cloud computing as an evolution of infrastructure efficiency?

Mulholland: We define the role of IT and give it the responsibility and the accountability in the business in a way that is quite strongly related to internal practice. It’s all about how we manage the company’s transactions, how we reduce the cost, how we automate business process,and generally try to make our company a more efficient internal operator.

When you look at cloud computing through that set of lenses, you’re going to see … the technologies from cloud computing, principally virtualization, [as] ways to improve how you deliver the current server-centric, application-centric environment.

However, business people … reflect on it in terms of the change in society and the business world, which we all ought to recognize because that is our world, around the way we choose what we buy, how we choose to do business with people, how we search more, and how we’ve even changed that attitude.

Changed our ways

There’s a whole list of things that we simply just don’t do anymore because we’ve changed the way we choose to buy a book, the way we choose and listen to music and lots of other things.

So we see this as a revolution in the market or, more particularly, a revolution in how cloud can serve in the market, because everybody uses some form of technology.

So then the question is not the role of the IT department and the enterprise — it’s the role technology should be playing in their extended enterprise in doing business.

Gardner: What do we need to start doing differently?

Mulholland: Let’s go to a conversation this morning with a client. It’s always interesting to touch reality. This particular client is looking at the front end of a complex ecosystem around travel, and was asked this standard question by our account director: Do you have a business case for the work we’re discussing?

The reply from the CEO is very interesting. He fixed him with a very cold glare and he said, “If you were able to have 20 percent more billable hours without increasing your cost structure, would you be bothered to even think about the business case?”

The answer in that particular case was they were talking about 10,000 more travel instances or more a year — with no increase in their cost structure. In other words, their whole idea was there was nothing to do with cost in it. Their argument was in revenue increase, market share increase, and they thought that they would make better margins, because it would actually decrease their cost base or spread it more widely.

That’s the whole purpose of this revolution and that’s the purpose the business schools are always pushing, when they talk about innovative business models. It means innovate your business model to look at the market again from the perspective of getting into new markets, getting increased revenue, and maybe designing things that make more money.

Using technology externally

We’re always hooked on this idea that we’ve used technology very successfully internally, but now we should be asking the question about how we’re using technology externally when the population as a whole uses that as their primary method of deciding what they’re going to buy, how they’re going to buy it, when they’re going to buy it, and lots of other questions.

… A popular book recently has been The Power of Pull, and the idea is that we’re really seeing a decentralization of the front office in order to respond to and follow the market and the opportunities and the events in very different ways.

The Power of Pull says that I do what my market is asking me and I design business process or capabilities to be rapidly orchestrated through the front office around where things want to go, and I have linkage points, application programming interface (API) points, where I take anything significant and transfer it back.

But the real challenge is — and it was put to me today in the client discussion — that their business was designed around 1970 computer systems, augmented slowly around that, and they still felt that. Today, their market and their expectations of the industry that they’re in were that they would be designed around the way people were using their products and services and the events and that they had to make that change.

To do that, they’re transformed in the organization, and that’s where we start to spot the difference. We start to spot the idea that your own staff, your customers, and other suppliers are all working externally in information, process, and services accessible to all on an Internet market or architecture.

So when we talk about business architecture, it’s as relevant today as it ever was in terms of interpreting a business.

Set of methodologies

But when we start talking about architecture, The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF) is a set of methodologies on the IT side — the closed-coupled state for a designed set of principles to client-server type systems. In this new model, when we talk about clouds, mobility, and people traveling around and connecting by wireless, etc., we have a stateless loosely coupled environment.

The whole purpose of The Open Group is, in fact, to help devise new ways for being able to architect methods to deliver that. That’s what stands behind the phrase, “a transformed enterprise.”

… If we go back to the basic mission of The Open Group, which is boundarylessness of this information flow, the boundary has previously been defined by a computer system updating another computer system in another company around traditional IT type procedural business flow.

Now, we’re talking about the idea that the information flow is around an ecosystem in an unstructured way. Not a structured file-to-file type transfer, not a structured architecture of who does what, when, and how, but the whole change model in this is unstructured.

Gardner: It’s important to point out here, Andy, that the stakes are relatively high. Who in the organization can be the change agent that can make that leap between the duality view of cloud that IT has, and these business opportunists?

Mulholland: The CEOs are quite noticeably reading the right articles, hearing the right information from business schools, etc., and they’re getting this picture that they’re going to have new business models and new capabilities.

So the drive end is not hard. The problem that is usually encountered is that the IT department’s definition and role interferes with them being able to play the role they want.

What we’re actually looking for is the idea that IT, as we define it today, is some place else. You have to accept that it exists, it will exist, and it’s hugely important. So please don’t take those principles and try to apply them outside.

The real question here is when you find those people who are doing the work outside — and I’ve yet to find any company where it hasn’t been the case — and the question should be how can we actually encourage and manage that innovation sensibly and successfully?

What I mean by that is that if everybody goes off and does their own thing, once again, we’ll end up with a broken company. Why? Because their whole purpose as an enterprises is to leverage success rapidly. If someone is very successful over there, you really need to know, and you need to leverage that again as rapidly as you can to run the rest of the organization. If it doesn’t work, you need to stop it quickly.

Changing roles

In models of the capabilities of that, the question is where is the government structure? So we hear titles like Chief Innovation Officer, again, slightly surprising how it may come up. But we see the model coming both ways. There are reforming CIOs for sure, who have recognized this and are changing their role and position accordingly, sometimes formally, sometimes informally.

The other way around, there are people coming from other parts of the business, taking the title and driving them. I’ve seen Chief Strategy Officers taking the role. I’ve seen the head of sales and marketing taking the role.

Certainly, recognizing the technology possibilities should be coming from the direction of the technology capabilities within the current IT department. The capability of what that means might be coming differently. So it’s a very interesting balance at the moment, and we don’t know quite the right answer.

What I do know is that it’s happening, and the quick-witted CIOs are understanding that it’s a huge opportunity for them to fix their role and embrace a new area, and a new sense of value that they can bring to their organization.

Gardner: Returning to the upcoming Capgemini white paper, it adds a sense of urgency at the end on how to get started. It suggests that you appoint a leader, but a leader first for the inside-out element of cloud and transformation and then a second leader, a separate leader perhaps, for that outside-in or reflecting the business transformation and the opportunity for what’s going on in the external business and markets. It also suggests a strategic road map that involves both business and technology, and then it suggests getting a pilot going.

How does this transition become something that you can manage?

Mulholland: The question is do you know who is responsible. If you don’t, you’d better figure out how you’re going to make someone responsible, because in any situation, someone has to be deciding what we’re going to do and how we’re going to do it.

Having defined that, there are very different business drivers, as well as different technology drivers, between the two. Clearly, whoever takes those roles will reflect a very different way that they will have to run that element. So a duality is recognized in that comment.

On the other hand, no business can survive by going off in half-a-dozen directions at once. You won’t have the money. You won’t have the brand. You won’t have anything you’d like. It’s simply not feasible.

So, the object of the strategic roadmap is to reaffirm the idea of what kind of business we’re trying to be and do. That’s the glimpse of what we want to achieve.

There has to be a strategy. Otherwise, you’ll end up with way too much decentralization and people making up their own version of the strategy, which they can fairly easily do and fairly easily mount from someone else’s cloud to go and do it today.

So the purpose of the duality is to make sure that the two roles, the two different groups of technology, the two different capabilities they reflect to the organization, are properly addressed, properly managed, and properly have a key authority figure in charge of them.

Enablement model

The business strategy is to make sure that the business knows how the enablement model that these two offer them is capable of being directed to where the shareholders will make money out of the business, because that is ultimately that success factor they’re looking for to drive them forward.

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If you are interested in attending The Open Group’s upcoming conference, please register here: http://www3.opengroup.org/event/open-group-conference-san-francisco/registration

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news editor covering the emerging software development and enterprise infrastructure arenas for the last 18 years.

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MIT’s Ross on How Enterprise Architecture and IT More Than Ever Lead to Business Transformation

By Dana Gardner, Interarbor Solutions

This BriefingsDirect thought leadership interview comes in conjunction with The Open Group Conference this month in San Francisco.

The conference will focus on how IT and enterprise architecture support enterprise transformation. Speakers in conference events will also explore the latest in service oriented architecture (SOA), cloud computing, and security.

We’re now joined by of the main speakers, Jeanne Ross, Director and Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Information Systems Research. Jeanne studies how firms develop competitive advantage through the implementation and reuse of digitized platforms.

She is also the co-author of three books: IT Governance: How Top Performers Manage IT Decision Rights for Superior Results, Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution, and IT Savvy: What Top Executives Must Know to Go from Pain to Gain.

As a lead-in to her Open Group presentation on how adoption of enterprise architecture (EA) leads to greater efficiencies and better business agility, Ross explains how enterprise architects have helped lead the way to successful business transformations. The interview is moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. The full podcast can be found here.

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: How you measure or determine that enterprise architects and their practices are intrinsic to successful business transformations?

Ross: That’s a great question. Today, there remains kind of a leap of faith in recognizing that companies that are well-architected will, in fact, perform better, partly because you can be well-architected and perform badly. Or if we look at companies that are very young and have no competitors, they can be very poorly architected and achieve quite remarkably in the marketplace.

But what we can ascribe to architecture is that when companies have competition, then they can establish any kind of performance target they want, whether it’s faster revenue growth or better profitability, and then architect themselves so they can achieve their goals. Then, we can monitor that.

We do have evidence in repeated case studies of companies that set goals, defined an architecture, started to build the capabilities associated with that architecture, and did indeed improve their performance. We have wonderful case study results that should be very reaffirming. I accept that they are not conclusive.

Architectural maturity

We also have statistical support in some of the work we’ve done that shows that high performers in our sample of 102 companies, in fact, had greater architecture maturity. They had deployed a number of practices associated with good architecture.

Gardner: Is there something that’s new about this, rather than just trying to reengineer something?

Ross: Yes, the thing we’re learning about enterprise architecture is that there’s a cultural shift that takes place in an organization, when it commits to doing business in a new way, and that cultural shift starts with abandoning a culture of heroes and accepting a culture of discipline.

Nobody wants to get rid of the heroes in their company. Heroes are people who see a problem and solve it. But we do want to get past heroes sub-optimizing. What companies traditionally did before they started thinking about what architecture would mean, is they relied on individuals to do what seemed best and that clearly can sub-optimize in an environment that increasingly is global and requires things like a single face to the customer.

We also have statistical support in some of the work we’ve done that shows that high performers in our sample of 102 companies, in fact, had greater architecture maturity. They had deployed a number of practices associated with good architecture.

Gardner: Is there something that’s new about this, rather than just trying to reengineer something?

Ross: Yes, the thing we’re learning about enterprise architecture is that there’s a cultural shift that takes place in an organization, when it commits to doing business in a new way, and that cultural shift starts with abandoning a culture of heroes and accepting a culture of discipline.

Nobody wants to get rid of the heroes in their company. Heroes are people who see a problem and solve it. But we do want to get past heroes sub-optimizing. What companies traditionally did before they started thinking about what architecture would mean, is they relied on individuals to do what seemed best and that clearly can sub-optimize in an environment that increasingly is global and requires things like a single face to the customer.

We really just need architecture to pull out unnecessary cost and to enable desirable reusability. And the architect is typically going to be the person representing that enterprise view and helping everyone understand the benefits of understanding that enterprise view, so that everybody who can easily or more easily see the local view is constantly working with architects to balance those two requirements.

Gardner: Is this a particularly good time, from your vantage point, to undertake enterprise architecture?

Ross: It’s a great time for most companies. There will be exceptions that I’ll talk about in a minute. One thing we learned early on in the research is that companies who were best at adopting architecture and implementing it effectively had cost pressures. What happens when you have cost pressures is that you’re forced to make tough decisions.

If you have all the money in the world, you’re not forced to make tough decisions. Architecture is all about making tough decisions, understanding your tradeoffs, and recognizing that you’re going to get some things that you want and you are going to sacrifice others.

If you don’t see that, if you just say, “We’re going to solve that by spending more money,” it becomes nearly impossible to become architected. This is why investment banks are invariably very badly architected, and most people in investment banks are very aware of that. It’s just very hard to do anything other than say, “If that’s important to us, let’s spend more money and let’s get it.” One thing you can’t get by spending more money is discipline, and architecture is very tightly related to discipline.

Tough decisions

In a tough economy, when competition is increasingly global and marketplaces are shifting, this ability to make tough decisions is going to be essential. Opportunities to save costs are going to be really valued, and architecture invariably helps companies save money. The ability to reuse, and thus rapidly seize the next related business opportunity, is also going to be highly valued.

The thing you have to be careful of is that if you see your markets disappearing, if your product is outdated, or your whole industry is being redefined, as we have seen in things like media, you have to be ready to innovate. Architecture can restrict your innovative gene, by saying, “Wait, wait, wait. We want to slow down. We want to do things on our platform.” That can be very dangerous, if you are really facing disruptive technology or market changes.

So you always have to have that eye out there that says, “When is what we built that’s stable actually constraining us too much? When is it preventing important innovation?” For a lot of architects, that’s going to be tough, because you start to love the architecture, the standards, and the discipline. You love what you’ve created, but if it isn’t right for the market you’re facing, you have to be ready to let it go and go seize the next opportunity.

Gardner: Perhaps this environment is the best of all worlds, because we have that discipline on the costs which forces hard decisions, as you say. We also have a lot of these innovative IT trends that would almost force you to look at doing things differently. I’m thinking again of cloud, mobile, the big data issues, and even social-media types of effects.

Ross: Absolutely. We should all look at it that way and say, “What a wonderful world we live in.” One of the companies that I find quite remarkable in their ability to, on the one hand, embrace discipline and architecture, and on the other hand, constantly innovate, is USAA. I’m sure I’ll talk about them a little bit at the conference.

This is a company that just totally understands the importance of discipline around customer service. They’re off the charts in their customer satisfaction.

They’re a financial services institution. Most financial services institutions just drool over USAA’s customer satisfaction ratings, but they’ve done this by combining this idea of discipline around the customer. We have a single customer file. We have an enterprise view of that customer. We constantly standardize those practices and processes that will ensure that we understand the customer and we deliver the products and services they need. They have enormous discipline around these things.

Simultaneously, they have people working constantly around innovation. They were the first company to see the need for this deposit with your iPhone. Take a picture of your check and it’s automatically deposited into your account. They were nearly a year ahead of the next company that came up with that service.

The way they see it is that for any new technology that comes out, our customer will want to use it. We’ve got to be there the day after the technology comes out. They obviously haven’t been able to achieve that, but that’s their goal. If they can make deals with R&D companies that are coming up with new technologies, they’re going to make them, so that they can be ready with their product when the thing actually becomes commercial.

So it’s certainly possible for a company to be both innovative and responsive to what’s going on in the technology world and disciplined and cost effective around customer service, order-to-cash, and those other underlying critical requirements in your organization. But it’s not easy, and that’s why USAA is quite remarkable. They’ve pulled it off and they are a lesson for many other companies.

Gardner: Is The Open Group a good forum for your message and your research, and if so, why?

Ross: The Open Group is great for me, because there is so much serious thinking in The Open Group about what architecture is, how it adds value, and how we do it well. For me to touch base with people in The Open Group is really valuable, and for me to touch base to share my research and hear the push back, the debate, or the value add is perfect, because these are people who are living it every day.

Major themes

Gardner: Are there any other major themes that you’ll be discussing at the conference coming up that you might want to share with us?

Ross: One thing we have observed in our cases that is more and more important to architects is that the companies are struggling more than we realized with using their platforms well.

I’m not sure that architects or people in IT always see this. You build something that’s phenomenally good and appropriate for the business and then you just assume, that if you give them a little training, they’ll use it well.

That’s actually been a remarkable struggle for organizations. One of our research projects right now is called “Working Smarter on Your Digitized Platform.” When we go out, we find there aren’t very many companies that have come anywhere close to leveraging their platforms the way they might have imagined and certainly the way an architect would have imagined.

It’s harder than we thought. It requires persistent coaching. It’s not about training, but persistent coaching. It requires enormous clarity of what the organization is trying to do, and organizations change fast. Clarity is a lot harder to achieve than we think it ought to be.

The message for architects would be: here you are trying to get really good at being a great architect. To add value to your organization, you actually have to understand one more thing: how effectively are people in your company adopting the capabilities and leveraging them effectively? At some point, the value add of the architecture is diminished by the fact that people don’t get it. They don’t understand what they should be able to do.

We’re going to see architects spending a little more time understanding what their leadership is capable of and what capabilities they’ll be able to leverage in the organization, as opposed to which on a rational basis seem like a really good idea.

Getting started

Gardner: When you’re an organization and you’ve decided that you do want to transform and take advantage of unique opportunities for either technical disruption or market discipline, how do you go about getting more structure, more of an architecture?

Ross: That’s idiosyncratic to some extent, because in your dream world, what happens is that the CEO announces, “This is what we are going to be five years from now. This is how we are going to operate and I expect everyone to get on board.” The vision is clear and the commitment is clear. Then the architects can just say, and most architects are totally capable of this, “Oh, well then, here are the capabilities we need to build. Let’s just go build them and then we’ll live happily ever after.”

The problem is that’s rarely the way you get to start. Invariably, the CEO is looking at the need for some acquisitions, some new markets, and all kinds of pressures. The last thing you’re getting is some clarity around the vision of an operating model that would define your critical architectural capabilities.

What ends up happening instead is architects recognize key business leaders who understand the need for, reused standardization, process discipline, whatever it is, and they’re very pragmatic about it. They say, “What do you need here to develop an enterprise view of the customer, or what’s limiting your ability to move into the next market?”

And they have to pragmatically develop what the organization can use, as opposed to defining the organizational vision and then the big picture view of the enterprise architecture.

So in practice, it’s a much more pragmatic process than what we would imagine when we, for example, write books on how to do enterprise architecture. The best architects are listening very hard to who is asking for what kind of capability. When they see real demand and real leadership around certain enterprise capabilities, they focus their attention on addressing those, in the context of what they realize will be a bigger picture over time.

They can already see the unfolding bigger picture, but there’s no management commitment yet. So they stick to the capabilities that they are confident the organization will use. That’s the way they get the momentum to build. That is more art than science and it really distinguishes the most successful architects.

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If you are interested in attending The Open Group’s upcoming conference, please register here: http://www3.opengroup.org/event/open-group-conference-san-francisco/registration

Dana Gardner is president and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, an enterprise IT analysis, market research, and consulting firm. Gardner, a leading identifier of software and cloud productivity trends and new IT business growth opportunities, honed his skills and refined his insights as an industry analyst, pundit, and news editor covering the emerging software development and enterprise infrastructure arenas for the last 18 years.

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Today’s projects, tomorrow’s bigger picture: an examination of Enterprise Transformation

By Allen Brown, CEO, The Open Group

Enterprise Transformation seems to be gathering momentum within the Enterprise Architecture community. It’s a term that seems to have originated in the EA community but which could be quite strange to senior executives or others in non-IT functions. Although Google finds 39 million web search results for the term, almost all of them reflect an IT perspective. The Journal of Enterprise Transformation is an official journal of the Institute of Industrial Engineers (IIE) and the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE). While the systems engineering community’s notion of systems is based on general systems theory and is thus inclusive of much more than IT systems, the EA community has a tendency to see the world though “IT-colored glasses;” and this in turn colors its understanding of Enterprise Transformation.

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