Tag Archives: strategic alignment

Strategic Alignment Survey

These days organizations operate in a dynamic and fast changing environment which makes formulating a consistent strategy a challenging task and executing that strategy even more difficult. More than half of organizations surveyed in previous economic studies indicated that they have not been successful at executing strategic initiatives. Moreover, a majority of organizations face problems when executing their strategic vision.

In an environment where competition and globalization of markets is intensifying, managing and surviving change becomes increasingly important. A business strategy determines the decisions and course of action that businesses take to achieve competitive advantage and is therefore crucial to survive change. Nonetheless, several economic studies indicated that many organizations fail to implement strategic alternatives. Therefore, it is important to know more about the reasons underlying the difficulties of organizations to reach strategic alignment.

Strategic alignment
Organizations develop and implement strategies to achieve (strategic) goals. The development of a strategy is about formulating what should be changed to evolve from the current situation to the desired future state. Strategy implementation is about translating the strategic plans into clear actions to execute the strategy. Strategic alignment is the ability to create a fit or synergy between the position of the organization within the environment (business) and the design of the appropriate business processes, resources and capabilities (IT) to support the execution. Strategic alignment cannot be reached when strategy development is considered to be a separate process from strategy implementation. Strategy development and strategy implementation are intertwined processes which both need to be successful for superior firm performance.

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The way how organizations move from strategy development to strategy implementation is influenced by many factors. Consequently, strategic alignment is influenced by several factors which all contribute to the successful development and implementation of a strategy. We distinguish three categories in which several factors are combined that influence strategic alignment. How organizations manage the factors within these three categories determine whether they are able to reach strategic alignment or not. These three categories are:

  • Culture and shared beliefs: the collective thoughts and actions of employees towards the strategic orientation of the organization determine whether strategy implementation will be successful or not. Consequently, all the employees must be clear on the what, why, when and how of the strategy. According to previous studies the inability of management to overcome resistance to change is an important obstacle to strategy execution.
  • Organizational capabilities: capabilities, resources, systems and processes should be aligned with the strategy to be able to execute the strategy properly. An organization needs to consider their existing and needed capabilities and resources during strategy development and implementation. Strategic change gets obstructed when long-term strategic goals are not translated to short-term objectives or actions.
  • Communication: creating understanding throughout the organization about the strategy, like why it is developed and how it is implemented, is essential for developing and implementing a strategy. There should be a clear definition of purpose, values and behaviors to guide the implementation process. A poor or vague strategy makes it nearly impossible to successfully execute a strategy which makes it a killer of strategy implementation.strategy2

Strategic Alignment Survey

In order to gain a better understanding of the strategic alignment efforts of individual organizations, BiZZdesign has created a Strategic Alignment survey. We want to understand more about the way in which organizations move from strategy development to strategy implementation. The information gathered from this survey contributes to the work done on improving strategic alignment within organizations. We would like to learn from your organization’s experiences regarding strategy development and implementation and its efforts towards strategic alignment. For this reason we kindly ask you to fill in the survey: http://alignment-eng.enquete.com/.

BiZZdesign (along with our partners The Open Group, NAF and the University of Twente) would be grateful if you could complete this Strategic Alignment survey to help us get a better understanding of the strategic alignment efforts of organizations.

The survey will be available on-line until the end of June 2014. All results will be analysed and reported in an anonymous way.

The results of this survey will then be published in a White Paper by The Open Group. If you leave us your contact email, then you will also receive the e-book ‘Strategizer – The Method’, in which initial results on strategic alignment are documented, and you have a chance to win a book voucher worth €200.

We really appreciate your time and effort. Thank you in advance.

franken_henryHenry Franken M.Sc. Ph.D, is CEO of BiZZdesign and chair of The ArchiMate Forum at The Open Group. Henry is a speaker at many conferences. Henry has co-authored several international journal and conference publications and Open Group whitepapers.

At BiZZdesign, Henry is also responsible for research and innovation. Alignment with and contribution to open standards are key. BiZZdesign has contributed to and edited the ArchiMate 2 specification. BiZZdesign is involved in the workgroup working towards the next version of TOGAF® and its further hand-in-pocket alignment with ArchiMate®.

BiZZdesign offers native tooling, certification training and consultancy for TOGAF® and ArchiMate®, both standards of The Open Group. BiZZdesign offers complete and integrated solutions (tools, methods, consultancy and training) to design and improve organizations. Business models, enterprise architecture, business requirements management and process business analysis and management are important ingredients in the solutions.

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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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Filed under Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, FACE™, TOGAF®