By Krish Ayyar, Managing Principal, Martin-McDougall Technologies
Enterprise Architecture is there to solve Enterprise level problems. A typical problem scenario could be something like “A large Mining and Resources company uses many sensors to collect and feed engineering data back to the central control room for monitoring their assets. These sensors are from multiple vendors and they use proprietary networking technologies and also data formats. There are interoperability issues. The company would like to improve the manageability and availability of these systems by exploring solutions around the emerging Internet Of Things (IoT) technology”.
There are many ways to solve Enterprise level problems. A typical approach might be to purchase a packaged software or develop bespoke solutions and sponsor an IT project to implement it.
So, what is special about Enterprise Architecture? EA is the only approach that puts you in the driver seat when it comes to orderly evolution of your enterprise’s business and information systems landscape.
How do we go about doing this?
The best way is to develop Enterprise Architecture in a short engagement cycle of say 4 to 6 weeks through the use of TOGAF® 9.1 method. If you think about it, the TOGAF® ADM basically covers 4 “Meta” phases. They are namely: Preparing and Setting the Architecture Vision, Blueprinting the Target State, Solutioning & Road Mapping, Governance and Change Management. The key to a short engagement cycle is in not doing those activities which are already done elsewhere in the organisation but linking with them. This includes Business Strategy, IT Strategy, Detailed Implementation Planning and Governance. This might mean “Piggy Backing” on PMO processes and extending them to include Enterprise Architecture.
As part of “Preparing and Setting the Architecture Vision”, we identify the Business Goals, Objectives and Drivers related to this problem scenario. For instance in this case, let us say we ran business scenario workshops and documented the CFO’s statement that the overall cost of remotely monitoring and supporting Engineering Systems must come down. We now elicit the concerns and requirements related to business and information systems from the stakeholders. In this case, the CEO has felt that the company needs new capabilities for monitoring devices anytime, anywhere.
As part of the “Governance and Change Management”, we look at emerging Business and Technology trends. Internet of Things or “IoT” is trending as the technology which has the ability to connect sensors to the internet for effective control. At this juncture, we should do some research and collect information about the Product and Technology Solutions that could deliver the new or enhanced capabilities. Major vendors such as SAP, Cisco and Microsoft have IoT Solutions in their offerings. These solutions are capable of enabling remote support using mobile devices streaming data in the cloud, network infrastructure for transporting the data using open standards, Cloud Computing, sensor connectivity to Wifi / Internet etc.,
Next, as part of “Blueprinting the Target State””, we model the Current and Target state Business Capabilities and Information System Services and Functionalities. We can do this very quickly by selecting the relevant TOGAF® 9.1 Artifacts to address the concerns and requirements. These are grouped by Architecture Domains within the TOGAF® 9.1 document. We then identify the Gaps. In our example, these could be new support capabilities using IoT.
Now as part of “Solutioning and Road Mapping”, we roadmap the gaps in a practical way to deliver business value. We could effectively use the TOGAF® 9.1 “Business Value Assessment” technique to achieve this. This will help us to realise the business goals and objectives as per business priorities delivered by the solution components. For example, reducing the cost of remotely monitoring and supporting engineering systems could be realised by solutions that enable remote monitoring and support using mobile devices streaming data in the cloud.
Of course, architecture work is not complete until the solution is architected from a design perspective to manage the product and technology complexities during implementation. There is also the need for Architecture Governance to ensure that it does not go pear-shaped during implementation and operation.
This does not seem to be a lot of effort, does it? In fact, some sort of conceptualisation happens in all major projects prior to the business case leading up to funding approval. When it is done by people who do not have the right mix of strategy, project management, solutioning and consulting skills, it becomes a mere “tick in the box” exercise. Why not adopt this structured approach of Enterprise Architecture powered by TOGAF® 9.1 and reap the rewards?
Krish Ayyar is an accomplished Enterprise Architecture Practitioner with well over 10 years consulting and teaching Enterprise Architecture internationally. He is a sought after Trainer of TOGAF® 9.1 Level 2 and Archimate® 2.1 Level 2 Certification Courses with teaching experience for over 5 years in Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, India, USA and Canada. His experience includes a background in management consulting with Strategy and Business Transformation consulting, Enterprise Architecture consulting and Enterprise Architect functional roles in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia and USA for over 15 years. Krish is an active contributor to The Open Group Architecture Forum activities through membership of his own consulting company based in Sydney, Australia. Krish has been a presenter in Open Group conferences at Boston, Washington D.C and Sydney. He is currently Vice Chair of the Certification Standing Committee of the Architecture Forum.