By Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group, Enterprise Architect at Enterprise Wise LLC
In two prior blogs, I described why “Enterprise Architecture As A Service” (EA As A Service) would be a good thing and what it might look like.
Why? Because a properly implemented service delivery model would put the emphasis in more appropriate places:
- Production and use value versus EA as a deliverable
- Timely value along the way versus at the end
- Clear expectations versus vague promise
- Support and enablement versus ivory tower compliance
What? A portfolio of services provided on demand in service categories:
- Planning Services to scope based on need
- Buy-in/collaboration Services to ensure the right people in the organization are engaged
- Development Services to build the right parts of an EA at the right time
- Management Services to ensure that the EA efforts delivers value consistently
- Usage Services to derive value from the EA
- Decision Support Services to support Portfolio Governance decisions
This blog provides some thoughts on how a supplier might deliver “EA As A Service.” The key – reach for solutions that always realize success on behalf of the client!
So how might an organization might deliver EA As A Service, I see 5 key areas.
Resource with the right mix of people. This isn’t about IT Architecture, providing EA As A Service requires a broader mix of skill sets to fill more than the traditional IT Architect role. In addition to the tradition architecture skills, the skills that need to be available include customer relationship management, risk management, project management and planning, contracting, requirements understanding, negotiation, leadership, and influence.
Educate those implementing your value chain in best open practices. To deliver EA As A Service, one would do well by ensuring services are delivered through best practices that are open because this enables an organization to train easily, hire selectively, and produce consistently. Of course, one might ask about differentiation – the secret sauce for differentiation will be in your proven ability to deliver fast and on target!
Apply the best in class tools proven to improve production capability. Similar to the about decided upon and utilizing a consistent set of best in class tools helps ensure that deliverables are consistent among clients and enable reuse which can improve speed and quality of delivery. Tools that support the best open practices add even more.
Collaborate with partners to evolve the best open practices. Keeping in mind that differentiation comes in how well you deliver EA As A Service, collaboration on the best open practices provides an avenue to improve the best practices based on real experiences, improves market perception, and helps keep the bar raised for the industry.
Hone your organization to deliver value quickly. Just hiring great people isn’t good enough, the service provider must organize for success. Ensuring that “A” team resources are always applied appropriately to deliver the service. The organization must support agile application of resources in short projects that have big impact. Some areas that should stand out are the customer facing staff, staff focused on collaboration on best open practices, and the back office technical staff and analysts. Additionally the organization should reflect cost effective knowledge management. The organization should consider a business model that is focused on value based pricing – not hours delivered. There is no magic organization structure for EA As A Service, rather the organization should constantly look for and remove barriers to agile delivery!
I hope this blog is useful to prospective clients and suppliers of EA As A Service. A prospective client can use this to look at a potential provider and assess whether they feel confident in the organization. An aspiring supplier might find this useful in developing their EA As A Service offering.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that The Open Group provides the ideal environment for collaborating on the best open practices for EA As A Service as well as for certifying people and organizations. This is all part of the continuing evolution of Enterprise Architecture!
Good luck as you REACH for the STARS!
Terence Blevins, a Fellow of The Open Group, is owner of Enterprise Wise LLC and a semi-retired Enterprise Architect. He is currently a Director of The Open Group Governing Board and an active contributor to the Healthcare Forum within The Open Group.
Terry has been involved with the architecture discipline since the 1980s, much of which was done while he was Director of Strategic Architecture at NCR Corporation. Terence has been involved with The Open Group since 1996 when he first was introduced to The Open Group Architecture Forum. He was co-chair of the Architecture Forum and frequent contributor of content to the TOGAF® framework including the Business Scenario Method. Currently he is excited to help the Healthcare Forum work on Boundaryless Healthcare Information Flow.
Terry was Vice President and CIO of The Open Group where he contributed to The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™.