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Enterprise Architects “Know Nothing”: A Conversation with Ron Tolido

By The Open Group

It has been well documented that the digital economy is sending many companies—not to mention industries— into a tailspin. Customer expectations, demands for innovation and a rapid change are creating an IT landscape that is not only difficult to manage but nearly impossible to predict. And according to Capgemini’s Ron Tolido, Enterprise Architects need to prepare to function in a world where they have no idea what type of solutions and innovations their clients may need, even in the near future—a world where Enterprise Architects “know nothing.”

Tolido, who spoke at The Open Group London 2016 in April, believes organizations must begin to look to “I don’t know” architectures if they are to survive in the digital economy. Traditional IT methods and architectural practices that were established during the 1980s and 1990s are no longer relevant in the digital age.

Because customer and business needs are constantly changing there really is no way to know what IT landscapes will look like in the future or what type of solutions organizations will need, Tolido says. Therefore, rather than asking clients what they need, IT must instead provide users an architected platform of services that can be mixed and matched to meet a variety needs, enabling business customers to go in any direction they want.

As such, Tolido says Enterprise Architects in this emerging digital era are comparable to the character Jon Snow from HBO’s Game of Thronesa character who is often told “You know nothing.” Like Jon Snow, today Enterprise Architects effectively know nothing because businesses have no idea what the future will hold, whether two days or ten years from now. With new business scenarios developing in real-time, architectures can no longer be painstakingly planned for or designed.

So where does that leave Enterprise Architects? What can they offer in a world where they know nothing and are heading blindly into an environment that is constantly in flux?

Tolido says it’s time for enterprise architectures to stop trying to make predictions as to what architectures should look like and instead provide the business a digital platform that will allow for a new style of architecting, one that drives continuous transformation rather than requirements-driven, step-by-step change.

To do this, Tolido says Enterprise Architects must enable “the art of the possible” within organizations, providing their clients with a catalog of possibilities—a listing of potential things they could be doing to help companies continually transform themselves.

This is a huge shift for most IT departments, Tolido says, which are still stuck in the mindset that the business is different from IT and that business requirements must drive IT initiatives, with architecture sitting somewhere between the two. No longer can architects be content to place architectures somewhere in the middle between the business and IT, Tolido says, because in the next generation of IT—the era of the platform—there is no distinction between business and IT. They are one and the same. With the “third platform”—or Open Platform 3.0™—the platform must allow the business to continually adapt to the needs of customers and market forces.

This brave new world will also require Enterprise Architects to become more adaptable themselves and give up control of their architectures, Tolido says. The role of architects is evolving with them becoming business enablers, or platform “maesters.”

Currently, many established enterprises are having a difficult time adjusting to this new reality; thus all the digital disruption we are seeing across industries, Tolido says. Start-ups and newer technology players have some advantage here because they are already in a state of change and their systems have been designed to deal with that.

One way, Tolido suggests, that enterprises can make transformation easier on themselves would be to create a “parallel IT universe” alongside their existing systems that explores a more service-oriented model and allows for them to transition. Although such a system might cannibalize existing services or products, it may also be the only way to keep up with disruptive market forces. “Better to eat yourself and be your own disruptor than have someone else do it to you,” Tolido says.

As “platform maesters,” Enterprise Architects will also need to become much more proactive in helping company stakeholders understand the necessity of a platform play for continuous business transformation. That means proving that the EA role is much more about designing a continuously enabling platform than actually designing solutions, which is a shift in role for EAs. Tolido believes EAs must also become better at telling the digital story and outlining the business possibilities that services can enable. “They need to become real change agents. This will require more imagination from architects as well.”

Enabling unhindered, continuous transformation may actually allow businesses to move closer to The Open Group vision of Boundaryless Information Flow™, Tolido says. Standards will have a significant role to play here because companies designing platforms that allow for constant change will need the help of standards. The work being done in The Open Group Open Platform 3.0 Forum can help organizations better understand what open platforms designed for micro services and ad hoc application composition will look like. For example, Tolido says, the concept of the Open Business Data Lake—an environment that combines services, data retrieval and storage in a fluid way to provides dynamic outlets and uses for the data, is an indicator of how the landscape will look differently. “Standards are crucial for helping people understand how that landscape should look and giving guidance as to how organizations can work with microservices and agility,” Tolido says.

Despite all the upheaval going on at companies and in IT today, Tolido believes these are exciting times for IT because the discipline is going through a revolution that will effect everything that businesses do. Although it may take some adjustments for Enterprise Architects, Tolido says the new landscape will provide a lot of compelling challenges for architects who accept that they know “nothing”, go with the flow and who can adapt to uncertainty.

“It’s a new world. There’s more change than you can absorb right now. Better enjoy the ride.”

@theopengroup

By The Open Group

Ron Tolido is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer of Application Services Continental Europe, Capgemini. He is also a Director on The Open Group Governing Board and blogger for Capgemini’s multiple award-winning CTO blog, as well as the lead author of Capgemini’s TechnoVision and the global Application Landscape Reports. As a noted Digital Transformation ambassador, Tolido speaks and writes about IT strategy, innovation, applications and architecture. Based in the Netherlands, Mr. Tolido currently takes interest in apps rationalization, Cloud, enterprise mobility, the power of open, Slow Tech, process technologies, the Internet of Things, Design Thinking and – above all – radical simplification.

 

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Filed under Boundaryless Information Flow™, Business Transformation, Data Lake, digital technologies, Enterprise Architecture, enterprise architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Internet of Things, IoT, Open Platform 3.0, Ron Tolido, Standards, The Open Group

Keys to Enterprise Architecture Success

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRM Solutions and The Open Group South Africa

Avoiding the perils on the way to successful Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture (EA) is more relevant today than ever before – considering the accelerating pace of technology adoption, many new and disruptive market forces, hyper-competitive environments, and rapidly changing business models.

Together, these present a burning requirement for many organisations to ‘digitise the enterprise’.

EA supports the organisation develop an holistic representation of the business, its information and technology. This provides a business tool for managing complexity and change.

The myriad benefits from successful EA practices include:

  • Competitive advantage – with so few organisations “getting it right”, having a business appropriate and sustainable EA function allows the organisation to respond to change with greater speed, and derive huge competitive advantage.
  • Market reputation – EA is essential for the organisation to promote a reputation of being well-governed (for example, EA allows the organisation to comply with King III and other governance/compliance requirements). EA acts as the crucial linchpin between corporate governance and IT governance.
  • Business transformation – EA supports major business transformations, by clearly understanding the current state, and clearly articulating the desired end-state. In this way, EA provides a clear roadmap for transformation
  • Portfolio rationalization – a structured approach to EA helps with reducing the size and complexity of the organisation’s technology estate, and removing any duplications within the application and technology portfolio.
  • Strategic support function – professional EA consulting services support the efforts of many critical areas within the enterprise – such as strategic planning, governance, risk and compliance, and solution architecture

In essence, EA facilitates the fusion between business and technology based on the fact that if the organisation cannot change its systems, it cannot change its business. New entrants are often more ‘digitally agile’: they have the ability – for example – to embrace new cloud platforms without being tied to millstone of legacy systems and processes.

The strategic theme that underpins the EA practice, and helps guard against failure, is that of ‘running the EA practice like a business, with a clearly-defined solution offering’.

Keeping this philosophy top-of-mind – across the entire ambit of people, tools, process, content, and products/services – is fundamental to ensuring that one’s EA practice is business-appropriate, sustainable, and ultimately successful. By running EA as if it is a business in its own right, in support of the enterprise’s strategic goals, the EA capability is positioned to evolve in scope and importance, and add increasing value to the enterprise over time.

However, so many EA programmes fail to achieve meaningful results. More often than not, they either end up on the scrapheap of failed IT programmes and wasted investments, or limp along with limited and isolated impact within the broader organisation.

So, why do EA programmes so often fail?

The role of the Chief Architect in ensuring EA success

Analysts confirm that the single biggest reason for failed EA programmes is lack of leadership skills within the core elements of the guiding coalition and the EA team. At the nucleus, the Chief Architect is required to lead by example and inspire others, while remaining acutely tuned into business’ needs.

Acting as the keystone in the EA structures that are being built, the Chief Architect must be flexible enough to continually adapt the business case for EA, but remain unwavering in the eventual vision – that of modernising and optimising the way the organisation functions.

The resilience of the EA function ultimately depends on the strengths of the Chief Architect.

As EA inevitably takes some time to generate sustainable returns, the Chief Architect must maintain the enthusiasm of executive stakeholders and business partners, while dealing with the ever-present threat that some individuals may revert back to old habits, divert funds to other projects, or focus on short-term wins.

This is a delicate balance, and the skills that qualify someone as a great architect don’t necessarily make them a strong leader. The most essential attributes include business acumen, the ability to translate technology into simple business outcomes, the ability to listen, communicate, present to groups, articulate the vision of the EA function, and inject enthusiasm for the EA practice.

Of course, it goes without saying that the Chief Architect must also possess the right technical skills which allow her to guide and govern the EA portfolio. In staffing the EA function, organisations should consider candidates in the context of defined career ladders and skills assessments. It is only with the right skills background that the Chief Architect will be in a position the strategic importance of the EA function within the first year of their tenure, or the practice is at risk of dissipating.

Leadership also includes aligning the differing EA visions held by the various business units and stakeholders. Everyone has a slightly different spin on what EA should achieve, and how the organisation will achieve it. While keeping stakeholders involved in the project, the Chief Architect must influence, guide, and delicately meld these visions into a single cohesive EA strategy.

Finally, the EA practice is at risk if the Chief Architect and her team are not skilled in communicating with key stakeholders across both business and technology domains and at multiple levels within the organisation. Results need to be clearly measured and demonstrated to the business. The EA vision must be constantly reinforced throughout the programme as the practice develops in maturity.

Setting up the EA team for success; the core EA team

As important as her role may be, the Chief Architect cannot ‘go it alone’. Ensuring that the right core Enterprise Architecture (EA) team is in place is the next important step in avoiding potential EA failure. Led by a strong guiding coalition and steering committee, the team needs to consider how to manage the work, how to control delivery against the plan, how any blind spots will be identified, and how they will engage with the rest of the organisation.

None of this can happen just by accident. The starting point is to conduct a critical analysis of the skills requirements, and match this with the right people in the right roles. Any silos, or ‘stovepipes’ should be dismantled, in favour of greater collaboration and knowledge-sharing – giving the Chief Architect better visibility of everything happening within the team.

So, with a strong EA team at the nucleus, and skilled individuals in the various areas of the organisation, the Chief Architect is able to allocate resources efficiently and generate the best returns in the least possible time. Excellence in the execution of the EA tasks, from beginning to end, is only ever possible with quality staff involved.

There is an ever-present risk that the core team gets pulled into detailed operational work like solution delivery – while the strategic architectural role gets deprioritised. Another common risk is that the EA practice becomes something of a ‘dumping ground’ for disparate IT team members. For this reason, when a new Chief Architect is appointed, one of her first tasks is to assess the team capabilities, restructure, replace and recruit where necessary.

The goal is to ensure the right portfolio of skills is spread across the entire EA discipline – people with the right qualifications, tool proficiencies and psychometric profiles are working together in the optimal structure.

Organisational positioning

To have legitimacy among executive stakeholders, and to avoid knee-jerk, short-term approaches that merely address symptoms (rather than dealing with root causes), the appropriate placement of the EA function is fundamental to its success.

For example, if EA is housed within the area of the Chief Technology Officer then we can expect the focus to be all about technical architectures and solutions support. If it’s positioned under the Chief Information Officer, the focus is often more on supporting solution architectures.

Reporting into business strategy and governance structures reduces technology-centric thinking. Whichever is the case, we find that organisational structure shapes the behaviour and the strategies of the teams.

Appropriate structure and alignment within the organisation is critical for ‘expectation management’. We’ve seen many cases of senior stakeholders (within whose portfolio the EA function resides) making promises to executives, shareholders, or markets – creating unrealistic expectations of what EA is capable of doing at a particular level of maturity.

The organisational design must be fit-for-purpose, depending on the firm’s specific requirements and the state of maturity. The EA function will be hindered if its scope is not clearly defined, and does not span all of the horizontal EA domains (business architecture, information architecture, data architecture, application architecture and technology architecture) and vertical domains (integration, security and solution architecture).

If these areas are fragmented, it becomes tougher to answer questions around how they will integrate, who will be responsible for what, and how the organisation will build an integrated view of the target architecture. In highly federated, decentralised or geographically-dispersed organisations, the positioning becomes even more complex –  often being required to morph according to changing business priorities. This requires a clear understanding of what EA capabilities are performed globally, regionally and locally.

The EA team needs to simultaneously build the EA capability (and start delivering results), while selling this positive story to executives – in order to achieve their further buy-in. This may place greater pressure on the teams in the short-term, as milestones and commitments are thrust into the spotlight and must be met. We recall the principle of ‘publish or perish’, which is crucial to maintaining the involvement and support of executive stakeholders.

Executive sponsorship

The business executive must empower the EA function with a defined and widely communicated mandate. Failure to do so often results in ‘turf wars’ between the EA practice and related areas of the organisation, such as the Programme Management Office or Service Management.

To build on early momentum, EA education and communication should filter down from above as one of the organisation’s highest priorities. This helps to foster business stakeholder engagement and ensure that EA content is used in the right ways “on the ground”.

Executives are also able to remove many of the obstacles that could otherwise bring on the demise of EA in the organisation. Executive sponsors may be called on to influence budgets and vendor selection, or make the necessary structural changes to the teams, or ensure that architecture governance remains firmly on the agenda.

So, in summary, it is critical to have the right people, under the right leadership (the Chief Architect and her guiding coalition), working in the right structure within the organisation. Without all three of these things in place, the EA practice is at great risk of failure.

Ivory Tower syndrome

A common reason for the collapse of EA initiatives, is architects who become overly-enamoured with the conceptual aspects of their work. They return from their retreats away from the business, with elaborate frameworks, and little practical guidance on how to implement them.

These concepts will be presented to key influencers within the organisation, most of whom will not understand the content, so their complex reference architectures will be ignored. In this way, the EA team is perceived as living in an Ivory Tower – disconnected from the business and alienating stakeholders – often leading to the withdrawal of support and sponsorship from key people.

These complex frameworks are built in isolation from the business stakeholders on the ground.

Investing too much time in detailed documentation of the “as-is states”, and creating vast arrays of diagrams, gives the impression that progress is being made, when in reality, this flurry of visible ‘activity’ is being mistaken for progress.

This academic approach to EA leads to inertia in decision-making, a state of ‘deferred commitment’ where the fear of failure leads to an inability to act. The EA practice lives by the principle of “publish or perish” (describing how critical it is to deliver tangible outputs).

This leads to distorted perspectives, where the architect’s views of the business architecture and other architecture domains are not necessarily shared by their key stakeholders.

Architects who dogmatically force their models on stakeholders – without fully appreciating the changing business’ requirements or tailoring their services to meet the business’ demands – are bound to fail.

By focusing on tangible outputs, and running the EA practice like a business, architects can effectively maintain a stakeholder-centric approach to delivering business value.

Architects need to ‘get their hands dirty’ – such as getting involved in the actual modelling, investing time in mentoring people in architecture skills, closely following the business’ needs, and evolving the EA artefacts.

This should be combined with strong marketing and communications efforts – where architects constantly communicate and evangelise the value of the EA practice to business stakeholders.

If not, the team risks the ‘Ivory Tower syndrome’ setting in, and will lose the backing of the C-suite. Even if budgets are still provided for, the bigger work surrounding EA – like maturing the EA capability, business transformation and change management – will not be possible without active executive support.

@theopengroup

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRM

Stuart Macgregor is the CEO, Real IRM Solutions and  The Open Group South Africa. Through his personal achievements, he has gained the reputation of an Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance specialist, both in South Africa and internationally.

Macgregor participated in the development of the Microsoft Enterprise Computing Roadmap in Seattle. He was then invited by John Zachman to Scottsdale, Arizona to present a paper on using the Zachman framework to implement ERP systems. In addition, Macgregor was selected as a member of both the SAP AG Global Customer Council for Knowledge Management, and of the panel that developed COBIT 3rd Edition Management Guidelines. He has also assisted a global Life Sciences manufacturer to define their IT Governance framework, a major financial institution to define their global, regional and local IT organizational designs and strategy. He was also selected as a core member of the team that developed the South African Breweries (SABMiller) plc global IT strategy.

Stuart, as the lead researcher, assisted the IT Governance Institute map CobiT 4.0 to TOGAF®. This mapping document was published by ISACA and The Open Group. He participated in the COBIT 5 development workshop held in London in 2010.

 

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Filed under Business Transformation, EA, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, Standards, The Open Group

Ensuring Successful Enterprise Architecture by Following Kotter’s Eight Stage Journey

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRM Solutions and The Open Group South Africa

These industry insights look at John Kotter’s eight stages of change management, and explore his timeless blueprint for effective change leadership. These change management principles can gel with an enterprise architecture (EA) roadmap to achieve business transformation.

The company’s EA practice is viewed as the engine room that powers the move towards transformation, and not the end-goal in itself. However, Kotter’s eight stages have a huge role to play in the development of an EA practice.

Stage 1 – Establishing urgency

The journey begins with breaking new ground, jolting people out of their comfort zones, and forcing them to deal with often uncomfortable realities. Change, in general, is something people tend to resist – and one of the first tasks for change agents is to overcome the powerful forces of tradition.

This stage requires executives to arrive at a brutally honest assessment of the company as it currently stands. It means exposing issues that may hinder growth and adaption in the future. It involves assessing the market realities, confronting macro, global forces – and identifying all the possible crises, barriers, sources of resistance, as well as potential opportunities.

Most importantly, it requires leaders and change agents to start removing the sources of complacency within the company. In other words, they must refute the reasons that some use to believe change isn’t necessary, or that the cost of change will be too great.

Establishing (or reinvigorating) the company’s EA practice is vital in making a successful start on the change journey.

EA rises to the fore as the primary toolset that will enable lasting positive change. It guides the company from a state of fragmented applications, organisational structures and processes – and builds an integrated and optimised environment.

In short, EA fuses the business model imperatives and the IT portfolio.

Establishing a sense of urgency among key stakeholders (a process that is triggered by the company CEO) makes the formation of change leadership structures possible. From an architectural perspective, these are bodies like business architecture governance committees, architecture review boards, and IT steering committees.

Without adequate governance, enterprise architecture will remain a theoretical concept that will fail to deliver any transformational business benefits. This, in fact, moves the process neatly on to stage two…

Stage 2 – Creating the guiding coalition

Kotter shows that a strong, core team (the “guiding coalition”) lies at the heart of any good change strategy. From there, the message of change radiates outwards to stakeholders throughout the broader company and its extended ecosystem.

Importantly, this coalition must possess people with one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Position of power… from executives, to line managers, to others with an influential stature in the enterprise, it is essential to enlist the support of decision-makers at an early stage.
  • Expertise… team members with diverse skill sets and points of view, and experience in many of the key areas of the enterprise.
  • Credibility… those involved in the coalition need to have strong reputations and the ability to sway the mindsets of others that are hesitant to buy in to the change strategy.
  • Leadership… it is essential for the team to include proven leaders who are capable of the kind of visionary, strategic thinking that the coalition will demand.

The team is pulled together by mutual trust, a shared vision for the future, and a passion to achieve these common goals. While at this stage the end-state of business transformation may not be in view, there is a shared recognition that the company needs to change the way it operates.

From an EA perspective, this guiding coalition sets the tone where EA starts to be viewed as a business entity of sorts. In a fully functioning EA practice, the company manages its ‘stock in trade’ (the corporate intellectual capital), and assembles the various components into EA products and services that address specific stakeholder requirements.

By starting to run the EA practice as if it was like a business in itself, even at these early stages, the coalition sets out on the right path – one that will eventually see the company formalising and packaging intellectual capital, and turning it into a corporate asset.

The business model will work if the various stakeholders within the company receive more value than their perceived cost of contribution. For example, HR may benefit from having a clear map of everyone’s role profile; internal audit may value the accurate view of weaknesses in the company’s internal processes. Something of a virtuous feedback loop develops.

Stage 3 – Developing a vision and strategy

In Kotter’s third stage – “developing a vision and strategy” – the guiding coalition sets to work on crafting the vision of change and transformation.

This typically runs as an iterative, sometimes even messy, process. Many different perspectives from the various stakeholders are considered, as different role-players provide a number of alternative ways to approach problems and reach goals.

As Kotter reiterates, this is a stage that encompasses both the head and the heart. It is a dynamic process that sees the value of strong teamwork rising to the fore – as the guiding coalition eventually settles on a unified approach..

A shared vision

Because of this complexity, the coalition can take weeks, even many months, to achieve a coordinated strategy for the future. Once established, a key contribution of the enterprise architecture (EA) practice is reducing the time taken to produce deliverables – such as the business capability map, for example.

Developing the vision requires the coalition spearhead a number of initial EA work-streams.

To begin with, a set of initial readiness assessments need to be conducted. These provide a clear barometer of where the organisation currently stands, in terms of the maturity and health of its existing EA practice, or its ability to easily embed a new EA framework. The assessments play a vital role in informing the vision for the future state.

Creating a library of definitions is an important early stage activity that ensures all the key stakeholders start from a common understanding of what EA, and a number of other important concepts and terminologies, really means.

Each of these needs to be considered across three dimensions: EA domains, the EA continuum and the EA architecture practice:

  • EA domains consist of business architecture, information architecture, data architecture, applications architecture, and technology architecture.
  • The EA continuum considers reference models at a group/enterprise level, an individual business or divisional level, as well as at product application and product focus level.
  • The EA architecture practice spans the areas of EA products and services, EA people, EA content (models, principles, standards, inventory, etc), as well as processes and tools.

Guiding principles are formulated across these three dimensions and serve as input to EA vision and strategy.

So, what exactly does the vision need to look like? While there is no singular approach to this, Kotter outlines a number of important characteristics inherent in any good vision that a guiding coalition composes.

He says it must be imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused, and flexible. Finally, it must be simple to communicate (something I will look at more closely in my next Industry Insight).

A guiding coalition

As the vision starts to crystallise, the coalition segments it into different work-streams – and assigns champions to each of these. Having individuals accountable for every aspect of the vision creates a strong sense of ownership, and ensures essential aspects are never overlooked.

It is only by following this thorough approach to developing the vision that the company can address its core system challenges at a root cause level, and overcome the well-worn situation of endless ‘quick fixes’.

It must be imaginable, desirable, feasible, focused, and flexible.

Too often, budget and time constraints force companies to address only the surface symptoms – by implementing disjointed, piecemeal improvements that fail to address the underlying issues, and serve to undermine the company’s EA practice.

These kinds of vicious cycles start circling throughout the organisation. As its structures become increasingly dependent on ad hoc quick fixes, they are continually weakened. In today’s competitive market environments, this is something that businesses can ill afford to let happen.

But, by following the vigorous approach to strategy and vision creation, the guiding coalition ultimately arrives at a strategic plan that describes how the business will transition, what the end-state will look like, and where investments, energy and focus need to be directed.

As everyone buys into the vision, change agents foster a better understanding of the ‘customer’ (internal stakeholders within the enterprise), the ‘products’ (the capabilities made possible by the EA practice), and how these products will be structured and packaged to address particular business needs.

Stage 4 – Communicating the vision

From the outset, the guiding coalition is responsible for communicating the EA vision to a nucleus group of stakeholders. As the EA practice develops momentum, the communication emanates outwards, to an increasingly broad group of stakeholders within the business.

Clearly, in this phase, timing is everything.

Over time, the EA practice evolves from its fledgling state, to greater levels of maturity. As this happens, the nature of the messages will change.

John Kotter (who advises on the eight stages of change management) says the communication needs to contain the following characteristics:

  • Simplicity (eliminating jargon and verbosity)
  • Metaphor-rich (pictures are worth a thousand words)
  • Multiple forums (leadership sessions, team meetings, newsletters, Intranets, etc)
  • Repetition (to reinforce the key messages and ensure they ‘sink in’)
  • Leadership by example (conduct from leadership that aligns with the communications and messaging)
  • Explaining apparent inconsistencies (address everything that seems counterintuitive or illogical, to avoid the communication being undermined)
  • Two-way communication (involving a feedback loop wherever possible greatly increases engagement and empowerment levels)

Put simply, the goal of this phase is to ensure the right staff are provided with the right information, at the right time – and empowered to work constructively within the new EA framework.

The advantages of formalising corporate intellectual property and establishing an EA practice need to be clearly articulated – at both an individual level and a company-wide level. If the EA vision is not clearly understood, people will very quickly disengage. They will revert to old habits and frameworks of working, and the timelines for the EA practice to start delivering business value will increase.

Too often, the coalition becomes overly enamoured with EA as a discipline – too ‘inwardly-focused’ – and forgets about the importance of communicating regularly with key stakeholders, business owners, and decision-makers across the organisation.

In fact, there is a continuum, ranging on the one end from the purist that “sits in an Ivory Tower” and becomes too academic and removed from the business, to the other end of the spectrum, with an EA practice experienced in the realities of the company, knows its challenges (eg, political, technical, legacy-related), and takes a pragmatic approach to EA.

The latter is the approach most likely to succeed in generating a sustainable and value-adding EA practice.

Over time, the EA practice evolves from its fledgling state to greater levels of maturity.

Here I use the analogy of running the EA practice like a business in itself: through delivering value to stakeholders one builds a relationship where people willingly engage with the EA practice. In this ideal scenario, positive word of mouth is created – which becomes one of the most valuable forms of internal communication.

Another very impactful form of communicating the vision is when the coalition exemplifies the behaviour it is seeking to establish in others, and ‘leads by example’. By becoming a role model, the coalition is more likely to succeed in its quest to develop new ways of working within the broader company.

Stage 5 – Empowering action

But communication alone is not enough. Ensuring the broad-based empowerment of people involves doing the following:

  • Teams need to understand the vision for business transformation and the EA value proposition that will enable it. Individuals must internalise this, consider what it means to them, and truly buy into the vision. They, in turn, will become ‘marketers’ of the company’s EA practice – articulating the vision to other stakeholders.
  • Teams need to receive quality, comprehensive training on the EA disciplines and activities as they relate to the individual’s particular function within the company. They must be empowered with the architecture content that allows them to start harvesting information.
  • From there, teams need to populate all of this existing content (such as business strategies, IT strategies, existing applications portfolios, etc) into an integrated EA repository, fully embedded in the organisation.
  • An EA methodology – such as TOGAF – is customised and tailored to the company. This means aligning the EA process with the systems development life cycle, strategic planning, corporate governance, and business process improvement, for example.
  • Any barriers, at any stage, need to be swiftly removed, so individuals are unleashed to work and to add value within the new framework.

Stage 6 – Generating short-term wins

Quick wins, even on a small scale, become the catalyst to building momentum in enterprise architecture.

By this point in the process of business transformation, the company has established and communicated the vision for change, and then begun the process of empowering the right teams to start executing on that vision.

Now, as it starts to package some of the early-phase model content, it becomes crucial for the fledgling enterprise architecture (EA) practice to generate some quick wins. Demonstrating tangible business value, even on a small scale, helps to maintain the interest of key stakeholders, and ensures the momentum doesn’t start to wane.

In fact, a virtuous cycle should begin to emerge: as the EA practice develops the operational capability to satisfy some business needs, stakeholders begin to recognise the business value. This leads to positive word-of-mouth being spread throughout the company, which in turn stimulates increased levels of demand from various quarters.

Ultimately, this demand translates into increased willingness to invest in the EA journey. With greater levels of buy-in, the EA practice’s operational capabilities continue to expand, and the cycle continues.

Stage 7 – Success breeds success

Short-term wins become the catalyst to building momentum in EA. John Kotter says these early successes are vital for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • Providing evidence that sacrifices are worth it: many staff within the coalition and other areas of the business have invested great time and energy in getting to this point.
  • Reward change agents with a pat on the back: adding business value is the biggest recognition of success.
  • Help fine-tune vision and strategies: insights learned from practically applying EA can be fed back into the strategic thinking.
  • Undermine cynics and self-serving resisters: tangible EA successes start to erode the credibility of naysayers.
  • Keep bosses on board: maintaining the support of line managers, executives, and other senior stakeholders happens naturally
  • Build momentum: more and more people are drawn into the developing EA practice, as people want to associate with a ‘success story’.

It goes without saying that these short-term wins need to be built on a sustainable and professional EA practice. The foundations must be strong – so the content can be easily accessed, and re-used for further process improvement in other areas of the business.

As the demand for business transformation increases, the EA practice needs to manage expectations and delivery. The EA team cannot take on ‘too much’ in the early stages, and be seen as the team that slows things down, or hampers innovation and change.

Essentially, the value that stakeholders derive from EA needs to continually exceed their perceived cost of contribution.

As the practice reaches out into the broader company, new opportunities emerge for specialists to contribute their unique insights. To keep the right people on the team, the company also needs to attend to human capital issues, like:

  • Ensuring key EA staff members have professional development paths and the opportunities to further their formal qualifications.
  • Providing mentoring (from within the organisation, or by pulling in outside mentors).
  • Performance management processes that ensure staff are accurately rewarded for their performance.

With the right team in place, the lead architect’s focus can shift from the everyday EA operations to higher-value activities. These include continually engaging with executives from across the business – to extend the scope of the EA practice and ensure it remains relevant and value-adding.

The value that stakeholders derive from EA needs to continually exceed their perceived cost of contribution.

The lead architect and the team can concentrate on understanding the potentially disruptive “nexus of forces” (cloud, mobility, big data and social), conducting impact assessments, scenario planning, and implementing new strategies.

The architecture team is then operating on all three levels – strategic, tactical and operational; and facilitating learning across the enterprise.

In this way, the chief architect and his EA team start to position themselves as trusted advisors and business partners to the company – becoming a crucial leadership support function. Ultimately, the true measure of the EA team’s worth is the extent to which the company engages with it, and the extent to which business transformation has been realised.

Stage 8 – Making it stick

Shifting from a state of architecture execution to architecture leadership is the next step in the EA journey.

Kotter’s final stage guides an organisation on the optimum ways that change can be embedded, anchored and matured. From an Enterprise Architecture (EA) perspective, these phases relate to the ‘professionalising’ of the EA practice.

Earlier, we looked at generating tangible “early wins” in the EA practice, and how they can echo throughout the organisation, as positive word-of-mouth spreads. The next step is to build on this momentum and to establish EA across every layer of processes, people, content, and tools, and products/services.

So, what are the hallmarks of a mature-state EA practice?

  • Entrenching the ethos of “running the EA practice like a business”… The foundation of the ‘business model’ includes five process areas: managing the business, enhancing market reputation, winning better business, delivering valued solutions, and growing the EA capability. In this way, resource allocation remains tightly synced with business need.
  • Innovation… EA essentially manages intellectual capital as an asset, translating tacit individual knowledge into organisational assets, in the form of models – which fuels constant innovation. Ideas are crowd-sourced from employees and partner ecosystems, and then analysed and prioritised according to business impact.
  • Strategic planning is dynamic and living… As intellectual capital becomes formalised as a corporate asset, the company can perform strategic planning at a higher level. This enables it to respond with agility to any changes in the external environment, as well as evolving business models within the company walls.
  • Business processes and capabilities become optimised… integrated business processes are naturally (willingly) enforced across the business. Process owners and system custodians focus on the right business capabilities and continually optimise processes.
  • Investment… The organisation targets its technology investment on IT assets that support identified and measurable business objectives, all within the framework of EA.

These fundamentals represent a shift from a state of “EA execution” to what can be referred to as “architecture leadership”.

In this state of advanced EA maturity, EA should also be repositioned and de-coupled from the IT department. Ideally, EA practice leaders should be moved to the office of the CEO, reporting to a function such as transformation management.

One of the most important facets of successfully transitioning from isolated early wins to EA leadership, which is embedded throughout the company, is ensuring key people are retained. The departure of important individuals can have catastrophic consequences at this stage – meaning EA never becomes entrenched.

For this reason, successful business leaders place a high emphasis on training, mentoring and further developing the EA teams. As ambitions soar, and people develop a passion for EA, industry bodies like The Open Group provide a useful outlet for this energy.

By contributing to the industry standards that are developed by The Open Group, individuals enjoy a greater sense of purpose – a tangible feeling that they are working on ‘something bigger’. Added to this, new opportunities open up, to develop their careers and networks.

For the company, this represents something of a win-win situation. By retaining these key specialists, it ensures the EA programme does not suffer interruptions or collapses.

As the success of the EA practice continues and the solution base expands, a virtuous cycle develops momentum: more and more ‘customers’ within the company start benefiting from EA, and more and more people are willing to invest in it.

The change process speeds up and becomes smoother; the ambit of EA broadens, and starts to influence every aspect of the business – including things like strategy planning, risk management, business transformation, and even mergers and acquisitions.

The essence of EA – that of managing complexity and change – is never forgotten. This new world requires new ways of thinking to address challenges and grab opportunities. Simply put, firms that continue to perpetuate old practices, will be left in the dust.

I’ll leave you with one of the pioneers of EA, John Zachman, who succinctly describes this essential fact:

“Increasing flexibility and reducing time to market… will only happen with responsible and intellectual investment, in developing and maintaining Enterprise Architecture, to deliver quality information, to produce a quality enterprise.”

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRMStuart Macgregor is the CEO, Real IRM Solutions and  The Open Group South Africa. Through his personal achievements, he has gained the reputation of an Enterprise Architecture and IT Governance specialist, both in South Africa and internationally.

 

Macgregor participated in the development of the Microsoft Enterprise Computing Roadmap in Seattle. He was then invited by John Zachman to Scottsdale, Arizona to present a paper on using the Zachman framework to implement ERP systems. In addition, Macgregor was selected as a member of both the SAP AG Global Customer Council for Knowledge Management, and of the panel that developed COBIT 3rd Edition Management Guidelines. He has also assisted a global Life Sciences manufacturer to define their IT Governance framework, a major financial institution to define their global, regional and local IT organizational designs and strategy. He was also selected as a core member of the team that developed the South African Breweries (SABMiller) plc global IT strategy.

Stuart, as the lead researcher, assisted the IT Governance Institute map CobiT 4.0 to TOGAF®. This mapping document was published by ISACA and The Open Group. He participated in the COBIT 5 development workshop held in London in 2010.

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TOGAF® User Group Meeting Preview: A Conversation with Terry Blevins

By The Open Group

The Open Group will be hosting its first TOGAF® User Group Meeting on January 25 in San Francisco. We recently spoke with long-time member, Terry Blevins, The Open Group Board Member, Fellow and former Chair of The Open Group Architecture Forum about his involvement over the years with TOGAF®, an Open Group standard.  We also discussed what users can look forward to at the User Group Meeting.

What’s your history with TOGAF? How long have you been a TOGAF user?

I’ve been involved with The Open Group since before it was The Open Group, when it was X/Open. I first engaged with The Open Group in the architecture area when they were working on the first or second release of TOGAF—that was around 1996. For a number of releases of TOGAF, I was a direct contributor. I was also a Co-chair of the Architecture Forum and chaired the Work Group covering certification of TOGAF architects for a couple years.

One of the main contributions I made to TOGAF was the Business Scenario Method, which is what I’ll be talking about in one of the breakout sessions at the User Group Meeting. For the past number of years, I’ve been on The Open Group Governing Board, so I haven’t participated directly in the Architecture Forum or its Work Groups, but I do keep my eye on things. Most recently I’ve been involved in the Healthcare Forum, with an eye on applying the disciple of architecture to improve healthcare information flow.

When you were a TOGAF contributor, what types of things were you contributing to the standard?

When I first contributed content ,I was working for NCR Corporation where we were keen on seeing standard approaches to architecture. The whole thing is that you bring contributions to the standard from your company or from your personal experience that are practical and that work. The Business Scenario Method was something that I created to help companies understand real, live business needs, and this is essential for any architecting project. Other contributions were spread throughout the early versions of the TOGAF specification.

Why a User Group Meeting now?

The growth of the number of people who are certified in TOGAF is huge. It’s truly become an accepted method worldwide and has resulted in pull from the business side of organizations. That pull and worldwide interest generates a need for people to come together and share. In addition, I think there is a greater occurrence of procurements for architects that are certified in TOGAF today. So that puts the importance in the user community on truly understanding how to apply TOGAF, which drives a need for a place where users can go. Another dimension is, of course, in reaching out to the user community to drive TOGAF with requirements that represent the users!

Those certified and/or using TOGAF have always had the Architecture Forum as a venue where they could share, but the Architecture Forum has become so big and so concentrated on the aspects of developing the method. Many in the TOGAF user community are not interested in developing methods; their interest is in the application of the method. They really want to have a forum to go to where they can talk to other users of TOGAF and talk about what works, what doesn’t work, share their stories and accomplishments and get some hints on how to avoid failures. It’s more about the application of TOGAF.

We’d always thought that there would be a point in time where it would be very difficult for the Architecture Forum to serve both the purpose of users and of people that were methodologists. We may have hit that point. Having a forum that is less formal, like a user group, is attractive to users. Then they can also gather requirements and send them off to the Architecture Forum and say ‘this is our collective voice on constructive improvement points for TOGAF. Do with them what you may.’

What can users expect from the User Group Meeting?

I tell people that we want the users to ‘SEE’ TOGAF differently, differently in comparison to reading the book, getting the training or taking tests. What I mean by ‘SEE’ is that we want users to be able to ‘share’ experiences, so that’s the ‘s’ part of ‘see.’ We want the users to get ‘enlightened’ on new things down the road and the current thinking on what might be next. And we also want users to feel that they’re ‘engaged’ in making improvements to TOGAF. We want to provide the users the ability to share their experiences, successes and failures, get information that they might not get in the books or the training and have the opportunity to say ‘Hey, this should change.’ So that’s SEE—Share, Enlightenment and Engagement.

You’re hosting the Using the Business Scenarios track – what can users look forward to in that track?

In the Business Scenario session, I wanted to make sure that we have some structure and an agenda. But if the structure breaks down because the users want to take the conversation someplace, we’ll let that happen. The structure was created to cover sharing, engagement and enlightenment—the users can change that if they want. If the structure holds, I’ll provide some background on what the Business Scenario method is, and we’ll ask for some stories about how the users get customer requirements, what challenges they have, special techniques they use and key successes and barriers. Then we’ll look at what needs to be done to make the Business Scenario Method better or what we can do to make capturing requirements easier and open up that conversation. Finally, we’ll talk about the latest thinking regarding Business Scenarios. There’s some changes I’ve recently made to the method, and I’ve also added some tips, tricks and techniques that I’ll share with the users. The focus will be on how people really get the business requirements they need to drive their architecting work.

What do you consider to be the primary benefits having a user meeting for TOGAF?

I hope the benefit is that they’re really learning from other users and learn what pitfalls to avoid. Their benefit is they’re getting the experience of other users, and that’s going to make them better architects. Secondly, they have a real opportunity to provide their voice on what needs to be done to make the tools better so they can have something in the future that will be better positioned to make them better architects. With active participation, the attendees are going to learn some things that will help them be better architects, which is going to make them more desirable and hopefully they’ll have better career opportunities.

What else do you hope users will get out of the User Group Meeting?

The pride in being able to say they are part of the larger community and an active participant in putting together a voice capable of moving the discipline of architecture forward.

How will the User Group Meeting help inform the evolution of the standard?

By gathering requirements. We’ve designed some TOGAF improvement suggestion index cards that we’ll pass out to users and ask them to fill out the cards whenever they come up with an idea for an improvement. We’ll ask them to turn those in, and, by the way, for each card they’ll get a raffle ticket, which will be fed into a downstream process to improve TOGAF. That engagement part of the event is being facilitated through these cards. We’ll collect the cards, do an analysis and then make recommendations to the Architecture Forum.

It’s the first go, so we hope it will inspire more events, more mechanisms to collect TOGAF requirements and greater sharing experiences. We also hope the user community will take an active role in shaping how these user group sessions may evolve.

For more information on The Open Group San Francisco 2016, please visit http://www.opengroup.org/sanfrancisco2016.

@theopengroup #ogSFO

 

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The 20th Anniversary of the UNIX® Standard and Certification

By The Open Group

The UNIX® platform, as a technology, has been around more than 40 years, being at the center of innovation and technology in computer science and driving the Fortune 1000 businesses today. Over twenty years ago, a number of companies came together to acknowledge the value of the UNIX platform, but more importantly, the need for all UNIX implementations to be interoperable and compatible to support the tremendous ecosystem built on top of UNIX systems. An open and inclusive collaboration followed, which led to the creation of the Single UNIX Specification, the industry standard for UNIX systems. The standard is supported by extensive certification tests to ensure that the theory of interoperability and compatibility became a reality with suppliers, vendors and customers knowing and demanding UNIX certification in their solution. UNIX, the go-to operating system, is trusted for mission critical applications because it is robust with a powerful footprint and is inherently more secure and stable than the alternatives. The first UNIX certifications were awarded twenty years ago this year.

During the following 20 years, the UNIX standard has continued to evolve and embrace new technology. The most recent version UNIX V7 is the latest step in the evolution of the standard, but by no means the end as there is greater and greater demand by those developing UNIX operating systems, those who integrate UNIX operating system in their solutions and, most importantly, the customers who deploy those solutions as part of their business innovation.

“The UNIX platform demonstrates the value of being open, since as a truly open standard it allows all to focus on driving innovation of the ecosystem around the platform rather than competing at the core OS level. The open standard makes portability easier for software developers, provides integrators with choice in the building blocks for solutions, and enables customers to focus on solving business problems rather than integration issues,” says Steve Nunn, President and CEO, The Open Group.

“The Open Group from day one has been the shepherd for the standard leveraging its long history in the development of open standards. This ensures the value of the standard UNIX platform grows for both member companies who contribute, as well as those who demand openness as part of their solution,” comments Andrew Josey, Director, Standards, The Open Group.

Please join The Open Group and our Platinum Member UNIX Partners in celebrating this momentous 20-year milestone.

@theopengroup @unixr

 

 

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The Open Group Edinburgh 2015: BAE Systems – Using TOGAF® for Operations Transformation

By The Open Group

When Matthew Heard first heard the term TOGAF®, not only did he have no idea what it was but he misspelled the name of the standard at first. It wasn’t until after searching Google for “TOGATH” that the real name for the architectural framework popped up and he got a sense for what it was, he says. And thus began a more than 15-month journey that has started Heard and his colleagues at BAE Systems, a British defense, aerospace and security systems provider, down a path to help transform the Operations function of the company’s Maritime Submarine division.

As is the case when any company looks to TOGAF, an Open Group standard, BAE’s Submarine division was in search of a structured way to help make organizational changes when they sought out the framework. According to Heard, a Senior Operations Engineer at BAE, the company’s needs were multifold. As a product manufacturer, BAE was in need of a way to prepare their systems to transition from their current product to the next generation. With a new product planned to go into production in the near future—one that would require higher technical demands and performance—the company first needed to set itself up to smoothly move into production for the higher demand product while still building the current product line.

In addition, the company wanted to make operational changes. After having surveyed 3,000 of their employees regarding what could be done to make people’s jobs easier and make the company a better place to work, the company had received 8,000 comments about how to create a better working environment. After winnowing those down to 800 separate problem statements that included ideas on how to improve things like safety, deliverables and the overall workplace, the team had many potential ideas and solutions, but no way to determine where to start.

“How do you structure things so that you don’t try to do everything at once and therefore don’t do anything because it’s too overwhelming?” Heard says. “We had a lot of change to make but we couldn’t quantify what it was and what order to do it in.”

As it happened, IBM’s Paul Homan had been doing some work on-site with BAE. When he heard that the company was looking to make some organizational changes, he suggested they look at an Enterprise Architecture framework, such as TOGAF. Although the company’s new head of transformation was familiar with the framework, there were no Enterprise Architects on staff, no TOGAF certified employees and no one else on staff had heard of the standard or of Enterprise Architecture, Heard says. Thus the mix-up the first time he tried to look it up online.

After downloading a copy of TOGAF® 9.1, Heard and his colleague John Wilcock began the task of going through the entire standard to determine if it would help them.

And then they did something very unusual.

“The first thing we did was, anything with more than three syllables, we crossed out with a black pen,” Heard says.

Why did they go through the text and black out entire sections as if it were a classified document riddled with redacted text?

According to Heard, since many of the terms used throughout the TOGAF standard are technology and IT-driven, they knew that they would need to “translate” the document to try to adapt it to their industry and make it understandable for their own internal audiences.

“It talked about ‘Enterprise Architecture,’” Heard said. “If we said that to a welder or pipe fitter, no one’s going to know what that means. I didn’t even know what it meant.”

As a recent university graduate with a background in Engineering Management, Heard says the IT terminology of TOGAF was completely foreign to him. But once they began taking out the IT-related language and began replacing it with terminology related to what submarine mechanics and people in operations would understand, they thought they might be able to better articulate the framework to others.

“We didn’t know whether we had gone so far away from the original intent or whether we were still on the right line,” Heard says.

Luckily, with Paul Homan on-site, they had someone who was familiar with TOGAF that they could go to for guidance. Homan encouraged them to continue on their path.

“For example, it might say something like ‘define the enterprise architecture vision,’” Heard says. “Well I just crossed out the word ‘architecture’ and turned the word ‘enterprise’ into ‘function’ so it said ‘define the functional vision.’ Well, I can do that. I can define what we want the function to look like and operate like and have the performance that we need. That becomes tangible. That’s when we went back to Paul and asked if we were on the right track or if we were just making it up. He said, ‘Carry on with what you’re doing.’”

As it turned out, after Heard and Wilcock had gone through the entire 900-page document, they had maintained the essence and principles of TOGAF while adapting it so that they could use the framework in the way that made the most sense to them and for BAE’s business needs. They adapted the methodology to what they needed it to do for them—which is exactly what the TOGAF ADM is meant to do anyway.

TOGAF was ultimately used to help define BAE’s strategy for transforming their operations and production functions. The project is currently at the stage where they are moving from defining a scope of projects to planning which projects to begin with. The team has scoped approximately 27 transformation projects that will take place over approximately three to five years.

Heard says that it was a fortuitous coincidence that Homan was there to suggest the framework since it ultimately provided exactly the guidance they needed. But Heard also believes that it was also fortuitous that no one was familiar with the standard beforehand and that they took the risk of translating it and adapting it for their own needs. He feels had they already been trained in TOGAF before they started their project, they would have spent more time trying to shoehorn the standard into what they needed instead of just adapting it from the start.

“That was the real learning there,” he says.

Now Heard says he finds himself using the framework on a daily basis for any project he has to tackle.

“It’s now become a routine go-to thing even if it’s a very small project or a piece of work. It’s very easy to understand how to get to an answer,” he says.

Heard says that by providing a structured, standardized approach to solving problems, TOGAF ultimately allows organizations to not only take a structured approach to transformational projects, but also to document and measure their success along the way, which is key for meeting business objectives.

“Standardization gives process to projects. If you follow the same approach you become more efficient. If there’s no standard, you can’t do that.”

Learn more about how BAE is using TOGAF® for Business Transformation at The Open Group Edinburgh, October 19-22, 2015

Join the conversation #ogEDI

By The Open GroupMatthew Heard attended the University of Birmingham from where he graduated with an MSc in Engineering Management in 2013. During his time at University Matthew worked as a Project Engineer for General Motors, focusing on the development of improvements in efficiency of the production line. Upon graduating Matthew joined BAE Systems-Maritime-Submarines looking for a new challenge and further experience of change and improvement programmes. Since Matthew joined BAE his predominant focus has been the delivery of Operational change initiatives. Matthew undertook a review and translation of the TOGAF principles and objectives to develop a unique strategy to deliver a program of change for the Operations Function, the outputs of which delivered the Operations Transformation Strategic Intent and Work Scopes. Going forward Matthew aims to continue developing and utilising the principles and objectives of TOGAF to aid other functions within BAE with their own future strategic developments, starting with the HR Transformation Work Scope.

By The Open GroupJohn Wilcock has worked within the Maritime Sector for the last 27 years. Starting as a shipwright apprentice, John has worked his way up through the organisation to his current position as Head of Manufacturing & Construction Strategy. Throughout his career John has gained a wide range of experiences, working on a diverse selection of Defence and Commercial projects, including Warship and Submarine platforms. During this time John has been instrumental in many change programmes and in his current role John is responsible for the development and delivery of the functional Transformation and Build Strategies. In order to develop the Operations Transformation Strategy John has worked alongside Matthew Heard to undertake a review and translation of the TOGAF principles and objectives to create a bespoke strategic intent and work scope. John continues to drive change and transformation through the TOGAF principles.

By The Open GroupPaul Homan

Enterprise Architect at IBM, CTO for Aerospace, Defence & Shipbuilding IBM UKI

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In Praise Of Heuristics – or Saving TOGAF® From Its Friends

By Stuart Boardman, Senior Business Consultant, Business & IT Advisory, KPN Consulting and Ed Harrington, Senior Consulting Associate, Conexiam

As the world’s best known and most used Enterprise Architecture (EA) framework, it’s quite reasonable that TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, attracts criticism from both outside and within The Open Group membership. We would like to discuss a particular class of criticism and even more about the thinking behind that.

This criticism states that TOGAF is neither rigorous nor scientific and that any good EA framework should be both of those things. Now we don’t know anyone who wouldn’t agree that TOGAF could be more rigorous about some things and that’s one of the areas highlighted for attention in the next version of TOGAF.

But, “scientific”? There’s the rub. What do we mean by scientific?

Machines, Nature and Enterprises

What these critics promote is a method, which for any given enterprise, under identical conditions will always deliver the same, “correct” result – regardless who executes the method, as long as they follow the rules. This approach depends on a very 19th/20th Century mechanistic view of an enterprise.

We agree that an enterprise is a system. Mechanical systems behavior is generally predictable. If you get the equation right, you can predict the behavior under any given set of conditions with an accuracy of (to all intents and purposes) 100%. So, if an enterprise were a machine, you could come up with a method that meets this requirement.

Natural and environmental systems do not, in general, behave predictably (leaving trivia like Pavlov and his dogs out of it). There is room for discussion for any one system under consideration as to why this is. It could just be because there are so many variables that we can’t capture all of them at one instant in time (i.e. they are highly complex) or because the system is chaotic (i.e. extremely sensitive to initial conditions) or even stochastic (i.e. we can only establish a probability for a particular outcome) – or possibly a mixture of those things.

A major aspect of enterprises is that, to a considerable extent, they are made up of people, individually and in groups. Each with their shifting perceptions of what “good” is. In fact even a single organization behaves more like an organism than like a machine (note: we are not claiming that organizations are organisms).

Especially important is that enterprises function within wider ecosystems in which external factors like resource availability, innovation, competition, customer loyalty, legislation and regulation (to name but a few) constantly affect the behavior of the enterprise. To reliably predict the behavior of the enterprise we would need to know each and every factor that affects that behavior. Complexity is a major factor. Do we recognize any existing enterprises that do not conform to this (complex) model?

Science and Uncertainty

Enterprises are complex and, we would argue, even chaotic systems. Change the initial conditions and the behavior may be radically different (a totally different equation). A real scientific method for EA would then necessarily reflect that. It would deliver results, which could continue to adapt along with the enterprise. That requires more than just following a set of rules. There is no “equation”. There may be a number of “equations” to choose from. Some degree of experience, domain knowledge and empathy is required to select the most adaptable of those equations. If the world of software architecture hasn’t yet determined a formula for the perfect agile system, how can we imagine the even more complex EA domain could?[1] Any such method would be a meta-method. The actual method followed would be an adaptation (concretization/instantiation) of the meta-method for the system (i.e. enterprise) under examination in its then specific context.

So even if there is an EA method that delivers identical results independent of the user, the chances they’d be correct are…well, just that – chance. (You probably have a better chance of winning the lottery!). The danger of these “scientific” approaches is that we kid ourselves that the result must be right, because the method said so. If the objective were only to produce a moment in time “as-is” view of an enterprise and if you could produce that before everything changed again, then a mechanistic approach might work. But what would be the point?

What Really Bothers Us

Now if the problem here were restricted to the proponents of this “scientific” view, it wouldn’t matter too much, as they’re not especially influential, especially on a global scale. Our concern is that it appears TOGAF is treated by a considerably larger number of people as being exactly that kind of system. Some of the things we read by TOGAF-certified folk on, for example, LinkedIn or come across in practice are deeply disturbing. It seems that people think that the ADM is a recipe for making sausages and that mechanistically stepping through the crop circles will deliver a nicely formed sausage.

Why is this? No TOGAF expert we know thinks TOGAF is a linear, deterministic process. The thousands of TOGAF certified people have a tool that, as TOGAF, itself in chapter 2.10 states: “In all cases, it is expected that the architect will adapt and build on the TOGAF framework in order to define a tailored method that is integrated into the processes and organization structures of the enterprise”.

Is it perhaps an example of the need so many people have to think the whole world is predictable and controllable – an unholy fear of uncertainty? Such people seek comfort and the illusion of certainty in a set of rules. That would certainly fit with an outdated view of science. Or perhaps the problem is located less with the architects themselves than with management by spreadsheet and with project management methodologies that are more concerned with deadlines than with quality? Less experienced architects may feel obliged to go along with this and thus draw the wrong conclusions about TOGAF.

The Task of Enterprise Architecture

Understanding, accepting and taking advantage of the presence of uncertainty is essential for any organization today. This would be true even if it were only because of the accelerating rate of change. But more than that, we need to recognize that the way we do business is changing, that agile organizations encourage emergence[2] and that success means letting go of hard and fast rules. Enterprise architects, to be useful, have to work with this new model, not to be risk averse and to learn from (shared) experience. It’s our responsibility to help our enterprises achieve their strategic goals. If we turn our backs on reality, we may be able to tick off a task on a project plan but we’re not helping anyone.

A good EA framework helps us understand what we need to do and why we are doing it. It doesn’t do the thinking for us. All good EA frameworks are essentially heuristics. They assemble good practice from the experience of real practitioners and provide guidance to assist the intelligent architect in finding the best available solution – in the knowledge that it’s not perfect, that things can and will change and that the most valuable strategy is being able to cope with that change. TOGAF helps us do this.

[1] For more on complexity and uncertainty see Tom Graves’s SCAN method.

[2] See, for example Ruth Malan and Dana Bredemeyer’s The Art of Change: Fractal and Emergent

By Stuart Boardman, KPN, and Ed Harrington, ConexiumStuart Boardman is a Senior Business Consultant with KPN Consulting where he leads the Enterprise Architecture practice and consults to clients on Cloud Computing, Enterprise Mobility and The Internet of Everything. He is Co-Chair of The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ Forum and was Co-Chair of the 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 KPN, the Information Security Platform (PvIB) in The Netherlands and of his previous employer, CGI as well as several Open Group white papers, guides and standards. He is a frequent speaker at conferences on the topics of Open Platform 3.0 and Identity.

Ed Harrington is a Senior Consulting Associate with Conexiam, a Calgary, Canada headquartered consultancy. He also heads his own consultancy, EPH Associates. Prior positions include Principle Consultant with Architecting the Enterprise where he provided TOGAF and other Enterprise Architecture (EA) discipline training and consultancy; EVP and COO for Model Driven Solutions, an EA, SOA and Model Driven Architecture Consulting and Software Development company; various positions for two UK based companies, Nexor and ICL and 18 years at General Electric in various marketing and financial management positions. Ed has been an active member of The Open Group since 2000 when the EMA became part of The Open Group and is past chair of various Open Group Forums (including past Vice Chair of the Architecture Forum). Ed is TOGAF® 9 certified.

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