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The New Generation IT Operating Model

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, President, Chief Architect, ArchiTech Group LLC

  1. Introduction

The New Generation IT Operating Model is mostly associated with the current trend of service orientation. A service-oriented IT operating model should be based on service-oriented IT architecture. More precisely, a service-oriented IT operating model should be part of service-oriented IT architecture, also as a part of enterprise architecture. We know that models are what architecture creates, which include static models for the descriptions of components, structures and relationships; and dynamic models for the descriptions of operations and processes, where the dynamic models are built and operated on top of the static models. This new generation IT operating model is part of the “new paradigm” or “paradigm shift” in modern enterprise and IT, which should be part of enterprise architecture as well.

  1. Architecture and Service Oriented Architecture

First, I’d like to clarify the concept of Architecture and the Service Oriented Architecture in this context. The original definition of Architecture by Sir Henry Watton in The Elements of Architecture stated “In architecture as in all other operative arts, the end must direct the operation. The end is to build well. Well building has three conditions: Commodity, Firmness and Delight”. This definition is applicable to our context as well, where the position of architecture for IT is similar to the position of architecture for a building construction. The purpose of IT architecture is for the effective and efficient operations of IT. IT architecture should serve all its relevant audience and stakeholders, should be understandable by them via various views (commodity). The architectural products has to be solid and practicable for implementation (firmness), and it has to be well accepted and appreciated (delight) to be adopted and be effective in guiding IT operation.

The core of architecture is its vision, insight, concepts presented, and implementation guidance. It is a practical art, a result of creation, which is not a result of engineering or process in a mechanical manner, but it guides engineering process for implementation. IT is evolving to be a line of business by itself. Therefore, IT architecture is in a complex domain of people, systems, and culture; and in a constantly changing environment. It has the similar composition of enterprise architecture in this sense, with IT being one segment in an enterprise. For such architecture development, it is important to balance discipline and control with flexibility and freedom for organic growth, due to the limitation of human capability in predicting the changes and in handling complex matters.

The shared service domain is actually a sub-domain inside IT. We cannot expect all functions in IT should be shared. Similar, the Service Oriented IT Architecture is in a sub-domain of IT architecture. The necessity of making a function to be a service only when it has potential to be shared and reused by multiple service consumers. The following figures illustrate the shared service domain inside IT domain and the service oriented IT architecture inside IT architecture domain.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLC

 

Figure 1. The shared service sub-domain in IT and the service oriented IT architecture sub-domain in IT architecture

  1. IT Operating Model with Service Orientation

The “Plan/Build/Run” is a typical and simple IT operating model, which is still valid if we apply lifecycle with it, and have service orientation content being embedded into all its operating stages. The lifecycle presented in ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) can be considered as its extension from IT service management prospective. ITIL has five stages instead of three: Service Strategy (plan), Service Design (build), Service Transition, Service Operation (run), Continual Service Improvement. We are going to discuss later here on ITIL as an integral part that fit into the Plan/Build/Run model, which focus on IT service portfolio management and IT service management lifecycle. The Broker/Integrate/Orchestrate model is one of the possibilities inside the content of Plan/Build/Run model, while there are other possibilities as well. A plan is still necessary, no matter the plan is to build something new or to act as a broker, to build something in-sourcing or out-sourcing, by brokerage or by integration. Usually, there are diversified elements based on circumstances. It usually needs more than just orchestration to run it. All these could be part of the “IT Operating Model”. It is dangerous to just assemble what services/products available in market without a future vision and a plan for long-term evolution. For a business to survive in a longer term, it has to know its own needs instead of being framed by what is available in market. It needs to create its unique product/service roadmap and pipeline, and not to be controlled by others.

In order to provide effective and efficient IT support and reduce complexity and cost, IT is evolving to provide commodity services that enable the separation of business functions from common shareable IT services. To operate IT as a service, it opens a new line of business, as identified in Federal Infrastructure Optimization Initiative. The IT Operation Reference Model illustrated in Figure 2 is based on such considerations. It provides a holistic view on what involved in operating IT as a line of business. IT is becoming one business segment inside an enterprise with its own mission and goals to achieve instead of being only in a supporting role as before. This Reference Model can help to organize and consolidate organizational core capabilities and to provide a simple and cohesive view.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCFigure 2. IT Operation Reference Model

  1. IT Operation Reference Model

The IT Operation Reference Model, illustrated in Figure 2, consists of four pillars: Plan, Build, Run, and Stakeholders. It is an extension to the Plan/Build/Run model, and is constructed with considerations in service orientation, modularity, simplicity, and communicability. It operates in a lifecycle as illustrated in Figure 3. Security, as illustrated in Figure 2, is not only a technical solution, but also an integral part across the board. A security life cycle and process should be designed and associated with each stage in an IT operation lifecycle, with starting from the planning stage. Also, governance should be applied across the complete IT operation lifecycle as well.

The Service Portfolio Management is part of IT Service Management (in Run pillar of Figure 2), which is addressed in ITIL V3. ITIL provides a best practice reference for IT service management and operation, with current enhancement (in V3) in service portfolio management. Applying ITIL within an IT Operating Model enhances IT Operation with a service lifecycle management discipline. However, the specific architectures, models, service design, and ITIL adoption for each IT operation have to be based on each individual case, and an operating model should be built accordingly.

Plan: IT still needs strategy and plan to run even in service oriented IT operation paradigm, where the business model, service model, cost/funding model, implementation model, and operating model suitable for service orientation should be incorporated accordingly. In another words, the difference is in the content. The plan for new generation IT operation should be driven by business domain requirements, e.g. the external and internal drivers, so that to support business improvement goals and objectives. Architectures should be created accordingly. Also, a performance measurement model should be created to provide measurement guidance. The plan should well consider adaptability to changes in both business requirements and technology advancement, and be maintained as a live document with continuous improvement along IT operation Lifecycle.

Build: Business requirements drive technology decisions; and at the meantime, the new technologies will inspire business envisions and provide various possibilities for business being operated in a more effective and efficient way. It’s true that the IT product ownership implies slow change due to the cost associated with. The resource sharing and operated by some specialized service providers enable faster change due to cost sharing in nature. Also, the performance from such service providers can be enhanced by competition. The implementation mechanisms should be flexible enough for new services and devices to plug-in or to update. However, not everything can be handed out to others to operate. Enterprise data are likely still being managed inside enterprise for security reasons, with enterprise internal stewardship and ownership, though it can participate in shared services internally and externally. In this reference model, services and systems to be built are described in layers: business services, application and data services, infrastructure services, and physical services.

Run: This includes IT system and service management and operation during continuous performance and change. The system operation management includes the management of IT service systems, system hardware and software, as well as networks and data centers, either in-sourcing or out-sourcing. It also includes the management of applications and data that are resided and running on these systems. For IT service management, ITIL is a handy best practice reference to start with.

Stakeholders: The stakeholders should be identified across the three pillars or the three operating stages in a lifecycle. Clearly roles and responsibilities should be identified, and be aligned with the operation structure. The operation model, structure, and architecture should be defined independent of individual stakeholder, so that people changes will not affect organization structure, process, and operation. Typically, the stakeholders can include business decision makers, resource owners, service providers, service consumers, governance and regulatory bodies, industry associations and standards groups, etc.

  1. The Relationship of the IT Operation Reference Model with ITIL

As a best practice reference, ITIL provides guidance on how to manage IT operation with service lifecycle. The relationship of ITIL Lifecycle with IT Operation Reference Model is illustrated in Figure 3. The IT service management lifecycle and its associated best practice reference based on ITIL v3 is the core for running an IT operation, as illustrated in the IT Operation Reference Model in Figure 2. The different focuses of the two can be summarized as:

  • Objective: The IT Operation Reference Model intends to provide a simple and cohesive view on IT operation domain structure, components and relationships; while ITIL focuses on providing guidance and reference details for IT service management and operation.
  • Components: The IT Operation Reference Model focuses on IT functional components; while ITIL focuses on IT operational components.
  • Structure: The IT Operation Reference Model is structured into categorized and layered components in each stage of IT operation; while ITIL is structured around IT service management and operation lifecycle to provide its associated best practice references.

In Figure 3, the middle section illustrates the relationships among the four pillars in the IT Operation Reference Model. The stakeholders play the central operating roles. They should be the driving force and active players in IT operation lifecycle. The stages of ITIL service lifecycle can be linked to the stages in Plan/Build/Run IT operation lifecycle. The lifecycles of both reflect iterative processes during IT operation. A well architected service lifecycle and management processes can maximize operational efficiency and productivity, as well as reduce the costs.

 

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCFigure 3. Apply ITIL to the IT Operating Model based on the IT Operation Reference Framework

In conclusion: A Service Oriented IT Operating Model should be rooted on a Service Oriented IT Architecture, which has to be custom built for each individual IT organization based on its service requirements, responsibilities, and operating environment, though best practice reference can be helpful. Each IT operation is forming an ecosystem of its own, which needs insight, creativity, and systematic discipline to figure out the best operating model and to clear the way for its execution.

By Yan Zhao, Ph.D, ArchiTech Group LLCDr. Yan Zhao, President, ArchiTech Group LLC, is an enterprise level chief architect, strategist, thought leader, and innovator; was also an executive for Fortune 500 companies and a professor. She has over 20 years work experience across academia, corporate research, software industry, and consulting service, where she demonstrated strength in insight, vision, creativity, and discipline. She is a positive thinker and a motivational leader with experience in leading R&D, capability and intellectual property development, and consulting practice. She received a Ph.D in computer science and a master in mathematics from Arizona State University, has 6 patents granted, 4 patents pending, a number of invention disclosures and publications.

yan.zhao@architechllc.com

@theopengroup

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The Open Group San Francisco 2016 Day One Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Communications, The Open Group

On Monday, January 25, The Open Group kicked off its first event of 2016, focused on Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™, at the Marriott Union Square in the city by the bay, San Francisco, California.

President and CEO Steve Nunn gave a warm welcome to over 250 attendees from 18 countries, including Botswana, China and The Netherlands. He introduced the morning’s plenary, which centered on Digital Business and the Customer Experience. This year also marks a major milestone for The Open Group, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2016.

The Open Group Director of Interoperability Dr. Chris Harding kicked off the morning’s event speaking on “Doing Digital Business.”

Digital technology is transforming business today. As such, how Enterprise Architects can architect for and deliver better customer experience is a more critical factor for businesses today than ever before. For thousands of years, most business transactions happened face-to-face with human interaction at the heart of them. The Internet has changed that, largely taking humans out of the equation in favor of “intelligent” programs that provide customer service. As Enterprise Architects, the challenge now is to create corporate systems and personas that mimic human interaction to provide better service levels. To achieve that, Harding says, currently companies are looking at a number of improved models including providing microservices, Cloud architectures and data lakes.

To better enable the transformation toward digital customer experiences, The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ Forum is currently working on an interoperability standard to support a variety of services that run on digital platforms. In addition, the Digital Business and Customer Experience Work Group—a joint work group of Open Platform 3.0 and the Architecture Forums—is currently working on customer-based architectures, as well as a whitepaper geared toward enabling better customer experiences for digital business.

In the second session of the morning, Mark Skilton of PA Consulting addressed the issue of “The Battle for Owning the Digital Spaces”. Skilton says that in this era of unprecedented digital information, we need to better understand all of that information in order to create business opportunities—however, much of that information is contained in the “gray” spaces in between interactions. Accessing that kind of data provides opportunities for businesses to get a better handle on how to provide digital experiences that will draw customers. It also requires “ecosystem” thinking where what is happening on both the micro and macro levels should be considered.

As such, companies must reconsider what it means to be an enterprise, platform or even a service. This requires a new way of looking at architectures that combines both physical and virtual environments to take advantage of those “gray” spaces in people’s lives. By interconnecting or “flattening” out people’s experiences, such as their work, living, commercial or social spaces, they will be allowed to take their digital experiences with them throughout their lives. To enable these things moving forward, architects will need to change their mindsets to think differently and consider experience more rather than just architectures. Behavior, interactivity, psychology, usability—the human factors—of advanced customer experience will need to be considered in the architecture development process more to create more connected spaces to meet people’s needs.

Trevor Cheung, Vice President Strategy & Architecture Practice for Huawei Global Services, spoke next on “Architecting for Customer Experience.” Cheung introduced the concept of the ROADS Experience, a principle for designing customer-driven architectures. According to Cheung, ROADS (Real-time, On-demand, All-online, DIY and Social) is critical for companies that want to become digital service providers. As organizations digitalize, they should think more holistically about customer experiences—including both internal (employees) and external audiences (customers, partners, etc.)—moving from an inside-out IT perspective to one that also considers outside-in constituencies.

For example, to provide omni-channel experiences, business architectures must focus on the values of stakeholders across the ecosystem—from buyers and their interests, to partners and suppliers or operations. By applying the ROADS principle, each stakeholder, or persona, can be considered along the way to develop an architecture blue print that covers all channels and experiences, mapping the needs back to the technologies needed to provide specific capabilities. Currently two whitepapers are being developed in the Digital Business and Customer Experience Work Group that explore these issues, including a new reference model for customer architectures.

In the last morning session Jeff Matthews, Director of Venture Strategy and Research, Space Frontier Foundation, presented “The Journey to Mars is Powered by Data: Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™ within NASA.” Currently, NASA’s programs, particularly its endeavors to send people to Mars, are being enabled by complex Enterprise Architectures that govern each of the agency’s projects.

According to Matthews, nothing goes through NASA’s planning without touching Enterprise Architecture. Although the agency has a relatively mature architecture, they are continually working to breakdown silos within the agency to make their architectures more boundaryless.

Ideally, NASA believes, removing boundaries will give them better access to the data they need, allowing the agency to evolve to a more modular architecture. In addition, they are looking at a new decision-making operating model that will help them grapple with the need to buy technologies and setting up architectures now for programs that are being planned for 10-30 years in the future. To help them do this, Matthews encouraged audience members and vendors to reach out to him to talk about architectural strategies.

In addition to the event proceedings, The Open Group also hosted the inaugural meeting of the TOGAF® User Group on Monday. Aimed at bringing together TOGAF users and stakeholders in order to share information, best practices and learning, the day-long meeting featured topics relative to how to better use TOGAF in practicality. Attendees participated in a number of breakout sessions regarding the standard, intended to provide opportunities to share experiences and enlighten others on how to best use TOGAF as well as provide suggestions as to how the standard can be improved upon in the future.

Allen Brown, current interim CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA), and former CEO of The Open Group, also introduced the AEA Open Badges Program for Professional Development. Much like badge programs for the Boy or Girl Scouts, the Open Badge program lets people demonstrate their professional achievements via digital badges that provide credentials for skills or achievements learned. Moving forward, the AEA will be providing digital badges, each of which will include embedded information showing the information learned to earn the badge. Attendees can earn badges for attending this conference. For more information, email OpenBadges@GlobalAEA.org.

Monday’s afternoon tracks were split into two tracks centered on Open Platform 3.0™ and Risk, Dependability and Trusted Technology. The Open Platform 3.0 track continued in the same vein as the morning’s sessions looking at how Enterprise Architectures must adapt to the changes due to digitalization and growing customer expectations. Accenture Enterprise Architect Syed Husain gave an insightful presentation on enabling contextual architectures and increased personalization using artificial intelligence. As both consumers and technology become increasingly sophisticated, demands for individualized preferences tailored to individuals are growing. Companies that want to keep up will need to take these demands into account as they evolve their infrastructures. In the Security track, sessions centered on privacy governance, best practices for adopting the Open FAIR Risk Management standard and dealing with cyber security risks as well as how to navigate the matrix of data classification to maximize data protection practices.

Concluding the day was an evening reception where event and TOGAF User Group attendees mixed, mingled and networked. The reception featured The Open Group Partner Pavilion, as well as short presentations from The Open Group Architecture, IT4IT™ and Open Platform 3.0 Forums.

@theopengroup #ogSFO

By Loren K. BaynesLoren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, joined The Open Group in 2013 and spearheads corporate marketing initiatives, primarily the website, blog, media relations and social media. Loren has over 20 years experience in brand marketing and public relations and, prior to The Open Group, was with The Walt Disney Company for over 10 years. Loren holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. She is based in the US.

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TOGAF® User Group Meeting Preview with Steve Nunn

By The Open Group

2016 promises to be a banner year for TOGAF®, an Open Group standard. Last month, worldwide certifications for TOGAF 9 surpassed the 50,000 mark, and on January 25, The Open Group will be hosting its first TOGAF® User Group Meeting in San Francisco. We recently spoke with The Open Group President and CEO Steve Nunn about why The Open Group has decided to host a user group as TOGAF enters its third decade of use, what attendees can look forward to at the meeting, and what’s next for the standard.

The Open Group will be hosting the first ever TOGAF User Group Meeting in January—why start a user group?

The growth of TOGAF and popularity of the standard is so great at this point.  There’s a very substantial community of not just organizations but individuals using TOGAF in their daily lives and jobs. Only a small part of that community is the people who are involved in the The Open Group Architecture Forum, which evolves the standard. But we’ve just passed 50,000 TOGAF certifications, and there’s a substantial community worldwide who are always looking to better understand how they can use the standard for their organizations and what makes sense for them with TOGAF.

The idea of the User Group is to provide a forum for them as individuals—initially as a conference and then going forward as a virtual community—to learn from each other’s experiences of using TOGAF—tips and tricks, what works, what doesn’t work. We think there is a great appetite for that which isn’t being fulfilled at the moment other than very partially through LinkedIn Groups. TOGAF is a significant offering from The Open Group, and so it’s The Open Group that should be offering the User Group, and we are taking that opportunity.

TOGAF has been in use for 20 years already—so why start a User Group now?

Why now? In the past, we used to see presentations about successful implementations of Enterprise Architecture and the question we asked was always ‘Are you using TOGAF?’ Today, that’s pretty much a given. It’s not IF TOGAF is being used, but HOW. And people are using it for more than just IT projects or even Enterprise Architecture driven projects. At our Edinburgh conference, we learned that BAE Systems is using it for their entire operations in building nuclear submarines. They are actually using it for everything other than IT. It is also being picked up by HR departments. And there is a whole realm of disciplines inside organizations that could be picking up TOGAF and using it for different things.

The thing we always stress is to take TOGAF and use it for whatever makes sense within your organization. Don’t just try to absorb the whole thing—use it for what makes sense. And when you see presentations on it, people are almost apologetic about what they didn’t use. But that’s the whole point—it is capable of being used to a greater or lesser degree, depending on your needs and your organization.

What are you hoping that users will get out of the User Group meeting?

There are all sorts of ways to use TOGAF, and what we are trying to do with the User Group is enable and encourage users to share their experience and areas of interest, their views on what works and doesn’t work, what might need beefing up a bit, any gaps and what would be useful in terms of implementation. It’s really about how to use TOGAF on a daily basis. That is what we’re hoping—that people will come away with more ideas about that.

The two biggest things are the networking with their peers and the opportunity to discuss tips and tricks. Beyond that, there is the opportunity for those that don’t usually participate in the Architecture Forum to provide their ideas about how TOGAF can be improved, at a time when the next version is still being worked on and it’s still early enough to influence that. If there are suggestions made to the Forum members that seem to make sense, they do tend to take them onboard, so it is a way to get ideas heard and suggestions to the Forum.

What are you hoping that the Architecture Forum will gain from user input?

We’d like to get some initial reactions to what some of the current thinking is for the next version of TOGAF, and get some feedback and input on that. Also we’d hope to encourage people who haven’t seen the need to participate in the Forum to get involved, and we expect they will see that opportunity more clearly by getting an understanding of how things work inside The Open Group.

Will there be more User Group Meetings in the future?

The group itself will decide whether there’s interest in a virtual community as a long-term activity. We certainly intend to run User Group Meetings at quarterly events, assuming there is interest.

We’ve been thinking about doing a User Group for some time. We think there will be a lot of benefit for both users and The Open Group in doing it at this point in time—it feels like it’s the right time.

By The Open GroupSteve Nunn is President and CEO of The Open Group – a global consortium that enables the achievement of business objectives through IT standards. He is also President of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA).

Steve joined The Open Group in 1993, spending the majority of his time as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel.   He was also CEO of the AEA from 2010 until 2015.

Steve is a lawyer by training, has an L.L.B. (Hons) in Law with French and retains a current legal practicing certificate.  Having spent most of his life in the UK, Steve has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 2007. He enjoys spending time with his family, walking, playing golf, 80s music and is a lifelong West Ham United fan.

Join the conversation!  @theopengroup #ogSFO

 

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The Open Group to Hold Next Event in San Francisco

The Open Group, the vendor-neutral IT consortium, is hosting its next event in San Francisco January 25-28. The Open Group San Francisco 2016 will focus on how Enterprise Architecture is empowering companies to build better systems by architecting for digital business strategies. The event will go into depth on this topic through various individual sessions and keynotes.

Some of the many topics of discussion at the event include Business Architecture; how to architect systems using tools and frameworks such as TOGAF® and ArchiMate® (both Open Group standards); Social, Mobile, Analytics and Cloud (SMAC); Risk Management and Cybersecurity; Business Transformation; Professional Development, and improving the security and dependability of IT, including the global supply chain on which they rely.

Key speakers at the event, taking place at San Francisco’s Marriott Union Square, include:

  • Steve Nunn,  President & CEO, The Open Group
  • Trevor Cheung, VP Strategy and Architecture Practice, Huawei Global Services
  • Jeff Matthews, Director of Venture Strategy and Research, Space Frontier Foundation
  • Ajit Gaddam, Chief Security Architect, Visa
  • Eric Cohen, Chief Enterprise Architect, Thales
  • Heather Kreger, Distinguished Engineer, CTO International Standards, IBM

Full details on the range of track speakers at the event can be found here.

There will also be the inaugural TOGAF® User Group meeting taking place on January 25. Facilitated breakout sessions will bring together key stakeholders and users to share best practices, information and learn from each other.

Other subject areas at the three day event will include:

  • Open Platform 3.0™ – The Customer Experience and Digital Business
  • IT4IT – Managing the Business of IT. Case study presentations and a vendor panel to discuss the release of The Open Group IT4IT Reference Architecture Version 2.0 standard
    • Plus deep dive presentations into the four streams of the IT Value Chain along with the latest information on the IT4IT training and certification program.
  • EA & Business Transformation – Understand what role EA, as currently practiced, plays in Business Transformation, especially transformations driven by emerging and disruptive technologies.
  • Risk, Dependability & Trusted Technology – The cybersecurity connection – securing the global supply chain.
  • Enabling Healthcare
  • TOGAF® 9 and ArchiMate® – Case studies and the harmonization of the standards.
  • Understand how to develop better interoperability & communication across organizational boundaries and pursue global standards for Enterprise Architecture that are highly relevant to all industries.

Registration for The Open Group San Francisco is open now, is available to members and non-members, and can be found here.

Join the conversation @theopengroup #ogSFO

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Driving Digital Transformation Using Enterprise Architecture

By Sunil Kr. Singh, Senior Architecture and Digital Consultant at TATA Consultancy Services

Driving Digital Transformation Using Enterprise Architecture as a Problem Solving Tool Set

If I start talking to an audience and start with, “Enterprise Architecture is required for driving Digital Transformation of an organization”, I guess, I would be talking to an empty hall in 30 seconds. However, I believe it is worth the effort; too many transformations are on. You might be starting to wonder what I have here to say.

Changes are happening rapidly

Business Transformation is becoming the normalized playing ground for everyone! It is happening more frequently and far rapidly. It does not end here; it further makes it more challenging by reducing the time to play catch up. As this Digital Tsunami is hitting us, adopting and developing a standardized approach to implement or execute digital transformation initiatives is important to be successful. The key is to develop the competency to be agile or incremental in a very dynamic environment.

Consumerization and Commoditisation of Product and Services, driven by innovation, knowledge sharing, collaboration and crowd-driven mechanics, is driving rapid evolution of business landscape. The desire to use information in better ways was always there. However, the cost and the scale with which it is possible now was only in books and labs even a decade back. If I still have you here and everything sounds familiar, you might be starting to wonder what is so special about the Digital Transformation. This is the right question and I would encourage you to ask this question many times, as you take up the Digital Transformation journey!

I strongly believe that transformation is definitely an old subject for you. Business has been engaged in transformation for a long time; driving transformation by formulating new business strategies. The same is true for Information Technology (IT) departments; they had moved from mainframe to distributed systems, from independent web applications to Portals to mobile applications. We are all seasoned soldiers of Transformation! Still…

One of the biggest causes of starting to feel the butterflies are the uncertainties around how big of a force is the Tsunami. As we see business domains collapse, we wonder what we should do now. Shall we act or watch and catch the next wave? Which waves to catch, there’s no abating of waves!

Too often disruption in business model

The driver for Google Compare is unprecedented! Who can become the car manufacturer? Alternatively, who wants to play in the card payment market? All establishment looks like pack of cards; they are to be blown away and rebuilt by the Digital Tsunami.

The speciality here is, change in pattern for “Transformation” when the prefix “Digital” gets associated. It is no longer IT for Business. It is technology-enabled business, literally! The basics of market place of how one get their 4Ps together to generate values is changing and thus newer Business Model. That is where the critical differentiation comes in. This drives in a couple of thoughts: A) Business Gurus need to understand information and technology B) Technical Gurus need to understand business. It is no longer a question of business and IT alignment, it is a question of merger and how the mix looks like!

Everyone understands this and understands that change is unavoidable. However, they are also apprehensive of repeating “past failures to transform”. Though enough transformation experience exists, it has also taught the Knights that it was never easy and this time the target itself is fuzzy.

Nevertheless, with tons of questions in their mind, everyone is queuing up for getting a makeover done! Key question for the image makeover gurus, what image makeover tools are at their disposal?

EA is the short answer. Nevertheless, not everyone is doing EA – how can someone explain the success stories that are out there? I am sure there are plenty of individual charismatic leaders who do these in Godly ways. However, the challenge starts when they start to convey their ideas to others. Our expressions are always, “She or he doesn’t get all the Challenges!” Alternatively, “The Devil is in the detail!” Neither do we get what they are trying to drive us to. The friction is huge and more than often companies are stuck here, missing their agility! Is there anything that can break the stalemate?

In this situation the toolset that will be of help are tools around Enterprise Architecture (EA). I can see jaws drop – “What?” “We’ll never be able to transform if we let the Enterprise Architecture drive the show!” Let us take away the people aspects. The tool tries to present a merged image of business and IT. This is the need of the hour. I agree with the challenges that the industry has been experiencing with EA, however, there is a lot of potential to this practice. On the other hand, EA needs to mature as well. This is the symbiotic opportunity! I would like to hear about options available other than EA to drive Digital Transformation.

The point that I am going to make here is simple. The challenge in front of Business Leaders and IT leaders is to drive things quickly and deliver continuous business value through incremental adoption of change. The opportunity for the transformation team is to use a set of tools around EA to let the leaders achieve their goals.

Below I have picked up three different focus areas where EA Practice and its tool set can be valuable for enabling the Digital Transformation.

  1. Unified View:

As we are all experiencing, at any given point in time there are multiple different strategies in execution in different areas of the organization. For example, what is commonly being observed these days, as some team is creating a 360 degree view of their partner, other team may be engaged in various phases of IT system reengineering. I need not get into the details of how they influence each other!

The above phenomenon is almost like solving the Rubik’s cube. When we try to align one side, arrangement on the other side is broken. The different sides of the Rubik’s cube are like different areas of the organization or initiatives. Enterprise Architecture explicitly handles these through Views. Case in point, during an eGovernance initiative to reorganize the IT Systems and Processes, the organization had to start a parallel initiative to modernize the Data Center. It did not end here, the Government was planning to enable unprecedented amount of self-service to the public. Different business departments were driving these; the IT teams were in silos. Result was a no brainer! Multiple starts and stop resulting in overshooting of budget and timeline!

Let us see the Digital Transformation situation. For most contemporary situations, an organization will have cyber security initiatives, digital initiatives, core system modernizations and a few innovation initiatives, all running in parallel.

Therefore, how the situation on the ground does look like? A typical meeting room situation! In a meeting room of a particular program the lead architect or a shared developer points out – “Oh, I know there is a security initiative going on in the data center and that may impact our time line”. The project manager makes a note of it to check this out. The subsequent situations would be familiar too. When the project manager communicates to her counterpart, no one really understands the language of each other (though they are speaking the same language, English, German or Hindi). They decide to keep each one of them separate so that each one can go live! What is the Result? The organization now has two different security gateways!

The above paragraph is an imaginary situation. However, we can all recollect many similar situations. When these different teams or their representatives get into conversations, they may not have all the structures in front of them to understand the possible impacts. It may sound obvious, however, the devils are in the details; and the details are in different jargon or lingo of each initiative.

The EA exactly tries to solve this problem and drive organization forward. There are many different tools, for example, Vision, Business Motivation Models, Business Capability Models, Business Services Models, Business Processes Models, IT Services Models, and Technology Models, which helps in sustained dialogue. The stakeholders within the enterprise will understand the impact of an initiative when they understand the behaviour of the target state; it is possible to explain the behaviour when there is a good structure to depict and define the behaviour.

There is a classical problem here, whether to focus on the forest and ignore the trees or to look at an individual tree and ignore the forest. In reality one need to do both! The tools mentioned above helps to orchestrate between these different perspectives. It provides a mechanism to do it in a relatively easy way. I have mentioned relatively because nothing is easy if one does not put in effort to build the competency around it.

Let us consider the area under Digital Transformation, Digital Experience, which is most widely in vocabulary today. It touches almost every part of the Enterprise. This initiative may directly affect some process simplification and improvement initiatives that may be underway to drive Operational Excellence. The organization typically gets into a chicken and egg scenario and this result into losing momentum over how to resolve the issues. Instead of trying to tie everything together, the EA tools will help to create building blocks. These building blocks are implemented independently. They are then moved to operations independently and magic, it works.

One way to let initiatives move independently and be confident of their effectiveness is through the usage of Architecture Contract.

It is important to understand what the expected outcome is. For example, in case of “Customer Digital Experience” the question would be, is it a pure Information Technology initiative or does it influence the Business Architecture and Business Model? This is a decisive moment to understand whether the changes are just to leverage some new technology capabilities like Mobile, Wearable, or Big Data. For all good reasons, the initiative may be just that. In that case recommendation would be to run them under any typical IT programs and please do not boil the ocean by putting them under the “Digital Transformation” initiatives. However, if one organization were really looking for changing the business playing field, then adopting EA practices would help immensely.

  1. Enterprise Architecture Tools:

For Digital Transformation, Business Architecture, Technology Architecture, Information Architecture Views and various tools related to them are pillars of the Enterprise Architecture. In fact understanding the Business Capabilities and being able to map the impact of the Digital Forces on the capabilities will be critical for final success of the outcome.

However, a few other areas of the Enterprise Architecture practice help in navigating through the entire effort of Enterprise Architecture, when one is trying to solve the problem of Digital Transformation. For now, I thought of venturing into these EA Tools; may return to applying Business Architecture, Information Architecture and Technology Architecture tools and practices to Digital Transformation in a latter article.

You might be wondering why I am ignoring the pillars. The pillars are something, which we have to go through anyways, however, to get them in place there are other vehicles required and I often find that the teams are struggling with them. For instance, Business Capabilities are going to be the pillars of Business Architecture for driving the Digital Transformation work; however, teams often struggle to find out what business motivations are going to affect the existing capabilities.

Now let us go through a few of the tools here.

To find out what is required to realize the Digital Strategy – If the organization has developed a Digital Strategy, then that is a big achievement. However, that is not the end of the journey. We have all been in situation where it takes months to decide on next steps and years to see the strategy taking bloom. One may like to see a few common reasons why Strategies fail.

A tool that can help untangle different aspects of what you are trying to achieve through the Digital strategy is the Business Motivation Model (BMM). The ArchiMate® supports to create a very effective abridged version of BMM. BMM can help in identifying the next set of activities by helping you to create a model that relates requirement to goals to stakeholders. This can quickly let one see through the next steps and what values it is trying to bring in to move towards the desired target.

EA Methodology – The idea is to move incrementally. Fail with an idea faster so that one can learn faster and apply the learning for success sooner! It is desirable to take incremental steps through modifications of existing Business Model using Business Architecture, keep the IT Architecture aligned during the iterations and the intermediate steps.

TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, ADM is a good place to start; other frameworks like, DODAF, FEA and methodologies around them can help to enrich the ADM. The important point to look for while one is iterating through the ADM or even evaluating it is to consider the kinds of customization required for the enterprise in scope. However, focus to mature the methodology incrementally.

Stakeholders Management: who is impacted and how – In a complex engagement like implementing Digital Transformation, stakeholder management can be challenging. Understanding the stakeholder’s goals and drivers can be daunting. Besides, understanding the real need and what does it mean, under the applicable constraints can be confusing. I have seen organizations stuck in tackling stakeholders and unable to come out of the labyrinth for months to years. There are tools within Archimate to lay down the stakeholders, connect them to their drivers, assessment, goals, and requirement. There are other tools, which independently or with ArchiMate extensions helps in doing the same.

It would be a good idea to lay down multiple levels of stakeholders, overall Digital Organization level, Program level and then various initiatives/project levels. Having an interaction model among these will help one to understand various Enterprise Architecture Views required in meeting the objectives of different stakeholders.

What does the enterprise wants to achieve during the incremental initiative: EA Vision – This is a critical and tricky part. Until now, the Digital Strategy work had mapped the Business Strategy to a clear Business Vision, mapped tactics to realize the Business Strategy. Sometime, each of the tactics may entail into EA Vision for the cycle (there may be multiple EA cycles for an EA vision too – pyramid of visions is the theme). I have seen organizations running with big transformation exercises and not all stakeholders clearly understand all different aspects; there is a lack of EA vision or there is not a well-developed structure other than Words of Mouth and slides. The recommendation is to lay down the EA vision as a subset of the organizational vision; however, the alignment needs to be clear by following a well-defined approach.

Make the EA vision clear, however, need not be something too insurmountable to achieve over a given period. EA Vision is not a blue-sky dream that may take one to the top of the mountain! It is a pragmatic value proposition that the organization is trying to achieve.

How do the milestones on the road look like: Roadmap – The recommendation will be to execute the road mapping activities under the EA initiative of the Digital Transformation. This will allow creating the right alignment from Business Perspective and will help to bind all the stakeholders to the common cause. There is significant number of examples where large programs have surprised the stakeholders with the outcome in a negative way. It would be a more difficult journey for Digital Transformation without the right level of effort or EA effort.

Can we do it better next time: Housekeeping – A significant part of the EA assets and activities that exist today in Literature and are more popular, are around the Housekeeping activities. One of them is EA repository. This is extremely important; however, practitioners should recognize this and appropriately position the activities around the Repository. I would not think positioning a significant amount of housekeeping activities while one is trying to build the house would do justice to the time and effort spent.

Nevertheless, this would be a good time where you can start with a clean EA repository and start populating with the artifacts being produced. Then, in a parallel thread or latter thread start tying things together. The benefit of this approach is to be able to avoid diluting the focus area of using EA as a problem-solving tool and keep the accelerated momentum of the transformation on.

The EA Repository can be helpful for Managing Business Assets, especially those focused around Information Technology (we are discussing technology enabled business transformation). Business Capability creation, impacts on business capabilities, visibility to key stakeholders will receive a boost, through traceability and reusability.

It may appear that the transformation team will adopt the tools and techniques, mentioned above, even without the EA umbrella. The point is – instead of doing these activities in silos of Business or IT at different points in time, the EA can bring all these together. It will help the organization make efficient progress. A few ways these can help, create “Views” for different “concern or focus” areas; thus allowing different groups to visualize their respective stake and impact, as different initiatives run in parallel. All these initiatives are large which is transforming the DNA of the organization; it would be important to understand the impact and be able to manoeuvre the steering.

  1. Enterprise Agility:

Why Enterprise “Agility” is important in the context of Digital Transformation? Is it just because Agility is the fad these days? I believe it is the environment. It has become very dynamic, for all reasons mentioned above. On the other hand, agility is being driven by the fact that it is possible to be agile with both information and tools available. We have moved quite far since the days of Mr. Ford’s era of “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants as long as it is black.” In a very dynamic environment, ability to iterate is important. The points shared so far will help to achieve agility and make incremental progress. The main pillars to achieve incremental transformation are:

  1. Ability to have a single coherent view, though multiple threads are being run independently
  2. Conceptualize and initiate multiple iterations of Enterprise Architecture, driven by a vision (or pyramid of visions)
  3. A strong enterprise architecture repository so that every iterations and every independent thread is contributing to the common goal; this doesn’t mean that it is the most important thing (one of the important element)

As one is moving through the transformation, it is imperative to have a clear vision of what one wants to achieve. Then, it is required to break it down (architectural decomposition) into smaller achievable chunks and then iteratively implement the chunks. Approaches other than EA would fail to maintain the stability of the Enterprise System, after each of the viable iteration. This means that at every point in time during the transformation business should function in a seamless way with transformed and existing business and IT functions; there should be seamless flow of information across all business functions. Moreover, business benefits should be clear and measurable during each of the iteration.

Summing it up, if the technical initiatives with Big Data, Machine Learning or Artificial Intelligence or Cloud or Mobility or Social does not affect the Business (apart from adoption of new Information Services or Technology Services) then EA may not be required. However, if one wants to change business functions by leveraging digital tools or would have to change it because of Digital Forces, then EA would be the best vehicle to board to take up the journey of transformation!

The risk of not taking an architecture-centric approach is that it is too complex to handle the different variables that can influence the net outcome of Digital Transformation. The immediate success can soon wane out into an unmanageable mess of different organizations, departments, roles, systems and information. There are too many variables; which a few individuals can relate them, communicate them, and track them as they changes.

The promise of Digital in the business space is the capability to use information, move incrementally, and continuously optimize. Transformation of Enterprises (large or small) incrementally is not an easy affair, as we have realized and experienced it! Thus, without using a tool set that helps to ease out the transformation, the cost of technology and its rapid evolution will be difficult to manage.

During the whole journey of transformation, EA can produce tangible outputs. The organization can refer back to these outputs at any point in time to understand the rational for failure or success. Organizations, not matured in implementing strategies often, grapple with the outcome if it is not a great success. Their success seems to depend too much on the binary nature of success or failure, though business is continuous. There is plenty of opportunity to avoid the binary result and follow a path of incremental change.

By Sunil Kr. Singh, TATASunil Kr. Singh is a Senior Architecture and Digital Consultant at TATA Consultancy Services. He has more than 16 years of experience with Information Technology driven transformation and developing IT systems for business solutions. He has a wide range of hands on experience; established Enterprise Architecture Practices, streamlined IT and business processes, developed, designed and architected business systems.
https://ca.linkedin.com/in/sunilsingh1

The opinions expressed in this article/presentation are those of the author; no organization that the author is affiliated or works for is related to these views.

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The Open Group Edinburgh 2015 Highlights

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, The Open Group

On Monday October 19, Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, welcomed over 230 attendees from 26 countries to the Edinburgh International Conference Center located in the heart of historic Edinburgh, Scotland.

Allen kicked off the morning with an overview of company achievements and third quarter activities. The Open Group has over 500 member organizations in 42 countries, with the newest members coming from Peru and Zambia. Allen provided highlights of the many activities of our Forums and Work Groups. Too many to list, but white papers, guides, snapshots and standards have been published and continue to be in development. The newest Work Group is Digital Business Strategy and Customer Experience. The UDEF Work Group is now named O-DEF (Open – Data Element Framework) Work Group. The Real Time and Embedded Systems Forum is becoming more focused on critical systems and high assurance. Our members and staff have been very productive as always!

The morning plenary featured the theme “Architecting Business Transformation” with BAES Submarines. Speakers were Stephen Cole, CIO, BAE Systems Maritime Submarines; John Wilcock, Head of Operations Transformation, BAE Systems Submarine Solutions; Matthew Heard, Senior Operations Engineer, BAE Systems Maritime Submarines; and Paul Homan, Enterprise Architect, IBM. The presentation included a history of BAES Submarines and a ‘case study’ on using TOGAF® to help define BAE’s strategy for transforming their operations and production functions. The gentlemen all advocated the need to continue to drive change and transformation through the TOGAF principles. TOGAF has provided a structured, standardized approach to solving functional problems. TOGAF also ultimately allows organizations to document and measure their success along the way for meeting business objectives.

Following the keynotes, all presenters joined Allen for a panel consisting of an engaging Q&A with the audience.

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing CommunicationsPaul Homan, John Wilcock, Matthew Heard, Stephen Cole, Allen Brown

In the afternoon, the agenda offered several tracks on Risk, Dependability and Trusted Technology; EA and Business Transformation and Open Platform 3.0™.

One of the many sessions was “Building the Digital Enterprise – from Digital Disruption to Digital Experience” with Mark Skilton, Digital Expert, and Rob Mettler, Director of Digital Business, both with PA Consulting. The speakers discussed the new Work Group of The Open Group – Digital Business and Customer Experience, which is in the early stage of researching and developing a framework for the digital boom and new kind of ecosystem. The group examines how the channels from 15 years ago compare to today’s multi-device/channel work requiring a new thinking and process, while “always keeping in mind, customer behavior is key”.

The evening concluded with a networking Partner Pavilion (IT4IT™, The Open Group Open Platform™ and Enterprise Architecture) and a whisky tasting by the Scotch Whisky Heritage Centre.

Tuesday, October 20th began with another warm Open Group welcome by Allen Brown.

Allen and Ron Ashkenas, Senior Partner, Schaffer Consulting presented “A 20-year Perspective on the Boundaryless Organization and Boundaryless Information Flow™. The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same”.

Ron shared his vision of how the book “The Boundaryless Organization” came to light and was published in 1995. He discussed his experiences working with Jack Welch to progress GE (General Electric). Their pondering included “can staff/teams be more nimble without boundaries and layers?”. After much discussion, the concept of ‘boundaryless’ was born. The book showed companies how to sweep away the artificial obstacles – such as hierarchy, turf, and geography – that get in the way of outstanding business performance. The presentation was a great retrospective of boundaryless and The Open Group. But they also explored the theme of ‘How does boundaryless fit today in light of the changing world?’. The vision of The Open Group is Boundaryless Information Flow.

Allen emphasized that “then standards were following the industry, now their leading the industry”. Boundaryless Information Flow does not mean no boundaries exist. Boundaryless means aspects are permeable to boundaries to enable business, yet not prohibit it.

During the next session, Allen announced the launch of the IT4IT™ Reference Architecture v2.0 Standard. Chris Davis, University of South Florida and Chair of The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum, provided a brief overview of IT4IT and the standard. The Open Group IT4IT Reference Architecture is a standard reference architecture and value chain-based operating model for managing the business of IT.

After the announcement, Mary Jarrett, IT4IT Manager, Shell, presented “Rationale for Adopting an Open Standard for Managing IT”. In her opening, she stated her presentation was an accountant’s view of IT4IT and the Shell journey. Mary’s soundbites included: “IT adds value to businesses and increases revenue and profits; ideas of IT are changing and we need to adapt; protect cyber back door as well as physical front door.”

The afternoon tracks consisted of IT4IT™, EA Practice & Professional Development, Open Platform 3.0™, and Architecture Methods and Techniques.

The evening concluded with a fantastic private function at the historic Edinburgh Castle. Bagpipes, local culinary offerings including haggis, and dancing were enjoyed by all!

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications

Edinburgh Castle

On Wednesday and Thursday, work sessions and member meetings were held.

A special ‘thank you’ goes to our sponsors and exhibitors: BiZZdesign; Good e-Learning, HP, Scape, Van Haren Publishing and AEA.

Other content, photos and highlights can be found via #ogEDI on Twitter.  Select videos are on The Open Group YouTube channel. For full agenda and speakers, please visit The Open Group Edinburgh 2015.

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing CommunicationsLoren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications, joined The Open Group in 2013 and spearheads corporate marketing initiatives, primarily the website, blog, media relations and social media. Loren has over 20 years experience in brand marketing and public relations and, prior to The Open Group, was with The Walt Disney Company for over 10 years. Loren holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Texas A&M University. She is based in the US.

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Strategic Planning – Ideas to Delivery

By Martin Owen, CEO, Corso

Most organizations operate at a fast pace of change. Businesses are constantly evaluating market demands and enacting change to drive growth and develop a competitive edge.

These market demands come from a broad number of sources, and include economic changes, market trends, regulations, technology improvements and resource management. Knowing where the demands originated, whether they are important and if they are worth acting on can be difficult.

We look at how innovation, Enterprise Architecture and successful project delivery needs to be intertwined and traceable.

In the past, managing ideation to the delivery of innovation has not been done, or has been attempted in organizational silos, leading to disconnections. This in turn results in change not being implemented properly or a focus on the wrong type of change.

How Does an Organization Successfully Embrace Change?

Many companies start with campaigns and ideation. They run challenges and solicit ideas from within and outside of their walls. Ideas are then prioritized and evaluated. Sometimes prototypes are built and tested, but what happens next?

Many organizations turn to the blueprints or roadmaps generated by their enterprise architectures, IT architectures and or business process architectures for answers. They evaluate how a new idea and its supporting technology, such as SOA or enterprise-resource planning (ERP), fits into the broader architecture. They manage their technology portfolio by looking at their IT infrastructure needs.

Organizations often form program management boards to evaluate ideas, initiatives and their costs. In reality, these evaluations are based on lightweight business cases without the broader context. organizations don’t have a comprehensive understanding of what systems, processes and resources they have, what they are being used for, and how much they cost and the effects of regulations. Projects are delivered and viewed on a project-by-project basis without regard to the bigger picture. Enterprise, technology and process-related decisions are made within the flux of change and without access to the real knowledge contained within the organisation or in the market place. IT is often in the hot seat of this type of decision-making.

Challenges of IT Planning

IT planning takes place in reaction to and anticipation of these market demands and initiatives. There may be a need for a new CRM or accounting system, or new application for manufacturing or product development. While IT planning should be part of a broader enterprise architecture or market analysis, IT involvement in technology investments are often done close to the end of the strategic planning process and without proper access to enterprise or market data.

The following questions illustrate the competing demands found within the typical IT environment:

How can we manage the prioritization of business, architectural-and project-driven initiatives?

Stakeholders place a large number of both tactical and strategic requirements on IT. IT is required to offer different technology investment options, but is often constrained by a competition for resources.

How do we balance enterprise architecture’s role with IT portfolio management?

An enterprise architect provides a high-level view of the risks and benefits of a project and the alignment to future goals. It can illustrate the project complexities and the impact of change. Future state architectures and transition plans can be used to define investment portfolio content. At the same time, portfolio management provides a detailed perspective of development and implementation. Balancing these often-competing viewpoints can be tricky.

How well are application lifecycles being managed?

Application management requires a product/service/asset view over time. Well-managed application lifecycles demand a process of continuous releases, especially when time to market is key. The higher level view required by portfolio management provides a broader perspective of how all assets work together. Balancing application lifecycle demands against a broader portfolio framework can present an inherent conflict about priorities and a struggle for resources.

How do we manage the numerous and often conflicting governance requirements across the delivery process?

As many organizations move to small-team agile development, coordinating the various application development projects becomes more difficult. Managing the development process using waterfall methods can shorten schedules but can also increase the chance of errors and a disconnect with broader portfolio and enterprise goals.

How do we address different lifecycles and tribes in the organization?

Lifecycles such as innovation management, enterprise architecture, business process management and solution delivery are all necessary but are not harmonised across the enterprise. The connection among these lifecycles is important to the effective delivery of initiatives and understanding the impact of change.

The enterprise view, down through innovation management, portfolio management, application lifecycle management and agile development represent competing IT viewpoints that can come together using an ideas to delivery framework.

Agile Development and DevOps

A key component of the drive from ideas to delivery is how strategic planning and the delivery of software are related or more directly the relevance of Agile Enterprise Architecture to DevOps.

DevOps is a term that has been around since the end of the last decade, originating from the Agile development movement and is a fusion of “development” and “operations”. In more practical terms it integrates developers and operations teams in order to improve collaboration and productivity by automating infrastructure, workflows and continuously measuring application performance.

The drivers behind the approach are the competing needs to incorporate new products into production whilst maintaining 99.9% uptime to customers in an agile manner.

To understand further the increase in complexity we need to look at how new features and functions need to be applied to our delivery of software. The world of mobile apps, middleware and cloud deployment has reduced release cycles to weeks not months with an emphasis on delivering incremental change. Previously a business release would be every few months with a series of modules and hopefully still relevant to the business goals.

The shorter continuous delivery lifecycle will help organizations:

  • Achieve shorter releases by incremental delivery and delivering faster innovation.
  • Be more responsive to business needs by improved collaboration, better quality and more frequent releases.
  • Manage the number of applications impacted by business release by allowing local variants for a global business and continuous delivery within releases.

The Devops approach achieves this by providing an environment that:

  • Will minimize software delivery batch sizes to increase flexibility and enable continuous feedback as every team delivers features to production as they are completed.
  • Has the notion of projects replaced by release trains which minimizes batch waiting time to reduce lead times and waste.
  • Has a shift from central planning to decentralized execution with a pull philosophy thus minimizing batch transaction cost to improve efficiency.
  • Makes DevOps economically feasible through test virtualization, build automation, and automated release management as we prioritize and sequence batches to maximize business value and select the right batches, sequence them in the right order, guide the implementation, track execution and make planning adjustments to maximize business value.

By Martin Owen, CEO, CorsoFigure 1: DevOps lifecycle

Thus far we have only looked at the delivery aspects, so how does this approach integrate with an enterprise architecture view?

To understand this we need to look more closely at the strategic Planning Lifecycle. Figure 2 shows how the strategic planning lifecycle supports an ‘ideas to delivery’ framework.

By Martin Owen, CEO, Corso

Figure 2: The strategic planning lifecycle

You can see here, the high level relationship between the strategy and goals of an organization and the projects that deliver the change to meet these goals. The enterprise architecture provides the model to govern the delivery of projects in line with these goals.

However we must ensure that any model that is built must be just enough EA to provide the right level of analysis and this has been discussed in previous sections of this book regarding the use of Kanban to drive change. The Agile EA model is then one that can both provide enough analysis to plan which projects should be undertaken and then to ensure full architectural governance over the delivery. The last part of this is achieved by connecting to the tools used in the Agile space.

By Martin Owen, CEO, Corso

Figure 3: Detailed view of the strategic planning lifecycle

There are a number of tools that can be used within DevOps. One example is the IBM toolset, which uses open standards to link to other products within the overall lifecycle. This approach integrates the Agile enterprise architecture process with the Agile Development process and connects project delivery with effective governance of the project lifecycle and ensures that even if the software delivery process is agile the link to goals and associated business needs are met.

To achieve this goal a number of internal processes must interoperate and this is a significant challenge, but one that can be met by building an internal center of excellence and finding a solution by starting small and building a working environment.

The Strategic Planning Lifecycle Summary

The organization begins by revisiting its corporate vision and strategy. What things will differentiate the organization from its competitors in five years? What value propositions will it offer customers to create that differentiation? The organization can create a series of campaigns or challenges to solicit new ideas and requirements for its vision and strategy.

The ideas and requirements are rationalized into a value proposition that can be examined in more detail.

The company can look at what resources it needs to have on both the business side and the IT side to deliver the capabilities needed to realize the value propositions. For example, a superior customer experience might demand better internet interactions and new applications, processes, and infrastructure on which to run. Once the needs are understood, they are compared to what the organization already has. The transition planning determines how the gaps will be addressed.

An enterprise architecture is a living thing with a lifecycle of its own. Figure 3 shows the ongoing EA processes. With the strategy and transition plan in place, EA execution begins. The transition plan provides input to project prioritization and planning since those projects aligned with the transition plan are typically prioritized over those that do not align. This determines which projects are funded and entered into, or continue to the Devops stage. As the solutions are developed, enterprise architecture assets such as models, building blocks, rules, patterns, constraints and guidelines are used and followed. Where the standard assets aren’t suitable for a project, exceptions are requested from the governance board. These exceptions are tracked carefully. Where assets are frequently the subject of exception requests, they must be examined to see if they really are suitable for the organization.

If we’re not doing things the way we said we wanted them done, then we must ask if our target architectures are still correct. This helps keep the EA current and useful.

Periodic updates to the organization’s vision and strategy require a reassessment of the to-be state of the enterprise architecture. This typically results in another look at how the organization will differentiate itself in five years, what value propositions it will offer, the capabilities and resources needed, and so on. Then the transition plan is examined to see if it is still moving us in the right direction. If not, it is updated.

Figure 3, separates the organization’s strategy and vision, the enterprise architecture lifecycle components and the solution development & delivery. Some argue that the strategy and vision are part of the EA while others argue against this. Both views are valid since they simply depend on how you look at the process. If the CEO’s office is responsible for the vision and strategy and the reporting chain as responsible for its execution, then the separation of it from the EA makes sense. In practice, the top part of the reporting chain participates in the vision and strategy exercise and is encouraged to “own” it, at least from an execution perspective. In that case, it might be fair to consider it part of the EA. Or you can say it drives the EA. The categorization isn’t as important as understanding how the vision and strategy interacts with the EA, or the rest of the EA, however you see it.

Note that the overall goal here is to have traceability from our ideas and initiatives, all the way through to strategic delivery. This comes with clear feedback from delivery assets to the ideas and requirements that they were initiated from.

By Martin Owen, CEO, CorsoMartin Owen, CEO, Corso, has held executive and senior management and technical positions in IBM, Telelogic and Popkin. He has been instrumental in driving forward the product management of enterprise architecture, portfolio management and asset management tooling.

Martin is also active with industry standards bodies and was the driver behind the first business process-modelling notation (BPMN) standard.

Martin has led the ArchiMate® and UML mapping initiatives at The Open Group and is part of the capability based planning standards team.

Martin is responsible for strategy, products and direction at Corso.

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