Tag Archives: EA

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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Inaugural User Group Meeting Draws Out New Ways of Seeing TOGAF®

By The Open Group

The Open Group hosted the first TOGAF® User Group meeting on January 25, 2016 in San Francisco. With over 50,000 certified users in more than 120 countries, the intent of the TOGAF User Group was to better serve and reach the entire TOGAF user community, allowing them to network with other users, interact with TOGAF subject matter experts, brainstorm solutions for challenging situations and build an active user community.

According to Terry Blevins, Fellow of The Open Group and consultant for Enterprise Wise, LLC, who facilitated the meeting, the goal for the inaugural event was to provide a venue were users could easily Share, get Enlightened and Express (SEE TOGAF) their needs as users. Blevins says those in attendance were engaged throughout the day and that users “found a useful balance between the three dimensions” of SEEing. In addition, the overall response to the event was positive, he says, with many attendees expressing a desire to hold additional events moving forward.

The User Group format consisted primarily of a full day of managed breakout sessions, each focused on trends that are affecting the use of Enterprise Architecture within organizations today. Facilitators led discussions with users on a variety of critical topics including:

  • TOGAF for Digital Transformation
  • TOGAF Business Scenarios
  • Security within TOGAF
  • The Role of People within TOGAF
  • TOGAF for eGovernment
  • TOGAF Hot Topics

During the session, TOGAF users provided significant viewpoints regarding potential enhancements that could be made to the standard throughout the day. Chief among them was the desire to have more concrete, practical use cases for TOGAF—particularly within specific industries. With many industries currently undergoing some radical shifts as they move toward greater digitalization, users are looking for increased guidance around how to use Architecture frameworks within industry verticals. Blevins states there was some expectation of this going into the User Meeting, but to have that validation directly from users was very important.

“The exciting thing was that we really thought that was going to happen—folks are asking for this and ready to use TOGAF across vertical industries,” he says.

Not only are users looking for more vertical industry examples, but they also expressed a need for additional horizontal use cases that can be used cross-functionally within organizations. Users would like to be able to use TOGAF, an Open Group standard, as a framework for making change within different departments and service parts of organizations such as HR, Finance or Operations. Current work in The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum is actually a perfect example of how the framework can be put to use across service functions, with the IT department leading the way in the form of the IT4IT Reference Architecture.

Guidance around how to do business or digital transformation was also mentioned as a potential enhancement. Blevins believes that with all the requests for templates, case studies and practical examples, there is an opportunity for developing a substantial series of “How to” articles and white papers that can be used in conjunction with TOGAF to provide users greater direction for specific use cases and examples.

“A lot of people really want to use TOGAF,” says Blevins. “They just need some help in applying it.”

Users also expressed a need for assistance in how to get buy-in for TOGAF and architecture from C-level executives within their organizations. This has long been a problem within the Architecture community and architects continue to struggle with how to better sell and market both themselves and what they can do.

Blevins says one suggestion that was made during the User Meeting was that Enterprise Architects stop trying to sell Architecture and instead focus on selling the outcomes or solutions they provide. It was suggested that perhaps architects spend too much time trying to sell their methods and frameworks and the “how” behind their work rather than just talking about solving the problem and how architecture will improve the business. Ultimately, the focus should be on that, not on how to apply Enterprise Architecture, he says.

Users in attendance were also struggling with how to integrate their Architecture efforts with Agile development trends and the need to bring increased innovation and speed to their projects. The need to develop more service- and customer-oriented delivery models to help transform businesses was also mentioned, as well as the need to include more guidance around Risk Management and Security within TOGAF.

The User Group meeting was very productive and provided excellent input on the standard. All feedback from the User Group is being delivered to The Open Group Architecture Forum for consideration in helping to enhance the standard and to provide feedback for TOGAF and trainers, as well to continue developing content that supports the standard and best practices for its use.

Please join us in London on April 27, 2016 for our upcoming TOGAF User Group meeting. The entire agenda for The Open Group London 2016 can be found here.

 

 

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Filed under Digital Transformation, EA, Enterprise Architecture, IT4IT, Standards, The Open Group, The Open Group London 2016, TOGAF®, Uncategorized

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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