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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 Reaches 500th Membership Milestone

By The Open Group

To reach the number 500 in anything is a significant achievement. In business, the top companies in the world vie to be part of the Fortune 500 or the S&P 500. In automobile racing, top annual competitions for racers—the Indy 500 and Daytona 500—require participants to drive 500 laps around a racetrack. Even American baseball has its own 500 Homerun Club, which includes legendary hitters such as Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron who achieved more than 500 homeruns in a lifetime.

We’re pleased to announce that The Open Group has also joined the ranks of those that can mark a milestone of 500. We welcome Universidad Continental to The Open Group, which has the distinction of being our 500th membership. Universidad Continental, in Peru, is the first university member of The Open Group in South America.

Although The Open Group was formed over 20 years ago, our organization has experienced significant uptick during the past few years. In a global economy where businesses have become ever-more dependent on technology, there is more need for technology standards today than ever before. With technologies such as Big Data, the Cloud and the Internet of Things, our mission of Boundaryless Information Flow™ to break down silos among and within organizations has never been more important. Companies are increasingly recognizing the importance of how open standards can help them transform their business and achieve their goals—this milestone and our recent help prove that.

Over these past 20 years, The Open Group has seen many other significant milestones—the 40th anniversary of the Single UNIX® specification, the rapid growth of certification programs such TOGAF® 9,, which has reached over 47,000 certifications worldwide, and the ArchiMate® Certification for People program, which has more than 2,500 individual certifications. (UNIX®, TOGAF® and ArchiMate® are standards of The Open Group.) But to reach our 500th membership of The Open Group as an organization is particularly memorable. It shows that our approach of developing consensus-driven requirements and policies and sharing best practices is resonating in a time where rapid change is the only norm when it comes to technology. And in times of uncertainty like these, open standards are one way that companies can gain stability while maintaining the flexibility and agility they need to keep moving forward and to advance with the industry.

As a consortia, The Open Group would be nothing without its members—the vendors, customers, systems and solutions suppliers, integrators, consultants, government, academia and researchers that span the entire IT community. The collaborative work the membership continues to do through the Forums and Work Groups to bring standards and certifications to both the global IT community and vertical industries is helping to shape the future of enterprise integration. As we continue to create standards that touch every part of the industry—from Enterprise Architecture to Security, IT management, Open Platform 3.0™, the supply chain, IT4IT™, Healthcare and embedded systems—we look forward to the continued support of our members and to future member milestones.

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Balancing Complexity and Continuous Improvements – A Case Study from the Automotive Industry

By The Open Group

Background

The automotive industry is currently facing massive challenges. For the past 30-40 years, automakers have faced stiff competition in the marketplace, as well as constant pressure to make more innovative and efficient vehicles while reducing the costs to manufacture them.

At the same time, current technological advances are making the industry—and the technology inside automobiles—increasingly complex. Digitalization is also affecting not only how automobiles work but is forcing changes in the manufacturing process and in how automakers run their businesses. With technology now touching nearly every part of the business and how it functions, the IT landscape for automakers is becoming a web of interconnected systems running both inside and outside of the business.

In addition, with computing systems becoming a more integral part of the systems that run vehicles, the lines between traditional IT functions and IT within cars themselves are beginning to blur. With trends such as Big Data and analytics, the Internet of Things and The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™ making cars, manufacturers, dealers and owners increasingly interconnected, automotive company IT departments are being forced to get involved in areas of the business, such as product development and maintenance, in ways they’ve never been before.

Between economic forces and technological change, automakers, like many businesses today, are facing massive upheaval and the need for major transformation in order to deal with levels of business complexity they’ve never seen before.

Company

These challenges are very real for the automotive company in this case study. In addition to general economic and technological change, the company has gone through a number of transitions that have created additional infrastructure issues for the company. Over the past two decades, the company was bought then sold and bought again, bringing in two new owners and technological systems. Between the company’s original legacy IT systems and the systems brought in by its subsequent owners, the company’s IT landscape had become extremely complicated. In addition, the company is in the process of extending its footprint in the burgeoning Chinese market, a step that requires the company to invest in additional infrastructure in order to take advantage of China’s growing economic wealth to speed sales.

Between the company’s existing systems, the need to grow into emerging markets and increased digitalization across the company and its products, the company was in need of new approach to its overall architecture.

Problem

Although the company started early on to utilize IT to make the information flows across the company value chain as effective as possible, the existing IT environment had grown organically as the company had changed owners. In order to prepare themselves for an increasingly digital business environment, the company needed to address the increasing complexity of its systems without adding more complexity and while designing systems that could scale and run for the long haul.

Previously, the company had begun to consider using an Enterprise Architecture approach to address its growing complexity. Although the company had a number of solutions architects on staff, they soon realized that they needed a more holistic approach that could address the entire enterprise, not just the individual solutions that made up that IT landscape.

In an industry where time to market is of outmost importance there will always be challenges in balancing short-term solutions with strategic investments. As such, the company initially decided to invest in an Enterprise Architecture capability with the objective of addressing internal complexities to better understand and eventually deal with them. Because TOGAF®, an Open Group standard was seen as the de-facto industry standard for Enterprise Architecture it was the natural choice for the company to create its architecture framework. The majority of the Enterprise and solution Architects at the company were then trained and certified in TOGAF 9. Subsequently, TOGAF was adopted by the architecture community in the IT organization.

Within the IT department, TOGAF provided an ontology for discussing IT issues, and it also provided a foundation for the Enterprise Architecture repository. However, it was seen within the organization primarily as an IT architecture concern, not a framework for transformational change. The EA team decided that in order to really benefit from TOGAF and address the complexity challenges throughout the enterprise, they would need to prove that TOGAF could be used to add value throughout the entire organization and influence how changes were delivered to the IT landscape, as well as prove the value of a structured approach to addressing internal issues.

In order to prove that TOGAF could help with its overall transformation, the team decided to put together a couple of pilot projects within different business areas to showcase the benefits of using a structured approach to change. Due to a need to fix how the company sourced product components, the team decided to first pilot a TOGAF-based approach for its procurement process, since it was widely viewed as one of the most complex areas of the business.

A New Procurement Platform

The initial pilot project was aimed at modernizing the company’s procurement landscape. Although procurement is normally a fairly straightforward process, in the automotive business the intricacies and variations within the product structure, combined with a desire to control logistic costs and material flows, represented a major challenge for the company. In short, to save costs, the company only wanted to buy things they would actually use in the vehicle manufacturing process—no more, no less.

Over the years the IT supporting the company’s procurement process had become very fragmented due to investments in various point solutions and different partnerships that had been established over time. In addition, some parts of the system had been closed down, all of which made the information flow, including all the systems integrations that had occurred along the way, very difficult to map. There were also several significant gaps in the IT support of the procurement process that severely limited the transparency and integrity of the process.

Solution

Using TOGAF as an architecture framework and method in conjunction with ArchiMate®, an Open Group standard, for modelling notations and Sparx Enterprise Architect (EA) as a modelling tool, the team set out to establish a roadmap for implementing a new procurement platform. The TOGAF Architecture Development Method (ADM) was used to establish the architecture vision, and the architecture development phases were completed outlining a target architecture and a subsequent roadmap. No major adaptions were made to the ADM but the sourcing process for the platform was run in parallel to putting together the ADM, requiring an iterative approach to be used

As part of the roadmap, the following ArchiMate views were developed:

  • Motivation views
  • Information structure views
  • Baseline and target business process views
  • Baseline and target business function views
  • Baseline and target application function views
  • Baseline and target application landscape views
  • Baseline and target application usage views
  • Baseline and target infrastructure landscape views
  • Baseline and target infrastructure usage views

Each view was created using Sparx EA configured to facilitate the ADM process and acting as the architecture repository.

The TOGAF ADM provided a structured approach for developing a roadmap whose results could be traced back to the original vision. Having a well-defined methodology with clear deliverables and an artifacts meta-model made the work focused, and both TOGAF and ArchiMate were relatively easy to get buy in for.

The challenges for the project were mainly in one area—aligning the architecture development with the IT solution sourcing process. Because the company wanted to identify sourcing solutions early to assess costs and initiate negotiation, that emphasis pushed the project into identifying solutions building blocks very early on. In most cases, the output from the ADM process could directly be used as input for sourcing commercial of solutions; however, in this case, sourcing soon took precedence over the architecture development process. Usually moving through the ADM phases A to E can be done within a couple of months but evaluating solutions and securing funding within this company proved to be much more difficult and time consuming.

Results

With a new procurement process roadmap in hand, the company has now begun to use the ADM to engage with and get Requests for Information (RFIs) from new suppliers. In addition, using TOGAF and ArchiMate to map the company’s procurement process and design an infrastructure roadmap helped to demystify what had been seen as an extremely complex procurement process. The project allowed the IT team to identify where the real complexities were in the process, many of which are at the component level rather than within the system itself. In addition, the company has been able to identify the areas that they need to prioritize as they begin their implementation process.

Observations

Initially TOGAF was seen as a silver bullet within the organization. However, companies must realize that the TOGAF methodology represents best practices, and there is still a need within any organization to have skilled, knowledgeable Enterprise Architects available and with the mandate to do the work.

As part of the project, the following benefits were provided by TOGAF:

  • Provided structure to the analysis
  • Ensured a holistic perspective for all domains
  • Kept the team focused on the outcome, definition, roadmap, etc.
  • Provided a good view into current and future data for the roadmap
  • Provided proven credibility for the analysis

ArchiMate added additional support by providing well-defined viewpoints, and Sparx EA is a cost effective modelling tool and repository that can easily be deployed to all stakeholder in an initiative.

However, within this particular organization, there were a number of challenges that need to be overcome, many of which can hinder the adoption of TOGAF. These challenges included:

  • Competing processes, methodologies and capabilities
  • Strong focus on solution design rather than architecture
  • Strong focus on project delivery tradition rather than managing programs and outcomes
  • Governance for solutions rather than architecture

Adopting Archimate proved to be more straightforward internally at this organization because it could be used to address immediate modelling needs but without requiring a coordinated approach around methodology and governance.

In cases such as this, it is probably best to sell the TOGAF and ArchiMate methodologies into the business organization as common sense solutions rather than as specific technology architecture methodologies. Although they may be presented as such to the EA community within the organization, it makes the decision process simpler not to oversell the technical solution, as it were, to the business, instead selling them the business benefits of the process.

Future

Currently the company is beginning to move through the implementation phase of their roadmap. In addition, individuals throughout the organization have begun to regularly use ArchiMate as a tool for modeling different business areas within the organization. In addition the tools and concepts of TOGAF have been put into use successfully in several initiatives. The timeframe however for formally implementing a more comprehensive Enterprise Architecture Framework throughout other parts of the organization has been slowed down due to the company’s current focus on the release of new models. This is cyclical within the company and once the immediate focus on product delivery weakens, the need for consolidation and simplification will become a priority once again.

As with most companies, the key to a implementing a successful Enterprise Architecture capability within this company will come down to establishing a more effective partnership between the IT organization and the business organizations that IT is supporting. As such, for projects such as this, early engagement is key, and the IT organization must position itself not only as a delivery organization but a business partner that provides investment advice and helps minimize business risk through improved processes and technology based business transformation (as is prescribed by methodologies such as TOGAF and ArchiMate). This requires a unified view of the company mission and its business objectives and associated approaches from IT. Project managers, business analysts and Enterprise Architects must have a common view as to how to approach engagements for them to succeed. Without buy-in throughout the organization, the tools will only be useful techniques used by individuals and their real potential may not be realized.

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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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The Open Group Baltimore 2015 Highlights

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

The Open Group Baltimore 2015, Enabling Boundaryless Information Flow™, July 20-23, was held at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Inner Harbor. Over 300 attendees from 16 countries, including China, Japan, Netherlands and Brazil, attended this agenda-packed event.

The event kicked off on July 20th with a warm Open Group welcome by Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group. The first plenary speaker was Bruce McConnell, Senior VP, East West Institute, whose presentation “Global Cooperation in Cyberspace”, gave a behind-the-scenes look at global cybersecurity issues. Bruce focused on US – China cyber cooperation, major threats and what the US is doing about them.

Allen then welcomed Christopher Davis, Professor of Information Systems, University of South Florida, to The Open Group Governing Board as an Elected Customer Member Representative. Chris also serves as Chair of The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum.

The plenary continued with a joint presentation “Can Cyber Insurance Be Linked to Assurance” by Larry Clinton, President & CEO, Internet Security Alliance and Dan Reddy, Adjunct Faculty, Quinsigamond Community College MA. The speakers emphasized that cybersecurity is not a simply an IT issue. They stated there are currently 15 billion mobile devices and there will be 50 billion within 5 years. Organizations and governments need to prepare for new vulnerabilities and the explosion of the Internet of Things (IoT).

The plenary culminated with a panel “US Government Initiatives for Securing the Global Supply Chain”. Panelists were Donald Davidson, Chief, Lifecycle Risk Management, DoD CIO for Cybersecurity, Angela Smith, Senior Technical Advisor, General Services Administration (GSA) and Matthew Scholl, Deputy Division Chief, NIST. The panel was moderated by Dave Lounsbury, CTO and VP, Services, The Open Group. They discussed the importance and benefits of ensuring product integrity of hardware, software and services being incorporated into government enterprise capabilities and critical infrastructure. Government and industry must look at supply chain, processes, best practices, standards and people.

All sessions concluded with Q&A moderated by Allen Brown and Jim Hietala, VP, Business Development and Security, The Open Group.

Afternoon tracks (11 presentations) consisted of various topics including Information & Data Architecture and EA & Business Transformation. The Risk, Dependability and Trusted Technology theme also continued. Jack Daniel, Strategist, Tenable Network Security shared “The Evolution of Vulnerability Management”. Michele Goetz, Principal Analyst at Forrester Research, presented “Harness the Composable Data Layer to Survive the Digital Tsunami”. This session was aimed at helping data professionals understand how Composable Data Layers set digital and the Internet of Things up for success.

The evening featured a Partner Pavilion and Networking Reception. The Open Group Forums and Partners hosted short presentations and demonstrations while guests also enjoyed the reception. Areas focused on were Enterprise Architecture, Healthcare, Security, Future Airborne Capability Environment (FACE™), IT4IT™ and Open Platform™.

Exhibitors in attendance were Esteral Technologies, Wind River, RTI and SimVentions.

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing CommunicationsPartner Pavilion – The Open Group Open Platform 3.0™

On July 21, Allen Brown began the plenary with the great news that Huawei has become a Platinum Member of The Open Group. Huawei joins our other Platinum Members Capgemini, HP, IBM, Philips and Oracle.

By Loren K Baynes, Director, Global Marketing CommunicationsAllen Brown, Trevor Cheung, Chris Forde

Trevor Cheung, VP Strategy & Architecture Practice, Huawei Global Services, will be joining The Open Group Governing Board. Trevor posed the question, “what can we do to combine The Open Group and IT aspects to make a customer experience transformation?” His presentation entitled “The Value of Industry Standardization in Promoting ICT Innovation”, addressed the “ROADS Experience”. ROADS is an acronym for Real Time, On-Demand, All Online, DIY, Social, which need to be defined across all industries. Trevor also discussed bridging the gap; the importance of combining Customer Experience (customer needs, strategy, business needs) and Enterprise Architecture (business outcome, strategies, systems, processes innovation). EA plays a key role in the digital transformation.

Allen then presented The Open Group Forum updates. He shared roadmaps which include schedules of snapshots, reviews, standards, and publications/white papers.

Allen also provided a sneak peek of results from our recent survey on TOGAF®, an Open Group standard. TOGAF® 9 is currently available in 15 different languages.

Next speaker was Jason Uppal, Chief Architecture and CEO, iCareQuality, on “Enterprise Architecture Practice Beyond Models”. Jason emphasized the goal is “Zero Patient Harm” and stressed the importance of Open CA Certification. He also stated that there are many roles of Enterprise Architects and they are always changing.

Joanne MacGregor, IT Trainer and Psychologist, Real IRM Solutions, gave a very interesting presentation entitled “You can Lead a Horse to Water… Managing the Human Aspects of Change in EA Implementations”. Joanne discussed managing, implementing, maintaining change and shared an in-depth analysis of the psychology of change.

“Outcome Driven Government and the Movement Towards Agility in Architecture” was presented by David Chesebrough, President, Association for Enterprise Information (AFEI). “IT Transformation reshapes business models, lean startups, web business challenges and even traditional organizations”, stated David.

Questions from attendees were addressed after each session.

In parallel with the plenary was the Healthcare Interoperability Day. Speakers from a wide range of Healthcare industry organizations, such as ONC, AMIA and Healthway shared their views and vision on how IT can improve the quality and efficiency of the Healthcare enterprise.

Before the plenary ended, Allen made another announcement. Allen is stepping down in April 2016 as President and CEO after more than 20 years with The Open Group, including the last 17 as CEO. After conducting a process to choose his successor, The Open Group Governing Board has selected Steve Nunn as his replacement who will assume the role with effect from November of this year. Steve is the current COO of The Open Group and CEO of the Association of Enterprise Architects. Please see press release here.By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing Communications

Steve Nunn, Allen Brown

Afternoon track topics were comprised of EA Practice & Professional Development and Open Platform 3.0™.

After a very informative and productive day of sessions, workshops and presentations, event guests were treated to a dinner aboard the USS Constellation just a few minutes walk from the hotel. The USS Constellation constructed in 1854, is a sloop-of-war, the second US Navy ship to carry the name and is designated a National Historic Landmark.

By Loren K. Baynes, Director, Global Marketing CommunicationsUSS Constellation

On Wednesday, July 22, tracks continued: TOGAF® 9 Case Studies and Standard, EA & Capability Training, Knowledge Architecture and IT4IT™ – Managing the Business of IT.

Thursday consisted of members-only meetings which are closed sessions.

A special “thank you” goes to our sponsors and exhibitors: Avolution, SNA Technologies, BiZZdesign, Van Haren Publishing, AFEI and AEA.

Check out all the Twitter conversation about the event – @theopengroup #ogBWI

Event proceedings for all members and event attendees can be found here.

Hope to see you at The Open Group Edinburgh 2015 October 19-22! Please register here.

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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Update on The Open Group France: A Conversation with Eric Boulay

By The Open Group

Following this spring’s European Summit, we reached out to Eric Boulay, our French partner, to catch up on the latest goings on at The Open Group France. Boulay, who is also the CEO of our French affiliate, Arismore, provided us an update on affiliate growth and also discussed the architectural issues currently facing French companies.

Update

As Eric points out in the interview below, digital transformation is one of the largest trends French companies are grappling with. To provide some guidance, The Open Group France has recently published a new whitepaper entitled “Key Issues and Skills in Digital Transformation.” In addition, the organization uses a new publication, “TOGAF En Action” to organize meetings and share TOGAF® case studies. The TOGAF 9.1 Pocket Guide has also recently been translated into French, and a French TOGAF app is now available for iPhone users with an Android version in the works.

One new member, Adservio, has joined The Open Group France in the past quarter, and three memberships were recently renewed. The Open Group France will host an Architecture Practitioners Conference in Paris on June 17th.

Q&A

What are some of the latest goings on with The Open Group France?

France is accelerating in digital transformation so now is a good time to speed up architectural discipline. Training is doing well, and consistency and service in TOGAF®, an Open Group standard, and Enterprise Architecture are doing well because there is a move toward digital transformation. In the France architecture forum, we have meetings every six weeks to share activities and case studies. We are currently raising awareness for The Open Group IT4IT™ Forum. It’s not well-known today in France. It’s just starting up and a brand new subject.

What technology trends are Enterprise Architects in Europe grappling with today?

Definitely there is more interest in closing the gap between strategy, business and information systems. There are two topics – one is what we used to call enterprise IT architecture. IT guys are working to be more and more effective in managing IT assets—this has been the same story for a while. But what is emerging right now is—and this is due to digital transformation—there is a strong need to close the gap between enterprise strategy and information systems. This means that we are working, for example, with ArchiMate® to better understand business motivations and to go from business motivations to a roadmap to build next generation information systems. So this is a new topic because now we can say that Enterprise Architecture is no longer just an IT topic, it’s now an enterprise topic. Enterprise Architects are more and more in the right position to work both on the business and IT sides. This is a hot topic, and France is participating in the Information Architecture Work Group to propose new guidance and prescriptions. Also there is some work on the table with TOGAF to better close the gap between strategy and IT. This is exactly what we have to do better in the The Open Group Architecture Forum, and we’re working on it.

What are some of the things that can be done to start closing that gap?

First is to speak the business language. What we used to do is really to work close with the business guys. We have to use, for example, ArchiMate language but not talk about ArchiMate languages.

For example, there was an international account we had in Europe. We flew to different countries to talk to the business lines and the topic was shared services, like SAP or ERP, and what they could share with subsidiaries in other countries. We were talking about the local business, and by the end of the day we were using ArchiMate and the Archie tool to review and wrap up the meeting. These documents and drawings were very useful to explicitly figure out what exactly this business line needed. Because we had this very formal view of what they needed that was very valuable to be able to compare it with other business lines, and then we were in the position to help them set up the shared services in an international standard view. We definitely used ArchiMate tools, language and the Archie tools. We were talking about strategy and motivation and at the end of the day we shared the ArchiMate view of what they could share, and three months later they are very happy with the deliverables because we were able to provide view across different business units and different countries and we are ready to implement shared services with ERP in different countries and business lines. The method, the language, TOGAF, ArchiMate language—and also Enterprise Architect soft skills—all of these were key differentiators in being able to achieve this job.

What other things are you seeing Enterprise Architects grappling with in Europe?

Obviously Big Data and data analysis is really hyped today. Like the U.S., the first problem is that Europe needs resources and skills to work on these new topics. We are very interested in these topics, but we have to work to better figure out what kind of architecture and reference architectures we can use for that. The Open Platform 3.0™ Forum trends and reference architecture are key to fostering the maturity of the domain.

The second topic is IT4IT—behind IT4IT there is a financial issue for IT people to always deliver more value and save money. If I understand where we are going with IT4IT, we are trying to develop a reference architecture which helps companies to better deliver service with an efficient cost rationale. This is why we are taking part in IT4IT. When we promote IT4IT at the next French event in June we will talk about IT4IT because it’s an opportunity to review the IT service portfolio and the way to deliver it in an effective way.

It’s not so easy with us with security because today it’s a local issue. What I mean by local issue is, in every country in Europe and especially in France, cybersecurity and data privacy are on the government agenda. It’s a sovereignty issue, and they are cautious about local solutions. France, and especially the government, is working on that. There are works at the European level to set up policies for European data privacy and for cyber criminality. To be honest, Europe is not 100 percent confident with security issues if we’re talking about Facebook and Google. It’s not easy to propose an international framework to fix security issues. For example, Arismore is working with EA and security. EA is easy to promote – most of the major French companies are aware of TOGAF and are using EA and TOGAF even more, but not security because we have ISO 27001 and people are not very confident with U.S.-based security solutions.

 

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Agile Enterprise Architecture – A Good to Great Evolution

By Priya Patra, Sr. Manager at IGATE Global Solutions

I have been an Agile Practitioner for years now, have been in many successful Agile executed projects. But as an Enterprise Architect I am somewhat skeptical about the fact how the eXtereme Programming and other Agile methodologies dismiss the value of analysis and design.

In this write-up I will try to blend in the flavors of Agile along with Enterprise Architecture to bring in the concept of Agile Architecture.

Enterprise Architecture is good, but when we make it agile t0 embraces change, it is great. Let’s see how we can embark on the Good to Great journey of making an Enterprise Architecture and Agile Enterprise Architecture.

Emerging and Intentional Architecture

SCRUM and XP have seen broadest adoptions in the enterprises. These methodologies are based on the assumptions that the architecture emerges out of the iterations of delivery of value driven user stories and continuous refactoring, this is what we call Emerging Architecture. What if we have to scale this to the enterprise, will it stand up to the test of scalability, here comes in the Intentional Architecture.

Intentional Architecture is a practice which is designed to produce robust architectures in an Agile fashion. The objectives of Intentional Architecture are as follows:

  1. Build Application Architecture vision
  2. Alignment of Application Architecture with Enterprise Architecture vision
  3. Leverage Architecture patterns, implementation strategies and best practices – Build robust Architecture Principles
  4. Sponsor innovation and continuous Improvement

Agile Architecture – Looking beyond the current Sprint

With the foundation laid for an intentional architecture, we will now look to see if we can make the enterprise architecture Agile.

Characteristics of an Agile Architecture

  1. Intentional Architecture, rather than an emerging architecture
  2. Integration points to facilitate Agile Development rather than hindering the same
  3. Embrace change without over building

This does not happen by accident but by design.

By The Open Group

 The Agile Enterprise Architecture

Role of an Agile Architect

There are substantial benefits when we effectively apply the intentional architecture, provided the iteration is not slowed down. An Agile Architect is a role in an agile team who provides inputs and technical direction based on the Architecture vision to the enterprise and ensures that the design and architecture of an individual application is in conformance with enterprise architecture vision.

Let’s see how an Agile Developer and Agile Architect embrace change?

Agile Developer Agile Enterprise Architect
Works to satisfy the customer and business Balances needs of all stakeholders and knows when to say “no”
Embraces change quickly assuming change is inevitable Plans for change, embraces it, by understanding it and through a flexible design
Follows “YAGNI” principle of XP Follows “Separations of concerns”, plans and designs for scalability and reliability in conformance with Enterprise Standards
Uses quick   solutions to solve problems Implement Long tern solutions to reduce technical risk / debt and improve maintainability

Evolution Strategies – Good to GreatBy The Open GroupBuild strong foundations: Agility depends on strong foundations; we can never be agile, if we keep spending time in fixing the core or Architectural building blocks.

Establish Implementation strategy: Implementation strategy to be aligned to the Architecture vision and communicated to the Agile team to ensure alignment to the vision.

Adopt a layered structure:   Layer data as well as the software. We need to separate out things with specific purpose or which changes with different rates than others. Separate the core from the business rules, loosely couple components and apply abstraction for growth and scalability.

Practice change continually: Being Great at anything requires practice. Agile teams needs to use tools and techniques which support constant change e.g. Continuous Integration, testing and refactoring

Bottom line “Think long term and act short term “. Understand the agility the business needs, understand what helps you to align to the Enterprise Architecture Vision and choose design wisely!

By Priya Patra, Sr. Manager at IGATE Global SolutionsPriya Patra is Sr. Manager at IGATE Global Solutions. She has extensive experience in managing and executing product / framework development and Technology CoE projects. She is a Certified Scrum Master, a certified TOGAF® practitioner and a member of the Association of Enterprise Architects (AEA).

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