Tag Archives: Enterprise Transformation

Customer Experience and Transformation In Financial Services – Part 1

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

This is Part 1 in a two part series.

Chapter 1 – Introduction

The financial services industry is undergoing massive change.

Around the world, organisations offering banking, lending, insurance, trading, and payments services are realising that customer-centric, design-led approaches can revolutionise the way that financial services are delivered to a new generation of consumers.

But to achieve practical, sustainable transformation, financial services firms must turn their attention to their business architecture. Combined with sage business strategies, having the right architecture unleashes the dynamism and agility to succeed in the new digital era.

In other words, for financial services companies to achieve transformation and digitisation, addressing the architectural foundations is the starting point.

In this series, we’ll apply an Enterprise Architecture lens to McKinsey’s ‘10 timeless tests’ from its ‘Banking on customer centricity’ white paper’ – a litmus test for an organisation’s customer experience qualities.

These ‘tests’ are essentially questions that financial services companies need to ask themselves, areas to address, and activities they need to perform as they steer their way towards transformation and customer-centricity. They are housed within four distinct (but inter-related) groupings:

  • Vision and positioning: shaping the strategic direction, so that customers want to use your products and services, and employees feel highly engaged within your organisation.
  • Customer engagement model: defining the solutions and developing the go-to-market approach that will deliver exceptional customer value.
  • Development agenda: Ensuring your short-term growth and long-term success, with customer-oriented activities rooted in the pursuit of economic goals (and not just customer satisfaction).
  • Organisation, capabilities and insights: Anchoring customer-centricity within your organisation by creating optimal structures, incentives, capabilities and governance frameworks.

In this series, we’ll explore how the right business architecture is essential for your organisation to progress along any of these four dimensions.

Business architecture becomes the common vocabulary to define your organisation – across business units, silos, or geographies. It allows leaders to understand the complex, organic structures of the organisation. It forms the basis for strategy implementation and the context for programmes and projects.

More broadly, we’ll look at how Enterprise Architecture helps to free financial services firms from the tangled mess of legacy infrastructure, entwined over decades and decades, which hold them back from delivering exceptional customer experiences.

We’ll explore the ways in which Business Architecture supports rapid innovation and helps financial services companies to fend off the challenges from leaner start-ups in the FinTech space, from local telcos and retailers, and borderless digital giants like Google, Apple and Facebook.

And we’ll show how business architecture brings a new richness of customer insights – to develop closer customer engagement and tailor-made solutions.

Chapter 2 – Visioning and Positioning

Across nearly all industries, a brand’s value is increasingly dependent on the delivery of exceptional customer experiences.

In fact, services-oriented industries are those with the most burning need to create superb experiences that surround the direct (transactional) engagement.

Whether they’re in wealth management, business asset financing, general retail banking, insurance, or anything in-between, financial services firms will only remain relevant by continually delighting their customers. For this reason, embedding experience design into every facet of their services has become the mantra for any forward-thinking financial services organisation.

But – with often millions of customers to look after – so many financial organisations are struggling to translate these lofty ideals into tangible reality.

As noted by this Open Group paper titled Roads to a digital customer experience new technologies “are rendering obsolete the traditional frameworks and models that companies have been using to capture and design customer journeys and customer experiences”.

The answer? Start with the architectural building blocks

It’s only by developing the right architectures, processes, and systems that the organisation’s customer experience vision can find solid footing. By taking an Enterprise Architecture (EA) approach to experience design, the vision becomes a defined set of behaviours, incentives, and operational processes.

Ultimately, this spawns a new culture of customer-centricity that delivers meaningful enhancements to customers’ experiences. Empowered by new technologies and unshackled from outdated ways-of-working, staff are given the tools to execute on the customer experience vision.

EA enables the organisation to build a clear roadmap to transition from its current state, to its desired target state – by looking through the lenses of Business, Information, Data, Applications, and Technology (BIDAT).

By developing the roadmap in the context of these five domains, the organisation can pinpoint exactly how EA can facilitate the organisation’s goals of delivering exceptional customer experiences.

It unearths the complex inter-relationships within the organisation that impact customer experience, supports those that are responsible for designing and implementing the change.

For instance, EA helps firms understand where their customers’ data is housed, helps to eliminate duplications of this content, or identify overlapping systems that are trying to achieve the same objectives.

Ensure the brand and vision are guiding behaviour

As the financial services organisation moves from a product focus, to a customer experience focus, it becomes imperative to look at the internal company culture –  and eliminate the ways-of-working, cultures and habits that are no longer competitive.

This requires all areas of the organisation to come together and agree on the vision, and the definition of the target state that everyone will work towards.

By taking a transformative, almost ‘entrepreneurial’ approach to one’s operations, it becomes possible to start optimising and digitising processes, and decluttering wherever inefficiencies exist.

At a foundational level, EA enables the organisation to clearly delineate and distinguish between one’s functions, processes and capabilities.

EA enables the organisation’s leadership to link roles to processes, generate useful process guides, and define the training needs analysis for those various roles. Not only does this give individuals clear career paths; it also reduces the costs of producing training material (now that roles and processes are clarified and standardised).

Chapter 3 – Customer Engagement Model (Part 1)

In its paper ‘Disrupting beliefs: a new approach to business-model innovation’ McKinsey’s starting point is that “every industry is built around long-standing, often implicit, beliefs about how to make money”.

In retail banking for example, these beliefs include industry concepts like ‘share of wallet’, ‘cross-sell opportunities’, ‘acquisition costs’, and ‘lifecycle value’, among many others.

“[These beliefs] are often considered inviolable, “ continues the McKinsey paper, “until someone comes along to violate them. Almost always, it’s an attacker from outside the industry.”

Nowhere is this more apt than in financial services. Attackers from other industries are certainly threatening to invade the hallowed turf once reserved exclusively for banks, insurers, investment and trading providers, and others.

In retail banking, for example, these disruptive forces include the likes of:

  • Mobile wallets (such as M-Pesa)
  • New payments solutions (like Apple Pay or Square)
  • Cryptocurrencies (such a bitcoin)
  • Social lending (eg The Lending Club or Prosper)
  • Personal financial management tools (like Moven)
  • Crowdfunding (eg KickStarter)
  • Non-banks offering financial services (like Virgin or Discovery)

Other areas of financial services are certainly not immune to change as well. In the insurance realm, for example, disruptions like:

  • Usage-based vehicle insurance using GPS and accelerometers in smartphones or sensors
  • Online insurance aggregators and marketplaces
  • Other industries encroaching (eg insurance bundled offers from cellular providers or retailers)
  • Peer-to-peer insurance networks
  • Autonomous, self-driving vehicles in the not-too-distant future.

For incumbents, this presents a worrying reality: newer and more agile attackers won’t have the internal cost structural issues, the legacy infrastructure and higher head-counts – meaning these cost-efficiencies can be passed down to the consumer.

Part 2 to be published on The Open Group blog on November 29, 2016.

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®, an Open Group standard. 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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The Open Group Paris Event to Take Place in October 2016

The Open Group, the vendor-neutral IT consortium, is hosting its next global event in Paris, France, between October 24-27, 2016. The event, taking place at the Hyatt Regency Paris Étoile, will focus on e-Government, as well as how to address the dimensions of e-Society, e-Technology and e-Management.

Industry experts will look at issues surrounding business transformation, business analysis, information sharing, e-Health, privacy and cybersecurity. Sessions will examine the strategic execution and the application of emerging technologies and management techniques to e-Government. Presentations will also include the latest on the European Interoperability Reference Architecture (EIRA) and the Regulatory Impact of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on Personal Data Architecture.

The event features key industry speakers including:

  • Rob Akershoek, ‎Solution Architect (IT4IT), Shell
  • Robert Weisman, University of Ottawa
  • Roland Genson, Director, General Secretariat of the Council of the European Union
  • Olivier Flous, Vice President of Engineering, Thales Group

Full details on the agenda and speakers can be found here.

The focus of Monday’s keynote sessions will be Standardized Boundaryless Information Flow™ and how Enterprise Architecture can be used in e-Government. There will also be a significant emphasis on business transformation, with the Tuesday plenary and tracks looking at successful case studies, standards as enablers, and architecting the digital business.

Further topics to be covered at the event include:

  • IT4IT™ – managing the businesses of IT, vendor adoption of IT4IT™ and a CIO-level view of the standard
  • Open Platform 3.0™ – the customer experience and digital business, architecting Smart Cities and how to use IoT technologies
  • ArchiMate® – new features of ArchiMate® 3.0 and a look at open standards in practice
  • Open Business Architecture – examining the new Open Business Architecture standard and how to address enterprise transformation

Member meetings will take place throughout the course of the three-day event for ArchiMate®, Architecture, Healthcare, IT4IT™, Open Platform 3.0™, Open Trusted Technology and Security Forum members.

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

@theopengroup #ogPARIS

 

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The Cloud: What’s UNIX® Got to Do With It?

By The Open Group

Cloud computing has come of age and is the solution of choice for CIOs looking to maximize use of resources while minimizing capital spend.[1] Cloud solutions, whether it is infrastructure, platform or service, have the appeal of business agility[2], without having to understand what is “under the hood”. However, what’s under the hood becomes even more important in a Cloud environment because there can be multiple services running with potential impact on numerous customers and the services provided to them.  For software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS) the hosting operating system is a critical component included in with Cloud environment as it directly impacts the performance of the Cloud solution. For infrastructure as a service (IaaS) the operating system is a critical choice made by the customer.

The CIO View

The CIO loves the idea of having the ability to rapidly provide on-demand ubiquitous computing resources to their company without the management overhead and integration challenges. The hardware infrastructure, network infrastructure, storage, hypervisor and OS must have high availability, scalability, and performance to meet the “5-nines” reliability expected (SCIT Report) with the operating system being especially critical component in that stack.[3]

UNIX, A Robust Platform for Cloud:

The Cloud needs to be highly available, scalable, secure, and robust for high-demand computing.  A certified UNIX® OS can provide this and enables companies to innovate in the Cloud.  A CIO would be looking at each element of the stack with a high degree of assurance that the Cloud solution has been well tested and has proven system and application interoperability, which also simplifies solution integration. The UNIX OS amplifies this simplicity delivering peace of mind for IT directors and above.

Who Is Choosing a UNIX Cloud?

Cloud Solution/Hosting Providers look to a UNIX Cloud infrastructure to service financial institutions looking to support high transactional environments like online and mobile banking marketplace.[4] Moreover, UNIX Cloud infrastructure provides a cost-effective, secure, and redundant environment.[5]

“Verizon serves both customers and employees with a UNIX Cloud infrastructure that implements enhanced agility, superior performance, easy maintainability, and effective cost control,” said Chris Riggin, Enterprise Architect at Verizon.[6]

HPE, IBM, and Oracle have expanded their services offerings to deliver UNIX mission-critical cloud and enterprise infrastructure, including their branded systems.  These UNIX Cloud solutions help their customers continue to scale while delivering business continuity and a low total cost of ownership.[7]

By The Open Group

Get more tools and resources on UNIX innovation on www.opengroup.org/UNIX or review these other resources today:

@theopengroup

© 2016 The Open Group

UNIX® is a Registered Trademark of The Open Group. Oracle® Solaris is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. IBM AIX is a trademark of IBM Corporation. HP-UX is a registered trademark of HPE.

 

[1] Harvard Business Review, Cloud Computing Comes of Age, Page 3, 2015, https://www.oracle.com/webfolder/s/delivery_production/docs/FY15h1/doc16/HBR-Oracle-Report-webview.pdf

[2] Harvard Business Review, Cloud Computing Comes of Age, Page 3, 5, 6; 2015, https://www.oracle.com/webfolder/s/delivery_production/docs/FY15h1/doc16/HBR-Oracle-Report-webview.pdf

[3] UNIX: The “Always On” OS, 2016, https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/04/18/unix-the-always-on-os/

[4] Connectria / Sybase Customer Success Story:  http://www.connectria.com/content/case_studies/connectria_flyer_sybase_case_study.pdf

[5] Connectria AIX Hosting: http://www.connectria.com/technologies/aix_hosting.php

[6] UNIX Based Cloud, Harry Foxwell, Principal Consultant, Oracle, February 2016, https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/02/03/the-unix-based-cloud/

[7] a. http://www8.hp.com/us/en/business-solutions/solution.html?compURI=1167850#.VyfQzD9EmPB

  1. https://www.openstack.org/marketplace/distros/distribution/oracle/oracle-openstack-for-oracle-solaris
  2. http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/solutions/cloud/

 

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Digital Disruption for Enterprise Architecture

By Myles F. Suer, Chief Platform Evangelist, Informatica

Recently, I got to sit at the font of wisdom which is Jeanne Ross, and get her view into digital disruption and the role of Enterprise Architecture in enabling firms to respond. I am going to summarize her main points here which I hope will be as useful to you as it was for me.

Jeanne, Research Director and Principal Research Scientist, MIT Sloan School of Management, started her talk by saying that she has a passion for Enterprise Architecture. And she said for me and for you, as the digital economy has arrived, I have felt this was our moment. We were going to have integrated channels, seamless end-to-end transactions, real understanding of customer data, and real tight security. “And this of course means architecture”. And she in jest says that she was hoping that the whole world had come to this very same conclusion. Clearly, she said, it hasn’t happened yet but Jeanne importantly believes with the march to becoming digital, it will happen soon.

Success in the digital economy is not guaranteed

Jeanne says one thing is becoming increasingly clear–enterprises will not be successful if they are not architected to execute their firm’s business strategies. At the very same time, she has found with the companies (existing successful enterprises) that she talks to believe their success is not guaranteed in the digital economy. Given this, Jeanne decided to research what incumbent enterprises actually look like that have taken concrete steps to respond to the digital economy’s mandates. The 27 companies :

  • The challenges they are facing
  • The disruptions that they had identified
  • The strategies they were moving forward with
  • The changes that they had already put in place

She found that digital strategies were inspired by the capabilities of powerful readily available technologies including things like social, mobile, analytics, cloud, and internet of things. Digital strategies were forcing companies around a rallying point but surprisingly there was not much distinction behind the rallying point more than, “I want to be the Amazon or Uber of my industry”. But Jeanne claims this is okay because competitive advantage is not going to be about strategy but instead about execution. And being the best at execution is going to eventually take you in a different direction than other market participants.

Competitive advantage today requires executing on integrated capabilities

At this point, Jeanne stressed that there is no competitive advantage in a single capability. This is why Uber has so much competition. But for established companies, advantage will come from an integrated established set of capabilities. “Competitive advantage will come from taking capabilities that others may or may not have and integrating them in ways that make something extraordinarily powerful”. This in Jeanne’s mind is how established companies can best startups because as we know, startups “can only do one thing well”. Integrating business capabilities provides a whole value proposition that is hard for others to copy.

Jeanne says that there is one more thing that existing companies need to get good at. They need to become responsive. Startups are constantly monitoring and learning what to do next. Think about Christopher Columbus and what an established company and a startup would do. The startup would pivot and learn how to do something different. Established companies need to learn how to do this too.

Now as we move into the digital economy, there are two strategies possible. And established companies must choose one to lead with. They are customer engagement or digitized solutions. Customer engagement means that every day, you wake up trying to figure out what you can do next to make customers love you. The great example that Jeanne gave is Nordstrom. She said that Nordstrom a few years ago was clearly being disrupted. And Nordstrom responded by creating a personalized shopping experience. This was enabled by combining capabilities around a transparent shopping experience and transparent supply chain. This of course is layered on top with predictive analytics. This allows them to predict what a customer needs and to know how to get it to them regardless of channel.

The second strategy is digitized solutions. Here you figure out what customers need that they don’t know they need. GE is doing this today as an industrial company. They are moving the value from the physical asset to asset performance management.

Her parting remarks

If your company has not embraced either of these then it doesn’t get the digital economy. You need to pick one to execute now. Enterprise Architects have a major role to play here. In the past, architecture was largely a divide-and-conquer approach. Today it is about integration. Today architecture is about empowering and partnering. We need to architect for agility. This means flatter organizations. Today, we need to be able to use data for decisions. The jobs of architects are incredibly important. You see the change that is necessary and you are in a unique position to help get your company there.

By Myles F. Suer, Chief Platform Evangelist, Informatica

Myles Suer acts as a Chief Platform Evangelist at Informatica Corporation. In this role, Mr. Suer is focused upon solutions for key audiences including CIOs and Chief Enterprise Architects and the application of Informatica’s Platform to verticals like manufacturing. Much of Mr. Suer’s experience is as a BI practitioner. At HP and Peregrine, Mr. Suer led the product management team applying analytics and big data technology to the company’s IT management.

Mr. Suer has also been a thought leader for numerous industry standards including ITIL and COBIT. As part of this, Mr. Suer was a reviewer for the ITIL Version 3 standard. For COBIT, Mr. Suer has written extensive. Most recently, he published in COBIT Focus, “Using COBIT 5 to Deliver Information and Data Governance”. Prior to HP, Mr. Suer led new product initiatives at start-ups and large companies. This included doing a restart of a Complex Event Processing Company. Mr. Suer has also been a software industry analyst. Mr. Suer holds a Master of Science degree from UC Irvine and a 2nd Masters in Business Administration in Strategic Planning from the University of Southern California.

Twitter: @MylesSuer

Further Reading

Jeanne Ross of MIT/CISR talks on Digital Disruption

Should the CDO drive corporate Digital Disruption?

The Importance of data in Digital Disruption Via @ComputerWorld

What is the role of government in Digital Disruption?

Are you acting like a software company? Your business may depend upon it

Using data and IT to gain Competitive Advantage

Leadership in an age of  digital disruption

Business model change: how does digital disruption drive the need for it?

@theopengroup

 

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

By The Open Group

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@theopengroup

By The Open Group

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

 

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Keys to Enterprise Architecture Success

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

Avoiding the perils on the way to successful Enterprise Architecture

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

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

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

The myriad benefits from successful EA practices include:

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

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

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

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

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

So, why do EA programmes so often fail?

The role of the Chief Architect in ensuring EA success

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Organisational positioning

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Executive sponsorship

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

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

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

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

Ivory Tower syndrome

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

@theopengroup

By Stuart Macgregor, CEO, Real IRM

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

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

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

 

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

Choose UNIX® Inside

By The Open Group

In 1991, Intel Corporation started their “Intel Inside” marketing and branding campaign that turned Intel into a household name.[1] The power of “Intel Inside” was that it allowed consumers to quickly understand the value of what was “in-the-box” and make an informed buying decision.

UNIX® is another great example of a strong brand platform “inside” a bigger solution and, in some opinions, the UNIX platform has showcased a broader impact on technology than Intel.[2] An operating system (OS) that becomes UNIX certified has gone through the rigorous testing process to verify compliance with the Single UNIX Specification – The UNIX Standard.[3]  This certification provides an assurance to customers, independent software vendors, developers, integrators, and system vendors that a UNIX OS will work in a deterministic and well-defined way. “UNIX inside” allows IT decision-makers to quickly understand what is in the solution, even though the operating system is one component of the broader solution including hardware, applications, etc.

Another apt comparison to The UNIX Standard and  “Intel Inside” is UL certification mark often seen on devices using electricity. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) dates back to 1894 providing “safety-related certification, validation, testing inspection, auditing, advising and training services” around electrical devices and components.[4] From the early days of commercialized electronics a UL listed product gave confidence to consumers that what they buy would meet a rigorous set of standards from components, to wiring, to the product itself.

In the case of UNIX, The Open Group serves as the lab providing assurance to the end customers that every UNIX OS will deliver a set of rich feature sets, stability, scalability, and portability.  The UNIX® registered trademark is used in conjunction with a certified UNIX OS such as HPE HP-UX, Oracle® Solaris, IBM AIX, and many other brands to showcase its conformance.[5]

The UNIX OS has been a foundation of innovation for more than 45 years and the Single UNIX Specification (the UNIX Standard) has been in place for 20 years. “UNIX continues to be at the heart of the IT industry as it is an important enabler of other technologies such as Cloud.  Oracle Solaris 11, a UNIX OS, is a complete, integrated, and open platform engineered for large-scale enterprise Cloud which is why Oracle customers continue to prefer Solaris under the hood,” said Chris Armes, Vice President, Oracle Solaris Engineering. Global 100 and Fortune 100 customers choose “UNIX inside” for always-on mission critical computing.  Apple chose “UNIX inside” as the basis of their flagship operating system – MAC OS X / El Capitan.[6]

By The Open Group

Learn more about UNIX innovation with the resources listed below and why so many companies have chosen “UNIX inside”.

© The Open Group 2016.

UNIX is a registered trademark of The Open Group.  HP-UX is a registered trademark of HPE.  AIX is a registered trademark of IBM.  Oracle Solaris is a registered trademark of Oracle Corporation. El Capitan and Mac OS X are trademarks of Apple Inc.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel#Intel_Inside

[2] The UNIX Evolution: An Innovative History Blog:  https://blog.opengroup.org/2016/02/23/the-unix-evolution-an-innovative-history/

[3] The Single UNIX Specification: http://www.unix.org/version4/overview.html

[4] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UL_%28safety_organization%29

[5] http://www.opengroup.org/openbrand/register/

[6] https://blog.opengroup.org/2015/10/02/mac-os-x-el-capitan-achieves-unix-certification/

 

 

 

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Filed under Cloud, digital business, digital technologies, Enterprise Architecture, Single UNIX Specification, Standards, UNIX