Category Archives: UK Blog

  • -

Do digital board packs help your organisation to comply with GDPR?

Category:Services,UK Blog Tags : 

Do you have governance around your board back? Do you have meta-data and master data supporting your generation of the board packs? 

Now, first, we did pass the May 25th – and large organisations are still struggling with GDPR! No longer as a project, but typically more to absorb the endless amount of excels and small GDPR tools that eventually were delivered as the project outcome. Now another phase takes over – what to do with the project outcome?

This calls for another maturity level that cannot be provided by small point tools or excel. This calls for a larger piece of collaboration to make ‘stuff’ updated; typically, by having the GDPR processes embedded into a larger solution flexible enough for helping the executive team to steer the boat – it calls for the governance around the digital board pack!

That was then…

A lot was written about the impact the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the period up to May 25th 2018. And even though up to 60% may have slipped the deadline, see a recent survey, the fact is more likely that most organisations completed the GDPR project during 2018, but still will be working with GDPR also in 2019 – how can that be?

As mentioned in a recent blogpost, there is a natural progression towards being better at compliance, and also for GDPR – and that is way beyond the project outcome ending 2018. It is the progression..

  • to move from project to line organisation
  • to onboard managers and specialists to keep information fresh
  • to transition from project into process – and what is the IMACD of person-related data process activities are solved
  • to simplify the Article 30 report generation
  • to remove simple risk tools to consolidate the governance in the digital platform
  • to make ownership up to the board for the updated compliance views.

The data of the GDPR compliance will continue its journey to be alive, and it will continue down the maturity ladder to distinguish dataprocessors from data controllers, move away from text fields and into elements of meta-data to oversee the ocean of GDPR.

But most importantly, the transition is about getting the organisational ownership, where managers act on their responsibility and accountability to be compliant. Where the project 2018 was driven by fear of potential penalties, the new demand is much more to make it actionable within the line organisations where ‘stuff’ gets updated and the executive board can make decisions based on new evidence. This is often referred to as “EA”, the grid or architecture (A) space of an entire enterprise (E ).

How does this tie into my executive team?

Once you have completed the project, you may have data. Once you have moved it into a point tool, you may have reached slightly modified data so see the first patterns. It still doesn’t bring you much further. The heavy lifting involves more:

  • First, you need to move from free text and text fields into meta-data. This means that you don’t type pay-slip in a text field, but you check ‘pay-slip’, and you can afterwards analyse where ‘pay-slip’ is being processed by systems and processing or controlling activities
  • Second, you need to transition into the architecture portal where governance is typically managed, that is, who is the system owner? Who is the data process owner? Who should update this piece of data. Very often, we see BI solutions reporting long lists of data – but that is very distinct from the next maturity level where these people can do actionable reviews and updates. This if often is referred to as digital platforms or EA platforms (like MooD, ERP, etc).
  • Third, you need the escalation route embedded to the executive team. It is the management team that is accountable and needs to have the blind eye opened. Without their eyes open and provided insight – only the one-eyed will be king among the blinds.

So anyone within the board should be trained, concerned and be kept updated!

The way forward?

There is a natural progression towards maturity – but only if it is guided. You need to find an advisor who can helpyou to make a living architecture.

With a living architecture, you onboard the ‘softer’ side of and provide decision insight to your management.  When used properly, you get the connected enterprise where boards act when things start to drift. So, anyone within the board should be trained, concerned and be kept updated! That is what we provide as part of our digital board pack service.

Working with different next generation technologies, we offer a digital platform that help large organisations to have a digital board pack, not a PowerPoint! Online views where you can drill into data, updated by the responsible people in the organisation, supplemented by technical data so you can view the online portal and stay compliant. We talk about powering your digital ability.

Giving all your directors access to the information they need to know about your GDPR policies in one place, makes it much easier for them to find the information they need and ask the right questions when it is discussed – all managed as meta-data and by the relevant people. No more emails – no more point tools.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to make contact. We are the leading organisation in digital governance helping large organisations to succeed with their business transformation. We power your digital mood!

 

 


  • -

Integrate to succeed with your governance and architecture!

Category:EA,UK Blog Tags : 

This week we ran into a customer dialog where the conversation concluded, that to succeed with governance and Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM), you need a technology than can integrate to many data-sources and many user-input to provide an updated picture of the estate, something that is not done only in PowerPoints, Visios or an operational CMDB-tool.

In this case, the customer had just removed the office of enterprise architects, as he said, “they did piles of Power Points with deep thinking  – they never  changed anything –  so now we hire a new team”. This we see as an interesting statement. It means essentially that enterprise architects (EA) that don’t make an impact, eventually are failing. And to make an impact, you need to transform and produce tangible outcomes near real-time. If you don’t provide impact and change as an enterprise architect, your role is obsolete and better to leave it for operational people.

In our conversation, the customer after ‘someone’ had done piles of documents difficult to use in a larger context for anyone else; documents which were structured in a PowerPoint container (read SharePoint), poorly connected (meaning not connected at all),  and finally relying on distributed versions of excel (read no meta-data) and with little focus on change. The likelihood of people reading such presentations declines for every month it has situated in the PowerPoint container becoming more and more obsolete. It happens a lot of places, and this is where our approach to Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) can help you. Our EAM solutions are based on proven technology and can easily connect to many different data-sources such as CMDB’s, Finance, etc. Only with a living approach where data is stored as meta-data, and data is kept fresh via strong focus on IT Governance – will it be possible to make sustainable change. This is what makes enterprise architects and the EAM practice successful.


What is a living architecture?
At our office we work with ‘Living Architecture’. Living, because it is not a dead end of a document output. Living, as it  still breathes, as opposed to static and dead architectures that once they were built, they never received more updates. With living architecture, we interact with more people, update the data, and enrich on properties subject to roles and delegates. This is easily accomplished in modern toolsets we can provide, but also relies on the approach to focus on stakeholders and outcomes, rather than frameworks and static drawings.

 

Why do we need a living architecture?
Because pace of change is increasing, and management calls for better ways to get insight to data and relationships, such as which product is the most important one? Which services should we plan to use coming years? Where are the candidates for take-out? Such analysis should not be project deliverables, but be part of an ongoing process where data may be connected and viewed in new ways to support few-clicks to better fact-based decision support. By revitalize the architectural information you can move the data governance to be automated and part of the strategic analytics agenda. It is also important leave-out the CMDB tools in this context. Only by working with semi-structured and strategic information, will it be become possible to plan and prepare roadmaps for the future IT operations.

 

Is the strategic agenda related to architecture?
Many people have different perspectives to what-is-what and what-connects-to-what. The only way to get the larger organisation to view this in the same way is to share actively the interpretations and definitions to get consensus to what an enterprise means by this or that. This is not something that is thought-up in the architecture office as an ivory-tower exercise. Only by federating data and expressions you will get to the collaboration of the enterprise to view things in the same way, then to realize that many of the ‘things’ mean different to different stakeholders. A living architecture serves the need to embrace it all, connect it all, and structure the information with updates and relationships to make it relevant for as many people in the business as possible. Good Governance and MooD in terms of managing metadata, or Signavio in terms of business processes and process intelligence can help you on this journey to master this across the entire business!

 

Does this mean there is only one truth?
It means that information should be mastered where they are master best! With MooD you gain the overall business logic to master master-data and information management. And with such a solution, you get a living architecture. MooD eventually becomes the connected truth, helping  Enterprise Architecture to connect and structure information.  A living architecture is about the perspectives are different – so that different people will see different things – from whatever they find interesting! It’s not about making many large documents with ‘dead’ artefacts. Information management and process management is about managing meta-data – then to export to documents for compliance reporting, only.

A living architecture is about connecting the many types of data that are continuously changing at different frequencies in an organization and relate to each other. A good architecture description exhibits and collaborate with all stakeholders so that they can all see their perspective. A living architecture is the vibrant mean to succeed in the digital transformation. It provides the living links between the data. It may be useful for projects, but it may also be a subset to carry-on after projects are completed.

The living architecture creates insight by building bridges between concepts and the many data in the real-world. If you like architecture – and enterprise architecture in particular –  then make sure you deliver to people in the business constantly updated views of the estate. This is where we can help you to succeed. Don’t waste your energy of detailed drawings that no managers will understand, but master the living updates of information in the EAM solution. This is how digital transformation is managed.

We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning, which is an ongoing process – and a digital process of information management. Long-live the digital planning. If you have questions, please make contact. We are a consulting house with senior profiles and business solutions; we provide deep expertise in digital planning, digital governance and process automation. We power your digital mood!

 


  • -

Long live the Digital Planning

Category:EA,UK Blog,Uncategorized Tags : 

Digital Planning is the discipline to work with long-term strategic actions without being detailed of how to implement activities. It provides an overall investment focus to values and outcomes and how this ties into the investment streams to provide digital road-maps for planning. While the old approach of power-point based IT Road-map planning seems dead, e.g. see the post by Patrick Gray,  then the digital formulation of it may survive  – in particular in the form of mindset and direction-setting that keeps the the main purpose of planning.

Planning may be situational, just like detailed plans always will depend on the specific case, situation and conditions. The difficult part of planning is the uncertainty of the future: One may shorten the horizon to improve the likelihood of estimate,  improve the underlying model, or reduce the feedback from the prediction to mitigate the uncertainty. However, does it in context of strategy and market remove the need for planning? The answer is “no”. The ubiquitous purpose of strategic planning is to become aware and be prepared – and that clearly involves more stakeholders and is very different from the actual plans or project performance. We came to the conclusion that there are five fundamentals as to why strategic planning is important – and despite their inherent uncertainty, they are more required than ever!

  1. The opposite of Planning is not no-planning; the opposite seems to be detailed plans that are excelled into beyond the point of validity. Planning serves a higher purpose.
  2. Projects differ in uncertainty – to what degree are they repetitive and common? Should we really apply the same methodology to all types of development?
  3. Situational transition dictates what methodology to apply  – How to secure the right toolbox for the right type of development?
  4. The definition of Planning is that well defined? If you ask the chef, planning is to have the groceries for the dinner same day, whereas for the farmer to produce the crop for harvesting season. Do we mean the same even though we use the same wording?
  5. Not to mention the data-connectivity – only an old-school architects would do IT Road-maps in PowerPoint. If planning is democratized, poor planning is the same as a poor information based on no-connectivity and silo-approach.

Let’s go through these fundamentals one-by-one:

A: The opposite of Planning is not no-planning

The ubiquitous purpose of planning is to become aware and prepare. So planning has a value to understand, e.g. why a competitive product or service is challenging a revenue, and very different from executing a marketing plan without changing it – or changing the product or service, if indicators show the battle will not be won. Dwight D. Eisenhower once said,

“In preparing for battle, I always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable”.
– Dwight D. Eisenhower

For a company to survive the coming 3 or 10 years,  it is hard to argue that no considerations of external threats, technology changes, emergent legislation should not be considered. But equally fair to guess, that even considered, the actual impact will not be fully understood until later in time. May well be that the forecast is poor and the prediction ends up being wrong or displaced, but planning as the preparation and improving the agility of what to respond as an enterprise is indispensable. The purpose of keeping the foundation of the planning intact is crucial in a digital world. Scenarios of what-if alternatives might be understood, and the opposite is not no-planning. The opposite is a constant pressure on doing the execution of the approved plans.

B: Projects differ in uncertainty

To what degree are they repetitive and common? Should we really apply the same methodology to all projects? Agile is certainly something we advocate for open-ended discussion, but if you happen to have more close-ended solutions, the construct of agile approach may be much too time-consuming. Agile goes well when everyone is uncertain – that will eventually lead to planning. However, if the project is to setup yet another new shop, the type of project may not be new, and the approach to seek experiments and agility may be less urgent.

C: Situational transition dictates what methodology to apply

The STARS approach by Michael D. Watkins ought to be mandatory reading for all information architects.

If you have something to protect such as knowledge, services, brands or patents, you will likely be in a sustain or realignment situation where you have time to act and provide planning of how to secure your assets as part of a business transformation.

Typically architects asked to help in a turn-around or start-up’s will have a much harder time, when speed of action weighs higher than thinking to protect parts of as-is. One could argue, that that the act of planning, in case of a change in oil prices is really to prepare for a worst case scenario, such as a 50% cut in price per barrel, before it happens. But as we don’t know the prices in the future, the specific plans are likely of no use – but if we can carve-out the actions to take given specific what-if conditions, that may be indispensable as the new way to do long-term planning.

D: The definition of Planning is that well defined?

Is the definition of Planning that well defined? If you ask a chef, planning is to have the groceries for the dinner that evening the same day, whereas the farmer needs to know what to grow before harvesting season. Do we mean the same even though we use different wording?

According to Wikipedia,

“Planning is the process of thinking about and organizing the activities required to achieve a desired goal. It involves the creation and maintenance of a plan, such as psychological aspects that require conceptual skills. As such, planning is a fundamental property of intelligent behavior.”

So even here planning has a wide range of meanings, and provided the desired goal is to continue as an enterprise, we should all maintain a plan of how to survive in the market. Maybe that is different from the actual 3-year road-map, however, if the plan mandates to migrate to a new payment platform or banking platform – how can we do this without more detailed planning?

E: Not to mention the data-connectivity

Only an old-school architect would collect excels for planning, so is poor planning the same as a poor architecture? Or could it be that poor planning is often the immediate outcome of poor information management? As described in other posts, we see the concept of living architecture or new architecture as a fundamental for successful planning. Because pace of change is increasing, and management calls for better ways to get insight to what-if. the objective of digital planning is collectively to prepare more for these events.

Which services should we expect to use the coming years? Where are the candidates for take-out? What new offerings will fuel our revenue? Such analysis should not be project deliverables, but be part of an ongoing planning where data may be connected and viewed in new ways to support few-clicks to better fact-based decision support. By revitalize the architectural information you can move the data governance to be automated and be part of the strategic agenda.

We tend to say that long-term planning needs to align with short-term planning, which is an ongoing process – and a digital process of information management. Long-live the digital planning – may be part of the digital transformation!

We power your digital mood!

 


  • -

Do you grow your digital governance?

Category:EA,Services,UK Blog Tags : 

Whatever term one might use, the meaning of ‘digital governance’ seems to be what we all care about in larger organisations – how to automate digital information to provide a better collective transparency and insight of the enterprise. It is not just about data and it is not just about processes; it is about people –  how we work smarter and more automated as an enterprise with data and processes to improve our digital ability to drive forward better decision-making. Sometimes ‘digital’ is simply loose for data, but underneath, it  is associated with either digitization and/or digital transformation – and don’t mix up these two terms…

“Increasingly, the work we do is enabled more and more by new IT, including automation, robotics, and intelligent platforms”.
                                                                                                                                                                                — Pierre Nanterme

Working with decision processes, we need to consider that such decision-making processes are very different from business processes of a value chain; simply the characteristics of cause-and-effect are less tangible and more ‘soft’. Trying to understand the complexity and nature of the decision-making processes, we need to adapt to the company tongue, the stakeholders and the way such a business is driving decisions. It means we can still implement smarter solutions of digital governance, which is what we normally refer to when we talk ‘how we make decisions’; however, it also means that to succeed with such solutions we need to consider how to digitize and successfully grow the governance when data is not enough on its own.

“I think the automation of vision is a much bigger deal than the invention of perspective”.
— Trevor Pagien

We often talk  ‘digital governance’  in context of ‘automation’ because a digital governance will automate manual tasks. A growing governance is where we continuously get more data into the fact-based decision support, and where we achieve this by managing the organisational change federating more data to collectively become wiser. This is what enterprise information management (EIM) is all about, the outcome of enterprise architecture (EA) in a nut-shell mastering the terms and information architecture.

Governance requires corporate information as fuel, and needs to be flexible enough to accommodate to ever-changing market conditions. A digital governance will benefit from our approach to agile information management. Today there is almost a hype around business models but only few enterprises have conceptual models connecting this to business models and providing a closed-loop approach by ‘wiring’ these models to real-time operational data and planning input.

The objective of the governance of the information management is the agile construct of an enterprise-wide business model which  serves the purpose of better decision insight and strategic planning. Digital governance cannot be achieved without people, stakeholders and data. It is not about making another calif ERP; it is about recognizing the eco-system, where we provide the technology and methodology to maintain the logic model, where data can be interchanged, communicated, enriched – via  a (digital) web front end or via (digital) integration to other (digital) systems. This is about applying information management, growing it in a DevOps or agile way, to support the open-ended construct of improving the way “we make decisions”. For this, we have chosen to work with award-wining world-leading software.

“It is not about making another calif ERP; it is about seeing the eco-system, where we provide the technology and methodology to maintain the logic business model where data can be interchanged, communicated, enriched – via web front end or via integration to other systems”.

So what is it that we solve with a growing digital governance? We build a connected truth as business models providing a closed-loop approach by ‘wiring’ these models to real-time operational data and planning input. We don’t like building architecture tools for architecture, or bakeries that bake for bakers. We like to connect the users of an enterprise by re-using data, by re-using the knowledge maintained in other systems such as data warehouses, service management tools, financial systems, HR systems, etc. We apply design thinking, so instead of the old-school of “learn a framework, buy a tool, draw some processes, then hope”, then work with rapid development tooling to apply automation processes and data by pretotyping the decision support, simply to avoid middle-layers of requirements analysts interpreting coders. So enterprise architects and strategists working with this methodology will grow the governance as DevOps, and it will keep the customer-facing activities along a succesful growing of digital governance.

Sometimes, we also see words used in this context:

  • EIM – As the overall Enterprise Information Management discipline, continuously automating information that else would be manually handled in SharePoint, Excel, Access or similar silo-based system. EIM is what provides the digital platform for execution.
  • PI – As the solution to Process Intelligence, of how to gain insight to decision support from our business processes. This typically is an automation of drawings, diagrams and emails, that otherwise would reside in distributed mailboxes with visio, powerpoints etc. With a process intelligence setup, people can collaborate on the same set of process insight as re-usable meta data.
  • CMDB – As the specific solution to service desk and IT operations. With a CMDB, people can start automate ticket flows, email and chat notifications, to automate the configuration items of IT operations.

To make the digital governance succesful, it needs to grow. To mature the governance, make it actionable and follow the data and the people in the room to discuss how decisions are taken, and then grow the outcome to make it tangible.This is what digital growing governance is all about.

We power your digital mood!

 


  • -

More Planning, Fewer Projects!

Category:EA,UK Blog Tags : 

 

Recently presented at conference the current trends of  “strategy execution”; how to make strategy work! One of the simple observations is that terms may sometimes be not too well defined, like do people actually differentiate between  “strategy formulation” (what is the best strategy?) versus “strategy execution” (what is the best implementation of it?).   Among the key take-aways we have taken the following three ones for this blog post:

Strategy execution needs to move into behavior. We may choose another word, but to make an organization empowered to absorb a new strategy, it is crucial that such strategy is broken down into themes, elements and behavior: “What can I do differently when I go to work?”. Most people like to contribute to the bigger picture, so it is important that strategies are not always broken into programs, projects and tasks! That may work for closed-ended initiatives. But for open-ended strategies, it should be broken down to themes, elements and behavior. This is where strategy meets culture. Projects may be part of a strategy, but the human element is often much more important for the long-term change. Strategy execution at heart is about changing behavior. “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”, as said by Peter Drucker. So only by changing the culture, creating target behavior will it be possible to change the culture and succeed with larger changes.

Strategy should be less PowerPoints. The challenge is that when PowerPoints are seen as “plans”, then the strategy becomes quite static, not empowered to the many, and not iterated with messaging and experiments to work well. A successful strategy execution needs to leave the PowerPoint phase and move into a connected insight where the future best-practice is established around the future offerings and desired objectives. Leaving a PowerPoint also means it is possible to make insight and alive strategies that track changes and initiatives. This is where information modelling and scenario planning is much more relevant technologies than project tools. Projects may be part of strategy, but the key focus should be on the value creation and outcomes, not so much on projects and their performance.

Context is king. Even the best execution will not be able to ignore the fact that most people are busy as they go to work. Only by working with behavior and context, it is possible to provide the environment for people to contribute to the change. We are often impacted by the situation, by the way context is presented. Hence, if the objective and rational plans do not take into consideration the irrational and human behavior, the business of people in daily work-life,  then the plans will often be useless, whereas the planning and insight to experiments  will be much more supportive  to fulfill the change.

And while strategy planning becomes a living estate, the pendulum swings back to central knowledge, democratized input, for all the dots that need to be connected in a larger enterprise as the execution is empowered. This is where information management is key to support the ongoing iterations and impact.

We often advocate that for companies who are interested in big change, they should start to map out the themes and choose strategy elements of the inner game, outer game or customer focused theme.

One may see the digitization as a pre-burner or enabler for the digital transformation. With digitization we see the consistent paradigm of electrifying the processes to obtain better processes. This is clearly a playground on its own, where we can help you to get transparency to business processes, optimize the processes and secure leaner and more efficient business operations. This theme will keep the paradigm of the current business operations and trim it.

This also means, that digitization is disjoint from the digital transformation where elements like disruption, IoT and AI  are considered. Working with new models, new blueprints, there is quite another risk, and also a larger need to use scenario-based planning.  Long-live the planning that supports models such as digital twins. This is where we can guide you!

We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning, which is an ongoing process – and a digital process of information management. Long-live the digital planning. If you have questions, please make contact. We are a consulting house with senior profiles and business solutions; we provide deep expertise in digital planning, digital governance and process automation. We power your digital mood!


  • -

The value of living services

Category:Services,UK Blog Tags : 

For years we have seen the many implementations of service catalogs, hardly used and hardly understood by others than by those who created it. The challenge seems to be they have been dead architecture – a conceptual thinking for the few – not a connected insight for the business where they see every month e.g. the ‘bill of IT’. The future of services is all about connecting information to the living set of services so that it becomes relevant for business and may assists in the modernization of the digital business model as part of winning the outer game and optimising the inner game.

Working with knowledge sharing and change planning, we often see that many of the same words are used for different meanings. That calls for the information architects to define what do we really mean with this or that?  – and what connects to what?

As there are many trends in the market, such as cloud, insight, as-a-service, we start to see the patterns of ‘services’ rather than ‘assets’ that come and go, much in the same way as shops open and close, employees are hired and retire.

Managing the complexity of a large organisation, that wants to become digital, and with digital to provide more of the revenue from digital services, there is a shift towards making transformation programs that will do more of the digital stuff, that will do more of digital payments, digital patient journals, digital enabling of whatever type of business. Most of this change puts focus to the future way of working together, the future best practice – the next insight.

Working with the future services across the enterprise, we see a need to master all the enterprise services in a connected way as part of a living architecture. If you happen to be a financial institution or large manufacturer, you will typically have loads of assets, that in limited period will be in a competition with new services that are designed to be more digital or unified. That is, some of the older assets should retire, or we need to understand how to enable them or live with them despite they are legacy. The traditional asset catalog needs an overhaul to be service oriented – and if you work the way-up from the stack, chances are high that you will never complete.

So how to start the enabling of all the enterprise services? If we want to make it living – you need to focus on the automation of the updates of the data that drives the change of the future. This is about people, digital governance and technology to make it stick. We need to put focus to the user experience, to the persona. A typical question is the following, ‘what revenue does your services bring?’

  • If you cannot tie revenue or satisfaction metrics to a service, then it may not be an “end-service” – and you should rework the service definitions accordingly.
  • However, if it is an end-service, you can start planning using a digital twin.

Another perspective will be to differentiate between internal offerings versus external services, which then may eventually lead to another view of your IT. Start experimenting and iterating, and you will find your “services”.

We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning, which is an ongoing process – and a digital process of information management. Long-live the digital planning. If you have questions, please make contact. We are a consulting house with senior profiles and business solutions; we provide deep expertise in digital planning, digital governance and process automation. We power your digital mood!


  • -

Living architecture – MDM made alive!

Category:EA,UK Blog Tags : 

We see an emerging interest to manage the information management and meta-data of large organisations, simply to improve the common understanding of what is what, and who can do what with what information. The value of such an overview will inevitably be that organisations become better to align processes on more structured data earning corporate agility. It also helps the strategy to execution as the long-term planning becomes tighter aligned to the current way of doing stuff. It is easy to scratch a target picture on a white-board and call it “strategy”, but to make it actionable is a different exercise where people need to understand what ties into what, and who should be changing what stuff.

To pass that bridge, or to close that gap, the architecture information needs to be alive, connecting the moving parts of the enterprise (operations) also with some of the more static information, that hardly change year-on-year. This is what we refer to as a living architecture, or simply enterprise information management, which at heart is what can make master data management an alive discipline (MDM).

What is the alternative to this?

“Imagine you worked within architecture producing piles of documents – documents which are structured in a document container (if we are lucky), poorly connected (meaning they are typically not, each document is an entity of its own) and where the likelihood of people to read it declines for every month it has situated in the document container. If it is really bad, the manager with the longest seniority and largest inbox has the power to retrieve email attachments to share his or her view on the (‘dead’) architecture. It happens a lot of places. Managers leave, projects complete, and with this the architecture silently dies”. — dead architecture

So how to make the architecture alive?

“Think of the contents as information and try to re-use that information across your strategies, services and improvements form a pattern of what ties into what – a pattern of a ‘living architecture’ where SharePoint, PowerPoints,  email etc. do not provide the full picture, but where the elements and records from this documentation, is tightly interconnected, and that PowerPoints and Word-documents may be produced for reading and reporting purposes, but not as the source of data. This creates a bigger picture that is continuously updated. This is the place where model-driven documents (MDD) goes in hand with master-data-management (MDM) techniques”. — new architecture

 

What is a living architecture?
A Living Architecture is not dead – it is something that still breathes, as opposed to static and dead architectures that once they were built, they never received more updates. Typically, this is what happens to project architectures and other process optimization projects where piles of academic thoughts are left in documents – isolated, left alone, or maybe as properties in a legacy repository.

 

Why do we need a living architecture?
Because pace of change is increasing, and management calls for better ways to get insight to data and relationships, such as which product is the most important one? Which services should we plan to use coming years? Where are the candidates for take-out? Such analysis should not be project deliverables, but be part of an ongoing process where data may be connected and viewed in new ways to support few-clicks to better fact-based decision support. By revitalize the architectural information you can move the data governance to be automated and part of the strategic analytics agenda.

 

Is the strategic agenda related to architecture?
Many people have different perspectives to what-is-what and what-connects-to-what. The only way to get the larger organisation to view this in the same way is to share actively the interpretations and definitions to iteratively get consensus to what an enterprise mean by this or that. This is not something that is thought-up in the architecture office as an ivory-tower exercise. Only by federating data and expressions you will get to the collaboration of the enterprise to view things in the same way, then to realize that many of the ‘things’ mean different to different stakeholders. A living architecture serves the need to embrace it all, connect it all, and structure the information with updates and relationships to make it relevant for as many people in the business as possible. Enterprise Architecture is the practice to master this across the entire business – so whoever gets a question like ‘what projects do we have’ or ‘what services do we offer’ or ‘what investments do we plan next year’ can provide updated and meaningful answers – irrespectively of who he or she is. If you relate this to services, the SOA expert and the infrastructure guys will likely get different views and perspectives – but it will relate to much of the same information. As people come and go, processes change with new mergers and acquisitions, innovations in the pace that business is buying new stuff, there are things that need to be updated and live after the projects are closed, this is the living architectural information that must be managed to provide a common platform for living artefacts. We also see an increasing interest to relate this to external vendors and external services, simply to provide a connected picture of what offerings the company with partners is able to provide, see also how to enable SIAM.

 

Does this mean there is only one truth?
It means that information should be mastered where they are master best – and the Enterprise Architecture should be able to connect and structure information online so that there always is the overall system for providing the connected insight. Will there be stored information only once, typically yes, however, the perspectives and views might be different, so that the answer may look different for different uses/use-cases. If you work with infrastructure, your interest in services might be a different perspective, then if you are developer working with SOA services, and yet again different from the business analyst’s that is planning the services in the market for next season.  A living architecture is about the perspectives are different – so that different people will see different things – from whatever they find interesting! It’s not about making many large documents with ‘dead’ artefacts or huge process diagrams only the designer can understand!

A living architecture is about connecting the many types of data that are continuously changing at different frequencies in an organization and relate to each other. A good architecture description exhibit and collaborate with all stakeholders so that they can all see their perspective. A living architecture is the vibrant mean to succeed in the digital transformation. It provides the living links between the data. It may be useful for projects, but it may also be a subset to carry-on after projects are completed. The living architecture creates insight by building bridges between concepts and the many data in the real-world. And does it relate to governance? It certainly does, as we need to know who updates what from where. This is why a living architecture often is related to the digital governance offered by the MooD solutions.

There are plenty of frameworks that supports this. Open Group includes e.g.  IT4IT working with value stream, and descriptions of how to enable the business with plan, build, run and subscriptions.

If you like architecture – and enterprise architecture in particular, then make sure you deliver to people in the business constantly updated views of the estate. Make sure you embrace the terms and definitions to make it relevant and urgent for the users. Don’t waste your energy of detailed process diagramming that no managers will understand, but let it supplement where needed and focus on master the living updates of information that enables a live digital platform – and a prerequisite for creating successful transformation.

We power your digital mood!


  • -

Playing and planning with a digital twin

Category:EA,UK Blog Tags : 

We continuously elaborate on the direction that Enterprise Architecture is taking. Recently we found the inspiring presentation from Gartner  and Marc Kerremans, talking about the construct of a ‘digital twin’ as a new and emerging concept:

“A digital twin is a dynamic software model of a thing or system that relies on sensor and/or other data to understand its state, respond to changes, improve operations and add value. It includes a combination of meta-tada, condition or state and event data”,
Marc Kerremans, Research Director.

This is interesting, as it puts focus on the ingredients of meta-data to provide a better future set of operations. So a ‘thing’ is no longer a computer…  A ‘thing’ can be an organisation, a performance, a situation or a value. It simply becomes  borderless, see also Gareth Morgan’s 8 metaphors. And there is certainly a potential to apply the known practice from adaptive control theory, where there is a blend of digital models and physical measurements which can be compared, optimised and used for improved performance.

The basic idea of a digital twin is hence back to classic cybernetics, it is to let “play” and “observe” at the same time. The real system plays it traditional way with lots of data, but behind the scene, the digital twin is “observing” using a simpler model; and eventually, this will create new controls. Some of the core material by Karl Johan Åström and Björn Wittenmark go back fifty years, describing how dynamic models relying on external sensor and/or other data can be modeled  with a known distinction to

  1. System identification and adaptation (getting the model parameters),
  2. Filtering (getting the states), and
  3. Control (adjusting the input) based on different predictive horizons and criteria.

Would it be possible to apply Kalman filtering to improve the response of a digital twin? why not! The idea of a digital twin is to apply the systems thinking to the organisation so that the organisational performance is considered a system, which can be modeled with states and parameters, and which is likely a stochastic and non-linear system with many input and many outputs. Is it controllable? Is it observable? What type of model would we end up with?

Clearly it will by a hybrid model where finance or sales is easier to measure and forecast than a lot of other performances – and likely as well, where no digital twin is one-size-fits-all, they will be tailored to specific use-cases. Where the digital twin is mostly focused on the prediction, it will benefit from the updated set of data which is also part of the living architecture.

So, the trajectory is to move the digital twin more into the direction of information management, where information models are established, and where statistical properties of the core behavior is turning measurable, so that with data-lakes and big-data that we can start to model and identify the dynamic models of the enterprise – rather than to see a bunch of tables. Not necessarily an easy task, but as stipulated by Gartner, the purpose is to provide better planning to lower risk of fact-based decisions. With a digital twin of an organisation, we can measure the input/output of an organisation, and we can forecast how it would develop. The adoption of digital twins will likely lead to models that can be used for simulation and forecasting.

The Internet of things (IoT) provides a bigger and larger system where the business operating model at heart to us should include performance measures and measurements of many variables. And to apply this in a business context, the target is to find an algorithm to forecast and optimise the predictions given different types of input.

There are however, different grey zones in this concept to get it fully operational.

  1. One is the cultural shift that one needs to consider.
  2. Another one is the statistical models to be applied, how and what,
  3. A third and not the least, the choice of ‘states’ and ‘parameters’ of the model, a model typically known as the business operating system (BOS).

We advocate to start the journey towards enabling a digital twin by three simple steps:

  1. Identifying the ‘meta-data’ initially to provide a logical layer of how an organisation is connected form suppliers to clients,
  2. In the second phase to apply states and parameters to consume measurements to connect the dots of the BOS.
  3. With focus on dashboards, outcomes and KPI’s this brings the third phase to compare targeted and measured values. This is what essentially is the fuel for the digital model to optimise your fact-based input to the strategy-to-execution.

The scenario-based planning may be accelerated by these kinds of models. Use a digital twin of an organisation to help your business leaders to minimize the risk of new growth. We advise to begin with the logical layer. This is where fly-by-wire dashboards can be produced for guiding your business journey. This is where the digital twin should be used to maximise business outcomes. The importance is the act of digital planning as well as the precision of the models. If you interested in technology supporting a digital twin of your business, we can help you! Don’t build it yourself, there is emerging technologies supporting big data and digital twins.

We power your digital MooD.


  • -

Digital leaders fuel innovation across the business

Category:EA,UK Blog Tags : 

In the latest Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO Survey 2017, which is the largest IT leadership survey at all, there is number of key take-aways! With 4498 responses from CIOs and technology executives across 86 countries, this survey outlines some of the high demands.

One of the main trends is the level of change they are experiencing has reached unprecedented levels, and increasingly it is coming from unexpected corners. Many technology executives are turning this uncertainty into opportunity. They are helping their organizations become more automated and digital, to navigate through unpredictable change, and to thrive in an uncertain world. This also aligns well with disruption, digital transformation, and the act of digital planning, rather than the specific plans.

A conclusion from above survey also reveals a clear divergence between organizations that are effective at digital transformation and those that are not (read digitization). CIOs at these ‘digital leader’ organizations are almost twice as likely to be leading innovation across the business. That is, ‘digital leaders’ who take the opportunity to work with disruption and dare a digital transformation, they will likely be leading the innovation processes across business.

Some of the key findings are: Two-thirds of organizations are adapting their technology strategy because of unprecedented global political and economic uncertainty, two-thirds! Almost 90% are maintaining or ramping up investment in innovation. That is the digital strategies are reaching new levels, and the single fastest growing tech skill in demand to succeed with this, is the enterprise architecture. IT projects are getting more complex, have unclear objectives, need to work under still more open-ended environment, meaning the importance of solid and living architecture is becoming a necessity for the digital leaders. Here we use the term enterprise architecture, as defined by Gartner,

“Enterprise architecture (EA) is a discipline for proactively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analyzing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes. EA delivers value by presenting business and IT leaders with signature-ready recommendations for adjusting policies and projects to achieve target business outcomes that capitalize on relevant business disruptions”.

So growing demand for enterprise architecture is not the static picture from two-three decades back. The evolving discipline of enterprise architecture is focusing on execution of change, planning with disruption and with a clear view on business outcomes. This requires not one-size-fits-all tools nor performance processes. It requires an open-ended approach where scenarios may be planned, business model may be expanded over time in an agile way, to be constantly validated and experimented before implemented (also referred to as a digital twin). And while planning for the future business blueprint, there will still be a large amount of legacy to be resolved or migrated.

The living architecture is based on a eco-system of connected insights. The pendulum swings back to central knowledge, democratized input, for all the dots that need to be connected in a larger enterprise, including products, services, strategy, business, applications and infrastructure.

We often advocate that for companies who are interested in enterprise architecture, make sure it is not an end in itself, but a mean to accomplish the digital strategy and innovation required to fulfil the digital planning. Clearly, the survey puts high demand on enterprise architects who can execute the strategy and provide a digital transformation. One may see the digitization as a pre-burner or enabler for the next steps, but if the paradigm of the business model isn’t changed, disruption not considered, nor if the digital transformation isn’t led by the business strategy, then it will have a hard time to sustain. This where we can help you!

We power your digital MooD!


  • -

Start your digital service integration – introducing SIAM

Category:EA,UK Blog Tags : 

As we force ourselves into even higher gears of technological innovation, the trend in the market is to move closer to multi-sourcing and high-end services from best-of-breed suppliers; e.g. one supplier might be good at delivering People Performance Management, while another provider is excellent at providing Information Management. So instead of outsourcing all infrastructure and databases to one supplier, it may be attractive to partner with that vendor, who is e.g. leading in cutting edge solutions to People Performance Management and Information Management –  including all operations, maintenance and development.

For the organisation procuring such services from still more high-end providers there is a challenge of how to succeed with the management and administration of services, which doesn’t necessarily fit with each other. How to manage the multi-sourcing setup providing insight and accurateness of the information management of the different service providers.

The term to manage the multiple vendors to provide consistent services to the end-users is denoted Service Integration and Management (SIAM). The objective is to provide a single business-facing IT organisation, however, as these vendors deliver different types of services, the term services often gets blurred in discussions – and can often be quite different things! Hence, there is a pitfall in trying to establish a huge services framework as a theoretically based exercise. To succeed, we recommend building the services step-by-step as the digital governance is established in the  living architecture.

According to the research paper by Goldberg et al, SIAM is the discipline to procure and blend services from multiple external and internal providers. As the SIAM management eventually will have a cost, and the best-of-breed providers may be hard to compare with more traditional outsourcing providers, there may be a challenge on cost.

Many clients face different issues implementing and getting the SIAM layer to perform satisfactory. Simply to succeed with SIAM, the organisation needs to understand the architectural structure of the IT landscape, and how it is managed by delegating accountabilities of a digital governance. However, the main pitfall is still that most stakeholders are reluctant to buy ‘services’, e.g. if they have a preference for certain vendors, certain products, certain solution patterns. There is this paradox, as to succeed with service integration, you might have to go around services as a term. To establish an end-to-end SIAM solution you need to work on the digitalisation of the metadata and information management of the different vendors. To succeed with SIAM, you need to manage your sourcing assets with all the relevant dependencies as part of managing the digital governance. This is almost a prerequisite to manage SIAM as an ongoing digital process.

Before moving into SIAM, an organisation should consider many factors. We have listed 7 pieces of advice to succeed with digital services integration:

  1. Map out your Business Capability Map so you have a consistent view of ‘what does the business do’, and what is done where in the business

 

  1. Then map the business applications and business projects and other sourcing deliverables. This allows a direct coupling from IT to Business, and allows in parallel the business services construction. Try to avoid layers of academia and ‘noun services’, start building the typical orderings and offerings requested from stakeholders and end-users.

 

  1. Enable a digital solution of the management of the service integrator; managing the information exchange between own organisation and external providers. What is the live information you get from the providers to secure your information is up to date.

 

  1. Enable a digital solution of the management of the service integration, managing the information between the different providers. What is the alive information you need to manage the vendor?

 

  1. As the SIAM solution evolves there will be a living representation of how infrastructure relates to business applications, and development, and further into the business. Make sure this end-to-end model is clear, alive and governed using terms common for end-users (not the academics).

 

  1. Align the vendor management with the information management to align scope and expectations across the provider contracts. The information management should be an online living architecture which at heart supports the SIAM solution. Ensure silo-services and non-silo services are experimentally approached, validated, and approved.

 

  1. Get yourself an advisor who can help you to build the SIAM portal with an agile mindset. Most of the services and groupings of a SIAM solution must mature, the fastest route is to experiment, validate and grow. It is like a restaurant, where the services menu card is not ready day 1, but testing a menu card, you will see which services are asked for, in what type or spiciness, and what other meals could be composed from some of the same ingredients.

 

The integration of interdependent multi-sourcing services is difficult for many clients, but for those clients who manage the information management as a  living architecture with digital governance, it is a minor step. The challenges of assuming this is done by IT Service Management is often a too simplified picture, and the challenges to solve the services enabling before building the SIAM portal seems often academic with limited success and low impact. We advise to bring alive the digital platform using interaction in the planning and definition of the SIAM solution. This is the safest way to enable your digital services transformation.

We power your digital MooD.