According to both Gartner & Mckinsey that statistics state more than 75% of the agility and digital transformation projects fail. Going through the details, it is also noticed that many still believe these transformation programs could be solved by applying EA tooling or BI tooling. However, these technologies are quite different in philosophy, and there are certain shortcomings and limitations of using using this type of tecnique to solver such programs:
- The BI “approach” is typically led by financial people and with a reporting perspective; nothing wrong with this, but it is just very different from the agenda of providing large change, interactions and planning. If you try to fry using a pot rather than a pan, it will take longer, and with a lower chance of success.
- However, what about the magic quadrant of EA Tools then? Quoting one of our customers, “EA Tools are like lemons, sour and very hard to eat on their own” … The magic quadrant seem populated with tools that have a very narrow view of enlightening the architect herself/himself that puts effort into modelling. How can that in any way help the corporate agility?
Agility is the ability to change direction at higher pace, it is not about the speed! For a company to be agile, it needs to provide a foundation where people share an understanding of change, and eventually, share the interest to change course when needed. This is partly culture, partly getting people to buy into to the strategy, often helped by a digital platform to help building a digital governance of managing the business processes, systems, and offerings.
“Agility is the ability to change direction at higher pace, it is not about the speed!”
As humans we encourage people to be proactive, thinking, questioning, – however – it also means if we don’t all buy into the strategy or direction, we will act differently as individuals. For a company to succeed to change course at a higher pace, we need to promote the idea and federate the updates – and every day! Managing the agility is about carrying out many small steps where people can relate and buy into the updates of helping the bigger enterprise with transparency and regular feedback.
So almost paradoxically, what agility means at a corporate perspective is that we need the shared value of helping each other to federate updates and insight to make a company agile, by this, removing some of the individual freedom to avoid new ad-hoc ways of doing stuff. This is a very different perspective than to allow a few architects to analyse and build models on their own. Agility is about getting to the digital platform where decisions and changes can be made faster, with lower risk and based on federated input; otherwise the platform is just for architects, and then you can have a look in the magic quadrant: how to fail yet another time…
Now, as an example… an old one: “What is an application?”. As simple as the question is, who is interested in the answer? Why do we need the answer? How would we as a company ever get to the answer?
To answer it partially, we would advise you to take the enterprise perspective, that if users and people of the organisation cannot see the “calculation” and updates of what we believe is an application, you will never get to more than a point-tool perspective, so in an agile context, you will fail. If your approach is to model it for the architects, using a tool only the architects can handle, please look for the bin!
Back to the former question, applications can only be of relevance if they relate to the processes, the inner game or outer game of the business planning.
- If in context of the outer game, it is relevant to carve out what to shut down, what to procure to deliver the new business model – this is the sweet spot of corporate agility where the business model is transformed into a new form.
- If the inner game, then we talk efficiency or changes to way of working, then operational efficiency and processes are the sweet spot where business is being digitized.
If you ask in your organisation, the business leaders might say we have a few systems, if you ask the IT managers, they may say many processes, so many applications, and if you meet people from IT Operations, they have their own definition, and they say approximately 20 per device. To solve such a simple question with a modelling tool will not succeed. The entire wrapping of use-case, interaction and planning is required, and it is often motivated by having a label on that wrapping called “agility”, where the benefit of classic EA tools and BI technology seem limited.
The technology required to build the digital platform for improving the agility requires a flexible model, that can be changed again and again over time. It also requires people to use the outcome, daily, every day by loads of people to get the metadata correct. And it needs to look like the corporate web portal with colours, fonts, etc. to get the attractiveness that people buy into.
If you are in doubt on how to build a digital platform in order to succeed with the digital governance and agility, try to look at the organisational usage, then identity the interactions and flexibility. Try to avoid pre-built one-size-fits-all solutions, we mostly see that the can demonstrate value only on the first mile. With the right collaboration, each employee or team is accountable for their own part, they like to contribute to the bigger picture, and the management can avoid attachments and PowerPoints. This is what digital governance is all about.
In practice, this also means the digital platform will be a combination of human input, and online data like CMDB data (Cherwell, Service Now, etc.), PMO data (Project Server integration, or similar), people data (AD or HR data), finance data (SAP, etc.). A modern digital platform is where decisions and agility moves can be made from – it pulls the data into the single source of connected insight.
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!