Tag Archives: #EA

  • -

Digital governance & agility – getting it right this time!

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 

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 filosophy, and there are certain shortcomings and limitations of using using this type of tecnique to solver such programs:

  1. 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.
  2. 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!”

 

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.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.

If you bring your old tool, we can help you with the bin and the new approach.

We power your digital MooD!


  • -

Living architecture – EIM 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, the architecture information needs to be alive to connect the moving parts of the enterprise also with some of the more static information. This is what we refer to as a living architecture, or simply enterprise information management (EIM).

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.

So how to make the architecture alive? Think of the contents as information and try to re-use that information across your projects and improvements, then you will start to see a different pattern – a pattern of a ‘living architecture’ where SharePoint, PowerPoints,  email etc. do not provide the full picture, but may contain elements of a bigger picture, that is continuously updated. This may also be supporting a strategic planning perspective of a digital twin initiative.

 

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.

This is where we apply MooD to help large organisations succeed with the digital planning.
We power your digital MooD!