Author Archives: Morten Stender

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Digital Design and Enterprise Architecture – what is it?

Category:digital transformation,enterprise architecture,governance Tags : 

Enterprise Architecture and Digital Design Digital, what is it?

Likely you will find as many answers as you will find people to ask, unfortunately, that is so. Maybe because the discipline is relatively “young”, or maybe as suggested by Martin v.d. Berg because practitioners and researchers put different meaning into the term; but likely also because it is seen as “supporting” rather than a “line” activity so the term “decision support” associates with it. Clearly, there are more interpretations to what it is.

If you smell the words, “Enterprise” and “Architecture”, you will likely ask yourself, what is an “enterprise”? and what is an enterprise architecture then? The term somehow makes it more theoretic, at the risk of sinking like captain Carlsen on his SS Enterprise, which in fact was his enterprise, a ship. In most cases, we can replace the word “enterprise” with “your entire business” or “your organisation with customers and market”, even though we would argue an enterprise could be a business unit or simply the entire or a subset of the business. In any case, business overall with an end-to-end perspective. “Architecture” on the other hand is about structure, how things are connected, what they are composed of, how they are used, how they look and are perceived. We often talk about good or bad architecture based on our experience, durability and interaction. In any case, everyone has a saying of this.

James Lapalme previously has argued, that Enterprise Architecture (EA) could be seen as one of three schools, either the Enterprise integrating, Enterprise IT architecting or Enterprise ecological adaption, where this post takes the proposition to put emphasize on the strategy to execution, marked more blue than the others; see Fig.

Enterprise Architecture is often expressed along-side strategy. That is, you may be manager for strategy & enterprise architecture as a combined title. It does give a clue, that enterprise architecture is about strategic thinking, about decision support with a focus end-to-end.

Enterprise architecture (EA) is a discipline for proactively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analysing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes.

Gartner

With such a definition, EA is the authority to lead enterprise responses by working with external disruptive forces, disruptive? This clearly brings EA into the strategic space working with future solutions to achieve vision and outcomes, if need be also with breaking structures and processes or even acquiring new offerings.

At the core, EA is about the bridging between where we currently are, and the future to achieve desired business vision and outcomes. Then this is the tricky stuff, how to help an organisation to transition successfully into the future? This is what EA practitioners refer to as transition architectures, small pieces of planning to provide strategy-to-execution. Often EA practitioners then put actions into roadmaps, so roadmaps are key for making influence more actionable.

Darwin put it slightly different in a different context with “survival of the fittest”, EA is about your “enterprise” survival, what planning do we collectively need to do to be “fittest” and succeed in the market. It is less about doing it, but to inform and encourage management to stay on-course using an enterprise perspective. With reference to J. Ross, we often refer to this as “digital design” (as opposed to many small solutions with individual designs), some would refer to this as enterprise design.

EA is decision-support and enterprise design; based on information and data (not only data). The more we can digitalise the creation of information from data, the closer we get to the core of EA, what to do with it. While Operations focus on today’s services to customers, EA is planning with the perspective of what services do we need in the future, and how to transform the organisation to make that happen. Strategy is sometimes about pace (do more, move faster), sometimes about the unforeseen changes (new competitor, disruptive forces) where market changes force a set of decisions to be made quickly to succeed in the future.

How to make such decisions? That is what EA is all about with frequent updates, collaboration, and enterprise governance – we talk about it as iterative and integrated as it connects tools and integrates business end-to-end. For IT and CI items it integrates with CMDB, around financials it integrates with Finance, and so on. EA is often staffed with senior people as it is a broad role that connects stuff from front-end to back-end of the organisation. It is about long-term business change enabled by collaboration and planning to deal with pace and disruptive forces. Building organisations around EA provides help you to achieve corporate agility to adapt faster to new external forces.

To staff a team to succeed with EA, you need to have more skills represented, see related blog. Finally, working with architecture services, please be aware that there are more architectural practices, please see picture.

Architecture roles – what roles exist?

The following drawing is a simple representation of typical architecture roles, where the Enterprise Architect is the broadest role. Architecture is more than one discipline: To manage detail is different from the enterprise perspective.  The various architecture roles are related, yet very different in skillsets required and target delivery.

The Infrastructure Architect has an important role in keeping IT Operations in mint condition – often tightly coupled to the IT Service Management (ITSM).

The Software Architect has a different role which puts focus on the development of an application that solves stakeholder needs. Such work must be detailed meeting all requirements through properly design, development, documentation, and testing.

The Solution Architect is often linked to project architecture with a focus on how projects get scoped to delivery with a perspective to make a design that is valid post project closure.

The Business Architect has a slightly different skillset – more focused on market and business analysis. This is very often connected to business management, business processes and the strategy development of a business area or future revenue stream.

The Data Architect has a more detailed focus on data management and bringing fresh data between systems to support information and business insights.

The Enterprise Architect seems to do somehow a little of all of that with a perspective to look more end-to-end, secure alignment to the overall corporate strategy and direction, closing the gap between why and how. Focus is often on knowledge sharing, collaboration, planning and compliance to ensure best patterns are selected and re-used towards strategy fulfilment.

We are in the business of helping you to provide successful business change to execute your strategy – reach out if you need advice how to build you architecture office.

 


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Constructing the “right” strategy team

Category:digital transformation,enterprise architecture,governance Tags : 

Strategy is about setting targets for the future, choosing the right direction based on insight to market and resources. Strategy leads to strategy execution, but strategy execution is about delivery, minimising risk and getting the organisation to deliver the strategic ambitions – something that requires people, process and technology to be involved.

Malcolm Gladwell has written “tipping point”, how to make strategy implementations to scale, see short reference here. It pictures the value of how few people can make a significant impact, something that is deeply desirable within digital transformation and strategy execution.

The “tipping point” in context of strategy execution and digital transformation  is that magic moment when a strategy-to-execution-portal like our low-code platform  as an idea or social behaviour within an enterprise crosses a threshold, and spreads like wildfire.

To succeed a strategy is not so much about the formulation  (although that has be sound as well), it is equally about getting to the tipping point where the stickiness and roll-out seems to spread like wildfire.

In the book Gladwell argues that fundamentally three key roles need to be present for any idea to transition into reality, and the same seems to be valid for strategy and architecture solutions, if not more roles. As we advocate to use a low-code platform for providing rapid responses, you also need the supporting team to encapsulate people, process and technology. But which team?

To win a strategy execution and pass the tipping point, you need to construct your digital team to accelerate the journey. We typically advise to look for at least the following four roles:

Practice Manager:
The practice manager is an IT Leader with knowledge of your organisation’s applications and processes and best-practices. The practice manager acts in many cases like the project manager or lead architect to communicate what is in and what is out of the next release, to keep a tight focus between next release and solving the best value steps first. Ideally this role relates closest to the connector-role listed by Gladwell.

Usability Coach:
The usability coach has focus on the detail within a release from an end-user perspective. When things go fast, testing of the front-end starts often ahead of the back-end. It is imperative that the changes and development done is provided with sufficient validation to ensure functionality and  a strong end-users experience. This improves quality of delivery and aligns with the pretotyping manifesto. The goal of pretotyping is to help you make sure that you are configuring the right stuff, before you complete it right.

Salesperson:
The salesperson is typically a senior profile on the border of the team. He fosters ideas for new development injecting stakeholder wishes into the future roadmap. With the low-code engine as the digital platform, see next-insight, he is aware he can produce new functionality faster and better than traditional tools, and in his/her daily dialog he communicates the roadmap and gets in return more value requests to the team.

The Maven:
The maker of low-code configuration to meet maximum re-usage and business outcomes. The maven is the cross-stack expert driving the development along-side the other roles. The alignment between practice manager and maven is critical to support what is easy and fast to accomplish as proactive responses to business challenges.

The coherency of the roles is key for a strong delivery of a low-code setup implementing strategy. Unlike tool-vendors who push conversions of data, conversion of processes proposing stiff tools to soft people – this team can put customer-centric solutions in place where the platform adapts to the use-case. A tool without a team is lost, team without a low-code digital platform is slow.

We advise a safe and fast implementation of your strategy with a low-code digital platform and joint digital team to accomplish the strategic objectives. The right thing to do now and in the future is to provide the stickiness and success of a team with a scalable platform, #next-insight.

#Interactive  #Collaborative #Connected


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From “EA” to architecting digital

Category:digitaltransformation,EA,strategy Tags : 

Consider banks, insurance companies and online services, IT is often an integrated way of doing business so there is in most sectors no way you can talk about IT and business without seeing them as one overall entity where products and services are on a constant drift towards more digital forms, more tech-enabled, challenging time and space in the customer offering.

In this context, we still see some people talking about the “IT to Business gap”, often said by technicians from inside an IT department with some specialised perspective on the business processes and maybe with a very specialised knowledge within IT infrastructure and IT service management.

To help such folks the practice of Enterprise Architecture (EAM) is key as it provides the connectedness between products and services, applications, and IT technologies including the data flow and functional support; particular in the planning perspective to implement strategic business change.

The context of the organisation with products and services, internal orchestration of business capabilities and business processes, strategy and developing, in short bridging the gap between ideation and implementation, between implementation and operation. An effective enterprise architecture function does not separate “IT from business”, it on the contrary, it connects and embed all elements of the business model with the IT-stack.

In this context the management of risk, security and cost see their disciplines to be connected into an enterprise decision which is the core output of enterprise architecture. Simply put, the next-generation enterprise architecture platforms connect strategy, business operations and technology into smarter governance with focus on business change to lower risk, improved transparency to successfully drive value and outcomes.

To distinguish from the old school of IT/Enterprise Architecture that focused on introvert notation with boxes, and arrows, the current trend is to focus on customers, end-users and empower collaboration and planning.

We advocate Next-Insight® as the leading example in this space as it accelerates any implementation of EAM.

What output is expected from “EAM”?

Firstly, target is not to produce just output(!). Core focus on Enterprise Architecture is to make impact. To make impact you need to align with other stakeholders of the organisation to govern and change business.

It does involve new business processes and new ways of system support to embed in a digital platform like possible with Next-Insight®. Then it does require business change with the entire focus on people, process, and technology to be adopted. This is where you need change advisors to help to the adoption of smarter technology, new processes and measuring the adoption and end-user buy-in.
The advantages of such an approach is it easily becomes an improved decision-making with the ability to adapt to changing market conditions faster, eliminating inefficient or redundant processes, and optimizing people, processes and technology overall.

What is the difference with Next-Insight?

As change adviors we are not keen on technology that is too rigid, too difficult to re-configure or two slow for quick adaptation – that is why we recommend improvements via  Next-Insight. Compared to BI tools that typically provide nice analytics on collected transactional datasets in a data ware-house, the focus on Next-Insight is to make interaction bi-directionally to accelerate input and collaboration so people can navigate on the report elements, and drill down to understand how things connect – and to correct stuff (!) That provides a much larger value to decision makers.

And then the pace of doing changes in a modern platform is just higher than if you go with one of service management tools or .net tools where development time is just a magnitude higher!

Compared to more classic EAM-tools, focus is to please architects who want to provide corporate support. How can the Enterprise architects support CFOs and CIOs?  For instance, by improving the transparency of the bill of IT, you quickly get to take-out the unnecessary spending. With a next-generation solution like Next-Insight you get a modern management solution with options e.g. to drive better cost management.

What are the typical processes solved by Next-Insight?

Next-Insight® is considered a thought leader to capture the portfolio governance to manage all applications and development activities (read projects) to relate this to the right investments of the enterprise. Other use-cases will depend on other stakeholders – like to relate cost/risk reductions to right development of products/services. So typical use-cases are:

-Applications rationalisation, to modernise and target new operation model or simply cost take-out.

-Project portfolio management, as to standardise the data collection and reporting around development activities.

– Cost transparency management to understand vendor agreements, cost pools and how distribution of cost can lead to improved decision insight for managers to change behaviour.

– Cloud transformation to support the business strategy of standardising business processes with changed system support in the transition to increased standardisation of different cloud-setup and higher resilience.

– Risk management to support end-of-life, annual processes and the organisational support to governance, risk and compliance.

Advise, change and a digital platform

The blend of advice, technology and adoption is key with every implementation of Enterprise Architecture. We are an organisation that help our customers to succeed with digital transformation as to implement strategies and execution of strategy– applying methods, practice, and technology in form of a digital platform for decision management.

We know more than many how the value of IT is embedded into the business operations, and equally, the value comes from satisfying our many stakeholders of an organisation.

Reach out to discuss further of how you can accelerate your EA adoption.


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More Planning, Fewer Projects!

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 

 

This week we should have attended the IRM Innovation, Business Change and Business Transformation forum in London, but due to covid-19, the conference has been postponed. One of the slides to be presented is the ubiquitous definition of “strategy execution”. While for some it means just the implementation of the strategy, and for others maybe just phrased as getting the strategy done – and both will fail. Strategy execution is the soft discipline to get people onboarded into the change journey toward the future set of business operations.

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 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 digitalisation as a pre-burner or enabler for becoming a different digital company. With digitalisation 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 digitalisation is disjoint from the transformed digital company where elements like disruption and new enterprise models are considered. Working with new models, new blueprints, there is quite another risk, and also a larger need to use scenario-based planning.

You may contact us for our advise or our solutions to plan the future. We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning which is an ongoing architectural process – and a digital process of information management. 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!


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How to get started with TBM and cost transparency…

Category:cost,EA,Services Tags : 

Many organisations struggle to provide transparency to cost of IT. Even though it sounds simple, there is a number of challenges like:

  1. What is the border of IT? – Now that most of IT is used across the entire organisation and within services and products, then what is the IT budget?
  2. What is the best terminology to make cost models? If looking into computing servicers, maybe different types of computers; for servers maybe the sizing, for storage maybe the type of storage. How to get the right mathematical model to connect daily end-users through behaviour to something that generates cost?
  3. What does “cost” mean – if we pay upfront and depreciate, versus lease or annual subscriptions?
  4. Where do we get the data from? Most CMDB’s don’t provide the necessary information as cost is more information management than data management. How to re-use data-sources to make the proper information design?
  5. When digitalisation and digital transformation change the way we work, what is then the “reduction” in the IT spend?

These questions are all relevant and easily solved when properly addressed with our services.

We advise to adopt the main principles from the TBM Framework (Technology Business Model) to allow tracking of cost year on year, month by month and to support a common taxonomy to allow comparisons.

The TBM concept is not new; Large accounting companies have worked with the practice years before the TBM Council started, but the standardisation, the scale and the maturity of digital platforms offering the bill of IT is ramping up.

The TBM suggests three perspectives of the cost and it offers a taxonomy that helps for IT to in the IT perspective to track unit cost and cost drivers. The main objective of TBM is the increased transparency, the ability to track year-on-year and month-by-month, and finally to cross-companies, e.g. if you are a number of companies that do the same type of business, then the TBM offers the comparison option.

Over the last years TBM has become almost a cross-standard to the taxonomy of how to deal with this. There are hundreds of organisations that now move into the three-layered structure of the TBM to get a comparable measure of the bill of IT. What is the process of the TBM when implemented?

We can guide you through the implementation. If you are interested in getting a clear view of the Bill of IT, this is something that is hard to solve without technology and advice.

We can offer to you technology and advise – as one service. With Next-Insight you get a unified enterprise design of your business that includes the full TBM taxonomy. With role-based access to managers and ordinary end-users of your organisation, we help you to standardise IT costs. Next-Insight is a next-generation technology that is based on our experience with customers and architecture practices of how best to ensure an interactive behaviour-driven solution to IT Cost management.  With senior consultants, we can help you to outline the future processes, then start with the  information management to establish the digital governance.

We have seen too many project implementations that suffer from not aligning the governance early enough, creating poor data and too restrictive assumptions. This typically happens when financial tools are introduced without focus on digital governance and data quality. So to succeed you need to form a project charter with enterprise architecture and financial managers involved. It typically follow a three-steps approach:

  1. The TBM model should be implemented as a single service across finance and architecture, as most of the IT-related information should be managed and updated in the EA repository. This is where tools like Next-Insight is useful as it offers the full TBM support and the EA support all as one solution. However, the implementation of such a solution should be process-centric, what processes should be supported, to allow the customer solution to add value to the organisation. Our recommendation is not to buy another point-tool, but to integrate financial perspectives to strategy and planning.
  2. Once the processes are agreed, reconfigure Next-Insight tot he way numbers should be crunched to support the EA-stack to be connected with the financial system. This will require a design and implementation to get the chart of account setup up correctly to master the relationships. The best option is typically to formulate a project, and allow finance people and enterprise architects to work together. The integrations between an information management and a financial system like SAP or similar is required. The information management will manage the collaboration with end-users, IT managers, service managers helping to get meta-data correct. Then the SAP or similar financial system will provide the cost centres, the daily bookings. The rule book is carefully designed.
  3. Finally, the EA tool like Next-Insight is adjusted to provide the user screens for the intended processes. Once the solution is configured and set alive, the budget cycle will start as an ongoing process, relying on the master data from the information management system, typically, it is based on last year’s consumption providing input to the budgets and forecast numbers. The TBM is the model or taxonomy of this data crunching.

What is the basic concept of TBM? Irrespective of the digital platform, the bill of IT is simply structured into three layers, like almost three different architecture layers:

  1. Service layer: To describe the business processes and assets of the technology supported. This should provide an enterprise perspective of the business and future cost perspective. The logical grouping and allocation of cost should be mapped to business applications or business initiatives – using the language of the business.
  2. IT layer: To describe  IT towers and subtowers which is technology groupings of units and unit cost within functions. As evolving the solution, then also IT Dev as part of the layer.
  3. Financial layer: Describing services procured in some currency, by terms, depreciations, cost, to understand cash versus cost perspectives of the agreed bills.

The benefit of the TBM model is that it translates between the layers. Solutions typically can provide the what-drives-what view between the different perspectives, typically build on some degree of allocations or apportions, handshakes and cost agreement splits. However, without the assumptions and structures of TBM, no-one will be able to communicate clearly what the cost of a project or a service really is.

If you are interested in knowing more about TBM and cost models, please seek advice on how to implement this on a modern digital platform. You may contact us for our solution and services  to read more. We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning, which is an ongoing architectural process – and a digital process of information management.

We power your digital mood!


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Digital Governance, fuel for the digital planning

Category:EA,governance,strategy

In our post of how to succeed with digital planning, we stressed the importance of unleashing the power of digital design to enable the discipline to work with long-term strategic actions without being detailed of how to implement activities while in planning mode. This also covers the fundamentals for delivering a successful transformation to make your company  digital.

It is also in this post we referenced the ubiquitous purpose of planning is not to complete, but to become aware and prepare. For most organisations the corporate agility is more important than speed in the “long run”, even though they both are desirable properties, and speed often wins in the “shorter run”. So in the short run there is the perpetual focus on delivering more of the ‘same’ where in the long run, it may be a different service or offering that will provide the best solution to the market. So planning has a value in understanding and testing as opposed to project portfolio management and operations where focus is on completing. As to recall the famous quote from Dwight D. Eisenhower;

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

The management focus on “planning” rather than “plans” call for corporate consensus to what is important, and what if scenarios can swiftly be implemented without running a new project. This is also where agility works best with a digital governance that can quickly help management to understand the implications as they decide to move into a new course. Unfortunately, we often talk to people who believe that strategy is “just” a set of plans that “just” need to be implemented. While nothing will ever work if not implemented, the challenge with strategy is often that the competitors, the market, sales, and the technology innovations change the premises so fast that to succeed the projects you need to change scope to meet a new impact and outcome.It somehow calls for three fundamentals at the same time

  1. shorter development cycles and agile methodologies to implement this
  2. more focus on digital design and business architecture to faster understand the impact of changes – making architecture a living discipline
  3. more digital planning, as to message differently and more swiftly what is new course of action.

To succeed it requires onboarding of a large number of employees of your company, not a department, but often more a business unit or the entire company. This is not solved by projects, tools or departments in isolation; this is best solved by having a clear responsibility structure to work with changes, and to know who will take of whatever impact. This we make alive in a digital portal to collaboration and drive common decision-support. Sustaining the momentum of the transformation is critical to the company’s success. To deal with this problem, sustaining interventions by governance decisions will become essential to help you keep track of the direction of your common aim. Digital transformation should be a coordinated response by a broad set of stakeholders – also at board level.

What is Digital Planning as opposed to digital governance?

We see Digital Governance in our solutions as something that is both ‘digital’ and ‘governance’. Governance as in “Who does what approved by whom” and Digital meaning not in word, and not in Excel, but as clickable meta-data shared for everyone within an organisation”. In other words, decisions should be made digital, not by emails and attachments. The organization will strive to become transparent and re-using data towards a common vision.

We see “Digital Planning” as the next level of planning to make long-term strategic digital actions without being detailed of how to implement activities.
Focus is on value-creation and corporate agility to become aware and be prepared. 

The objective of planning is to make the right set of reductions, rejections, acquisitions and investments. This has the entire focus on maximising the business value, not on delivering on-time, which is a set of derived set of activities. We advocate to implement Digital Governance and Digital Planning in every solution we build to move faster as a company and to speed up the corporate agility – be aware these two things are no the same, but both are desirable features. To establish the right digital governance is critical since it acts as the rudder to steer your digital initiatives in the right direction and pace. If you spend too much time on implementing the wrong set of initiatives you may end up in the hamster wheel, whereas if with focus on planning, digital planning, the solution teams are aligned, the agile release trains are aligned, and top executives can manage resources and direction rather than to obtain useless figures of backlogs. See also the post of getting value from business planning with agile development.

What role does Digital Planning play in digital transformation?

We refer to another post for digital transformation.  And make a process around the digital transformation, we often advocate a classic stage gate approach where

  1. an Initiative Phase secures the planning piece of what initiatives do we have, either as ideas, proposed ones, and very likely ones. Based on hard prioritisation metrics, some of these are selected for the next phase:
  2. a Project Performance Phase that implements the projects, but all the time with an eye for the value delivery, the risk of not completing, the risk of we exit, and the ability implement on time and budget, which will then typically lead to:
  3. a Solutions Management Phase where services and applications build as solutions are maintained and innovated to continue to deliver value to the business.

It is pivotal that this stage gate approach can be managed digitally, with digital ownership, and with the ability quickly to support new what-if decisions. With a strong governance in the meaning of no bureaucracy and digital input, you can much faster foster informed strategic decisions that are based on solid architectural insights.
Our approach to digital governance follows three guidelines:

  1.  Establish a lean set of approval flows and business rules.
  2. Encourage digital interaction and abandon emails, attachments and SharePoint.
  3. Foster and moderate innovation by open participation, ideally by having everyone being able to share and contribute to the portal.

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!


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Digital – Outer Game or Inner Game?

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 

We all want a place in the digital market, we all have strategies and discussions of how to win the battle. However, as part of this dialog, we often see different levels of abstraction to words such as ‘digital’, ‘AI’, ‘transformation’… We may point to the definition of  ‘digital transformation’ and ‘digitalisation’, however, in this article, we rather structure a few of the terms to provide a more transparent dialog to what does it mean to have a place in the digital market.

The two terms  ‘digital transformation’ and ‘digitalisationstrictly are different although they are  both part of the digital agenda. Where the digital transformation at the heart is about changing form and paradigm, digitalisation is about optimizing while keeping the business process paradigm. So to have better discussions about internal or external forces we advocate to structure the strategic dialogue using. At the center around customer journeys, we see the inner and outer game. Games can then be dissolved into lower levels such as themes and strategic elements.

With a decomposition of the strategy, we also start to have a different dialog with a common vocabulary and some apple-to-apple discussions. It allows us to have a much more meaningful conversations to what does it mean to become ‘customer centric’ or make ‘a successful disruptive customer journey’. And as we start to move into a better understanding of the strategic themes and outcomes, we also obtain:

  1. to structure the dialog so we can compare apple-to-apple in the discussions and needs of using words like disruption, digital, etc.
  2. and second, to be able to break down the dialog to another level, where we can support the behavioral change of the strategy execution, and finally
  3. start to understand what causes what, and how do plan to execute the strategy.

So how to make a strategy successful? Of course, the content is part of it, which might be assisted by better digital planning or Digital Twins; however, even without the bullet proof planning, the strategy still needs to leave the glossy PowerPoint and become actionable for more people! A successful strategy cannot survive successfully with high-level statements such as “we need more levers”, “digital customer satisfaction”, “larger on business value”, etc. For two reasons, it doesn’t answer the question of how and it doesn’t make it actionable for anyone within the organization. Enterprise architecture is largely the discipline to execute the strategy by encouraging more people to do what is actionable for them; one may argue it is less about the strategy, and more about getting to the point, where people can contribute to the strategy. This is how you make sustainable change.

To make a strategy executable, we need to decompose it into Games, themes and strategic elements, and then further into the ‘daily behavior’. If things become part of daily behavior, we start collectively to move. In other words, in order to succeed with the strategy execution, we need the decomposition that relates to daily behavior.

The two games represent the Outer Game and the Inner Game of an organization. These terms are re-used from leadership schools. These two games represent two different perspectives that will supplement or compete. The Outer Games is by definition the external perspective of ‘what is possible’. The Inner Game has a focus on the existing organization and competencies, hence ‘what can we do better’.

Digital Transformation by its definition is part of the Outer Game – how to design the new business model. The digitization is by its definition much closer to the Inner Game of how to do things more efficient – without changing our fundamental customer base, culture or anything touchy…

Now, the two games are related like strategy to culture, like Yin to Yang, like innovation to operations. They cannot live without each other, but they also represent opposite purposes. The purpose of the Outer Game is to follow principles of the Porter school, how to create a future into the market. As opposed to this, the Inner Game focuses on what can we operate, what can we do better, to fit with our capacity, our skills our collective win.

Now, having the two games defined, we see at least three digital themes that need to be addressed to make a successful change. We advocate to limit the themes to not more than these three Themes:

  1. [inventing] New Business Models
  2. [Changing] Customer Experience
  3. [Improving] Process Excellence

Then the digital elements are groupings within the Themes that are simpler to make actionable and behavioral. And to succeed with strategy to execution, we need to decompose into elements and make planning to support the digital transformation.

There is more research on the internet, where it is stipulated that moving forward with digital transformation, the best companies combine the [inventing] New Business Models with the Outer Game, simply to combine digital activity with strong leadership to turn technology into transformation then to future revenue streams. Other companies are less market focused, typically public service sector companies, which will then prioritize the Inner Game  on [Improving] Process Excellence. Unless protected by regulations, borders or legal fence, companies that are more mature will eventually outperform those that are not. So, if you want to lead the digital change, choose the Game, Theme and digital elements that meet your need.

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!


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Living architecture – the new approach to become data-driven?

Category:EA,governance,strategy Tags : 

We often advocate to turn architecture into governance, and to make it actionable, collaborative and shared! The objective of this change is to ensure all the good information is being used, not only by collectors and authors, but as the primary driver for business change and decision-support. When it works, enterprise architecture management (EAM) becomes succesful, architecture becomes ‘living architecture’, and organisations take another step up the ladder to become data-driven rather than Excel-born.

Maybe think of the alternative: Architecture for architects, notations and schematics only for the skilled people. That is not what we refer to as a succesful practice of EAM. Tools that require your audience to understand BPMN and UML and ArchiMate at the same time will never have a large audience, however, if you look at the magic quadrant, you will find loads of tools just for the purpose of this. While they may have a use-case in the small, the impact on a large organisation will be small. Architecture to have an impact and create outcomes should guide the information model and lead on what is make or break for future operations, what is the type of consolidation and changes we would like the organisation to do.

Since we years back started our journey towards living architecture, we have seen how it democratizes the updates of artefacts, how it brings large organisations to become more agile, simply with better processes and common insight to manoeuvre faster with changes in new regulations, strategies, and agile thinking. It is per se what makes a living architecture that it is being used, being adopted, and adapting to the planning processes.

What is the value for most users? They simply get better and more concise information to “what is what and how it ties up to other stuff”. This is hard to solve in isolation, hard to solve in SharePoint and Excel if you operate at large scale across a large organisation. While SharePoint and Excel are easy to use the hidden burden is siloes and attachments, but no common enterprise information model. The benefit of an EAM practice with living architecture is proper management of the information model to support meta-data across large organisations improving 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 to work with roadmaps, future scenario etc. While it is easy to scratch a target picture on a white-board and call it “strategy”, it is a different discipline to make people buy into it, support it, and ensure that data and effort are done to make it happening.

To pass that bridge to better data for strategy, faster reactions to change, the architectural information must be alive and the 3C’s; current, correct, and concise. Architecture is not an end in itself, governance may be the fuelling to it, but the value to gain comes from corporate agility and better decision-making as architecture information connecting the moving parts of the enterprise (operations) also with some of the more static information to provide insight for the next  years. This is what we refer to as a living architecture.

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), often as loose-end drawings (no common definitions used across larger areas of the organisation),  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, products, services, and technologies 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.

You may contact us for our solution, next-insight, to read more. We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning, which is an ongoing architectural 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!


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Business Outcome-Driven Planning

Category:EA,strategy

Research has recently provided focus to the practice of Business Outcome-Driven Planning. Instead of having focus on input-output that constantly bears the risk of too much output when market has changed, it is more and more imperative to put the focus on where the market and organisation are heading.

 

Many organisations struggle to get the plans and backlogs defined to secure the speed of change to match the requirements for business transformation. To enable faster transformation, there is a shift to more open-ended agile methods, like SAFE, targeting the entire enterprise to develop with focus on market demands. This brings us closer to what is often referred-to as “EA 3.0” where EA is short for enterprise architecture in the era of agile self-organised teams within a larger contextual and value-driven planning.

 

The practice of describing the impact and outcome rather than input and output is key for EA 3.0, as it provides a business outcome-driven planning where initiatives and concepts are evaluated way before they are formulated as projects for execution. As many organisations find it difficult to balance these decision-making processes, it is important to seek advise of how to implement the governance to structure more around products and scaling the development capabilities.

 

Business outcome-driven planning works alongside capability-based planning. It pictures the business in a capability map, “what does the business do or what should it be doing”. With focus on outcomes, visuals and self-service it is possible to relate the different contextual layers such as strategy, business, information, application and technology to provide impact-driven views of change.

Please check out also the practice of next generation technologies.

You may contact us for our solution, next-insight, to read more. We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning, which is an ongoing architectural 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!

 


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From pain to gain in service-orientation

Category:EA,strategy Tags : 

This week we ran into a dialog about the pace of service-orientation and its impact on processes. For those who are not aware of this term, service-orientation is the trend that allows customers to buy services rather than products with add-ons; and conceptually allow us to focus on the shift to consumerisation of subscription-based services, rather than products that may require maintenance, upgrades, add-ons etc.

To manage a successful transition into services, you need to establish a governance, see also how to establish a service portfolio. Now, as many technology companies (software as well as manufacturing companies) have a joined interest in providing a standardised set of services, they sometimes forget the dialog about “who is the customer?” – is it the customer journey of attracting new customers or the discipline to meet the service level to keep customers? Can we talk about customer-orientation or service-orientation without having the discussion of whether we want to focus on the primary operations or disrupting them?

We often say that “services” are what is delivered to an existing or future customer whereas “processes” are how you enable the services.

So in order to distinguish between the processes or new processes the level of detail required are actually not the same. In planning, less is more. In operations, we need to ensure all options are covered.
This brings us rapidly to the two simple terms that we need to balance in every service-orientation – the strategic choice between “fit” and “split” (Pascale, “Creating Organizational Advantage”):

  • The “fit” of processes focus on existing processes that can be digitalised and automated. This is the classic discipline of Business Process Modelling, Think of Total Quality Management, Six Sigma etc. These practices focus on making the business processes a better fit for the purpose of satisfying your customers, providing them with less pain and great services. However, as other services substitute older products and services (like subscribing to streaming services rather than buying a DVD player and DVD’s), there is despite the great service, constantly a drift towards a perception of some or more pain, eventually calling for the alternative.
  • The “split” of processes acts like the second bimodal model, having a constant focus on providing new processes distinct from the old ones! This is the focus to make new prospects rather than satisfying the existing ones. This is the classic discipline of Business Process Management. It brings focus to emergent technologies, cloud, sourcing and disruption. The proceess will start with aquiring or establishing the market capabilities, then the services, later the processes. This practice will evaluate what current services and processes that can be turned-off to implement new services taking advantage of technology shifts and grow the company. This is typically where we see exponential growth among the services that take-off. The focus is to hit the ground running with a no-pain level and great services from day one, leaving behind the old services with pain and legacy.

Now, if we go back to the dialog of the service-orientation, pace and processes, it is evident that you need to consider “fit” and “split” as different practices, even though they may be both part of the overall umbrella of methodologies called “process optimisation” and “process thinking”. The two practices use some of the same components, they just have opposite directions and pace!

If you are considering health and safety, client trials, transportation, money transfers, the “fit” is extremely important to document how you do things the right way, and you may improve your processes, optimizing them to secure health and operations. This requires many details to be aligned, documented so that every situation is covered, it may be the difference between another casualty or not. This works extremely well with the “fit” approach of process modelling, and this is also where BPM tools and process tools have their advantages. It is one may say, like Operations compared to Strategy & Architecture, where focus is on “running” rather than on “planning”.

However, if you are more focused on growing and attracting new customers, develop new services, acquire new capabilities, then the “split” is extremely important to analyse in terms of what could be done differently, what are the new emerging trends we could benefit from and what could we do to re-engineer what currently seems to be a pain in our services. This requires far fewer details and a better view of the impact “what-if” we could deliver something different, attracting many more customers. This works extremely well with the “split” approach of services impact where only a high-level process detail is enough, as it is the market and services that define the playground. This is the playground of planning solutions, like Strategy and Architecture compared to Operations, focus is on “strategy and planning” rather than on “running”.

So back to the pace – It doesn’t take long to picture high-level processes as supporting future services, what takes longer is to secure the service is right and enable this in the market. It does take long to picture detailed low-level process diagrams of supporting your existing services. So, if you plan to head one direction, but use the toolkit from the reverse direction, you will eventually fail. So, pace and direction are both important – it is the difference between biking one way or heading with the buss the other direction! This is not just a matter of getting the processes documented – the work might not be needed, and your project is at risk, if you apply the wrong practice.

Now, if we go back to the dialog of the service-orientation, pace and processes, it is evident that you need to consider the “fit” and “split” as different practices, even though they may be both part of the overall umbrella of methodologies called “process optimisation” and “process thinking”. The two practices use some of the same components, they just have opposite directions and pace.

And guess what, if you use the umbrella of “process optimisation” and “process thinking” – but apply only the “fit” perspective, you may run fast into the challenge of attracting management attention, as they often have a hard time understanding the problems you address by going deeper and deeper into details that are not relevant to address for the more business-led community with focus on attracting more revenue. The “fit” process community has been dense on methods and specifications and have spent lots of time arguing like a religion of how processes should be drawn, documented and shared, however, the “split” community has had a hard time finding interest, may even be called superficial, as they need less details to plan the future.

So one challenge that we often see in both practices is the talk about “customers” – but where one has attention to attracting some who are not customers, the other practice focus on existing customers not to leave the pen. And this goes also for services. The set of services are different if you want to attract new customers, as opposed to keeping existing customers. The “split” community will typically use an “outside-in” approach in getting attention and future, whereas the “fit” community is more focused on “did you like our service today?” (Picture below for reference).

 

Services in a competitive market will constantly have attention to the Customer Perception e.i. does he/she feel a gain by acquiring the new service whereas the organisation will constantly be focusing on delivering to a high service level and quality. These two factors are both to be considered through the lifecycle of a service:

  • The “Service Level” is an “inside-out” measure of your service performance, measured typically in monthly statistics on a scale from poor service to great service on a scale from 1 to 3, or a percentage of service level reached for existing customers. This will surface if you as a customer is getting the expected service (“ok”), or less (“frustrated”) or exceeding (“faith”).
  • The “Customer Perception” is typically an “outside-in” measure of your customer’s or future customers perception, measured typically in customers coming or leaving on a scale from pain to gain, where gain is the crowding effect of a good new service, whereas the pain represents a kind of despair, starting to scout for competitive services.

With the outside-in perspective, you take the strategic perspective with focus on incumbent players and services, which you might decide to invest in yourself. With the inside-out perspective, you focus on your current processes to optimise your service delivery for your customers. The art of the impossible is to balance these two practices, as to decide pace and direction.

Where in the Inside-out perspective, the weather is clear sunshine, as opposed to the future, where strategy also has to operate with current knowledge to tomorrows challenge. This is where the constant planning and scenario planning is key to enable corporate agility.

For instance, we currently see a shift to electric cars, and for a decade we have seen Tesla growing from zero to a leading (yet still small) player, unable to meet the demands, however, the buyers are despite long waiting lists more likely to say “nice” things in customer perception than traditional car producer’s customers. Tesla has managed to be a step forward in the outside-in perspective, however, the larger car manufacturers may easily adopt and adapt, and then comes a period where customers will focus on operations stability – and without a focus to the inside-out, even the most promising new product and service will fail.

We typically see a customer shift to new services that are cheaper and easier to consume, such as music as a service, car as a service, transport as a service – but for all of these new services, there is the caveat, that if the operations do not scale and meet operational excellence, they will run dry. And the opposite is also valid, without a constant scouting that takes advantage of new service models with emergent technologies, the operations will run dry for customers.

If you want to start a service-orientation of your business, please to do hesitate to make contact.

You may contact us for our solution, next-insight, to read more. We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning, which is an ongoing architectural 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!