Author Archives: Morten Stender

  • -

How “Design Thinking” improves corporate performance

Category:EA,Services Tags : 

How can a design process impact an overall corporate performance? Design Thinking really is a mindset or a paradigm of how an organisation works with human-centred problems; it is the soft skills that make the execution successful. And working with improving performance and governance, a successful execution of such an initiative is often more about the human adaptation where the mindset and behaviour is tackled better and where creativity, collaboration and iterations are factored into the approach.  It does require buy-in from the top management, but also requires buy-in from the contributors. Succeeding with strategy is more than a single person to work differently.

According to Jen Sheahan, Design Thinking should be perceived as a “mindset”; a way of approaching problems that are human-centred, but as such is nothing new. Design thinking has some interpretations associated, however, when we apply it with information management and strategy to execution, it can be boiled down to the following solution elements:

–         Preto-type

–         Collaborative

–         Short-Cycled

–         Sprints

Let’s go through these to understand why Design Thinking is considered a wise approach that may seem “lightweight”, but often also shows faster-to-market, cheaper and with higher chance of reaching the targeted outcome. As such Design Thinking is agnostic to technology, however, it does put requirements on technology to support the rapid developments embedded in the new mindset. This why we have chosen to work only with predefined technologies (MooD, Signavio, …) that support the mindset of Design Thinking.

Preto-type:
One should look up the pretotyping manifesto or some of the you tubes of Alberto Savoia. Where prototype is about developing an “early” product, pretotype is about testing the idea before building anything. And this concept can easily be applied to strategy execution and architecture, simply to support fail-fast and ensure validation of the outcome is done all-through the learning-curve of an implementation; in other words, secure validation is constantly part of development – not left entirely to testing at the end.

Collaborative:
One should look up the talk to yourself hat, by Kate Hartman to value the perspective, that architecture is not meant for architects; likewise, strategies are not meant for strategists. The entire idea of the execution is to provide a solution that interacts with people to support the collaboration and democratisation of data. This is often the hardest requirement on supporting technology where BI tools and EA tools often come short with heavy clients that allow only collaboration within specialised sub communities.

Short-Cycled:
To tackle improved business performance, Gartner operates with a market guide called Enterprise Business Process Analysis (EBPA) which is the discipline of business modelling aimed at transforming and improving business performance with an emphasis on cross viewpoint, cross function analysis and strategic decision support aimed at improving business outcomes. The fundamental principles of this performance improvement is short-cycled delivery, a light-weight but robust modelling and governance that provides frequent updates like Dev-Ops and many of the agile concepts. This is the fundamental for providing constant delivery.

Sprints:
In the discussion around agile (which to a large extend may be categorized as short-cycled), there is typically a need to structure epics and use-cases into sprints, simply as to communicate and focus development in a larger picture. The structuring of work into Sprints is key to align with management and stakeholders to provide “planning”. Management should focus on the agility and changes of the environment, hence, the ubiquitous purpose of sprints is to support the strategic planning to be prepared.

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!


  • -

Go digital – Win the inner game with process intelligence

Category:EA,Services Tags : 

As part of the strategic agenda of winning the inner game and outer game, there is certain set of digital themese, where at least one of the digital themes always relate to the  operational efficiency and the digitizing of business processes. As part of the inner game, we recommend to analyse and plan for a digital theme ‘[Improving] – Process Excellence‘. This is the discipline to digitalise the existing set of processes, and provide transparency to the  business processes  as a foundational layer for the process intelligence:

Business process management (BPM) in short is a discipline for an enterprise to focus on “how we do things” to discover, structure, analyze and improve or digitalize the business processes. The core focus is to document, analyze and improve an overall corporate performance by managing the business processes more efficiently.

BPM is the field of methods, notations and technologies, however, there is increasing awareness to document business processes both within specific notations like BPMN or certain business process models, that is, to increase the standardization of  ‘how we do BPM’.

Within certain sectors where amount of transactions and customer operations are high, or where risk of deviations to expected handling may be of high severity like health or safety, the imperative of BPM is much higher! This is to secure the constant focus on better quality, fewer failures, and higher efficiency. This is typically what is driven by standardization programs, quality management etc.

Standards like ISO-900x clearly has a focus on quality and continuous improvement promoting an approach to BPM. As such BPMN is not required, even though it may be an enabling easy choice.

Provided an enterprise has reached a foundational understanding of what they do, and how they do things, they are typically able to progress to a higher degree of maturity. We see many organizations still struggle at a very low maturity level, where simply to ask for ‘what business processes do we have?’ or ‘what is the characteristics?’ will provide empty looks or smiles, rather than answers.

This is typically where BPMN as notation, collaboration tools like Signavio, and an architecture approach should be introduced. if not, we face the alternative that organizations may start and “end” their journey into BPM very promptly,  e.g.

  • If you start to document all processes of an enterprise from wall-to-wall ‘without proper tooling’ or ‘with tool but without approach’. This will be as to boil the ocean! If you ask people to document their processes, the risk of losing interest in the outcome may dry out much ahead of the project timeline.
  • If you start without proper tooling and proven approach, but prefer to start cheap and simple with no advisory, free tools or heavy-client tools, the chance of getting the enterprise to contribute or value the outcome is low.
  • If you don’t pass the simple levels of browsing processes, visualizing processes, linking it to most relevant meta-data and use-cases, the value of such an initiative will typically not pay-off. It is like climbing a summit taking only the first steps.

However, if you manage to seek advice and find a solution path to the introduction to business processes and related capabilities, this can turn into strategic planning with focus on tight alignment to management needs. This is how BPM becomes actionable and relevant for the digital transformation. This is what provides the foundation for more advanced use-cases, often referred to as process intelligence (PI):

Business process intelligence (PI) in short is a discipline for an enterprise to use the BPM knowledge to provide more accurate or real-time information of the business processes and its related task to increase transparency and decision support to what tasks exist, who does the work, how long does it take and what is the cost or time of bottlenecks.

The use-case of PI is clearly more actionable – clearly more related to management and risk handling. PI is how to analysee more complex dependencies or suggest improvements on cost and simulated insight. This has to be integrated with Information Management (IM) systems where analytics, dashboards and related master-data are managed, like the MooD digital platform. Such information can then be used for the refining of processes.

Strategy execution and predictive analysis as part of digital twins are clearly linked to enterprise architecture and planning where future scenarios can be analyzed and decided ahead of project implementations. Information management becomes the intersection of business process intelligence and digital planning.

If you are interested to know more, seek advice with us to improve your process intelligence.

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!


  • -

Manage the bill of IT as a service

Category:EA,Services Tags : 

While some stakeholders focus on outcomes of IT and how to deliver strategic planning to innovate new business models, there is also the ‘other’ operational perspective: the large mundane of existing IT-related processing which often needs ‘just to continue’. For that second perspective it is of interest to increase the transparency and decision measurability: how can you support the business operations in a more efficient way?

Even today in most organisations, the cost of supporting the business operations is the major cost pool within IT. And to make the bill of IT cheaper and more transparent, it does require some standardisation and framework. While it is harder to compare new strategic stuff, the maturity of financial IT spend models like TBM has matured to provide sound comparable measures of the bill of IT. But what is the ‘bill of IT’? Reflect a little over questions like:

  • What is the border of IT? (if IT is being used outside of the IT department, which is likely what happens most places) – then what share is the bill of IT?
  • Where does the cost of IT stop, and when is it cost of another department, cost of another project or cost that we don’t calculate?
  • What does cost mean to talk ‘bill of IT’ when we pay upfront, but depreciate over many years?
  • What about digitalisation and disruption catalysed by new IT and technologies – where does this fit into the ‘bill of IT’?

These questions are all relevant and easily solved when TBM becomes an instantiated process with transparency to stakeholders. It is not only about a tool, but typical a service provided enabling managers to see the inside of IT spend leading to decision makers getting meta-data and facts to rely on when discussing where to cut and where to invest more.

A over the last years, there has become almost a cross-standard to the taxonomy of how to deal with this. The answer is moving towards an open standard called ‘TBM’ where TBM stands for Technology Business Model. 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.

The TBM concept is not new; Large accounting companies 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 perspectives of the bill of IT provides a clear view on IT spend, offering a model to get transparency to unit cost and cost drivers, consumption and performance – helping CIOs, CTOs and CFOs to get aligned views of where to cut cost and where to invest more.

Who are the stakeholders of TBM and the transparency of the bill of IT?

‘Many’ is the simple answer. Just to touch a few:

  1. Managers in Business Operations: Who can finally get a fact-based overview of cost pools, contracts, systems that aggregate to the spend of running the IT within the business operations.
  2. DevOps: Application owners who can better understand the application cost, quality and value. Help to decide future spend profiles.
  3. Service Owners: What is the cost of certain infrastructure components such as servers and software, supplier by supplier, and how to estimate end-of-life cost.
  4. CIOs and CTOs: People who are asked to invest in the future and cut cost on operations. Where to look for the savings?
  5. Business Relationship Managers: Helping the business to get more value to the business planning, what is the priorities to take.

What is the process of the TBM when implemented?

The TBM is based on single-loop learning of implementing an annual learning cycle where IT Spend is aggregated from managed architecture meta-data, stripped into pools, and aggregated with the IT landscape as systems and services, before aggregated to business capabilities or Business Units.

We typically advocate to master the meta-data not just to crunch numbers without clear ownership. It typically implies TBM to be solved by finance people and enterprise architecture teams to unite the task of managing the overview, often solved by information management tools like MooD or similar.

The integrations between an information management tool like MooD and a financial system like SAP or similar is required. The MooD system will then 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 centers, the daily bookings, the different accounts. However, if no solution is in place, bookings often follow financial account numbers, where as the mapping to IT is typically done within the architecture system.

Once a 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. Business layer: To describe the business capabilities and value chain of the technology supported IT spend. This should provide an enterprise perspective of the business and future looking 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 Ops layer: To describe IT products and IT towers of IT assets 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.

How to get started with TBM?

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. Try to outline the end process; 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. A transparent view of IT should include the above layers:

If you are interested in knowing more about TBM and cost models, please seek advice of how to implement this on a modern digital platform.

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!


  • -

Digital governance & agility – getting it right this time!

Category:EA,Services Tags : 

It is always of interest to locate the pathway towards success. However, according to both Gartner & Mckinsey, statistics state more than 75% of the agility and digital transformation projects fail.  Gartner has recently published a model, BODEA, that will help to architecture the program, not specifying any required technology. The details also reveal that technologies vary and likely impact success rate as well, not only the approach and staffing:

  1. The BI “approach” is typically led by financial people and with a reporting perspective. It may be a view for the few with less interaction. 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! 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 it fits well with the recent research by Gartner that advocates an 8-step model to establish an enterprise architecture program to identify the bigger picture, and step-wise provide a practice to achieve measurable outcomes.

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… According to recent research, it starts with the market and business analysis, what is often referred to as the outer game, as a distinction to the inner game of an organisation.With reference to the post, 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.

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 which work the fist mile, but not as a sustainable solution. 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 Online, 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!


  • -

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!


  • -

GDPR – How to make it stick!

Category:EA,Services Tags : 

Many companies are spending large amount of effort to run  GDPR projects prior to May 25th, 2018, however, we face an increasing interest to migrate away from proprietary point-tools of GDPR assessments towards a permanent solution within the EA Portal to make the compliance a continuous process within the data-driven enterprise;

If you manage your EA well, the GDPR implementation it is a minor step to extend your EA Portal to a modern and managed regulations Portal.  However, if you do not have a solid, end-user accessible EA Portal, having control of data, integrations, and technologies, the GDPR project may be a big effort. Starting with architecture focus for architects will not help the journey – you need to apply evolved techniques to succeed and mature in time to meet business requirements.

We advocate to simplify the governance by applying the EA Portal to make a living architecture supporting the different legal rule-sets including the GDPR. As the core requirement to the GDPR requirements is about the processing of systems, processing of personal data, it easily extends to the architecture overview of managing systems data and integrations data. We see still more places that GDPR point solutions are migrated into the EA Portal to easily demonstrate degree of compliance. Using the principles of EA, it is straight forward to work out a plan to stay compliant before May 2018… Working with us, we provide ready-made solutions to your business.

What is the new with Personal Data Protection?
What is new is not as such the procedure to do so; the new is the regulatory framework that makes the consequences of failing compliance to something that in case of non-compliance will be a board issue… However, incentive or not, the GDPR operates with a new tiered fine structure.

Data protection and impact assessments
The GDPR includes also an article for data protection impact assessments. The Impact Assessments must be provided before new services or products are launched. So, it is acceptable to work with agile approaches and fail-fast approaches, but before the validated product goes live, there must be an impact assessment to secure personal data. This will force many project managers and IT departments to proactively consider what security measures that will be put in place to secure path for compliance assessments.

How to prepare for the GDPR?
May 2018 is soon, so for many companies the GDPR may come as something ­of a shock. An immediate action is to appoint a data protection officer who would will be accountable for advising on and monitoring GDPR compliance, as well as representing the company when contacting the supervising authority. Very often, this will have a call to the CIO or his/her delegate. However, this is a mandatory step to have an accountable person, but far from enough. The organisation must work with the responsibilities of the new GDPR, and this is where the EA and governance frameworks may be the hidden fuel.

Here is a list of focus areas to consider aligning with EA and governance frameworks:

  • Business Model Canvas – With the focus of reporting and getting coherency to the business, it is important to lay out a Business Model or Business Processing Map. This business model will serve to understand what functions and overall processing that takes place ‘where’ in the business. With the Business Model, it is possible to pin-point what types of classified data that is expected in each business area. The outcome of such assessment is a recommendation for what types of personal data each business area should have access to. The GDPR will require a gap analysis to be part of the ongoing processes to minimize the access to classified personal data. Without the Business Model, it will be difficult to provide a meaningful reporting of the gap analysis. It should be easy to demonstrate compliance and perspectives of where there is a high risk of personal data is accessed in much larger areas of the organisation. This is where information modelling, capability modelling and our business solutions can be helpful.
  • Business Applications Management – With the updated perspective of the Business Model, it is recommended to provide a Business Application Catalogue. Such a Catalogue should have strong relationships to the Business Model, hence, this is not an ITSM services catalogue.  The Business Application Catalogue should be governed and part of a living architecture. If such an APM catalogue or Business Application Catalogue is not available and managed, this is highly recommended to get in place alongside the Business Model. This will serve as the foundation for the Data Classification and Data Retention. This might be a simple cloud offering from us, or be a more integrated portfolio solution from us.
  • Data Classification– With knowledge to what business capabilities and what business applications, it is a simpler and more straight-forward task to assess where your personal data is stored. This includes structured electronic data as well as unstructured formats of documents, presentations, and spreadsheets. This is critical for both protecting the data and also to follow the impact of change of  personal data. To solve this puzzle, we would advise you to get the overall Business Model and Business Applications Catalogue in place first, then extend to master the presence of personal data with categorization. The categorized personal data is classified and mapped to the landscape of business applications and infrastructure information, and also against the intended usage – to pin-point irresponsible presence of personal data through-out the organisation.
  • Governance– With data comes also the operational processes to maintain this GDPR information daily. This will lead to establishing the processes to secure ‘data security by design’ and ‘data security by default’, alongside the roles and responsibilities of keeping the Business Applications Catalogue up to date and to understand ‘who has access to what’. We advise that companies first get the foundation in place, then the Data Classification, then to tailor and adapt this to the existing processes of the organisation. Some relevant frameworks would be IT4IT, TOGAF and COBIT to ensure there is a focus on controls, follow-up and management accountability.
  • Gaps and Digital Action Planning– With its requirements for limiting data retention, there is no firm metrics to follow. This means you’ll need basic information on what data is collected, why it is collected, for how long it is supposed to be collected, and how the processes are for ‘releasing’ information again – tailored to metrics that are justifiable. This must be an integral part of the processes for managing data. Personal data residing in business applications should be periodically reviewed to see whether it needs to be kept or removed. It is important that the Data Retention is supported and supporting the Governance. Also, it is obvious include the gaps identified in a digital actionable form to help with the ongoing compliance. Reports and alerts to non-compliance should be an integrated part of the Digital Action Planning. This is MooD-based solutions can help.

We can help you to build the GDPR compliance within your digital EA Portal. It is faster – and more sustainable. The conclusion is clear, if you manage your EA well, the GDPR implementation it is a minor step to extend your EA Portal to a modern and managed regulations 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!


  • -

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.


  • -

Digital Transformation – The Cultural shift is paramount

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 

Last month we met with CIO’s and EA’s to discuss the most important elements of succeeding with Digital Transformation. The first thing we discussed was the definition of a ‘digital transformation’ – to discuss and facilitate the discussion of how to differentiate it from ‘digitalization’. In essence, the following focuses on the transformation, not to mix up the two terms.

As ‘digital transformation’ at the heart it is about data and enabling a new business model, it is also about establishing a new culture. If ‘digital’ loosely means data, and ‘transformation’ means changing shape; then ‘digital transformation’ is about transforming the shape of the business model to use data smarter, i.e. it is about moving the organisation to a new paradigm where existing processes are ‘split’ rather than fitted and optimized to become data-driven.

This also brings us to the main take-away. We can enable a digital transformation faster with proper technology and roadmaps, but at the heart, it is about people and changing culture. To succeed with the transformation, time and space should be challenged, which will impact the culture in different ways  – and it will challenge managers in todays business operations.

This brought us to the second observation, if people are not freed-up to work with the new shapes, they typically drown in day-to-day activities focusing more on lean and continuous improvement. This is why many organisations decide to move transforming development to new sites or do acquisitions, as it seems too hard to change the prevalent culture.  

It brings to the surface the dialog of Schein versus Porter – is it the culture or the strategy that drives the change – What drives what? They main take-away seems to be that the culture shift is paramount to the change, if not, the transformation effort may dilute. If we want to change the culture, we need to consider how this should be ignited, proven and collectively accepted. Hence, the organization may have to challenge itself to step outside the comfort zone and challenge the type of earnings and offerings. A research by Warren Ritchie indicates, that innovation does not take-off by size of the company. On the contrary, most innovation comes from either smaller or very large corporations as they both manage the working culture with slack and innovation focus. But be aware, most large corporations may tell you they have an innovation culture, but they may mix-up the words of a culture of continuous improvement versus that of transforming the paradigm!

To example this, e.g. Spotify and other music streaming services decided not to invent a larger CD; and likewise, Philips who introduced the CD did get royalties from the former music cassette – they both changed the way services could be delivered – challenging the media, space and time. Is it likely that the organisation and culture of Spotify is different from that of the labs building hardware devices in the 90’s? – absolutely.

In a nutshell, different shapes of the business model, offering different services by use of new technology, time and space is the driver of the digital transformation. This will not circumvent continuous improvement of the existing processes of today’s operations, but it is not the same approach and success factors, see post. To succeed with a larger change, the shift of culture is paramount, needs to be addressed, but proper technology and approach may accelerate the pace in which your organisation can succeed. 

We can help you to plan the change, and may with our digital transformation suite accelerate the pace.

We power your digital MooD.