Category Archives: EA

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Agile and Digital Planning

Category:EA,UK Blog,Uncategorized Tags : 

SAFE and scaled agile development is the new mindset for many product-oriented businesses as a smarter way to get pace into software development. Often the speed of delivery is increased as autonomy supports local decision power and more open-ended development and with dedication by a local product manager in each product team.

However, some decisions are more enterprise-wide and more strategic, so how to make the right balance between central planning and local authority? Known risks to SAFE are that in practice it does more single-loop learning than double-loop-learning, so it it often goes with the skills the team currently have. The team accepts their existing constraints, which automatically limits the potential for a high-growth offering. Second, the team curtail their ambitions on the product. Instead of a major breakthrough, they tend toward only incremental improvements on existing offerings. In other words, agile is not for every situation and it still requires strategic planning and digital planning at corporate level to support the overall strategy.

Digital Planning is the discipline to work with long-term strategic actions without being detailed of how to implement activities. It provides an overall investment focus to values and outcomes and how this ties into the investment streams to provide digital road-maps for planning. While the old approach of power-point based IT Road-map planning seems dead, the digital formulation exists and helps direction-setting the entire purpose of planning.

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

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

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

A: The opposite of Planning is not no-planning

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

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

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

B: Projects differ in uncertainty

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

C: Situational transition dictates what methodology to apply

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

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

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

D: The definition of Planning is that well defined?

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

According to Wikipedia,

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

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

E: Not to mention the data-connectivity

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

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

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

We simplify and amplify digital planning!

 


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Digital Planning and TBM in the strategic race

Category:cost,digital transformation,EA

The idea of digital planning is to harvest the benefits of Enterprise Architecture to capture the holistic perspectives of an organisation between strategy and planning, and how to set priorities for aligned responses to daily delivery. To avoid siloes of behaviour, it is important to set the right focus on ideation and investments to win the battle of future revenue and future delivery.

Digital planning embraces:

  • Strategic planning and enterprise architecture
  • Capital and cost planning
  • Resource planning
  • Knowledge planning
  • Program/Project portfolio management
  • Risk Management
  • Security and privacy management

The approach of Digital Planning aligns with the principles of understanding how investments support standardised processes for ensuring alignment and strategy to execution. A key ingredient is to understand the difference between cost and value. While value relates to goals and outcomes, cost represents a spending, typically limited budgets, so how to create more by improving the efficiencies.

People using only architecture frameworks like TOGAF, ArchiMate, etc. may overlook the financial perspective and financial sponsors; likewise, people only focusing on TBM and cost profiles may approve spending case-by-case ending up with approvals that represent “siloes” of interest and do not align to the holistic and end-to-end perspectives of an organisation.

TBM has been seen as the new de-facto framework for comparing cost and IT Cost Management to support a standardised IT investment business case process and support comparisons year-on-year, month-by-month of IT Cost.

The early introduction of TBM was introduced by the US Federal Government’s Office of Management and Budget in 2005 and aligning well principles of large international corporations, hence it has a background in the public sector across the fifty states with annual updates to support federal agencies with budget planning, and IT cost guidance.  In 2016 -2017 an revision introduced a name change to TBM, which is short for Technology Business Model.

An advantage of the TBM is that it provides an intersection between the CIO and the CFO interests, helping organisations to understand where in the architecture that cost exist, and how increase efficiencies on the planned IT Cost.

The TBM provides a standard taxonomy to help in reporting with a traditional focus on IT Towers that aligns well with how most companies structure their IT cost and easily can relate IT Towers to organisational cost centres. At the same time, it does remove the organisational differences as IT Cost is now expressed in terms of the IT Towers that are standardised across industries and corporations.

The TBM view also supports the traditional CFO perspective into financial allocations, and finally, it aligns also to standardise service catalogue that even though different organisations have different services, they can be expressed in a common taxonomy with the TBM services.

Hence, every cost item can be expressed as a triplet, helping to build smart cost models and improve efficiencies. This is something that is supported by a TBM council, and is clearly a benefit for Enterprise Architecture as the value of the architectural break-down aligns perfectly with the TBM cost break-down.

With next-insight there is a unique opportunity to align architecture (ArchiMate, BPMN, etc. ) with planning, resource forecasts, governance, risk and compliance with IT cost management (TBM) in a single portal.

We can advise you and help your to automate your governance – making it digital. We advise, guide and implement relevant support systems to master your IT Management, from strategy to execution.


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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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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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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!

 


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Risk & Security Design (PIA, GDPR)

Category:EA Tags : 

Why buy a point-tool for GDPR? In fact, there is no reason why not to manage the data next to the data-driven portfolio information of processes and business applications that typically reside in EA. The unification between information security, information management and enterprise architecture leads to our unified approach to handle the GDPR regulation in line of EA. Our advisory services and fast-track implementations help you to be in control of your corporate information security to lower risk and confirm compliance.

We offer a unique solution to GDPR that guides you to get the right data being managed fast-track. It helps you to focus on the right data-gathering, simply by using an “outside-in” perspective to the most important business questions, assessment data, and portfolio data. By relying or avoiding too many point tools like small ISMS solution or GDPR offerings, we can provide the flexibility to connect your data to a data-driven digital platform that helps you manage your audit results, controls and risk assessments by connecting to the relevant responsible people in the organization. Try to minimize the risk of the annual auditor assessment, make it pass faster, and be in pro-active in planning.

GDPR? What is it? How do we tackle it?

How to tackle the GDPR from a CIO perspective?

There is today a lot of articles about GDPR and the importance of ensuring future compliance to the new rule set in order to be ‘better’ at handling and protecting sensitive personal data. 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… What to do as a CIO, if you want to prepare in advance and simultaneously want to get a sustainable governance around the framework. This post will give you key 5 things to consider.

A little bit of background
By 2015 the European Parliament, the Council and the EU Commission finally completed and the parties agreed on a new regulatory framework for the protection of personal data, the so-called GDPR. The GDPR is a huge document of over 100 PDF pages of legal text. However, for IT and security folks who must implement relevant sections of the text, the key parts are in just a few of the Regulation’s articles.

In the GDPR, companies must document much better compliance to the presence and usage of personal data across the IT landscape. This means that every organisation needs to have a much better overview to classification and awareness to where personal data is stored and processed.

Personal data in this context means any information that is “an identified natural person or a natural person who can be identified, directly or indirectly”. That is names, security numbers, phone numbers, addresses, etc. The GDPR is not restricted only to the obvious identifiers such as emails and addresses, but anything that relates to a person including logs and geo data! The overall intention is clear, as a company you need to act professionally and know what and where you have personal data, and this data you have protect! Data that has been anonymized is not covered by the GPDR.

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. The general conditions for imposing administrative fines can go up to 2% of a company’s global revenue for not having their records in order, and by not notifying the regulatory authority and data subject about a breach, or by not conducting impact assessments. Even more serious infringements merit up to a 4% fine. This includes violation of basic principles related to data security as violations of the core Privacy by Design concepts of the law. These fines will be valid from May 2018, so companies do have an incentive to provide mitigative actions to comply with the GDPR deadline.

Data protection and impact assessments
The GDPR includes also an article for data protection impact assessments (PIA, DPIAs). 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 best practice of governance frameworks:

  • Business Model Canvas – With the focus of dash-boarding and integrated reporting  to the business, it is important to lay out a Business Model . 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 (process model or capability 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 – so the federated solution needs to be agreed, which involves organisational change. 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 Retentions. 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.
  • Data Retention Policies– 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. Reports and alerts to non-compliance should be an integrated part of the Governance. This is where toolsets like MooD can be very helpful to operationalise the reporting and democratize the data updates.

So how to get started?
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…

To implement a framework is something that requires adaption and experience to lead the change. Very often, the need for a senior advisor coming-in externally to help the change agenda is crucial. However, if this the change-agent is very process-oriented, there is a risk of poor tool-implementation, and if he is very tool-centric, he will favour data and there is a risk of poor process-implementation. The right senior advisor is a hybrid executive with deep knowledge into tooling, processes and people management. Very often, just a minor catalyst from senior executives can get icebergs to flip. Please don’t hesitate to call for advice.

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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Digital Boardroom (Digital Board Pack)

Category:EA Tags : 

As boardroom member or strategy executive, you have a need to follow the shifts in the regulatory, identify new ways apply new technology to provide competitive services, which require you to adapt and thrive under these evolving market conditions. Why not convert your next boardroom session to digital experience?

We help you with a Digital Board Deck – no longer powerpoints and old reports – the connected insigth brings data alive to your Boardroom. While you are implementing the strategy, you often need to divert, as changes still happen in the market space. What we can provide to you is a decision-support cockpit that allow business-executives get results much faster than classic BI projects, and which will allow you to understand cause-and-effect, simply to get a situational awareness to your position in business impact and strategy execution.

If you are business executives or strategy officer, you will gain by getting a near-real-time cockpit to the business operations and planning.

So if plant A is not working, or flight B is cancelled, then what is the direct consequence in terms of customers or segments affected? In a similar way, if projects are delayed, maybe not so much the cost focus is your main pain, but do we manage to get the goods delivered before season sales?

With the Digital Boardroom, we provide solutions for connecting data, to provide the dashboard of the large web of complex dependencies of information.

If you are interested in a demo of how we fast and agile may provide a digital boardroom, please contact us.

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!