Tag Archives: Agile

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Digital Design and Enterprise Architecture – what is it?

Category:digital transformation,enterprise architecture,governance Tags : 

Enterprise Architecture and Digital Design Digital, what is it?

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

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

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

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

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

Gartner

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

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

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

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

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

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

Architecture roles – what roles exist?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 


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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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Business Design – A solution to increase your portfolio management

Category:EA Tags : 

With the solution for Business Design, we provide a data-driven solution to your big data and business architecture, helping organizations with the vast amount of variations of data located in excel sheets, databases, tools etc. Very often, these data are neither ‘connected’ nor applied to a common understanding of working together. The potential of these data is to wire the contents to the business design, architecture the insight to your business.

With the increased globalization, new technologies, and disruptive business models all support the need of a journey to get more insight from the vast amount of ‘big data’ that resides in larger enterprises. With the Business Design Solution, you may analyze future products and services, assess the impact of new technologies, and connect to the many data sources offering an opportunity to rich inside of what drives what. With our strong digital platform for building data-driven business design, you avoid the pitfalls and long timeline of classic BI-techniques, and instead gain the insight of a democratized decision-support in your planning and governance.

Data-driven business design can ensure differentiation to your business, increase the agility and arm your strategy execution in terms of achieving business outcomes. The result is a solid foundation for business development and better margin than competitors.

Whitepaper on this topic

To download out paper on Project Portfolio Management enter your details below and we will email you the file as an attachment. Make sure to double-check your email to receive the file.

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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!