Tag Archives: business model

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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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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.


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From Watch to Move – Digital Transformation

Category:Services,UK Blog Tags : 

Very often, we hear the terms ‘digital’,  ‘become digital’ or ‘go digital’ as phrases for businesses being more modern and streamlined, however, it is clear from many articles and posts that people not necessarily mean the same thing with these terms. Largely spoken, they are all related to the two words

  • digitization and
  • digital transformation

However, digitization and digital transformation are also not the same thing, but even though these terms also are sometimes mixed-up, they may also correlate. This has recently been spotted in the great post by Jeanne Ross, try not to mix up these two words! However, they both belong to the digital agenda!

What is ‘digital’?

I have the age to remember the first digital watches – and how the CD-player as an innovation moved the music from analogue devices into the era of bits and ‘digital’ format – which eventually led to streaming of music data. And looking up Wikipedia (in English), it says that digital usually refers to something using digits, particularly binary digits; that was indeed the case of the CD-player versus the analogue voltage of record players. Now, the original meaning of the word ‘digital’ originates from Latin, which means typically finger or counting fingers, or just a finite number or digits. In other words, the simple evolution gives that digital is something that eventually ends up as a finite number of computerised bytes delivered somewhere of ‘some contents’ –  we may just call it ‘data’. So if we apply the definition that digital means ‘data’, then at its heart, digital is about the creation of data from hardware and software; digital is about the intelligent transportation of data; and digital is about the use of data to power smart industries and businesses!

With digital in the meaning of data from anywhere in the business, consequently, digital transformation may be seen as the ‘planned change’ to a future usage of ‘data’ involving new (sometimes disruptive) technologies. Hence, digital is an embedded ingredient of both ‘digitization’ and ‘digital transformation’. Digital is the key ingredient of Digital Governance.

Digitization

Digitization is often known from public sector, service sector and LEAN where the efficiency of the getting more ‘digital’ processes and lean processes by avoiding paper, snail mail, etc. is being achieved. Different companies are not all equally forefront in digitizing the business. Borsen recently posted an analysis of Postnord (Danish/Swedish mail provider, former royal post). In Denmark the public sector has achieved a higher digitization than the Swedish one. This has been achieved with a high management-focus on digitizing the work flow and citizen correspondence. In other words, the word ‘digitization’ involves standardizing of business processes and is associated and motivated by cost cutting and operational excellence; or as one could say, to do more of the same – just more electronically. It is not that these companies are passive, it is just that they don’t change the business model, but may watch the ‘new kids from the block’ introducing new games and business rules.

“Digitization involves standardizing business processes and is associated with cost cutting and operational excellence. In essence, it imposes discipline on business processes that, over the years, were executed by individual heroes in a variety of creative (but not always optimal) ways.” – Jeanne Ross

Digital transformation

Digital Transformation represents a higher degree of change. However, we would argue that the key differentiator is that it is based on a different paradigm! It ‘splits rather than fits’ the existing processes, hence, it is a top-down approach to transform a company from as-is to the next digital era.

“Digital transformation is the strategy to execution toward a new business model which is based on a different paradigm, that it splits rather than fits the existing processes, and for that you need to map-out your future business model. Don’t start with your existing processes; start with your future operating business model!”

To make a transformation into a digital company, you need to consider the new way such a future company can achieve a market place with (maybe radical) different services, offerings, delivery methods, locations and meet-up. Companies that strategically seek to analyse and build this way, will not only look for more electronic ways to do the business of today, but they will seek a new operational model to serve customers with a different supply chain and operating model. These companies realise that they have to move the business model to reach the desired outcome.

Both disciplines are valid

Both disciplines are valid, but they clearly work from different paradigms. We recommend companies who want to become digital to work with it strategically, then to drive the strategy-to-execution and make it actionable and achievable. It is a totally different exercise as to digitize existing processes!

Where digitization involves a blueprint of all the business capabilities, then to map the low-hanging fruit to digitize the processes in prioritized order, then the digital transformation starts with strategy and architecture and forward-thinking; then to make scenarios or risk assessments to map out the actionable insights.

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 nor if the digital transformation isn’t led by the business strategy, then it will have a hard time to sustain. We often recommend in workshops to illustrate examples of both artefacts, simply to get to the open-ended dialog of ‘where are we heading’ versus ‘where do we want to move to’.

Clearly, to strategize and map out the actionable insights may involve implementation and change management. We can help you to succeed!

We power your digital MooD!