Tag Archives: strategy-to-execute

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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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Digital – Outer Game or Inner Game?

Category:Uncategorized Tags : 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We help to align long-term planning with short-term planning, which is an ongoing process – and a digital process of information management. Long-live the digital planning. If you have questions, please make contact. We are a consulting house with senior profiles and business solutions; we provide deep expertise in digital planning, digital governance and process automation. We power your digital mood!


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Playing and planning with a digital twin

Category:EA,UK Blog Tags : 

We continuously elaborate on the direction that Enterprise Architecture is taking. Recently we found the inspiring presentation from Gartner  and Marc Kerremans, talking about the construct of a ‘digital twin’ as a new and emerging concept:

“A digital twin is a dynamic software model of a thing or system that relies on sensor and/or other data to understand its state, respond to changes, improve operations and add value. It includes a combination of meta-tada, condition or state and event data”,
Marc Kerremans, Research Director.

This is interesting, as it puts focus on the ingredients of meta-data to provide a better future set of operations. So a ‘thing’ is no longer a computer…  A ‘thing’ can be an organisation, a performance, a situation or a value. It simply becomes  borderless, see also Gareth Morgan’s 8 metaphors. And there is certainly a potential to apply the known practice from adaptive control theory, where there is a blend of digital models and physical measurements which can be compared, optimised and used for improved performance.

The basic idea of a digital twin is hence back to classic cybernetics, it is to let “play” and “observe” at the same time. The real system plays it traditional way with lots of data, but behind the scene, the digital twin is “observing” using a simpler model; and eventually, this will create new controls. Some of the core material by Karl Johan Åström and Björn Wittenmark go back fifty years, describing how dynamic models relying on external sensor and/or other data can be modeled  with a known distinction to

  1. System identification and adaptation (getting the model parameters),
  2. Filtering (getting the states), and
  3. Control (adjusting the input) based on different predictive horizons and criteria.

Would it be possible to apply Kalman filtering to improve the response of a digital twin? why not! The idea of a digital twin is to apply the systems thinking to the organisation so that the organisational performance is considered a system, which can be modeled with states and parameters, and which is likely a stochastic and non-linear system with many input and many outputs. Is it controllable? Is it observable? What type of model would we end up with?

Clearly it will by a hybrid model where finance or sales is easier to measure and forecast than a lot of other performances – and likely as well, where no digital twin is one-size-fits-all, they will be tailored to specific use-cases. Where the digital twin is mostly focused on the prediction, it will benefit from the updated set of data which is also part of the living architecture.

So, the trajectory is to move the digital twin more into the direction of information management, where information models are established, and where statistical properties of the core behavior is turning measurable, so that with data-lakes and big-data that we can start to model and identify the dynamic models of the enterprise – rather than to see a bunch of tables. Not necessarily an easy task, but as stipulated by Gartner, the purpose is to provide better planning to lower risk of fact-based decisions. With a digital twin of an organisation, we can measure the input/output of an organisation, and we can forecast how it would develop. The adoption of digital twins will likely lead to models that can be used for simulation and forecasting.

The Internet of things (IoT) provides a bigger and larger system where the business operating model at heart to us should include performance measures and measurements of many variables. And to apply this in a business context, the target is to find an algorithm to forecast and optimise the predictions given different types of input.

There are however, different grey zones in this concept to get it fully operational.

  1. One is the cultural shift that one needs to consider.
  2. Another one is the statistical models to be applied, how and what,
  3. A third and not the least, the choice of ‘states’ and ‘parameters’ of the model, a model typically known as the business operating system (BOS).

We advocate to start the journey towards enabling a digital twin by three simple steps:

  1. Identifying the ‘meta-data’ initially to provide a logical layer of how an organisation is connected form suppliers to clients,
  2. In the second phase to apply states and parameters to consume measurements to connect the dots of the BOS.
  3. With focus on dashboards, outcomes and KPI’s this brings the third phase to compare targeted and measured values. This is what essentially is the fuel for the digital model to optimise your fact-based input to the strategy-to-execution.

The scenario-based planning may be accelerated by these kinds of models. Use a digital twin of an organisation to help your business leaders to minimize the risk of new growth. We advise to begin with the logical layer. This is where fly-by-wire dashboards can be produced for guiding your business journey. This is where the digital twin should be used to maximise business outcomes. The importance is the act of digital planning as well as the precision of the models. If you interested in technology supporting a digital twin of your business, we can help you! Don’t build it yourself, there is emerging technologies supporting big data and digital twins.

We power your digital MooD.