Smart Enterprise Architecture
5 September 2010
Organisations need a new paradigm. In order to survive, old dogs are going to have to learn new tricks. They need to start fundamentally thinking about how to change the way in which they innovate, think and make decisions. To allow future operations to be more efficient, c-level executives and senior managers will need more accurate and real time information for better decision making and to optimise business strategy execution.
At a strategic level they need to leverage existing expertise and technology to deliver the capabilities they desire. Organisations will need to provide their decision makers with access to enterprise knowledge, allowing them to gain the insights that will enable the best alignment of operational performance with business strategy and objectives.
For effective knowledge management and information sharing they will not only need Enterprise Architecture, but will need Smart Enterprise Architecture.
The vision of Smart Enterprise Architecture is an approach that will enable information to be captured in real time, analyzed and proactively used to enhance business performance through predictive risk-based decision-making.
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See also IBM on predictive Analysis at http://tinyurl.com/39sdn3p
In the past, the technologies used in organisations have been relatively simple, now organisations will need to become ‘smart’.
What can make Enterprise Architecture smart is not new technology in itself, but rather innovative ways of combining existing state-of-the-art measurement and feedback mechanisms that can respond to changing conditions and allow an organisation to be agile and adaptable.
This vision is similar to that of Stafford Beer in his Viable System Model which he first described back in 1972. A Viable System is any system organised in such a way as to meet the demands of surviving in a changing environment, primarily by being adaptable. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viable_System_Model
If he was still around today Stafford Beer would probably have been an enterprise architect.
To make Enterprise Architecture smart we have to gain value from examining the approach to process optimisation in other industries, such as the car industry.
In the not too distant past when a car was serviced, the diagnostics and fine-tuning of its systems were performed manually, with simple tools, skills & experience and heavy lifting. By contrast, the modern car engine is simply plugged into a computer diagnostic system which interfaces with the car’s onboard computers. The computer is linked to dozens of digital sensors that instantly monitor all the car’s systems and informs the mechanic what adjustments are needed. The car’s computer continuously controls its engine management system in real time as you drive along, optimally adjusting the engine parameters to adapt to the driving conditions and your driving style to maximise economy and minimise emissions.
So for Smart Enterprise Architecture we need the same kind of continuous state-of-the-art measurement and feedback value stream to control and adapt the organisation in real time. The following diagram illustrates the use of Enterprise Architecture in a continuous value stream or ‘value loop’.
See paper http://tinyurl.com/2em3k3m and also Deming’s Plan, Do, Check & Act cycle and Six Sigma’s Define, Measure, Analyze, Improve & Control cycle.
Once the Enterprise Architecture models are established it will be possible to make them the centre of predictive analysis, enabling the generation of strategic options in response to the real time changing behaviour of the enterprise.
Those strategic options can be kept in compliance with the business strategy, goals and objectives to continuously provide the best way to optimise value.
Organisations will need to look outside themselves and their traditional partners to find new skill sets and capabilities in order to develop a Smart Enterprise Architecture.
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This post is also available at http://tinyurl.com/29qunfd