16 June 2013
What is Enterprise Architecture
Enterprise Architecture is essentially a strategic planning discipline for ensuring that all the strategies of an enterprise are well executed. How should we measure it and how it is performing?
First it’s best to clearly understand what Enterprise Architecture is and who it is for.
Enterprise Architecture bridges the gap between those decision makers who come up with new strategies and objectives and those who are involved in enterprise transformation and investments in change. It is about what the enterprise can do now (baseline capabilities) and what it wants to be able to do in the future (target capabilities).
Enterprise Architecture is all about keeping an organisation robust, viable and continuing to satisfy all its stakeholders in the future, who are interested in the enterprise succeeding and continuing to succeed i.e. the CxOs, Shareholders, Customers, Partners, Suppliers etc.
The Enterprise Architecture deliverables are a conceptual blueprint or Target Operating Model that explicitly defines the mission, vision, strategies, objectives, principles, standards and business capabilities at the strategic level, as well as all the other elements (component types) in the enterprise that define how the business operates. These elements include business functions, business services, business processes, scenarios, value chains, value streams, products, application services, applications, technology and infrastructure and are defined within the following Architecture domains:
|Architecture Domain||Typical object types in the domain|
|Market/Environment||Supplier, Partner, Shareholder, Stakeholder, Regulator, Customer, Contact, Prospect etc.|
|Strategy and Motivation||Drivers, Mission, Vision, Strategy, Objective, Measure, Metrics, Principle, Standard etc.|
|Business||Business Capabilities, Business Functions (Value Chains), Business Process, Strategic Scenarios (Value Streams), Events, Products, Business Services, Organisation Units, Persons and Roles etc.|
|Information||Business Information, Application Data, Stored data (Databases, Files etc.)|
|Applications||Application Services, Applications (Suites, Packages, Components etc.)|
|Infrastructure||IT Infrastructure (Hardware, Nodes, Networks, Devices, Appliances, Servers etc.Physical Infrastructure (Buildings, Facilities, Vehicles, Machinery, etc.)|
Enterprise Architecture also provides several different views of how an enterprise operates and changes, by maintaining a baseline enterprise (operating) model, target enterprise (operating) model(s) and a roadmap of changes to the enterprise’s business capabilities and investments in change ordered within an enterprise transformation roadmap.
Measures and metrics
A large number of organizations use Enterprise Architecture approach in order to plan strategic changes and manage enterprise transformations. Enterprise Architecture is not directly linked to a direct outcome but is usually indirectly related.
One of the major concerns is the failure of many enterprises to actually measure the value of their current or baseline Enterprise Architecture. One is reminded of the old adage ‘What you don’t measure, you can’t manage’. When changes occur as a result of new strategies and target enterprise models, the subsequent enterprise transformation may well be many months or years into the future. Changes are delivered by other groups inside the enterprise or external solution delivery partners. If measures and metrics are not used and actively managed then it becomes rather difficult to compare the old baseline with the new baseline to see what value has been achieved.
Identify the Metrics
The measuring metrics will vary from one enterprise to another. As Enterprise Architecture exists to support the CxOs and decision makers within the enterprise then it is important to define the metrics from their perspective.
Metrics can be identified form a number of perspectives.
Broadly these can be grouped into:
|Internal (Inside Out) metrics||Metrics that measure the internal efficiency of the enterprise’s functions, processes, applications, infrastructure||
|External (Outside In) metrics||Metrics that measure the way the enterprise operates from the perspective of those stakeholders outside the enterprise.||
|Change related metrics||Metrics that measure how well the enterprise transformations are being achieved||
More detailed metrics can defined for each Architecture Domain. Here below is a discussion of some of some potential metrics used for measurement of their enterprise architecture’s value.
The Enterprise Architecture is by definition the architecture of the enterprise, so the metrics also need to be defined from the enterprise or business perspective. The CEO and other CxOs are responsible for managing the enterprise so the metrics need to be ones that they are interested in and keen to measure. These may include:
- Completed transactions
- Operating expenses
- Revenue per dollar of operating cost
- Profit per completed transaction
- Profits per investment
The trends and rates of change in the numbers are often more important than the actual numbers.
If the enterprise strategies and therefore the target Enterprise Architecture are not having an effect (directly or indirectly) on the numbers that the CEO is interested in, then the Enterprise Architecture is not being effective.
Customer experience metrics
One of the biggest contributions to Enterprise success and profits is the overall customer experience and satisfaction. There are three categories of Customer experience metrics:
|Descriptive Metrics||About what happened when a contact, prospect or customer engages with the enterprise||
|Perception Metrics||What did the contact, prospect or customer think about what happened||
|Outcome Metrics||What will the customer do as a result of what happened||
These metrics measures how happy a customer or prospective customer is with the enterprise’s value proposition (their products and business services). What value is provided to the customer? This measure is becoming common with value based pricing approaches. How easy is it for the customers to do business with you? Do the enterprise business services provide for the needs of the customer’s own internal processes? Customer Satisfaction can be increased by better communication with them through their preferred channel, so a measure of Customer communications (messages and interactions, social media) can be useful.
Cost/Benefit ratio to measure the value of any new or changed business capability. This is used to compares the amount of money spent on the transformation (costs) to the amount of money that is being saved after the implementation of the changes (Benefits). These metrics are often measured in terms of money, but in fact the benefits may be non-monetary values such as increased sales, improved customer satisfaction, reduction of risks, increased flexibility, and improved platform for future change.
Productivity and Effectiveness
CEOs will be concerned with the effects of Enterprise Architecture and new investments on production, efficiency and effectiveness. Metrics in this area can focus on:
- Reducing time to market for new investments in change
- Integrating and improving business processes across the enterprise (including with partners)
- Improving the ability to integrate data and interfaces across the enterprise (including with external partners)
- Improving the ability to reuse business functions, business processes and application services
- Increasing agility, flexibility and ability to rapidly change in the event of new strategic scenarios occurring
- Increasing standardization
- Reducing the time taken to develop solutions by maximizing reuse of enterprise architecture models
Governance and compliance
Enterprise Architecture ensures that the strategies of the enterprise are realised.
How many business capabilities are being created, updated or removed? What capability increments are being turned into investment proposals and providing the mandates for new programmes and projects? How many capability increments are being delivered by the solutions that have been subsequently designed and developed? How well are the solutions in compliance with the target enterprise architecture model?
The Enterprise Architecture function will create a well-populated repository of knowledge about the current state of an enterprise and its planned future state vision. The enterprise Architecture models provide a knowledge base for CEOs, CxOs and other decision makers that provides answers to their questions. In essence an enterprise architecture model needs to be designed to answer all their potential questions. How well does it achieve that?
These questions can be about gaps, impacts, dependencies, probabilities of success and failure, risks, costs etc. One of the major concerns of Enterprise Architecture is to reuse the knowledge, information and data as required by various processes and applications throughout the enterprise. Metrics can include the percentage completeness of this knowledge base. How easily and readily available is this knowledge throughout the enterprise to those stakeholders who need it?
A Common Vision of the future state
The whole purpose of Enterprise Architecture is to align investments in change with the strategies for the future of the enterprise. The target Enterprise Architecture Model is the target operating model that provides a common vision for all parts of the enterprise, including internal business units and external partners. How complete is this model and all the associated diagrams and documentation? Is it readily available?
The target enterprise architecture model will reduce the time it takes to conduct a particular enterprise transformation, implement new and changed business capabilities and reduce solution design and delivery time and development costs by maximising reuse of the enterprise level models. It will provide standard components and ensure maximum reuse of them across the whole enterprise. Over time the enterprise architecture will ensure faster development, fewer failures and better alignment to strategic enterprise level requirements and continual improvement.
The Enterprise Architecture is often focused on improving or enabling various characteristics and qualities in the future.
Metrics can be based on these qualities can include:
- Viability (ability to remain viable in a changed environment)
- Flexibility (ability to automatically adapt when unexpected external changes occur)
- Agility (Ability to adapt to changing business needs)
- Ease of integration
- Amount of reuse
- Support for innovation
- Service level
Enterprises need to measure Enterprise Architecture by how well it improves the performance of the whole enterprise, meets its business needs, and supports its strategies and investments in change.
16 June 2013
A friend of mine Ian Glossop, is doing a survey of views on Enterprise Architecture, and as many of you are Enterprise Architects he would appreciate your views on the subject.
I know your time is precious, and the survey is a little long, but nevertheless may I urge you to take a little time to complete it.
The survey is implemented as a PDF form, with the ability to save the data you enter and so may be completed and emailed back to:
The form may be downloaded from here:
Ian is doing this as part of an MSc course in Technology Management with the Open University, so he would very much appreciate your help.
The thesis that Ian is testing is twofold really:
- That there is a common core to the diversity of EA methods/methodologies and
- That it is a new-ish (if you can call 25 years old ‘new’) integrative discipline.
If you would like a copy of the results, simply let Ian know and he’ll send you something in September or October.
23 March 2013
Tom Graves recently participated in an Open Group TweetJam on Business Architecture. You can read about the results of this at http://weblog.tetradian.com/2013/03/20/opengroup-on-bizarch/
Unfortunately I didn’t hear about this in time to participate but I thought I’d record my own thoughts here.
The questions were:
- How do you define Business Architecture?
- What is the role of the business architect? What real world business problems does Business Architecture solve?
- How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?
- How does Business Architecture differ from Enterprise Architecture?
- How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?
- What’s in store for Business Architecture in the future?
How do you define Business Architecture?
Business Architecture is one of the primary domains within Enterprise Architecture. It deals with the architecture of the business, ideally from a business perspective and is expressed in business terminology.
It should not really be considered a separate discipline from Enterprise Architecture but often is by those who persist in misunderstanding that Enterprise Architecture is only about IT and not about the whole of the enterprise.
Business Architecture deals with the structure and design of how an enterprise operates, makes money or delivers value, how it organises itself in order to provide products and business services to its customers, clients and consumers. It should be expressed independently of how the business architecture will be mapped to the underlying application architecture and infrastructure architecture, but is more connected to the business/contextual view of the information/data architecture and will include the organisation architecture.
Business Architecture is centred on the business and the business strategy, not on IT or on the IT Strategy and should not be considered just a source of requirements for IT projects (which is the impression that TOGAF gives of Business Architecture).
In general Business Architecture includes the following deliverables:
What is the role of the business architect?
As a specialised type of Enterprise Architect, they are in a leadership role, close to business management working for the CxOs to evaluate and elaborate possible future strategic scenarios.
They have a responsibility to guide, recommend and oversee the realisation of the business strategies identified by the CxOs, but they don’t control the business strategy or make the actual investment and strategic change decisions.
What real world business problems does Business Architecture solve?
As a type of Enterprise Architect, a Business Architect deals with strategic change, business transformation activities concerning topics such as:
- Ecommerce changes
- Cost reduction
- Process improvement and efficiency
- New organisation design
- Mergers & Acquisitions
- Reuse of shared services
- New markets
- Regulatory and legal changes
One should not forget that, by definition, an Enterprise Architecture model covers everything about the enterprise including the environment and market which it operates in, its Business Strategies, its Business Architecture as well as the rest of the Enterprise Architect domains.
How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?
The role of a Business Architect is becoming much more distinct than it has been. many organisations are maturing their enterprise architecture functions that were previously just centred on IT architecture and are now specifically introducing a Business Architect role.
How the Business Architect role differs from other roles such as a Business Analyst, Business Change manager, Business Transformation Manager etc. is still playing out. I discussed this to some extent in a previous blog post – The difference between a Business Architect and a Business Analyst.
Another current difference is that a Business Architect is often closely associated with the Business units (and perhaps reports to a business line manager of sorts) and therefore is seen as being on the ‘Demand’ side of a business, whereas the rest of the Enterprise Architects (including IT Architects) are often lumped into the IT department and therefore are seen as being on the ‘Supply’ side. In theory, the Enterprise Architects, including Business Architects, should only ever be on the ‘Demand’side and not seen as part of IT. They should report to the CxOs, ideally seen as part of a CEO Office.
How does Business Architecture differ from Enterprise Architecture?
A Business Architect is a type of (a ‘real’) Enterprise Architect. Business Architecture is a sub domain of Enterprise Architecture.
How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?
Of course they can. The distinction in the question is artificial anyway, since a Business Architect is just a type of Enterprise Architect that specialises in the Business Architecture domain.
But in reality many organisations do have an unfortunate tendency to make up their own interpretation of what these roles actually are.
What’s in store for Business Architecture in the future?
We will see more and more Business Architecture roles in the future as organisations mature their enterprise architecture strategy and capabilities, and they realise that they need to get to grips with their business model and how it is realised. They will need Business Architects to help them do that.
For most enterprises embarking on large scale strategic planning and business transformation programmes it is all about staying robust, viable and efficient, continuing to deliver good outcomes and value to their customers/consumers/clients in the future. Enterprises should be wanting to stay competitive and efficient and beat the competition.
If the enterprise is to succeed, it must make strategic decisions and investments in change based on a thorough architectural gap analysis/impact analysis that is only possible with business architecture as a key part of their enterprise architecture function.
21 January 2013
20 January 2013
Enterprise Architecture quite simply is all about Strategic Planning. It helps enterprises shape their future structure and dynamics in the face of the changing environment in which they do business. Its purpose is to understand the ends and means that form the strategies needed.
How does an enterprise react to events that do and will potentially occur and arrive at the strategies needed to remain robust, efficient and viable, to continue to deliver value and make profits for themselves?
Enterprise Architecture is the corporate discipline that helps us to understand the questions that need to be asked and get better at strategic thinking. The approach is based on asking the usual Why, What, How, When, Who and Where questions:
- Why does the enterprise need to change?
- What are the drivers for change?
- Are the drivers fully understood?
- What is the mission and purpose of the enterprise?
- What do enterprises need to do and need to understand? What do their customers and stakeholders want?
- What is possible to do?
- What are the strategies, goals and objectives?
- How will these be achieved?
- What business capabilities are needed?
- When should the enterprise react to new opportunities? What are the potential business scenarios that might occur? How will the enterprise react when they do occur? And how should it react?
- Who should be involved?
- Where is the enterprise?
- What environment or markets is it located in?
- How many different environments are there?
- What would success look like for strategic planning?
These should all be open questions. You should take care that the questions don’t upset those executives that are responsible for the current answers and are asked in an ego-less fashion.
All of these answers can be modelled and analysed with your favourite enterprise architecture tool. I like to add a Strategy domain to the usual Business Architecture, Information Architecture, Application Architecture and Infrastructure Architecture domains.
Enterprise Architects should start to think like a strategist instead of just like a technologist.
In real life the answers from our questions are usually complex and enterprise architects will typically develop a number of different target enterprise architecture scenarios to explore all the options. These can be analysed and
What I find curious though is that I have never seen any mention of Enterprise Architecture approaches and techniques in any Strategic Planner job specifications. These job specifications may include requirements such as :
- Maintaining a clear picture of the external environment
- Development of vision, strategies, goals and objectives
- Identifying and assessing merger and acquisition opportunities
- Facilitating the on-going development of strategic and associated implementation plans (i.e. Roadmaps)
- Providing an ad hoc research and analysis capability
- Conducting market and competitor analysis
- Interacting with the board executives, and other senior internal and external stakeholders
- Business and commercial awareness
TOGAF9 and ArchiMate already both include Motivation concepts, so now more and more Enterprise Architects are modelling Drivers, Goals, objectives, Measures, Values as well as Products and Business Services.
Isn’t it about time that Strategic Planning starts to make use of the value and benefits of the enterprise architecture capability?
The same point also applies to Enterprise Architecture and Business Transformation. In my view Enterprise Architecture is the glue that joins these approaches together.
4 September 2012
I recently saw a Forrester blog entry from George Colony at: http://blogs.forrester.com/george_colony/12-08-27-enterprise_architects_for_dummies_ceos
And recently I’ve been reading an interesting book called Good to Great by James Collins. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_to_Great
The Forrester blog talks about succeeding with realizing the business strategy by involving enterprise architects, whereas the Good to Great book doesn’t mention enterprise architects but just talks about needing the best people to achieve great things.
It raises the question ‘Does an organisation need enterprise architects to achieve greatness?’, and ‘What does an enterprise architect need to do to be great themselves?’.
An Enterprise architect will certainly bring a logical enterprise-wide view of strategic change, usually cutting across organisation boundaries. They will look at the strategic design of the enterprise vision in terms of interconnecting business capabilities, where a business capability is a similar concept to a ‘system’ as described in system thinking and the viable system model. They will help with the business thinking.
But is this how senior executives see strategic change?
I’ve experienced organisation restructuring close up at a large number of organisations over recent years and in all cases, the enterprise architects were not involved at all. The re-structuring tends to be done along business functional lines. Nothing wrong with that perhaps, but it does tend to bake in the old silo boundaries and restrict cross functional reuse of business capabilities.
Is this good or great, or merely good enough?
How do senior executives see enterprise architects?
Enterprise architects work with the executives, senior business stakeholders and heads of all the business functions to build a holistic enterprise architecture vision model that links the enterprise’s mission, business strategies and priorities to the current and future needs in an efficient and viable fashion.
For enterprise architects it’s typically not sufficient to merely produce a good vision and good roadmap, but the focus should be on producing a great one that is robust and viable way into the future.
Quick and dirty is not a great approach and is often a waste of money from a long term enterprise perspective.
There will inevitably be a sort of creative tension between the various lines of business and enterprise architecture. Part of the reason for this this is that the lines of business invariably take a top down view and the enterprise architects are naturally working across functional silos. There is often a sort of conflict of overlapping RACIs, a clash of who appears to be responsible for making a decision. Generally that is easy, it’s the business strategy owned by the business that makes the decisions.
But as George Colony observes in his blog, it’s the enterprise architects that span both the business and technical domains and act as ‘an internal trusted advisor who marries the best interests of the business with long-term technology strategy’.
An analogy is within the realm of politics, where the politicians take the decisions helped and supported by their advisors. Also like politics, the lines of business are often challenging each other and pandering to popularity polls.
This raises another thought, should an enterprise architect be popular or be professional? Can they be both at the same time? Should an enterprise architect indeed be a kind of politician following the whims of the time, or should they be seen to be standing up for doing the right things for the future?
Tactical short term changes are invariably much easier to build a business case and obtain investment for than multi-year long term strategic changes will ever be. Should an enterprise architect just focus on short term fixes, or do their job and focus on strategic change. Like a politician, should an enterprise architect aim to be liked and popular, or respected for their work furthering the best interests of the enterprise?
It’s rather like a politician who can only achieve changes within a single parliament, and therefore shies away from embarking on initiatives that will take a long time and multiple parliaments to achieve. Should an enterprise architect just be popular and play politics? Does this make an enterprise architect great? In fact, what does make a great enterprise architect? Ideally 40% of our job is communication. Maybe communication really means playing to the populous crowds? Does promising bread and circuses make things great?
James Collins says that good to great companies follow the principle of “First Who, Then What” and hire good people. Collins talks about good CEO’s typically have much humility. So maybe a great enterprise architect should also be humble? Perhaps a great enterprise architect is one who makes great decisions? But then if it is only the lines of business who make the decisions, what then? Often the enterprise architect is not in the position to make enterprise level decisions, only recommendations.
To be great enterprise architects should be focused on being neutral and not taking sides, working faithfully for the enterprise as a trusted advisor, taking the enterprise in whatever direction it chooses to go at whatever speed it wants to go, realizing the collective enterprise vision. In turn, the enterprise needs to treat enterprise architects as true trusted advisors and not just delivery agents. Enterprise architects should follow a set of principles, be honourable, forthright and avoid compromise, keeping the organisation honest. Maybe in doing that they won’t always be popular but they will be doing their job.
It has been said that ‘business leaders rarely succeed in marrying empirical rigor and creative thinking’, so it is the enterprise architects task to help them do this better and achieve a great enterprise and not just one that is just good enough. Just good enough is never good enough.
In my opinion, without enterprise architects, an enterprise cannot easily become great and may only achieve greatness through simple luck.
10 January 2012
I’m often confronted by solution architects, IT and technical architects who don’t understand what Enterprise Architecture is all about. They usually misinterpret enterprise architecture from their own perspective as some kind of system design of ‘enterprise’ scale IS/IT systems and become frustrated when they discover that it is really something else. It often turns out that they are not usually working at the right level or with the right stakeholders in their organisation to be true enterprise architects. They are not working with the leadership team but within the scope of a small development project.
They can’t therefore see the wood (the ‘Enterprise’) for the trees (a project), let alone the helicopter view…
Enterprise architecture is in reality one of the most powerful management approaches that can be used by an organisation. It is not intended to be used (only) at a solution or project level but for the big decisions that an organisation’s leadership team have to make. The leadership (i.e. the C-level executives, and heads of divisions etc.) have to make the decisions based on the facts and knowledge base (the Enterprise Architecture repository) delivered by the enterprise architecture function. Those decisions are supported by the enterprise architecture function planning their execution in the EA roadmap. Each initiative in the EA roadmap is typically a new or changed Capability or Capability Increment (see MODAF and http://www.mod.uk/NR/rdonlyres/E43D93F6-6F43-4382-86BD-4C3B203F4AC6/0/20090217_CreatingCapabilityArchitectures_V1_0_U.pdf).
Typically the focus of Enterprise Architecture is on:
- Increasing the return on business and IT investments by more closely aligning them with business needs.
- Identifying areas for consolidating and reducing costs
- Improving executive decision making
- Increasing the benefits from innovation
- Delivering strategic change initiatives
- Managing business transformation activities
The Enterprise Architecture is also characterised across the following multiple dimensions:
- Direction: Enterprise Architecture is focused on strategic planning (i.e. business transformation, strategic change programmes) and not on operational change (i.e. run the business, six sigma, lean processes)
- Scope: Enterprise Architecture is focused on the whole of the business (i.e. the Business Model and Business Operating Model) for all business and IS/IT functions, and not just on the IS/IT components.
- Timeline: Enterprise Architecture is focused on the long term view of the future scenarios (up to 3/5 years in the future) and not just on a short term view of current state. Enterprise Architecture is focused on a roadmap of changes to an organisation’s capabilities.
- Value Chain: Enterprise Architecture is focused on the whole of the enterprise (i.e. the extended organization and value chain) and not just on the scope of a delivery project
- Stakeholders: Enterprise Architecture is focused on the needs and concerns of the C-level executives (CEO, CIO, COO etc.), business executives, corporate and business strategists, investors, strategic planners.
(ps. I tried to draw a diagram to illustrate where Enterprise Architecture lies on these dimensions but couldn’t visualise a multi-dimensional space…)
So overall, the primary purpose of Enterprise Architecture is to support strategic change such as :
- The introduction of new customer and supplier channels such as eCommerce
- The consolidation of the existing portfolio of people, processes, application and infrastructure etc.
- The reduction of costs and risks, ensuring the enterprise will remain viable and profitable
- The design of a new organisation, business model and business operating model.
- The due diligence for mergers and acquisitions and management of the resulting integration programme.
- The development of smarter and more effective systems (not just IT systems).
- The introduction of shared services and applications.
- The introduction of new technology, platforms and infrastructure such as SaaS, Cloud etc.
- The introduction of regulatory and legal changes such as Basel 3
In my future blog entries I will explore how Enterprise Architecture supports some of these areas.
The first one will be about how Enterprise Architecture is used to support Due Diligence activities prior to mergers and acquisitions.