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Digital strategy is not simply about marketing. It is about a better engagement with potential and existing customers. It is about the perception of the brand created with customers though close interaction via social media and close communication leading to a value proposition that can better serve their actual and future needs.

As with any business strategy, the enterprise architecture discipline is there to support the business transformation to success with a design strategy. It is useful here to remind everyone that enterprise architecture is not just another name for an enterprise wide view of the IT Architecture and the underlying infrastructure architecture

The term ‘Enterprise’ in Enterprise Architecture refers to the greater scope of the organisation which includes the Customers, contacts, stakeholders in the wider market environment which is addressed by the Digital Strategy.

Enterprise Architecture will help organisations to drive innovations and new business capabilities across their entire value chain and to better understand the digital environment in which they will be operating.

Joe Tucci, Chairman and CEO, EMC Corp.– “To stay relevant in this new, always-connected digital universe, businesses in virtually every industry are reinventing their business models for unprecedented customer access, interaction, speed, and scale.”

Using Enterprise Architecture to provide a blueprint for digital strategy

Enterprise architecture consists of the following primary architecture domains.

  • Strategy
  • Performance Architecture
  • Business Architecture
  • Information/Data Architecture
  • Service/Application Architecture
  • Infrastructure/Technical Architecture
  • Business Transformation/ EA Roadmap

In addition to these usual enterprise architecture domains, I propose that further Architecture Domains are required for supporting a Digital Strategy.

Additional Architecture Domains  
Customer Architecture

 

Modelling the Customers’ own Environment, their processes, usage scenarios, customer journeys. Includes the communication channels used for communications directly to the customers and other external stakeholders.
Market Architecture Modelling the outside-in view of what is happening outside the organisation boundaries in the Environment in which the enterprise does business, Social media, Competitors, Competitors Value propositions.
Brand Architecture

 

The branding, value proposition, projected identity that provides value to the customers for the lifecycle of the business. Includes generic communication to the customer and market, advertising the brand and value propositions.

Figure 1 Enterprise Architecture for Digital Strategy

EA for Digital Strategy

Strategy

Obtain clarity on the goals, objectives and principles guiding your digital strategy Business strategy /Digital strategy

  • Mission
  • Vision
  • Business motivation model
  • Business Model
  • Goals and objectives

Market Architecture

Identify the environmental, industry and internal factors that are influencing the digital strategy.

  • Communities
  • Market environment
  • Modelling what the competition is doing
  • Assumptions
  • Networks
  • Competitors and their activities
  • Who else is in your space?
  • How do you differentiate?
  • Market trends
  • Topics
  • Hashtags
  • Media
  • Threats and opportunities
  • Gaps
  • Blue ocean
  • Search topics

Customer Architecture

As usual this means developing Business Scenarios and Customers Journeys, but also modelling the customers (potential and actual) own business processes.

These models will help to understand the customer touch points with the organisation and their desired brand and product experiences.

The Customer Architecture will also include a Connection Model to understand the relationships with customers, communities, to better understand the customers own information and process flows.

A current state Connection Model will capture the Communities, External online nodes, web sites, collaboration social networks (Facebook, Twitter), mobile platforms (IOS, Android) and cloud platforms (Evernote, Google Drive, DropBox, OneDrive) where content exists and customers will go to visit. This Connections model will also include Search sites (Google),

multimedia sites (Flickr), advertising (Ad-Words), entertainment and gaming sites eCommerce sites (Amazon, eBay ), Mobile applications (from Apple Store,  Google Play), Smart TV applications etc.

This is similar to a Context Diagram showing interaction between the Organisation and its Stakeholders, but in this case the organisation is not in the centre of the diagram and may not be shown at all in a current state (as-is) Connection Model. The organisation will however be shown in a target state Connection Model.

In a target state Connection model, it will be important to model how the organisations internal models will be coordinated and aligned to the Customers connection Model.

  • Outside-in perspectives
  • Obtain clarity on who the customer, consumer, partners are, their roles and their values.
  • VPECT.
  • Business Scenarios
  • Customers journeys
  • Wardley Models
  • Customers own processes
  • Understand the customer touch points and the desired brand and product experiences
  • Connect relationships with customers to better understand them over time
  • Customers own information and process flow
  • External online nodes, web sites, networks, platforms where content exists and customers visit
  • Communications
  • Obtain clarity on how the organisation means to listen and respond to consumers.
  • Multi-channel / Omni channel communications
  • Communications flows both ways via whatever channel the customer is comfortable with
  • Customers’ ideas
  • Many channels and many messages
  • Understanding and analysis of those messages
  • Gaining customers’ attention
  • Earning their trust
  • Customers motivation
  • How customers share content

Brand Architecture

A brand’s look and feel and tone of voice is as important as its identity, experiences and value proposition.

  • Creating brand experiences
  • Brands
  • Brand story
  • Brand Strategy – Developing a creative brand strategy that is fit for purpose, up to date and distinctive is key to establishing all marketing communications.
  • Who engages with your brand?
  • Selling the Experience
  • Understand the customer touch points and the intended brand and product experiences
  • Insights about Customers – observations that trigger innovations
  • Blue ocean strategies

The internal mode of the organisations Brand will need to be part of the Value Proposition model and show where the Brand messages will be projected.

  • Modelling what the customers will love to buy
  • Modelling how customers interact via social media
  • Causal loop model (system dynamics)
  • Modelling what customers are interested in.
  • Mapping to the value proposition
  • Minimum viable concept
  • Behaviour change model
  • Value and truth about the value propositions offered
  • Value propositions
  • Products
  • Business Services

Business Architecture

Business model canvas

Create the structure required to understand the business model required to realise your digital strategy

Create transparency and traceability across the market model, products and business services model, and the target operating model

Business capability model

  • Create a view of the organisational capabilities across people, process, information and technology required to deliver the brand and product experiences.
  • Capability assessment against goals and objectives
  • Business Capability based Requirements
  • Improve the way you manage your digital requirements
  • Business Capabilities can be informed by the user needs identified by using Wardley models

Manage information from data architecture and information security through to delivering key messages to the market environment

  • Content management
  • Understand the content management approach and how it is enabled.
  • Value of each bit of content.
  • Relationship of content to value proposition
  • System dynamics model (stocks and flows / cause and effect)
  • System thinking

Governance

Provide clarity over decision making across the digital architecture

Business Transformation / EA roadmap

Create an understanding of the extent at which your current capabilities are able to support your digital strategy

Create clarity of the EA roadmap required to support the digital strategy

Obtain consensus, commitment and support for your digital strategy and roadmap which we believe are critical to the success of your strategy

Performance architecture

Obtain clarity on your measures of success and identify plans to measure and monitor them

  • Investment case
  • Procurement
  • Programme/Project Portfolio management
  • Delivery plan

As usual if you don’t measure, then you can’t manage. However, it is surprising just how many enterprises fail to measure anything at all, including what they have done and what they plan to do.

  • Define Metrics and create measures
  • Critical Success factors
  • Capability Maturity models

Business transformation involves significant changes to all areas of an enterprise. It focuses on the future strategies.

These includes strategies, business models, operating models, business processes, information & data, systems, products, business services and channels. These are exactly the deliverables developed by enterprise architecture to understand the current state of an enterprise, to envision and design the future state of the enterprise, to discover the gaps between them, to identify the opportunities for investment in change and to plan the enterprise architecture roadmap to achieve the change initiatives.

This sounds just like what Business Transformation approaches do, doesn’t it?

In fact Enterprise Architecture and Business Transformation disciplines have much more in common, than they have differences.

It’s clear that real Enterprise Architects play a critical role in business transformations. The Chief Enterprise Architect is the most important member of the senior management team leading a business transformation and ensuring that it is effective.

By the way Enterprise Architecture, by definition, should not be misunderstood as only being about IT Architecture or Technical architecture, used just to support IT solution development. This is not what real enterprise architecture is for. Business transformation is rarely limited just to IT projects.

The CxOs are the business leadership responsible for providing business direction, identifying the needs for the business transformation in the first place and making the investment decisions.  But the Enterprise Architects will work directly with the CxOs to drive out the devil in the details, planning the future transformation roadmap, developing future scenarios, making projections and forecasting future options. Acting without enterprise architects is equivalent to failing to make proper preparations and is asking for trouble. The enterprise architects perform the important task of analysis and evaluating the impact of strategies and proposed changes in detail, identifying risks and prioritising the transformation initiatives into a viable roadmap. They manage the complexity of transformations and are essential to achieving success and effective transformational changes. Enterprise architecture is about bridging the gap between the transformation vision and strategy and its realisation.

What approach should be taken for leading business transformation?

The recommend approach is based on the books by John Kotter, “Leading Change”, “A Sense of Urgency” and The Heart of Change Field Guide”, together with real enterprise architecture approaches to managing strategic change.

Creating the conditions for business transformation

1 Increasing urgency

For Business Transformation to be successful, then the whole enterprise needs to understand the need for it. The whole enterprise needs to have a view of the current state and the motivation for change.  Enterprise Architecture provides an understanding of the existing problems and the desired future vision. Avoid complacency and business as usual behaviours. Business transformation means new behaviours and new ways of working.

2 Building a joint Enterprise Architecture/Business Transformation team

A Business Transformation team should not be a group isolated from the enterprise architecture team, but completely integrated with it. Remember that a real enterprise architecture team is responsible for the future business change within the enterprise (and is not just an IT development function), typically up to between 2 and 5 years into the future. Seriously, how can they be kept separated from a business transformation programme?

Identify the members of the Enterprise Architecture/Business Transformation (EABT) team. Look for a mixture of strong management leaders and include a good influential people from a continuum of all job titles, levels of authority and statuses. Remember that enterprise architects are strong and effective change leaders and already cross cut the whole enterprise. Non-enterprise architects in the EABT team will probably have greater political and financial skills whereas Enterprise architects will have cross domain knowledge about the whole enterprise in detail, analytical skills and significantly greater modelling skills. All team members should have good vision and leadership skills.

Hold honest and convincing discussions, dialogues and workshops. Enterprise architects are often useful as facilitators at this stage.

Ask for emotional commitment from all EABT team members and commitment to work together for the common good of the enterprise.

3 Establishing the Target Transformation Vision models and Strategy

What does business transformation success look like?

Planning the strategies and confirm the business motivation. Enterprise Architects and C-level managers will use a Business Motivation Model for this, identifying Strategies, Goals, Objectives and performance measures.

Analyse the various ideas and options to develop an understanding the various Business Models for the target transformed enterprise. Alternative business models can be produced by the enterprise architects using a Business Model Canvas approach and these can be compared with multiple measures, including total cost of ownership and potential revenue.

Avoid thinking in terms of systems and IT solutions too early, after all this is the job of the enterprise architects later on and business transformation is a business problem.  Allow for unfettered innovations to emerge from discussions.

Identify stakeholders including customers, partners and suppliers.

Examining the Outside In views from the perspective of these customers and partners.

Creating detailed Business Scenarios, Customer Journeys and Partner Journeys using any suitable story telling approach. Remember that stories are powerful, especially if they come directly from your customers. The enterprise architects will capture and analyse these business stories, but remember that at this stage these are not detailed IT requirements or user stories/use cases from an Agile software development perspective. Those kinds of deliverables will be defined much further downstream.

Identify opportunities and innovations. The team should consider approaches such as a Blue Ocean Strategy (see the book).

Definition the transformation Vision, Values, Motivations.

Defining the transformed value propositions

Analyse and understand the risks, their probabilities of occurring and their potential mitigation.

Engaging and enabling the Enterprise

4 Communicating the Transformation Vision and strategy

Communication is essential for all business transformations if they are to be successful.

There will be detractors and strong opposition to some of the transformation vision. The enterprise architects in the EABT team will ensure that fact based decisions can be made.

Publish and communicate the business transformation models as widely as possible. This will help make the right decisions and solve problems. Don’t assume either the C level managers or the enterprise architects have a monopoly on good decisions. Challenges need to be addressed and responded to.

Obviously some aspects of the transformation vision and strategy will be commercially sensitive and should not be communicated to the competition without careful thought. However, ultimately remember that the enterprise will want support from all customers, internal stakeholders, outside stakeholders, partners and suppliers and this support and buy in cannot be won without communication. Talk often and modify the transformation visions as needed. The enterprise architects will keep track of alternatives and decisions in the transformation model. The Vision and strategies need to be tied back to all aspects of the transformation model. This becomes infinitely easier using a flexible EA management tool (such as ABACUS) and avoiding spreadsheets and Visio diagrams which rapidly become unmanageable.

Ensure that the joint Enterprise Architecture/Business Transformation (EABT) team is able to lead by example by speaking about the transformation vision at any time and to always evangelise about it.

5 Enabling Action

Enabling transformation change is about removing the barriers to change and empowering staff. It involves removing resistance. Often resistance to change from staff is tied to functional divisions and people who are not measured by enterprise’s transformation success but only by fulfilling their own their own personal goals. Paradoxically, it may be the way they are measured and rewarded by the C-level managers that causes people to resist and avoid supporting transformational change.

To enable the right actions, the authorities, responsibilities and rewards need to be re-aligned with the business transformation vision, goals and objectives.

It is the enterprise architect who takes the business strategies and business model and successfully realise them on behalf of the whole enterprise, so are often best placed to also identify the authorities and responsibilities needed to focus people on benefits to the enterprise.

Ensuring that the Enterprise Architecture /Business Transformation (EABT) team has the right authority is also essential, and is able to resolve competing priorities. This authority is also exercised in relation to the governance and compliance stage.

Establish the appropriate metrics and measures, and maintain a scorecard for the business transformation vision, goals and objectives. It is strange how often performance is ignored and enterprises do not know how to measure success, or align performance to desired outcomes. Costs and revenue need to be balanced with other measurement dimensions. Measures should be aligned to transformation changes in the EA management tool.

6 Define Investment Opportunities

Examine the investment opportunities and develop an investment case. The Enterprise Architects will be best placed to determine how realistic and feasible a specific investment opportunity will be, and determine the fine details. Whereas the C-level management will understand the balance of costs and revenue developed in the Business Model.

Enterprise Architects will use a Business Capability model to scope and plan which business capabilities will be modified by a transformational change.

Transformational changes will typically be classed as short term or long term changes. However by definition, transformational changes will tend to be large and disruptive rather than “low hanging fruit”. Short term transformational changes will however be useful for maintaining the transformation momentum across a number of iterations.

Changes to business capabilities are identified as a number of capability increments. The dependencies between these and their priorities will form the first draft enterprise architecture roadmap and provide the scope and context for subsequent change iterations.

Implementing and sustaining the business transformation

7 Keep up the momentum

It is important to keep up momentum for a business transformation. The EABT team must keep communicating and clarifying the business transformation changes.

The business transformation model must be regularly published and all opportunities taken to speak to all stakeholders about it and inform them on status and progress. Capture feedback and responses to continually validate the vision and measure its effectiveness.

Address the fear, uncertainty and doubt from detractors and sceptics and motivate supporters to evangelise about the transformation. Encourage desired culture and values that reinforce the transformation changes.  Keep your eyes on the roadmap and don’t assume everything is done after the success of the first iteration and let performance and concentration levels drop. Don’t let the EABT team get diverted into other side projects. Perseverance is important. Remember that change is the only constant.

Develop communication material including web sites, brochures and posters. Posters can be very effective as information radiators.

8 Enterprise Architecture Governance and Compliance

C level managers will be making the investment decisions and providing funding for investments in change.

Establishing an enterprise architecture governance and compliance capability will ensure successful realisation of transformation changes, and help them become permanent business as usual.

Detractors will often try to derail changes but the formal governance and compliance approaches will enforce decisions made but will also provide a platform for challenges and objections to be discussed openly and objectively.

9 Realising Transformation Changes

Business transformation needs many kinds of potential future changes to occur, not least of which are the key cultural changes and organisational changes.

Business Process changes, Information changes, system changes and procurement changes are also important. However for these I recommend designing for flexibility and adaptability not going for a fixed solution which may be cheaper but will invariably be difficult to change the next time. Business transformation should be thought of as a continuous process, enabling an enterprise the rapidly respond to changing forces in the market environment.

Before changes are executed, it is a good idea to conduct a Change Readiness Assessment, if you have not already done this earlier in the Enabling Action stage. This will help find out how prepared the enterprise is for the transformational changes and identify the enterprise’s overall competence, knowledge, skills and capabilities. Any shortfalls will be addressed by planning suitable skills training, and addressing the shortfalls.

In conclusion

For maximum success in strategic business transformations, an enterprise needs to completely and fully use their enterprise architecture resources and enterprise architects. You have to work hard and plan carefully. Building the proper foundation with an enterprise architecture model for the scope of the business transformation will make everything very much easier.

EABT

There is no good reason why real Enterprise Architecture and Business Transformation should not be merged as a single discipline. The skills needed for each hugely overlap, especially the Business Architecture domain of enterprise Architecture.

A joint Enterprise Architecture Business Transformation team is essential to achieving successful and viable transformations.

Business Architecture

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:

  1. How do you define Business Architecture?
  2. What is the role of the business architect? What real world business problems does Business Architecture solve?
  3. How is the role of the business architect changing? What are the drivers of this change?
  4. How does Business Architecture differ from Enterprise Architecture?
  5. How can business architects and enterprise architects work together?
  6. 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:

BizArch deliverables
A Business Architect is primarily concerned with supporting and advising the senior executives, providing advice and guidance, and influencing decision making for the Business Architecture domain.

 

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
  • Consolidation
  • 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.

EA domains

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.

Business Architecture

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.

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.

Enterprise Architecture is all about supporting strategic planning and business transformation activities, although many organisations seem to almost wilfully forget that this is one of the main purposes of Enterprise Architecture if not the most important one.

A business strategy is a long-term plan of changes for the whole enterprise which will address things like offering new products an business services, dealing with new customer or market segments, opening up niche opportunities, growth via mergers & acquisitions, cost consolidations and increased efficiencies. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strategic_planning  and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Business_transformation

Enterprise Architecture primarily focuses on what an enterprise needs to do in order to stay viable, efficient and profitable in the future. In Viable System Model (VSM) terms, Enterprise Architecture is a System 4 type of system. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viable_system_model

Enterprise Architecture bridges the gap between new strategy ideas and the execution of those ideas, in the same way that the intelligence corp in the military provide intelligence about current and future capabilities to the generals and ensure that the appropriate planning takes place in order to win the military campaigns.
Many organisations without an Enterprise Architecture function will risk failing to properly implement or deliver the on their business strategy.

It is frequently reported that many strategic ideas and initiatives identified by C-level executives are never properly implemented or seen through to full operation by the business units. That big picture of the business strategy on the white board in the CEO’s office or a high level presentation can look deceptively simple in a board meeting, but as they say ‘the devil is in the detail’. The C-level executives are responsible for seeing that the strategy is implemented, but it will be the Enterprise Architect that works out the detail.

Organisations need to know where they are now and create a baseline Enterprise Architecture model of their current state, then create a future target Enterprise Architecture model and do impact and gap analysis between them. The future state Enterprise Architecture model often needs to contain not just one single future target model but multiple complementary or competing models of  the many future scenarios that are likely to have  been developed using Scenario Planning techniques. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scenario_planning

Strategic business transformation can be hard. Enterprise Architecture makes it far easier to answer questions such as:

  • What Strategic initiatives are needed to fill the gaps found and address risks and issues?
  • What new or changed business capabilities will be needed?
  • What needs to be done when?
  • How does one prioritise the different strategic business initiatives on an Enterprise Architecture roadmap?
  • When are these investments in change going to be delivered?
  • How will the initiatives be funded?
  • What are the dependencies between the strategic initiatives?
  • How will the business model be changed?
  • How will the target Business Operating Model be changed?
  • What organisation units and business functions need to be changed?
  • What value chain and value streams need to be changed?
  • What are the costs and potential revenues?
  • How feasible is the business strategy?
  • What feedback mechanisms between ‘systems’ will be needed?
  • How will change be governed and how will compliance be assured? (i.e. how do we overcome resistance from difficult stakeholders, and the ‘Not invented here’ anti pattern?)
  • What controls, KPI’s, CSF’s, incentives, bonus structures will be needed?
  • What changes to the principles and standards will be needed?
  • How do we align people, processes and technology?
  • What other things have we forgotten?

I recommend reading the books:

  • Making Strategy Work: Leading Effective Execution and Change’ by Lawrence Hrebiniak and
  • Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution’ by Jeanne Ross and Peter Weill.

We are used to the idea of a Programme/Project Management Office (PMO) but often organisations fail to understand (or perhaps deliberately misunderstand) what the Enterprise Architecture function does. I propose that the Enterprise Architecture function is, in effect, an Office of the CEO, or an Office of the CEO and Strategic Change Management.

The book ‘Enterprise Architect as Strategy’ (http://www.architectureasstrategy.com/book/eas/ ) gives us the right way of thinking and talking about what enterprise architecture is for – creating a foundation for the execution of the Business Strategy.

This book is an essential read for senior executives, business leaders and enterprise architects.

Many people within an organisation will understand the big picture view of the business strategy, such as the CEO of course, but perhaps only at a shallow level of detail.

Would the C-level executives understand all the potential nuances and wrinkles that come with that business strategy? Perhaps not unless they were a ‘details’ person.

What does the CEO do? They will spend time in evaluating ideas, formulating the mission and vision of their orgnaisation, innovating the business model to ensure the company remains competive in their market, looks for future opportunities for expansion and carving out a niche market.

It is the Enterprise Architect who has the job of maintaining the big picture on the behalf of the CEO, in sufficient detail to ensure that it becomes a knowledge base to support the executive’s decision making and help them to realise the business strategy and govern the implementation of that strategy.

In this way the Enterprise Architecture function is effectively the Office of the CEO,  providing strategic support to the CEO and the other C-level executives. It’s also worth stating here that effective companies focus on enterprise architecture and don’t jump straight into IT architecture. Enterprise Architecture is not the same discipline as IT Architecture.

We can look at the the Enterprise Architecture function in terms of Deming’s Plan-Act-Do-Check process improvement process:

PLAN

The CEO and other C-level executives will stablish the mission, vision, goals, objectives, principles and metrics to identify the main outcomes of the business strategy.

The Enterprise Architect will help executives, business leaders and strategic planners to develop the business model, operating model, and other enterprise architecture models supporting business model innovation

DO

The CEO and other C-level executives will evolve and innovate the Business Model.

The Enterprise Architect will take the business strategy and business model and support the development of the target operating model,  communicate the business strategy, model the target and interim enterprise architecture models, plan an EA roadmap of strategic initiatives, identify and define the required capabilities, define the mandates for the investment programmes and key projects, define standards and process improvements. They will usually define the IT strategy to ensure that it fits with the business strategy rather than being developed in isolation (as unfortunately often happens).

CHECK

The Enterprise Architect will perform EA governance, compliance and design assurance against those programes & projects implementing the strategic changes and new capabilities. They will perform gap analysis and impact analysis, measuring the performance and compare the results against the expected outcomes.

ACT

All the while the Enterprise Architect will report to the CEO and act as their trusted advisor. They will analyze the gaps, risks, costs, issues, assumptions and dynamics to determine their cause and determine where to apply further strategic changes in the next iteration of the cycle and improve the overall maturity level of the enterprise.

The mission of Enterprise Architecture is to improve the implementation and excecution of the business strategy, ensuring that the enterprise will survive, continue to develop and remain profitable in the future.

An interesting example to look at is the US Department of Health and Human Services which has established an Office of Enterprise Architecture as part of the Office of the CIO.  http://www.hhs.gov/ocio/ea/index.html

Activities of the Office of Enterprise Architecture

As the the book ‘Enterprise Architect as Strategy’ says – ‘When it comes to executing your Business Strategy your Enterprise Architecture may matter more than your strategy itself… ’

If you want to execute a business strategy then you’ll need an Enterprise Architecture function.

Enterprise architecture (EA) is about change – strategic change in an enterprise.

But not exogenous change – reactive change forced on the enterprise by outside exigencies – although that sort of change and those external forces may be taken into account. No, enterprise architecture is about endogenous change – directed, planned, strategy-driven change within the enterprise.

Enterprise architecture is about describing the desired future state of the enterprise and plotting a course towards that position in enterprise ‘state space’ known as the Target Architecture.

Recently there was a long and fruitful discussion on LinkedIn, between practitioners, of the proposition that “EA is not the glue between IT and “The Business”. EA is the glue between Strategy and Execution.”. Aside from the questions of whether “glue” is the right metaphor and the possible mereological fallacy of considering IT and “The Business” as separate entities in need of glueing, the proposition is also something of a false dichotomy.

The two aspects – Business-IT Alignment and Strategy Formulation-Strategy Execution are neither mutually exclusive nor independent from each other. So, as with many false dichotomies, the ‘correct’ answer is “both and neither”. But in terms of importance to the business or enterprise, being the glue between strategy formulation and its (presumably) successful execution is critical whereas getting IT aligned to the business needs is only a very useful and desirable outcome.

But the question this immediately raises is what exactly it means to be the glue between strategy formulation and strategy execution – which despite the lengthy discussion was not really answered.

How exactly does EA help strategies get executed – and executed well?

The standard ‘authorities’  [like “Enterprise Architecture as Strategy” by Ross, Weill and Robertson] actually don’t help all that much – offering general aphorisms like “First build your foundation for execution” and “Define your operating model”. Well, yes – but what does that mean and how does that get your strategy off the drawing board and put into effect?

In recent weeks I’ve been reading a somewhat ‘non-standard’ EA textbook, by a professor at Wharton Business School which addresses exactly this problem.

That book is “Making Strategy Work – Leading Effective Execution and Change” – and even though Dr. Hrebiniak never mentions the term, I would contend it is a book about Enterprise Architecture because it is about change, strategic change, in an enterprise.

Towards the end of chapter six he provides a very plausible answer to the question of how strategy execution is glued to strategy formulation in the form of a “Strategy Review Process – Planning, Execution, and Controls” [Figure 6.2]. See http://www.amazon.com/Making-Strategy-Work-Effective-Execution/dp/013146745X

In essence the process is an adaptive closed-loop feedback control (socio-technical) system that seeks to bring actual business performance towards that demanded by the ‘control’ input of strategic objectives through the following six steps:

1) Strategy Formulation – including resource capabilities and constraints, strategy and goals, industry forces and competitor analysis

2) Strategy Planning and Execution – including meeting the demands of strategy, [changing] organisational structure, Integration Requirements and Methods, Information Requirements, Hiring and Training People [Developing organisational skills and knowledge] and Appropriate Incentives

3) Review of Actual Business Performance – including emergent deviations from the planned strategy

4) Cause-Effect Analysis and Learning

5) Feedback / Change – including changes in strategy and changes in the capabilities of the organisation

6) Continuation and Follow-Through – including integration and review of strategy changes, resource (re)allocations and agreement on business performance objectives and measures

Where step 6 feeds back and leads back into step 1, closing the loop. Dr. Hrebiniak asserts “Every organisation must fashion its own strategy review process. It’s not a luxury but a necessity. It’s that important. …It supports execution”. I’m not sure how much the professor is hyping his own process – but if the strategy review process is the enterprise’s only formal link between formulation and execution, I‘d say there is little hyperbole – it really is that important. Execution is delivery, formulation is just structured aspiration.

So what has this to do with Enterprise Architecture?

Step 1 is strategy formulation – and it is the usual process of matching internal and external analyses of the enterprise for the future. Enterprise Architecture is *the* key contributor to the internal analysis – the resource capabilities and constraints are (should be) described by the EA model, the strategy and goals are the EA (model) Motivation Decomposition.

Step 2 is essentially the strategic planning of change – including people, processes and technology wrapped up as  organisational ‘capabilities’, or business architecture, information architecture, functionality (or ‘applications’) architecture and technology architecture. Many would regard this as definitively Enterprise Architecture. Not only that, the changes are described by the Target and Current Enterprise Architectures (models) and a number of intermediate Transitional Architectures and the differences between them. The planning process is the EA gap analysis process.

This is EA as a strategic planning for change function for the enterprise.

In step 3 – the intended target or transitional enterprise architecture (model) provides the baseline against which actual achievement can be objectively measured.

In step 4 – well, correlation is not causation; it is actually remarkably difficult to determine the contributory causative factors to any particular outcome or effect. EA has a role in assessing how much of the (change in) business performance achieved is down to what changes in the enterprise.

This is EA as the basis for impact analysis of change. Did investing in that software development really cause the increase in sales of snow-shovels or was it that the weather was more inclement than most people anticipated this year?

Step 5 brings in capabilities again. EA should describe the relationship between the organisational capabilities and the resulting business performance. EA is there to help assess what returns investing in particular capabilities is likely to achieve – and therefore find the optimum investment pattern.

And step 6 is again into describing the architecture of the enterprise as it is now and how we want it to be – and how we are going to measure the progress towards the ‘to-be’.

From this perspective, Enterprise Architecture can be seen to suffuse the entire Strategy Review Process, making it systematic, rigorous and cohesive – like a resin glue.

So if you are the CEO of a company that does not have an Enterprise Architecture function or a Strategy Review Process, presumably you think all you need do is formulate and promulgate a strategy and the execution will take care of itself?

No?

Me neither – I think you need some glue.

by Ian Glossop, Enterprise Architect.

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