I had an interesting conversation recently about the use of Wardley maps as part of an Enterprise Architecture and Digital Transformation programme recently. I had looked at using Wardley maps some time ago but now I think it is a good time to incorporate their use into normal Enterprise Architecture/ Business Architecture work. They are a very useful addition to the bag of techniques and approaches that I recommend should be used by Enterprise Architects working on the Strategy and Business Architecture domains as well as for the IT architecture domains.

Wardley Maps are useful for understanding the dynamics of what is needed to support a user’s needs. The underlying dependencies between user needs are constantly evolving and many organisations do not recognise this when they come up with a dry list of Business Strategies, Goals and Objectives using a Business Motivation Model. A Wardley map makes strategies much clearer and contributes towards better situational awareness which is critical.

When asked about their strategy the CxOs often simply mention similar lists of ideas that they see other organisations talking about and copy. Often they don’t really understand the buzz words. For instance, what does ‘Digital’ really mean? Is doing Digital sufficient to claim an innovative advantage in the blue ocean? A situational Awareness map will help visualise the buzzwords and their relative importance. It will also allow the organisation to better understand where it can gain an advantage.

Wardley maps help to position the user needs and dependencies in a continuum from the genesis of an idea through to the commoditisation of the same idea, at the same time as creating a value chain as a directed graph and not just as a high level list of business functions.  The Wardley map combines the Value chain view with an Evolution and dependency view which helps to identify where the strategies (Both Business and IT) should attack to produce a competitive advantage.

Upstream of Wardley maps, User needs can be identified from modelling Business Scenarios and Customer Journeys. It will be very likely that multiple Wardley maps will be needed.

The dependencies between user needs is similar to the dependencies that can be identified between Business Capabilities. Also the provision of Value to a customer is also the outcome of a Business capability. I can easily see a mapping between a grouping of Business Capabilities or groupings of dependencies between Business Capabilities and a a set of Wardley Maps.

Capability Increments can map to groupings within a Wardley map and dependencies between User needs can be associated with dependencies between Capability Increments.

These complementary techniques will reinforce each other and ensure the resulting EA Roadmap of Initiatives and subsequent Project roadmaps will be well designed and stay meaningful and relevant.

Obviously it is important to remember that the evolutions of user needs identified in a Wardley map are dynamic and the resulting EA roadmaps also need to be constantly kept under review, as business and IT trends evolve.

The best strategy is one that can help identify where to attack when things change.

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

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.

I thought that the Forrester blog on the Archetypes of EA is an interesting read. You can see this at:

http://blogs.forrester.com/ea/2009/12/the-archetypes-of-ea.html

In particular the chart of Strategy/ Project versus Business / Technology is a useful one for understanding the difference between Enterprise Architects and Solution Architects.

Archetypes of EA

The quadrants on the right hand side of the chart relate to the more strategic focus of an Enterprise Architect and those on the left hand side focus on the project/delivery focus of Solution Architects.

The top right quadrant is where the enterprise architect is performing the Business Architecture part of the EA role. This would involve governance work as well.

The bottom right is where the enterprise architect is supporting the IT Strategy, defining the current state and the future target state of the enterprise architecture and EA roadmaps between them.

The top left quadrant is the focus of each of the  Solution Architects and the bottom left quadrant is the focus of the Infrastructure Architect.

It is interesting to also compare the quadrants above with the activities identified in this chart below (also from the Forrester Blog).

Forresters state of EA survey 2009

21% of the time would be spent in the top left quadrant on application delivery projects.

15% of the time on the bottom left quadrant spent on infrastructure.

16% of the time on the bottom right quadrant on developing strategic plans.

By my estimate an Enterprise Architect therefore spends almost half their time (40% – 49%) in the top right quadrant working on Business Strategy alignment.

%d bloggers like this: