9 years, 7 days ago

Putting Your Best Foot Forward

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By: Ben Geller, VP Marketing, Troux

right stuff 051215 blogEvery year, right around this time, a buzz zips through the enterprise architecture community when InfoWorld, Forrester Research and the Penn State University Center for Enterprise Architecture open their collective call for entries for the Enterprise Architecture Awards (a program now in its sixth year).  Enterprise architects and business leaders alike snap to attention and reflect on how their organization has leveraged and benefited from EA efforts over the past year. Since we’re about one month out from the deadline for nominations (here’s your heads up that they close on Friday, June 15), we thought it would be instructive and timely to lay out a few baseline tips for what makes up a successful entry, taking into account similarities between past winners that are both Troux customers and unaffiliated role models for the discipline.

1) Focus on business impact.

And to put a finer point on it, measurable impact. This isn’t always possible if an organization is just getting its EA program structured, off the ground and running, but quantifiable results on both the IT and broader business planes make entries exceptionally more impactful and explicable.

As an example on the IT savings layer, in their entry last year, Troux customer Dell conservatively estimated resulting IT savings at $152 million. That’s a hard number to ignore. They also supplemented the IT savings with more qualitative business results in the fact that they transformed their business and services offerings to be optimized for global, end-to-end solutions rather than siloed technology products.

An entry recognized from The Australia Post boasted impressive diversity in measurable impact: Projected IT savings of A$40 million over five years (with A$5 million already realized), estimated annual carbon emission reduction of 6,030 tons and a predicted increase from 1.4 million to 4 million registered customers over the span of a year. For those keeping count, that’s a 186 percent increase in customer base.

Even if you have to rely on estimates or projections to demonstrate business impact, go for it, provided you have the realistic figures and rationale to back it up.

2) Prove innovative thinking.

As we’ve mentioned previously, basic transparency into a company’s IT operations, resources and processes is a major victory. Cost-cutting, eliminating redundant technologies and making smarter IT investments based on that transparency are even more admirable results. But what the judges are looking for more and more every year in this program is reaching the next level – doing something truly innovative that hasn’t been seen in the enterprise environment before. How are you connecting EA to digitization, BYOD, the IoT or, cybersecurity or an even more emergent trend or field?

3) Choose a human face for your story.

Even though this isn’t an awards program recognizing individual achievement and you don’t have to mention specific names, it pays to personify your program and broadly give credit where it’s due. The “face” of your story could be your CIO, your enterprise architect or even a diverse team of experts. Whoever it is, they should embody the collaboration, vision, leadership and other traits that provide the foundation for any strategic business project.

Molina Healthcare’s (another Troux customer) “face” for their entry last year was an eight-member team of enterprise, information and solution architects that work with senior stakeholders leading business units and strategic projects. These eight conduits between IT and the business are the heroes of Molina’s EA (and award submission) success.  (click here to listen to their story)

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4) Use unique industry variables to your advantage.

To some extent, most IT organizations face similar questions, end goals, trials and tribulations. But the market obstacles that face each business can be very different and exclusive. Take Allstate Insurance’s 2014 entry for example – it brought in references to rapidly-changing trends like telematics and the connected car. The chances of another candidate being able to play off those exact same trends were slim to none. What makes your industry unique and forces your EA team to be more creative, flexible, agile or business savvy?

5) If you can bring your business counterparts along for the ride, all the better.

We’re going to reach back to 2013 for an example of what we mean here. There’s one key point from the description of Cisco’s entry that’s uber-impressive: “[The EA practice] has also expanded the use of the model to support other parts of the business, moving everyone toward a shared business outcome. Going forward, Cisco plans to connect the business architecture initiative to other planning functions.”

Believe it or not, EA can apply to integral parts of running a company outside of the IT realm. If you find yourself applying or extending those same principles to achieve success in other business processes and functions, include that in your entry to give it another dimension.

So there you have it – a few pieces of wisdom we’ve picked up over our years of participating in the Enterprise Architecture Awards. Best of luck in your submissions; we’ll see you in the arena!

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9 years, 19 days ago

What’s Your EA End Game? Tales From TWC 2015

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By: Dave Hood, CEO, Troux

end game v2 042915 blogA couple weeks ago we held our annual Troux Worldwide Conference, inviting customers and partners from across the country and even the world to meet us in our hometown of Austin, TX. We hosted customers from healthcare to banking, from public sector to consumer packaged goods. Aside from the compelling conversation, fantastic food and inspiring keynotes from the likes of TED alum David McCandless, it never ceases to amaze me what our customers are able to achieve through enterprise intelligence and EA toolsets. That’s the spirit of the conference – to help customers learn from the innovative approaches of their peers and to get the synapses firing on how they can transform their businesses through EI.

Basic transparency into a company’s IT operations, resources and processes is a victory, albeit one that should really be a given. It’s when more direct business value or tangible results can be derived from enterprise intelligence that EA becomes especially formidable and invigorating. You do need to have a clear goal of what you want to get out of an EA program, but the possibilities are figuratively endless.

Is your implementation a straightforward costing-cutting effort or an exercise to simplify your business model? Is it linked to business capability planning? Does it have to do with any of the extensive subset of application portfolio management outcomes, which include the creation of shared services, analyzing which apps are prime for cloud migration, shoring up cybersecurity through asset management, or reconciling shadow IT and standards? The list of possible outcomes goes on, but business leaders need to be able to see demonstrable results and understand exactly what they’re getting out of enterprise intelligence. Quite a few of the customers that presented at TWC have figured out how to tell their EA story in a way that resonates.

Consider Wells Fargo’s Consumer Lending Group, which has begun its EA journey by thinking big and having the courage to change, while starting small in an endeavor to bring shadow IT back under the appropriate umbrella. To date, they’ve been able to streamline, eliminate redundancies, consolidate and cut costs associated with over 250 standardized business functions, more than 2200 business processes and about one-fifth of 5000 existing apps. That’s a heck of a lot more value than just basic IT transparency.

Or take Devon Energy Corporation. Using EI, the company smoothly integrated 27 corporate acquisitions and was able to enforce data stewardship, going from just 1 percent of data being complete to 85 percent complete in only two months. In a sector that’s changing as rapidly as oil and gas, where prices and market factors soar and dive at the drop of a hat, it thrills us to know that enterprise intelligence can help Devon evaluate next steps for the business every single day.

Or how about Moffitt Cancer Center, where a core team of architects leveraged enterprise intelligence to evaluate a migration of key applications to the public cloud. Some of those apps and processes audit personal health info in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks, preventing black market insurance fraud. Talk about being critical and needing to know that they will absolutely work.

And last but certainly not least, our Troux Innovation Award winner: The U.S. Department of Energy, represented by Chief Enterprise Architect Rick Lauderdale. As another TWC guest Jason Bloomberg outlined, “[Lauderdale] helped the DOE transform the way they dealt with the risks inherent in obsolete software…Connecting the dots between IT asset management, cybersecurity, enterprise architecture, and the operationalization of IT information is a tall order, but is an increasingly familiar enabler of business agility.” Lauderdale not only revamped an application portfolio and increased cybersecurity, but he helped the DoE cut costs and is actively working on transferring the model to more than 10 other federal government agencies. Again, that’s serious impact.

Trust me when I say that these are just a few of the brilliant examples shared at TWC. You’ll see more on all of these customer programs over the rest of this year as their strategies and execution unfold. In some cases they’re just getting started on producing real change for the business, but they all prove one critical point. In order to see true value from enterprise intelligence, start by asking yourself, “What’s my EA end game?”

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9 years, 1 month ago

The Digital Race, Enterprise Edition

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By Dave Hood, CEO, Troux

race to digitize 030815 blogIn today’s global, hyper-competitive economy, you’re seeing all kinds of heated races to be the first to digitize an industry. You’ve got Uber battling Lyft to digitize (and displace) the traditional taxi industry. Apple, Google, PayPal, Square and others are slugging it out in a race to digitize the majority of retail transactions. Even seemingly mundane industries like shipping and storage – with Austin tech comrades uShip and SpareFoot racing incumbent competitors – heat up when digitization starts making things more efficient and accessible. And this makes the stakes quite high in the IT world, as enterprises leverage IT as they engage in a similar race to innovate digitally.

Call it what you will – digital transformation, digital revolution, digitization – but the C-suite recognizes a game-changing market disruption is underway. It’s a disruption that requires them to revamp their business model and determine how to deliver a sustainable competitive advantage. At its core, it’s a strategic imperative that C-suite decision makers of all types have to take seriously. According to a recent Gartner report titled “Digital Business Requires CIOs, CEOs and Strategy Officers to Improve Technology-Related Competitor Intelligence,” digital business is now competitive turf that differentiates between companies’ health, efficiency and product sets. We wholeheartedly concur with that.

The Gartner report encourages business leaders to look at their competitive landscape and evaluate where they stack up (no pun intended) in IT infrastructure, processes and advancement when it comes to emerging areas like the cloud, BYOD, data analysis and cybersecurity. The role of the CIO in this process and analysis is also made crystal clear:

“Discuss the traditional competitor landscape, so you know and agree where its natural boundaries lie. Then frame a new view of competition to include startups, entrants from adjacent industries and attack from the tech sector itself…If there is corporate myopia, the CIO must be an agitator, ensuring that the analysis of competition extends beyond traditional competitors and industries.” 

That’s a pretty weighty role for the CIO to play; they’re continuing to be relied upon as a business leader, not just an advisor or even worse an IT “utility provider.” And while we know that CIOs and their teams of IT decision makers are eager to innovate for the business and meet competitive challenges head-on, there may be a step missing here. How does a CIO (and their traditional business strategist counterpart) decide how the company compares to the competition if they don’t holistically understand where gaps exist in their own journey toward becoming a digital business? What areas need investment and how can they prioritize the changes that need to be executed? In other words, how can you compare your house to others’ when you don’t have yours cleaned up and in order or don’t even completely know what the blueprint looks like? To nail down improvements to the digital business and lead or follow fast in the industry, CIOs need to employ enterprise intelligence (EI).

Enterprise intelligence is complete, fast, prescriptive and (perhaps most importantly) real-time, all of which are key characteristics for CIOs as they use EI to do their benchmarking and strategic planning. Joe McKendrick recently covered the broader EA discipline for ZDNet, and a quote from McKinsey’s Oliver Bossert, Chris Ip and Jürgen Laartz does a good job of setting up the pressures related to digital business that enterprise intelligence can help alleviate:

“While most companies would have been comfortable in the past going through a three- to five-year transformation and not implementing new features in the meantime, today’s highly competitive markets no longer allow players to alter architecture and business models sequentially. It is therefore important to realize that the transformation toward digital is a continuous process of delivering new functionality.” 

The McKinsey trio also does a standout job of breaking down “two-speed IT architecture,” which addresses the two prongs of customer-centric front-end IT (apps, UIs, etc.) and the legacy systems IT back-end (compute resources, storage, etc.), both integral competitive fronts in digital business. Fortunately, enterprise intelligence can help CIOs, CEOs, COOs, CFOs and other strategy officers understand where they stand from both angles, appropriately relate their progress to that of the competition, and ultimately break the tape in the race to digital prowess and a better, sustainable competitive advantage.

Download the complimentary Gartner report here and check out our whitepaper, The Power of Enterprise Intelligence, to learn more about how our solutions help decision-makers take a step back to see the big picture to understand exactly where they should be investing in their business and where they should not.


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9 years, 2 months ago

Architects, It’s Your Time

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By: Ben Geller, VP Marketing, Troux

your time blog 1For decades, CIOs have been fighting for a seat at the executive table. Fighting to be heard, fighting to be a trusted advisor to the CEO, fighting to be regarded as a true C-level participant. It hasn’t been until the last few years that cybersecurity breaches, the sprint toward business digitization, the emphasis on the customer experience and a service-driven economy have thrust the CIO into the spotlight.

In many of these cases, CIOs are lucky to have really smart people backing them up along the way. Enterprise architects (EAs) have typically been the CIO’s right-hand man (or woman), fighting alongside their boss to have their strategic insights heard and their version of innovation understood. Now that digitization is widely recognized as being essential to innovation, growth and the capacity to readily compete, CIOs are well on their way to becoming firmly embedded in charting the direction of the business. This should serve as a clarion call to all EAs. It’s your time – CIOs and other leaders are looking to you.

In a recent Wired article, Jason Bloomberg encouraged Chief Digital Officers to “invite enterprise architects to the digital party.” While we’d certainly agree that enterprise architects need to be connected to every branch and stakeholder in the organization – the CEO, CFO, CIO (of course), CDO, etc. – and provide a unique value to each, we’re not convinced they need to wait for their formal invitation to arrive. A few words of advice to architects that will ensure their visibility, effectiveness and ability to carpe diem:

Know your allies and stand on their shoulders. Although much is being made about the digital transformation of the business, let’s be honest – this is the net evolution of something that has been happening for quite some time. A new-fangled Chief Digital Officer can certainly be a valuable relationship to nurture, but remember to dance with the one that brought you. In many companies, it’s the CIO that is your most longstanding ally. They can ingratiate you with the CDO and lend proven, reliable advocacy to your work. We’re not saying it’s a territory war, but it’s important to be aware of where your strongest connections exist.

Be confident in your expertise. Not everyone will understand what you do. Some people might see you as a geek, like the picture that Bloomberg paints in his piece. But none of that matters, because you’re delivering intelligence that counts and offering a path to real business results. It may take some explaining, but we’ve never seen a case where the light bulb didn’t eventually go off for executives looking to understand the purpose and impact of EA. Go about solving problems, not worrying about evangelizing the tools of your trade under the pretense that people need to understand them in order to trust your contributions.

We like the way that Joe McKendrick describes your role in a recent ZDNet post, with a tip of the hat to John Zachman. Zachman postulates that enterprise architects should be like doctors diagnosing ailments: “The fundamental problem in the enterprise community is nobody is doing the diagnosis, they’re just taking x-rays. If people think that enterprise architecture is a practice of building models, that’s like taking x-rays. What the enterprise architect ought to be doing is reading the models, figuring out what the problem is, then prescribing three, or five, or 20 possible solutions.” Seize the moment to be a figurative doctor.

Evolve the EA terminology. It’s time to turn the page and start talking about what EAs provide in a way that everyone understands. At Troux, we’ve taken to calling it enterprise intelligence because we think it more accurately represents the results that come out of our solutions. Bloomberg calls the EA team the Center of Digital Excellence (CODE); that’s pretty catchy too. Whatever it takes to help business leaders understand that you’re up to speed with the business and in lockstep with business objectives. Don’t let nomenclature drag you down.

At a baseline, don’t sit back and wait for an invitation. Take action, step up to the table and prove that you can help steer the business in a positive, profitable direction. It’s the era of the connected enterprise. Decisions you inform and help make for one part of the business ripple throughout the entire organization, with their impacts felt far and wide. It’s time for EAs to seize the moment and show how they can help diagnose and solve the next wave of digital business challenges. It’s your time.

Check out this short video and download our whitepaper, The Power of Enterprise Intelligence, to learn more about how our solutions help decision-makers take a step back to see the big picture to understand exactly where they should be investing in their business.


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9 years, 2 months ago

The Secret Behind Selecting The Right Enterprise Architecture Tool

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By: Nick Reed, VP Customer Success EMEA, Troux

secrets 022015 blogImplementing an effective enterprise architecture program is about more than just selecting a tool to aggregate and visualize data. As an EA solutions provider, we talk to a lot of organizations in the early stages of implementation, which gives us a unique, clean-slate perspective on the selection process. Frankly, the most obvious misstep that we see is an emphasis on the functionality of the tool versus what it can ultimately accomplish toward real business success.

Often, when we get into the room with an organization in the evaluation phase, they tell us about how the EA tool(s) they have used in the past delivered little value and poor insights. They want to jump right into the functionality our tools provide as if the functions themselves are the missing puzzle piece. Yes, it’s important to access the metamodel and to be able to load and manage the data repository. But it’s also integral to understand data reports and analytics as well as ensure security and scalability. The tools can almost always collect the data; it’s what you do with the data that creates value. That value can only be measured against goals, so that is typically the first bridge to cross.

Know What You Want To Accomplish

Start by identifying quantifiable business goals that will signify a successful implementation. These goals help define what success looks likes and keep everyone on the same page regarding the desired end result.

What A Quantifiable Business Goal Is NOT:

  • Creating models that describe the enterprise architecture. 
  • Being able to use a particular notation, framework or metamodel construct.

What A Quantifiable Business Goal IS:

  • Save $100 million on annual IT operational costs; invest half the savings in business growth.
  • Ensure investments and changes directly align with the overall business strategy and that multiple projects are not claiming the same value, resulting in redundant expenses.
  • Demonstrate understanding of the economic impact regulatory risks have on business-critical processes.

Arm Yourself to Achieve Value

The success or failure of tool implementation most often has little to do with the tool itself. It’s the organizational and planning aspects – where human error can occur – that are most critical. Every organization has unique variables that factor into their implementation, but we have seen a higher probability of successful selection of platforms and tools when the following are in place:

  1. Executive sponsorship that mandates execution toward identified goals.
  2. A clear scope of what success looks like.
  3. A complete understanding of the stakeholders served by the initiative, as well as the business value to be delivered.
  4. A high-level roadmap that describes how the business gets from the “as is” to the “to be” model.
  5. Reliable management structure and processes that coordinate portfolio management activities across all involved business units.
  6. An acknowledgement that maintaining the required data will involve an organizational shift as well as time investment from those who know and manage the data.
  7. Proper evaluation of each potential use-case, based on merits and a promise to only execute on those that have a positive return on investment (ROI).

That last point is especially important, because if you can’t work out the ROI, you are in danger of doing the wrong thing and selecting the wrong tool.

Don’t let the list intimidate you; let it guide you. Following it helps you drive business transformation with your stakeholders. The key is to recognize the challenges and find practical ways to overcome them, which is where experience helps.

Learn From Those Who Have Been There Before

Almost as important as the tools themselves are the advisors behind them. Consultants draw from best practices identified through hundreds of engagements to help clients navigate the complex terrain of establishing a successful EA practice, so being comfortable with and confident in them is part of picking the right vendor package. Many of the best consultants were previously EA customers, so they have faced the same challenges and have the foresight to help companies plan for how they can work with data and effectively bridge the gap from tool functionality to underlying business value. It’s important to keep this in mind.   When it comes down to it you are not just selecting a tool – you are also selecting the people that stand behind it.   

So remember before you select your tool, you need a thought out, formal EA strategy and the reliable experts to help you accomplish it. Remember: The bells and whistles of your EA tools do you no good if they don’t have an established, demonstrable purpose and you lack the trusted advisors that can help you achieve your goals.

Check out whitepaper, The Power of Enterprise Intelligence, to learn more about how our solutions help decision-makers take a step back to see the big picture to understand exactly where they should be investing in their business.

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9 years, 3 months ago

Federal Agencies Innovate with Enterprise Intelligence: Eliminating Threats and Inefficiencies

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By: Ben Geller, VP Marketing, Troux

ea approved 0115151Toward the end of 2014 an American legend walked off-stage. Stephen Colbert wrapped his final episode of the pseudo-politically-charged Colbert Report before preparing to take over David Letterman’s Late Show post. I’m personally sad to see him go, as he brought political awareness to the masses, albeit it through a comedic lens. Throughout all the laughs, sarcasm and pageantry, one thing was certain: Colbert’s favorite pastime was ribbing the federal government for bureaucratic inefficiency.

It’s true that the government gets a bad rap for being inefficient, redundant and slow-moving. However, in 2014 we witnessed a spike in federal agencies innovating IT to fly in the face of that perception. We saw agency CIOs, CTOs and enterprise architects employing enterprise intelligence to make government IT operations more manageable, cost-effective and even secure.

For example, FedScoops’s Greg Otto interviewed Department of Energy Chief Architect Rick Lauderdale on how he used enterprise intelligence from Troux, hardware and software lifecycle data from BDNA and a team of just three data experts to deliver on-demand reports highlighting potential cybersecurity vulnerabilities related to end-of-life technology assets. Government Computer News (GCN) reporter John Moore also picked up on the story, noting that the DoE’s approach could be a revolutionary model for other branches:

“Dismissed as little more than ‘shelfware’ over the years, enterprise architecture is now getting a fresh look as an approach for addressing specific IT problems, including enhancing agency cybersecurity defenses,’ Lauderdale said.” 

Another case of government organizations using EA to move in a more modernized, streamlined direction belongs to the Census Bureau, which implemented an EA initiative led by CTO Avi Bender and Chief Enterprise Architect Necarsia McKinnon. McKinnon also spoke with FedScoop about Census’ progress along its 10-step EA framework, which is allowing it to remedy “more than 1,500 IT products and 1,000 business applications that were either overly redundant or one-off solutions that could have easily been shared services.” This customized program is helping the Census Bureau’s internal development shops integrate and collaborate on making the census a purely digital data collection campaign by 2020.

If you read all the way to the end of the FedScoop article on Census, you’ll see that McKinnon is incredibly proud of the progress the agency has made thus far, but isn’t resting on her laurels. She already has plans to drive further innovation and results. That shared ambition by the DoE and Census for continuing to stretch the imaginative use-cases of EA is especially important as the role of IT evolves across the federal government – a prime example being the predicted trend of responsibility for federal cybersecurity falling to IT departments just as often as it does to CSOs.

Frankly, if Colbert was into IT, I’m pretty sure he (even in all his hilarity and wit) would have a tough time poking holes in the positive impact enterprise intelligence has had on the government of late.

For further detail on the EA program that Rick Lauderdale has seen such success with at the Department of Energy, check out this third-party case study written by an IDC analyst or listen back to the webinar we hosted with Mr. Lauderdale.

To find out more about how the U.S. Census Bureau is using the Troux Platform, please read our case study.

Download our whitepaper, The Power of Enterprise Intelligence, to learn more about how our solutions help decision-makers take a step back to see the big picture to understand exactly where they should be investing in their business.

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9 years, 4 months ago

A Walk Down Memory Lane: The Troux Blog Hall of Fame

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hall of fame opt1 010315 (2)As you return from your holiday break, we certainly hope the New Year finds you happy, healthy and reenergized. It’s a fresh start — the point on the calendar at which many organizations really get rolling on selecting and implementing plans, IT tools and approaches, including those companies that will be starting out with or continuing to build on a foundation of enterprise intelligence.

While we were writing our 2014 year-in-review post in December, which recapped our most trafficked blog entries from last year, a thought occurred to us. Wouldn’t it be interesting to investigate what blog posts have seen the most sustained readership since we got this blog off the ground? And furthermore, do the ideas and predictions in those blogs still hold up in today’s market? Well without further ado, here’s a walk down memory lane, courtesy of the top five posts in the Troux blog “hall of fame,” dating all the way back to 2012:

The Top 5 Most-Read Troux Blogs of All Time

Doing the Right Thing vs Doing Things Right

How much time do we waste doing a lot of things right instead of making sure that we are doing the right thing for our business? It’s a fundamental question that underpins the value of enterprise intelligence. In this post, we charted how the Enterprise Portfolio Management approach helps steer business leaders and decision makers toward doing those one or two things particularly right, one end of a spectrum that still challenges leaders today.

Black Swans Are More Common Than You Think

This post examined the IT ramifications of ‘black swan projects’ and how EPM offers viable solutions to avoid those high impact events that are seemingly rare and unpredictable, but in retrospect not so improbable. Preventative measures and being out ahead of black swans is crucial, as they can be catastrophic for IT and can even result in a complete corporate meltdown.

6 Conditions for Success

A post that came out after our successful 2013 Troux Worldwide Conference. (Side note: We’re gearing up for this year’s edition of TWC, so mark your calendars!) At the event we presented a list of characteristics that are common in our most successful customers. It ended up being so popular with our attendees that we turned it into a blog that still has valuable insights for customers today.

The New Normal

Wow, was our 2013 conference fruitful. Here’s another post stemming from the event, looking at how EPM can support the shift from a ‘built to last’ technology-centric philosophy to a ‘designed to change’ approach needed in modern, diverse, rapidly-evolving IT environments.

EA is Free

This August 2012 post was a ‘look how far we’ve come’ retrospective, while also weighing how far there was to go in enterprise architecture at the time. It asked the question: Who owns EA – business or IT? As we’ve written time and time again since then, the answer is everyone.

Looking back at these moments in time are fun and satisfying, because they’re true benchmarks that allow us to understand how much progress we’ve made over the years.

And there you have it, the five blog posts that have gotten the most attention since we started the Troux Blog. As for the second question we asked at the outset – whether these blog topics and insights have withstood the test of time – why don’t you tell us? Did you find yourself looking in the [rearview] mirror, seeing the same opportunities or issues your business is facing today? Did we miss the mark back then, but change our tune since?

If you haven’t gotten your fill of reading material already, download our whitepaper, The Power of Enterprise Intelligence, to learn more about how our solutions help decision-makers take a step back to see the big picture to understand exactly where they should be investing in their business.

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9 years, 5 months ago

2014 Moments and Memories: A Holiday EA Reading List

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By Ben Geller, VP Marketing, Troux

year end review 121714 (3)First and foremost, wishes for a very happy holiday season to you and yours from all of us at Troux!

As we wind down work for the holiday break and ensuing festivities, we want to thank our loyal readers, customers, partners and vendors for another great year – one that brought us the best quarter our company has ever seen. It’s exciting to see our space continue to build momentum and maturity, especially as we head into a new calendar year with fresh opportunities and challenges

We understand how things go – business takes precedent and proactive reading gets bookmarked, postponed or forgotten – so we’ve decided to compile a list of our most-read posts to make catching up a bit easier. Hopefully, you’ll see the same patterns, shifts and progress we’ve noticed in discussions and posts over the course of 2014.

So curl up with a hot mug of cocoa or settle back in with a glass of eggnog, and enjoy getting up to speed on the gifts and insights that the world of enterprise intelligence can bring you in 2015.

The Top 5 Troux Blogs Posts of 2014

Data: Bigger Doesn’t Always Mean Better
In this post we break down one of the biggest hype cycles of 2014 – Big Data. To answer your most important business questions, you don’t need a lot of data. You need just enough of the right data. Remember, Big Data doesn’t necessarily mean all the data.

Office Space 2: The Rise of Milton
Is enterprise architecture broken? Nope. This post looks at how every aspect of business is part of the new digitally-connected enterprise. Even as other buzzwords like “digital transformation” take hold, enterprise architecture is going mainstream.

Business Intelligence vs. Enterprise Intelligence
This post is especially near and dear to our hearts, because it’s the crux of our differentiation in the industry. Business intelligence, in its traditional form, is a revelation for product development and go-to market strategy. CIOs and CTOs, however, require data intelligence that spans the entire enterprise so it’s clear how every decision and investment they make affects the business at-large. Read how enterprise intelligence makes that happen.

The Next Chapter of Enterprise Architecture: Self-service
Fact: Enterprise architecture is a collision of two worlds – IT and business – that touch every employee at a company, not just the IT department or the C-suite. In the mobile-ready, connected enterprises we’ve seen blossoming in 2014, EA self-service capabilities are a key component of managing realities and challenges without stressing your IT resources.

Enterprise Architecture: It’s Not Just About Technology Anymore
Perhaps the most important cultural shift for enterprise architects in 2014 is that they are moving into a trusted, strategic advisory role. Their ability to navigate disruptive forces while maintaining focus on strategic goals and vision are unique and irreplaceable.

Now that you’ve looked back over our “trending topics” for the year, let’s get some discussion going. What opportunities and challenges do you think will greet enterprises in the new year? How will disruptive technologies and adapted approaches impact EA?

Download our whitepaper, The Power of Enterprise Intelligence, to learn more about how EPM solutions help decision-makers take a step back to gain new levels of visibility into how IT resources are spread across a business.


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9 years, 5 months ago

Hitting the Innovation Nail on the Head: Innovating with Purpose

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By: Dave Hood, CEO, Troux

nailed it 120714Let’s talk about an oft-maligned buzzword…innovation. By definition, it’s “a new method, idea, product, etc.” Be honest, how difficult do you find it to innovate and truly create something new and impactful in today’s world? If you feel like you’re lagging, you are not alone. The reality is that it takes time and resources to properly evaluate where innovation is needed, set goals and deliver on promises. The complexity and pace of change in today’s digital world make that difficult. It’s a noteworthy accomplishment just to keep up. To that end, let’s look at nailing innovation — innovating with purpose — from an IT perspective.

IT innovation underpins the entire enterprise.

Innovation at the IT level is an ongoing, often talked about, but seldom celebrated goal. It doesn’t just feed the engineering, product and QA teams anymore; it’s now firmly rooted in every aspect of the business, from marketing to HR to customer service to finance. That gives IT what some see as a massive opportunity and what others may perceive to be a substantial burden, either way making it even more important that the chosen focus areas for innovation benefit the enterprise as a whole. That pressure begs the question: Where are the best places to look to drive purposeful innovation?

In today’s trend and gadget-crazed world are IT leaders truly driving innovation, or are they mainly reacting to it? How does a CIO get in front of the innovation curve rather than be pushed from behind?
Malcom Ryder, PinkForum14, August 2014
Change at the Speed of Now. The Innovation Curve: In Front of it, or Behind

In today’s world, many disruptors are bearing down on the IT organization, and they’re not just in the form of our personal devices. The business is expecting IT to innovate in the exact places where those disruptors exist, before business leaders have to ask or an issue forces IT to patch holes. We also have to consider the implications of technology integration with partners, vendors, suppliers, end users and all other stakeholders in the business. Innovation inevitably means change that must serve (or at least be acceptable to) many masters. As Ryder outlines, if IT is truly evolving, it’s moving toward diversity, not uniformity. Between market disruptors, technological diversity and the needs of the business, IT organizations have to be equipped to properly evaluate, visualize and manage the impact of internal and external changes and investments.

Gordon Cooper, vice president of standards and governance at insurance firm AIG, puts together the pieces of diversity, evolution, risk assessment and investment in a recent interview with SearchSOA contributor Christine Parizo:

“‘If you look at how technology is updated in an enterprise, one of the things you’re working through is matching the technology adoption curve with the technology value curve,’ Cooper said. In other words, it’s not that users don’t want to adopt new technology, but it’s the risk they have to accept by moving to new technology.

That’s where risk assessment as part of enterprise architecture comes in, Cooper said. Enterprise architecture allows the IT team to map specific product lines, capabilities and lifecycles of systems to pinpoint where improvements can be made. Then, the business can choose which phase of adoption it wants to be a part of and hit the sweet spot to make the most of the technology investment. ‘In some instances, early adoption is good; if you want to create a dominant design, you have to be ahead of that curve,’ Cooper advised.”
Gordon Cooper, SearchSOA, December 2014

The digital world has us innovating at the “speed of now.”

In any industry, innovation naturally evolves to meet the demands of the masses. For an IT organization, that requires advancing in lockstep with the rate of proliferation of devices, apps, data and processes coming from not only employees, but also vendors, channels and partners. In this digital era, change is almost happening at a quicker clip than we can keep up with. For many IT organizations, this is where the innovation bottleneck presents itself, as today’s IT leaders are finding themselves stuck in a spin cycle of reaction to business demands or even inertia. The information they need to evaluate risk factors and make decisions is either difficult to obtain or takes too long to aggregate and analyze. The necessity to be out ahead of “what’s next,” whether that be digitization, a new approach like business ecosystem modeling or something else, has never been more crucial.

Enter enterprise intelligence.

The need to be out ahead is exactly where enterprise intelligence (EI) supports a company’s efforts by helping them pinpoint exactly where to innovate and invest, making corporate heroes of the CIO, CTO and IT organization. Enterprise intelligence simplifies decision-making and the strategic planning challenges by providing a deeper understanding of how the aforementioned disrupters, business considerations and speed pressures affect the connected enterprise. EI also provides the necessary insight to take inventory of the technology already in place and clean house of those assets that require resources to maintain but are no longer enabling innovation for the business.

Many CIOs are arguing for enterprise architects, the champions of EI, to be involved from the outset of the ideation process for innovation – a smart move. The heightened level of transparency and line-of-sight across the entire enterprise that their involvement provides keeps CIOs, their decision-making counterparts and their IT teams on the gas pedal of true, directed, purposeful innovation.

Download our whitepaper, The Power of Enterprise Intelligence, to learn how to make better decisions faster and innovate in the today’s ‘speed of now’ world.

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9 years, 5 months ago

“Alright Stop, Collaborate and Listen” – The Recipe for Strategic Planning Success

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By: Ben Geller, VP Marketing, Troux

stop collaborate 112114Ahh, the sage words of Vanilla Ice. The man may have known little about 90s hairstyles and fashion, but he (perhaps unknowingly) nailed it when it comes to advice for the new order of IT organizations. However progressive, proactive and well-oiled we think we are, I’m going out on a limb and predicting that a vast majority of our readers can still relate to struggles with strategic planning in today’s constantly in motion business world. A recent Forbes article, Prevent Your Strategy Offsite From Being Meaningless, quite succinctly explains and identifies the issues that hinder strategic planning in today’s business climate, particularly where an enterprise model is concerned. Those issues get down to a more fundamental planning challenge – getting everyone on the same page, collaborating, working toward the same goals.

Let’s be honest. For the most part that’s not happening. Not because business leaders aren’t doing their jobs, but because teams are working in silos with limited opportunity to collaborate for the company’s greater good. Well, with the visibility enterprise intelligence (EI) provides, that can change. By implementing the right solution to capture EI, businesses can get teams and departments on the same page, working toward the same goals and making progress that benefits the whole.

“Will it Ever Stop? Yo – I don’t Know”- Everything is Connected, Everything is Changing

The biggest problem today is that the decision making process is not only broken, but it’s confusing. This is, at least in part, due to the fact that enterprises are more connected today than ever. Everyone has access to everyone else, communication happens in the blink of an eye (except when it breaks down) and discrete departments often don’t recognize how their actions can instantaneously impact the enterprise at-large.

Where confusion abounds, collaboration is nearly impossible. It’s hard to know who is in charge and what programs should be given priority. At Troux we talk a lot about using EI as leverage to collaboratively plan with the business on how to innovate and grow. It’s the way the business world is evolving. When IT approaches its discipline as a partnership with the business, it results in increased clarity around how everything works together. In a survey of business leaders by Harvard Business Review, a majority viewed IT as a strategic business tool and a healthy 57 percent viewed IT as “an investment that drives innovation and growth.” Furthermore:

[A] survey, sponsored by Verizon Enterprise Solutions, found that business units are mostly or completely responsible for areas such as business process design and optimization, while IT is more likely to be responsible for evaluating, acquiring and deploying new technologies. “As customers become the center, parts of the business that used to operate independently now have to work much more cohesively,” the report’s co-author, Abbie Lundberg, told CIO Journal. – CIO Journal/Wall Street Journal

“If There Was a Problem, Yo, I’ll Solve It” – The Big Picture…Revealed

IT has the ability to solve the most basic strategic planning issues in today’s chaotic digital world. As the WSJ article states, “We need to identify what’s distracting and what’s strategic.” Currently, information, expertise and communication lines remain trapped within individual business units, a fact which fuels distraction and allows clarity and collaboration to elude IT and the enterprise. If you can’t establish a reliable big picture, how can you see how each business unit’s initiatives and resources affect each other? How can you know things like whether you’re over-invested, under-invested or at-risk? How can you see how a decision you make will impact everyone else?

In an enterprise environment, business leaders need a new level of transparency and clarity that gives a single line-of-sight spanning the entire business. It sounds complex, but it’s actually the simplest way to bring teams together, inspire confident decisions and keep strategic planning from veering off course.

“Conducted and Formed, This is a Hell of a Concept” – The Future of EA

The idea of corralling enterprise intelligence to build collaboration and drive growth is a topic that is building steam. We recently published a datasheet that spotlights how to ensure that investment decisions are aligned with strategic business priorities and IT strategy. Download the complimentary report from Troux today!

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9 years, 6 months ago

Business Capability Planning in the Enterprise Intelligence Age

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By: Ben Geller, VP Marketing, Troux

better business decisions 090414 2Troux’s CTO, Bill Cason, hosted a webinar that looked at capability-based investment planning. The 20-minute session reviewed how decision makers use capability modeling to better integrate business and strategic IT planning for improved operations, competitiveness and value.

The webinar and its takeaway, 6 Capability Maps Your Business Will Love, garnered a great deal of interest, so we thought we’d begin to discuss the topic on the Troux blog.

What is capability-based investment planning?

Today, business leaders are stuck in a spin cycle of change driven by market, technology and regulatory shifts, which demand continuous planning. Capability planning supports this by delivering business leaders the enterprise intelligence they need to see the big picture and better understand where to invest in their business. Think of it as a resource management exercise – one that lets you anticipate opportunities, ensure balanced budgets and invest dollars in the right places on an ongoing basis. That might come in handy, right?

Getting Started

Use Business Capabilities to Synchronize IT with the Rest of the Business

Business capabilities can be the best starting point for your business architecture program. In the report “Business Capabilities provide the Rosetta Stone of Business-IT Alignment”, Forrester dubs business capabilities as the map to business and IT translation. Getting business and IT on the same page by adopting a common business capabilities nomenclature enables fact-based conversations about the portfolios and their alignment to the business roadmap.

Use Business Capabilities to Understand Your Critical Business Issues:

The adoption of a common language supports the use of business capability maps across the enterprise. These tools facilitate transformational technology change and business change, empowering decision-making related to how the IT portfolio is deployed for the business. This means that the IT pros in the room aren’t the only ones who understand the implications of technology decisions on the business. This helps everyone see the impact and alignment of proposed IT investments or divestments on business capabilities.

Taking it to the next level

A capability-based view of the business offers valuable insights to inform the strategic planning process. This level of enterprise intelligence assists decision-makers and strategic planners in answering critical investment planning questions such as:

1. Where is the business over-invested?
2. Where is the business under-invested?
3. Where is the business at-risk?
4. What business capabilities support corporate goals and strategies?
5. What applications, technology and information support critical business capabilities?

A clear understanding of these questions enables the IT team to be proactive and focus their efforts on providing support for the applications and technology that have the most impact on the business.

Are you ready to assess your place in the capability planning continuum? Download 6 Capability Maps Your Business Will Love to review six typical strategic planning questions and how Troux answers them.


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9 years, 7 months ago

BEWARE: Smart People with Dumb Tools

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By: Dave Hood, CEO, Troux

dumb tools 092914 3You have intelligent people in your organization. You hire the best engineers, architects, IT managers and executives. Why insult their intelligence by providing them with tools built for the 90’s? There was a time not that long ago when fluency with Excel was a measurement of your business acumen, but today seven year olds are creating spreadsheets for daily chore charts and tracking soccer scores. Is this still an appropriate way to keep tabs on, understand and run your business in today’s digital world?

Leaders have been making important strategic decisions since the dawn of time, but the approach to making a sound choice must evolve with the drastically changing landscape. Technology allows our organizations to be connected in more ways than ever thought possible, which has driven new and increased efficiencies in countless areas of the business. Yet, making quick, well informed decisions has become more difficult than ever before. The decision making process is broken.

In a much simpler world without mobile devices, cloud computing or software defined data centers, managing, tracking and understanding people, process and technology assets in order to define strategy might have been adequately accomplished using Excel, Visio or Powerpoint (EVP). Today, staying on top of the devices, software, apps and technology used by just one person is hardly doable via a manually updated spreadsheet. It amazes me that there are still business and technology leaders who are comfortable with using that approach to manage an entire organization.  

As our CTO Bill Cason mentioned in a recent post, mismanaging and misunderstanding critical data can lead to any number of business pitfalls, some that you can’t come back from, yet large organizations continue to rely on a method that has proven time and time again to be dangerously error-prone.

“The perception of the ease-of-use of spreadsheets is to some extent an illusion. It is dead easy to get an answer from a spreadsheet, however, it is not necessarily easy to get the right answer. Thus the distorted view. The difficulty of using alternatives to spreadsheets is overestimated by many people. The hard way looks easy, the easy way looks hard.” – Patrick Burns, Burns Statistics Blog

Even if you somehow located the elusive state of spreadsheet perfection and you had all your dates, numbers and interdependency ducks in a row (or a column), would you then feel fully empowered to make important decisions for the business? Wouldn’t you feel better if you could also take into account the knowledge, data and information living inside the heads, departments and databases of all the other parts of the business? Specifically, how the pieces of information listed in your spreadsheet or power point deck tie to your goals and strategies, your processes, your capabilities, your policies and your organizations? It’s possible, and not as difficult as you may think.

As recently quoted in an article in the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal, “When the business cases and subsequent analysis that various groups bring to IT planning discussions are complex and interdependent—as they often are—decision-makers can approach their analysis with more clarity and confidence when they are able to visualize scenarios.”

Our worlds are complex because of the impressive rate of innovation and technological advancement we have and will continue to experience. It is an exciting time to be part of the uber-connected world with organizations that are digitally linked across time zones, departments, projects and individuals. The good news is that options for managing that complex environment have also improved due to innovation and advancement. Put down the spreadsheet. It is time to start using tools that are as smart as the people you hired to use them.


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