8 years, 1 month ago

The value of an Interface Catalogue

See also my more recent blog post http://coredataintegration.isys.bris.ac.uk/2013/06/16/important-documentation-for-soa-the-interface-catalogue-and-data-dictionary/ Part of Enterprise Architecture activity involves examining the “As Is” in terms of the organisation’s systems architecture and developing a vision and specification of the “To Be” systems architecture. Many systems are integrated with each other in terms of data – data is ideally stored once and […]

8 years, 2 months ago

Business Process Manifesto Published

The Business Process Manifesto edited by Roger Burlton is now available. The purpose of this manifesto is to create common definitions for terminology and concepts used in the business process management space. This document has been a number of years in the making and has received review and input from many business professionals worldwide. It

The post Business Process Manifesto Published appeared first on Louise A Harris on Enterprise Business Architecture.

8 years, 2 months ago

Where the CIO sits makes no difference to EA?

Photo titled “sit where you want”.  Pretty apt for this article!
(photo credit: DorteF)

Enterprise Architecture deals with the blueprint of enterprises, so it might make sense that the blueprint function sits close to the Chief Executive Officer in the organization chart to ensure alignment between planning and execution. Is there a correlation between where the Chief Enterprise Architect sits in the organization chart and the Enterprise Architecture maturity of that enterprise?

Figure 1 shows the data from an interview of almost 20 government agencies that included questions about their EA maturity as well as the number of layers between their CEO and Chief EA.  No clear pattern can be identified from the interview data.  Some might even argue that having two to four layers between the CEO and the Chief EA is the best!

Figure 1 Relationship between Chief EA’s distance to CEO and EA Maturity

In addition, my discussions with a researcher from Massachusetts Institute of Technology suggests the same finding: that there has been no support in data of correlation between an organization’s Chief EA’s proximity to the CEO and its EA maturity.

Does this mean that it does not matter where the chief EA sits in organizations? In many organizations, the Chief Information Officer is the chief EA, so does that also mean that it does not matter where the CIO sits in organizations?

Through the interviews, I noticed that the organizations who reported having mature EA roughly falls into three groups. The first group is made up of organizations with very influential CIOs who reported either directly into the CEO or to a direct report of the CEO. The second group has stories of their CEO believing strongly in EA, and pushed the EA agenda top-down. The third group consists of organizations that I was not clear why they reported high maturity for their EA. It might be a lack of understanding on my part, but I also suspect some of them are still early in their EA journey and thus not yet equipped to provide an accurate assessment of their EA maturity.

Analyzing the mature organizations gives the following thought: where the chief EA sits is less important to an organization’s EA maturity than EA’s mindshare among senior managers. If the CEO believes in EA, the organization is more likely to have mature EA. If the CIO is influential and believes in EA, it is more likely that he can influence the CEO to think the same. The challenge though is that it is difficult to measure EA’s mindshare among senior managers, but this does reinforce an often-repeated EA best practice on the importance of gaining top management’s sponsorship to achieve successful EA implementation.

8 years, 2 months ago

How do you reward failure?

I was a participant in a recent survey facilitated by the Corporate Executive Board’s Enterprise Architect community forum regarding “How do you reward failure?” My response to the survey triggered a bunch of emails from other members to me noting how much they liked my response so I thought it might be worthy to share…

8 years, 2 months ago

Career Survival Skills for Gearheads

The Gartner for Technical Professionals (GTP) research team is fond of gearheads. You know, the technical professionals who get things done within organizations, the ones who find the answers. For the past 5 years the Professional Effectiveness team has been doing gearheads workshops at our Catalyst conference to help technical professionals in different aspects of […]

The post Career Survival Skills for Gearheads appeared first on Mike Rollings.

8 years, 2 months ago

The Journey from Visibility to Governance to Standardization to Reuse

Firms need to have a single picture to guide their efforts, to build a “foundation for execution” as described in Enterprise Architecture as Strategy[1].  It is not enough to have a single picture of the vision, mission and strategies of the firm.  Firms will need to decide what business processes need to be standardized and what data need to be integrated.  There is no right answer, but not having a common picture will mean that different parts of the firm will be building to their own visions.

However, I noticed through my interviews with CIOs that not many companies had this single picture.  In fact, on probing further, some of them were not able to provide a high-level, organization-wide view of their organizations’ processes.  As such, I postulated that organizations must mature through two stages before they can get to the standardization (and integration) stage. 

Even star war troopers need mirrors!
photo credit: Kalexanderson
Firstly, they need to firstly establish an organization-wide, regularly updated view of the current situation in their organizations.  This is akin to individuals looking into the mirror to decide what to change about their appearances.  Similarly, organizations need visibility into their current state before they can decide what to standardize and what to leave alone.  This is not a trivial exercise, especially in large organizations.  Creating a current view from scratch can take months; keeping the view updated as the organization changes is an even bigger challenge.

Can you tell if something is out of line?
photo credit: chekobero
Second, organizations also need to have strong governance processes in place, so that changes to existing processes and data are channeled through a common approval body.  How can any organization standardize unless all changes and new initiatives are checked against standardization requirements?  In many of the organizations I studied that had mature EA practices, the organizations had strong governance in place.  The Enterprise Architecture team was involved in approving new business initiatives, to ensure that the initiatives are not deviating from the organization’s standardization and integration vision.  Without such a governance framework in place, standardization is just talk that has no teeth to be realized.  It is possible for organizations to have strong governance first before having visibility.  However, as mentioned above, organizations will need to establish visibility before they can move into the standardization stage.

Re-use seems to be a long way off for many organizations.  Or is it?  Maybe a iterative approach with fast and short iterations will work?  I will be keen to hear from your experience of standardization and reuse.

[1] Enterprise Architecture as Strategy by Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill and David C. Robertson    

8 years, 2 months ago

IT Jobs – Misplaced Value?

This morning I was discussing an article from CIO.com by Patrick Thibodeau with my colleague Jack Santos. The article “IT Job Seekers Face Hot Yet Terrible Market” discusses how the IT job market is both hot and not, mentions effects from expectation inflation, and that it depends on location, location, location. The article sites a […]

The post IT Jobs – Misplaced Value? appeared first on Mike Rollings.

8 years, 2 months ago

Contrasting Tale of Two Retailers – ASOS and Marks & Spencer

I have been regularly tracking the developments for both these retailers over the past few years on my blogs. But the growing contrast between their performance couldn’t be more obvious than comparison of latest financial performance numbers. To be fair, M&S and ASOS is not a like for like comparison. M&S is your traditional, conventional, respected high street retailer. Probably in league of its own along with only a few other retailers such as John Lewis. While ASOS is the new kid on the block, fresh, young, vibrant and bold online retailer who has challenged every conventional retail wisdom and won almost on all occasions. Both are highly successful and set benchmark in a way for their respective retail segments. Hence the comparison is far more interesting because, in reality this is not so much a comparison between two retailers rather between two different retail business models. 
Photo Credit: Reuters/Paul Hackett
As for the actual financial performance, Marks and Spencer have posted the worst trading results in three years, with clothing and homeware down 6.8 per cent. The company said that clothing sales had been affected by stock issues, as well as the wet weather. In the first half of the year, M&S said it had run out of some of the best selling womenswear. These are the weakest set of quarterly figures the retailer has published since spring of 2005. Food sales in the UK rose 2.9pc but this was not enough to offset the slump in general merchandise, dragging total group sales down 0.7pc
Photo Credit: ASOS
In contract ASOS has had an impressive year, posting results ahead of expectations. Profits jumped 43% to £40.9 million. Revenues also showed strong growth, with the company taking £495 million compared with £340 million the previous year. The company’s international business lead the growth, with sales up 103% over the period, while UK sales only grew 7%. Australia, Russia, Singapore and China were highlighted as sales-boosting countries, while new websites were launched in Italy, Spain and Australia.
Above financial highlights drop enough hints about the reasons behind this contrasting performance:
  • Focus on international growth strategy and its successful execution
  • Successful adoption of new and evolving retail technologies
  • Product and portfolio innovation
  • Identification and strategy for growth customer segments
  • Better Supply-Chain integration with new technology distribution models
  • and i am sure there are a few more core retail seasonal trends, weather impact etc.
Let me also qualify my thinking on this blog by stating that though these are contrasting results, I have no doubt that M&S is and will remain one of the strongest retailers of the conventional high street model. And even M&S is implementing a few new technology led multi-channel strategies successfully. However, the new and evolved Retail Reference Architecture continues to differentiate ASOS from its conventional competitors. And to an extent, retailer like ASOS is creating new market places where traditional retailers are struggling to reach and expand. The company’s website attracts 16.6 million unique visitors a month and had 8.7 million registered users at the end of June. Technology is a key enabler for ASOS and this is proven by the fact that, ASOS sells more than 50,000 branded and own-label product lines, with around 1,500 new lines being introduced each week. This is agility in action and this is yet again a classic case study of how technology can truly provide a competitive advantage to business and operations of an enterprise.