8 years, 3 months ago

The Chief Process Office of an Agile Organization

The IDEF0 Pattern and the Organization’s Value EngineIn my book, Organizational Economics: the Formation of Wealth, I use the IDEF0 pattern to model the organization.  This pattern has three internal components, Control, Process, and Mechanisms (t…

8 years, 3 months ago

Satisficing Behavior

In economic theory, the is an assumption that customers and consumers decide on products that satisfy their demand.  This has simplified customer behavior sufficiently for microeconomics theory to create mathematical models.  For th…

8 years, 3 months ago

Gartner: Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2012

Gartner recently published the top 10 technologies and trends that will be strategic for most organizations in 2012. Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. It may be an existing technology that has matured and/or become suitable for a wider range of uses. It may also be an emerging technology that offers an opportunity for strategic business advantage for early adopters or with potential for significant market disruption in the next five years. These technologies impact the organization’s long-term plans, programs and initiatives. They are as following;

Media Tablets and Beyond. Users can choose between various form factors when it comes to mobile computing. No single platform, form factor or technology will dominate and companies should expect to manage a diverse environment with two to four intelligent clients through 2015.

Mobile-Centric Applications and Interfaces. The user interface (IU) paradigm in place for more than 20 years is changing. UIs with windows, icons, menus, and pointers will be replaced by mobile-centric interfaces emphasizing touch, gesture, search, voice and video.

Contextual and Social User Experience. Context-aware computing uses information about an end-user or objects environment, activities, connections and preferences to improve the quality of interaction with that end-user or object.

Internet of Things. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a concept that describes how the Internet will expand as sensors and intelligence are added to physical items such as consumer devices or physical assets and these objects are connected to the Internet.

App Stores and Marketplaces. Application stores by Apple and Android provide marketplaces where hundreds of thousands of applications are available to mobile users. Gartner forecasts that by 2014, there will be more than 70 billion mobile application downloads from app stores every year.

Next-Generation Analytics. Analytics is growing along three key dimensions:

  1. From traditional offline analytics to in-line embedded analytics.
  2. From analyzing historical data to explain what happened to analyzing historical and real-time data from multiple systems to simulate and predict the future.
  3. from structured and simple data analyzed by individuals to analysis of complex information of many types (text, video, etc…) from many systems

Big Data. The size, complexity of formats and speed of delivery exceeds the capabilities of traditional data management technologies; it requires the use of new or exotic technologies simply to manage the volume alone.

In-Memory Computing. Gartner sees huge use of flash memory in consumer devices, entertainment equipment and other embedded IT systems. In addition, it offers a new layer of the memory hierarchy in servers that has key advantages — space, heat, performance and ruggedness among them.

Extreme Low-Energy Servers. The adoption of low-energy servers potentially delivering 30 times or more processors in a particular server unit with lower power consumption vs. current server approaches.

Cloud Computing. Cloud is a disruptive force and has the potential for broad long-term impact in most industries. While the market remains in its early stages in 2011 and 2012, it will see the full range of large enterprise providers fully engaged in delivering a range of offerings to build cloud environments and deliver cloud services.

“These top 10 technologies will be strategic for most organizations, and IT leaders should use this list in their strategic planning process by reviewing the technologies and how they fit into their expected needs,” said David Cearley, vice president and Gartner fellow.

The complete related Gartner press release can be accessed here.

8 years, 4 months ago

What is Business Technology Management and how does it relate to Enterprise Architecture?

Business Technology Management (BTM) is not a methodology but I would say a concept, or eventually the aggregation of several guidelines and techniques. It is also described as a management science which aims to unify business and technology business strategies with the aim of extracting the full potential value of business technology solutions. In a nutshell, it allows you to unify business and technology decision making. Sounds familiar?
Pragmatically it corresponds to a group of various services intended to help businesses communities. BTM can include different methods such as IT planning, Project and Portfolio management (e.g. PMI, Prince 2), Balance Scorecards, Business support, Database services, disaster recovery, network management, security, document service, and frameworks. BTM delivers a set of guiding principles known as capabilities and defines the expected characteristics of an organization according to five levels of a maturity mode like CMMi. While these methods/methodologies have recognized strengths, they represent a piecemeal approach. There is a need to integrate these capabilities to achieve that strategic business technology alignment because most of these methods do not really focus on the goals and objectives of an enterprise. Balance Scorecard is a performance measurement methodology, Six Sigma or Lean are quality improvement methodologies mostly used in manufacturing, and so on…
BTM may sound like an evolved IT governance concept, where business and IT are in tune in an effort to support and realise the enterprise strategy. But does it really differ from an Enterprise Architecture which sometimes may also be considered as being the glue between various methods/methodologies?
Some questions may quickly arise…Is BTM just “better IT Governance” or simply a different way of naming an Enterprise Architecture? And does TOGAF® support BTM? BTM like Enterprise Architecture aligns activities which remain pure business and some pure technology, but most activities intertwine business and technology such that they become indistinguishable. It also guides and supports enterprises to these various states.
The precepts of Business Technology Management have been developed and refined by BTM experts working with such think tanks as the BTM Institute and the International Institute of Business Technologies (IIBT).

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Business Technology Management addresses four critical dimensions of enterprise-wide strategy
1. Process
This first dimension refers to the institution of a set of robust, flexible and repeatable processes, broadly defined as:
General quality of Business Practice: Doing the right things
Efficiency: Doing things efficiently, quickly with little redundancy
Effectiveness: Doing things well
The TOGAF® 9 ADM is an example of such processes with its associated governance framework.
2. Organisation
Management processes are more likely to succeed when it refers to the establishment of appropriate organisational structures, establishing a structure in which every member understands the scope and responsibilities of his or her role, and decision rights. Something perfectly addressed during the Phases Preliminary and A of TOGAF®.
Organizational structures may include
· Participative bodies involving senior level business and technology participants on a part-time but routine basis (e.g. Business Technology Investment Board). TOGAF® suggests the creation of an architecture board who participate with the key business stakeholders.
· Centralized bodies requiring specialized dedicated technology staff (e.g. PMO).
· Need-based bodies involving rotational assignments dealing with particular efforts (e.g. PMO, Project Management teams).
Both last bodies would be identified during Phase F: Migration Planning and Phase G: Implementation Governance
3. Information
Valid, effective, timely provision of information is a prerequisite in effective decision making. Information must be delivered in a way that is comprehensible to non specialists as well. Data and metrics must be available. This would be addressed by the Communication Plan defined in the TOGAF® Architecture Vision’s phase taking into account the stakeholders needs, the communication mechanisms and timetable. Measurements and metrics may be included for strategic and operational objectives.
4. Technology
Effective technology can help connect the other three dimensions. The idea is that technology plays a vital role in all processes and can enable timely information sharing, improve co-ordination between members of an organisation and makes processes easier to execute. This covers automation of tasks, reporting, analytics and integration between management systems. In Enterprise Architecture, this would be covered by the interoperability requirements identified by the business and the identification of appropriate solutions in the TOGAF® Phases E and F, such as BPM suites and BI products.

Business Technology Management (BTM) Capabilities
A BTM capability is defined as a competency achieved by combining each of the above dimensions and creating repeatable management processes that are executed with the appropriate organizational structures, using an effective information architecture.
Business Technology Management defines 17 of these specific capabilities, each grouped into one of four functional areas.
Governance and Organisation:  These capabilities are focused on the enterprise’s CIO and business executives concerned with enterprise wide governance of business technology. It ensures that business technology decisions are effectively identified and executed, meet the needs of the business, manages the risk and give proper consideration to regulatory, legal and industry requirements. TOGAF® addresses all of this in the Preliminary Phase and the Architecture Vision, where an enterprise architecture governance framework is created.
Managing Technology Investments : This sits with PMO and business executives who are concerned with the selection and execution of the right business technologies initiatives and fulfil their objectives. The enterprise understands its current IT capabilities, what is currently available and what it is working on for the future. This is equally addressed during the Phase F: Migration Planning.
Strategy & Planning: These capabilities ensure that the CIO and business executives make the most appropriate moves to synchronise technology and business, both reducing complexity and planning for future developments. Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF 9 undoubtedly support these capabilities; you may refer to the previous article “How Strategic Planning relates to Enterprise Architecture”.
Strategic Enterprise Architecture: This capability must be developed to support this functional area, ensure that appropriate information and documentation exists that can describe current and future business technology environment within the enterprise. As we observed, TOGAF® as an Enterprise Architecture framework includes most of the capabilities mentioned above!
The BTM Maturity Model
A maturity model describes how well an enterprise performs a particular set of activities. These capabilities are useless without a method by which to measure their effectiveness. The BTM Maturity model is aligned with the de-facto standard from CMMi and use the five levels of maturity of all the four dimensions. Here again the Architecture Capability Maturity Model from TOGAF® 9 may be used to evaluate these capacities. We would identify the area most in need for improvement.
Level 1: enterprises execute some strategic business technology management processes in ad-hoc way. These enterprises typically manage processes in a simple task-based manner.
Level 2: enterprises attempt to assemble information for major decisions, and refer to IT on decisions for technology implications.

Level 3:
enterprises are ‘functional’ in BTM.

Level 4:
enterprises have achieved full BTM implementation. Their capabilities ensure that there is strong alignment between business and technology decision making.

Level 5:
enterprises have achieved the ‘Holy Grail’ of BTM. They are good enough to know when to change the rules to maintain strategic advantages over competitors.
To implement its business strategy, the enterprise requires particular operational capabilities as described above and clearly it appears that Business Technology Management can be supported by Enterprise Architecture. TOGAF® 9 is in reality addressing all of these 17 BTM capabilities grouped in functional areas, identified by the four dimensions and work as a management framework to clarify required enterprise business needs. Companies having implemented BTM should consider using TOGAF® 9 as the way of rightfully pursuing alignment of technology with the business and support a Business-Agile enterprise.

8 years, 5 months ago

Are Business Process Management and Business Architecture a perfect match?

Whenever I suggest collaboration between these two worlds, I always observe some sort of astonishment from my interlocutors. Many Enterprise Architects or Business Architects do not realise there may be synergies. Business Process Management (BPM) team have not understood what Enterprise Architecture is all about and the other way around…. There is no a single definition of Business Process Management, often it means different things to different people. To keep it very generic, BPM relates to any activities an organization does to support its process efforts.

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There are many activities which can be included in such efforts:
· The use of industry Business Reference Model (or Business Process Reference Model), a reference for the operational activities of an organization, a framework facilitating a functional Lines of Business, such as

o The Federal Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model of the US Federal Government
o The DoD Business Reference Model
o The Open Group Exploration and Mining Business Reference Model (https://www.opengroup.org/emmmv/uploads/40/22706/Getting_started_with_the_EM_Business_Model_v_01.00.pdf)
o Frameworx (eTOM) for Telco companies
o The Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR®) model
o The SAP R/3 Reference Model
o The Oracle Business Models : Oracle Industry Reference Model for Banking, (IRM), Oracle Retail Reference Model
o And others…

· The use of organization specific Business Reference models
· The use of Business process improvement methodologies

o Lean, a quantitative data driven methodology based on statistics, process understanding and process control
o Six Sigma, a methodology that mainly focuses on eliminating bad products or services to clients by using statistical evaluation

· Business Process Reengineering, which in reality is a facet of BPM
· The understanding of Business Change Management, the process that empowers staff to accept changes that will improve performance and productivity
· The understanding of Business Transformation, the continuous process, essential to any organization in implementing its business strategy and achieving its vision
· The use of Business Rules Management which enables organizations to manage business rules for decision automation
· The understanding of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services to reduce costs and increase efficiency
· The support of Business Process modeling and design, which is illustrated description of business processes, usually created with flow diagrams. The model contains the relationship between activities, processes, sub-processes and information, as well as roles, the organization and resources. This can done with many notations such as flow chart, functional flow block diagram, control flow diagram, Gantt chart, PERT diagram, IDEF, and nowadays with the standard de facto notations such as UML and BPMN
· The support of BPM tools and suites implementation. With the right, process models can be simulated, to drive workflow or BPMS systems, and can be used as the basis for an automated process monitoring system (BAM)
· The support of Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), the ability to have end-to-end visibility and control over all parts of a process or transaction that spans multiple applications and people in one or even more companies.

To combine Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture for better business outcomes is definitely the way forward, where BPM provides the business context, understanding, and- metrics, and Enterprise Architecture provides the discipline to translate business vision and strategy into architectural changes. Both are needed for sustainable continuous improvement. When referring to Enterprise Architecture, we would mainly refer to Business Architecture. Business Architecture involves more than just the structure of business processes. It also entails the organization of departments, roles, documents, assets, and all other process-related information.

Business Architects may be defining and implementing the Business Process framework and, in parallel, influencing the strategic direction for Business Process Management and improvement methodologies (e.g. Lean, Six Sigma). The business process owners and Business Analysts are working within their guidelines at multiple levels throughout the organizations’ business process. They have roles and responsibilities to manage, monitor and control their processes.
An important tool in developing Business Architecture is a Business Reference Model. These types of models are enormously beneficial. They can be developed in the organization to build and extend the information architecture. The shared vocabulary (verbal and visual) that emerges from these efforts promotes clear and effective communication.

To illustrate the touch points between Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Management, I have illustrated in the table below the synergies between the two approaches using TOGAF® 9.

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In this table, we observe that, there is a perfect match between Business Process Management and the use of an Enterprise Architecture framework such as TOGAF. BPM is often project based and the Business Architect (or Enterprise Architect) may be responsible for identifying cross-project and cross-process capabilities. It can be considered as being the backbone of an Enterprise Architecture program. We can also add to this, that Service Oriented Architecture is the core operational or transactional capability while BPM does the coordination and integration into business processes.

When using BPM tools and suites, you should also consider the following functionalities: workflow, enterprise application integration, content management and business activity monitoring. These four components are traditionally provided by vendors as separate applications which are merged through BPM into a single application with high levels of integration. The implementation of a BPM solution should theoretically eliminate the maintenance and support cost of these four applications resulting in reducing the total cost of ownership.

Business Architecture provides the governance, alignment and transformational context for BPM across business units and silos. Enterprise Architects, Business Architects, Business Analysts should work together with BPM teams, when approaching the topic of Business Process Management. BPM efforts need structures and appropriate methodologies. It needs a structure to guide efforts at different levels of abstraction (separating “the what“ (the hierarchical structure of business functions) from “the how” (how the desired results are achieved), a documented approach and structure to navigate among the business processes of the organization, i.e. a Business Architecture. They also need a methodology such as an Enterprise Architecture framework to retain and leverage what they have learned about managing and conducting BPM projects.

8 years, 5 months ago

Agility is Sensible 2011-08-26 19:02:00

First posted on Built-In-Chicago I ran into a VC from NYC at a conference yesterday. He said he wanted to see why the Chicago VC market hardly registers on the map. While I wasn’t sure what he was talking about yesterday, I went to WSJ VentureSo…

8 years, 6 months ago

Social Media and CRM

I am pretty late to the blogosphere about the differences between social media and CRM. But in customer meetings I see this kind of confusion all the time. So here goes. Oh, and since I mainly work in the travel industry, my examples come from there.So…