Just came across a great piece of research on the topic of “How Great Companies Groom Talent”. This is a Fortune Magazine article which states that, ” IBM (No. 1) sends leadership SWAT teams around the world. Hindustan Unilever (No. 6) ships young exe…
I haven’t updated the blog in a while; but I’ve been working. Here is a copy of a paper that I will present at an INCOSE Meeting in Detroit early in November. I tried posting a link to a PDF version of the paper and it doesn’t seem to work, so here is a copy.
What and Why Short Agile/Short-cycle Development?
An Example: The Web Application Development Methodology (WADM)
Produces High Quality Product
Short time Span
Systems Engineering Functions in the WADM
Experience with WADM
Production (2003 to 2005)
The Generalize Agile Development and Transformation Process
Changing Roles and Responsibilities in Short-cycle Processes
(Warning: This post is basically me thinking out loud, it may not have a conclusion)
Out there in the blogosphere, the most common argument about EA is between those that think EA is about architecting the whole enterprise and those that prefer a…
I have observed many situations where a c-level person was supposed to document an IT Strategy in a short period of time in order to prepare the following year’s annual budget. Very often lacking much supporting documented business information the result is a weak strategy, sometimes ignored by the user’s community, the key stakeholders.
A weak IT strategy can be costly and wasteful, especially for resource-constrained organizations that operate with minimal budget, tools, knowledge and people. It also implies that organizations cannot respond to changing business requirements rapidly enough. The absence of strategic anticipation causes organizations to be inefficiently reactive, forcing them to work in a constant state of catch-up.
An IT Strategy should answer the following questions:
- Are we doing the right things with technology to address the organization’s most important business priorities and continuously deliver value to the clients?
- Are we making the right technology investments?
- Do we measure what is the real value to the organization derived from that technology?
- Is our current Information Technology agile enough; flexible to continuously support a successful organization?
- Is our Information Technology environment properly managed, maintained, secured, able to support the clients, and is it cost effective?
- Can our strategy support current and future business needs?
Quite often the first thing we should consider when writing such a document is the targeted audience and its content. Different people with varying roles and responsibilities may read an IT Strategy within a company, so the document may need to serve several different purposes. It is not easy to pitch a strategy to different levels in the hierarchy within an organization, and at the appropriate level of detail. Sometimes it is too detailed and does not always match the stakeholder’s needs.
An IT Strategy is an iterative process to align IT capabilities with the business strategy and requirements:
- It is a documented and approved process (part of the organization’s governance framework)
- It is iterative (it needs to be frequently be revisited). Traditionally, IT strategies are updated and communicated on an annual basis, usually to meet budget cycles. This should be considered the minimum review period. If an emerging technology surfaces that has the potential to enhance the business, it should be investigated and communicated to the business as soon as possible. A one-year cycle may be too late.
- It is a strong alignment of business and IT capabilities rather than designing IT solutions to support business requirements
- Assuming that both business and IT capabilities drive each other
- Assuming that business drives IT and not the other way around
- The IT Strategy sets future direction for IT function in the organization
- Ensuring that the IT budget is spent on value creation activities for the business
- Creating shareholder value
- Helping to maximize the return on IT investments
- The IT Strategy may include sub-elements such as:
- Infrastructure strategy
- Application strategy
- Integration strategy
- Service strategy
- Sourcing strategy
- Innovation strategy
This pyramid diagram can be used to illustrate the IT strategy and vision, and how the technology and business strategies are totally aligned. At the top of the pyramid is the enterprise overarching vision. Aligned below that is how IT supports the vision by becoming a premier IT organization in creating competitive advantage for the clients. The IT vision is in turn supported by three pillars: integration, improvement, and innovation.
To deliver this , the business strategy should clearly be articulated and documented taking into account some IT aspects. There are different ways of gathering these business inputs.
The first approach is a very classical one where you develop a questionnaire in business terms which asks each business unit to identify their future requirements for infrastructure growth, taking into account capacity and availability requirements. This extracts the data you need for business driven strategy.
This questionnaire may include some of the following examples of questions:
1. What are your top 5 business “pain” points? These are things that you wish you had a solution for
2. What are your top 5 business objectives? These can be short term or long term, can be driven by revenue, cost, time, time to market, competitive advantage, risk or various other reasons
3. How do you plan to achieve these objectives?
4. What will we gain by leveraging IT Capabilities across the business?
5. What is in the way of achieving your business imperatives?
6. Can IT help achieve your business imperatives?
7. How much do you spend on IT capabilities?
8. What is your technology ROI?
9. Does your company have a plan for technology?
10. Does your business plan include a technology plan?
11. Where is IT being used across your business unit?
The second approach would be the use of Enterprise Architecture that I will explain later on.
With this input you may now start to consider the structure of your document. It may look similar to this example below: An executive summary
- An introduction
- The purpose
- The background
- The Business drivers
- The Organizational drivers
- The IT drivers
- The Business and IT aspects
- The Business Goals and Objectives
- The IT approaches and principles
- The IT components
- Business application systems
- IT infrastructure
- Security and IT Service continuity
- Structure, organization and management
- IT Governance
- Skills, knowledge and education
- IT Financial management
- KPIS, measurement and metrics, balance scorecards
- Technologies opportunities
- Key issues
And this is where Enterprise Architecture may have to play an important and even crucial role. Some companies I have encountered have an Enterprise Architecture team, and in parallel, somebody called an IT Strategist. Frequently the connection is non-existing or quite weak. Other organizations may also have a Strategic Planning unit, again without any connection with the Enterprise Architecture team.
An Enterprise Architecture must play the important role of assessing; existing IT assets, architecture standards and the desired business strategy to create a unified enterprise-wide environment – where the core hardware and software systems are standardised and integrated across the entire organisation’s business processes, to greatly enhance competitive advantage and innovation. The IT Strategy details the technologies, application and the data foundation needed to deliver the goals of the corporate strategy, while Enterprise Architecture is the bridge between strategy and execution; providing the organising logic to ensure the integration and standardisation of key processes that drive greater agility, higher profitability, faster time to market, lower IT costs, improved access to shared customer data and lower risk of mission-critical systems failures.
As a real example, TOGAF 9 is perfect way to produce that IT Strategy document during the Phase F: Migration Planning.
Below you will find the relationship between some phases of the ADM and the structure of the above document. It needs to be said that we should probably use a Strategic architecture level to deliver a first version of the document, which then could be reviewed with Segment or Capability architectures.
|Content||Examples||Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF|
|An executive summary|
|An introduction (This document must be business oriented)|
|Content||Examples||Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF|
|The purpose||Key elements of the scope, audience, time horizon||The Preliminary phase is about defining ‘‘where, what, why, who, and how” Enterprise Architecture will be done and will provide all information. It also creates the conditions and context for an Architecture Capability|
|The background||Business problems, constraints (financial, resources, IT, legal, etc.)||This is covered by the Phase A: Architecture Vision. An Architecture Vision sets stage for each iteration of ADM cycle.|
-Provides high-level, aspirational view of target the sponsor uses to describe how business goals are met and stakeholder concerns are addressed
The Business Scenarios is used to discover and document business requirements, identify constraints, etc.
|The Business drivers||Market conditions, competition, consumer trends, new customers, products sales, costs savings, incremental services revenues, drivers related to the IT function||In the Phase A: Architecture Vision, we:|
Identify business goals and strategic drivers
|The Organizational drivers||Profitability, financial performance, change in strategic objectives, end of the product development life cycle, mergers and acquisitions, staffs, risks|
|The IT drivers||New or obsolete technologies, updates||Considering that IT is part of the Business, these drivers should also be considered in that phase|
|The Business and IT aspects|
|The Business Goals and Objectives||Market growth, entering new markets, addressing manufacturing capacities||In the Phase A: Architecture Vision, we:|
Identify business goals and strategic drivers
|The IT approaches and principles||IT standards, development, implementation, delivery, testing, consolidation, maturity, best practices||Standards should be documented in the SIB (Standard Information Base)|
When we define the Architecture Governance Framework during the Preliminary Phase, we identy the various touch points with existing other frameworks in the organization
|The IT components|
|Business application systems||Baseline (main applications: ERP, CRM, customers facing systems). Future plans, concerns, time period, priorities)||This will be addressed by Phase C: Information Systems based on the Statement of Architecture Work, output from the Phase A|
|IT infrastructure||Baseline (servers, network , middleware, technical services)||This will be addressed by Phase D: Technology Architecture based on the Statement of Architecture Work, output from the Phase A|
|Security and IT Service continuity||Issues, challenges, opportunities related to security, security principles, controls||Security concerns are addressed during all phases of the ADM|
|Structure, organization and management|
|IT Governance||Best practices, frameworks, management and monitoring, resource management, portfolio management, vendors management, IT service management, project management, etc.||IT Governance will be considered when the Architecture Governance Framework is defined. There will obviously be touch points between the ADM and some other best practices used by the organization. IT Governance is defined outside of the Enterprise Architecture programme|
|Skills, knowledge and education||Skills, knowledge and education||Enterprise Architecture skills will have to be addressed by the Architecture Capability Framework. Other skills may also be identified independently of the Enterprise Architecture programme|
|IT Financial management||IT budget, costs structures, measurement and metrics, targets, areas needing investments, etc.||This is addressed is outside of the Enterprise Architecture programme|
|KPIS, measurement and metrics, balance scorecards||IT performance measurements on SMART objectives ((Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, & Time bound)||Every governance frameworks may have its own KPIs. Enterprise Architecture KPIs may be added to that list.|
|Technologies opportunities||Emerging technologies, business related benefits||This can be done in parallel of the Enterprise Architecture programme|
|Key issues and initiatives||Summary or link to the IT Project portfolio||This can be done in parallel of the Enterprise Architecture programme|
|Direct relationship with Enterprise Architecture|
|Indirect relationship with Enterprise Architecture|
|Produced somewhere else|
The next step would be the review of the IT Strategy document by the main stakeholders who would accept or reject technology opportunities. This could also be used as an important source of information for the Strategic Planning exercise (please refer to another post for additional information: “How Strategic Planning relates to Enterprise Architecture? “).
Once the IT Strategy has been reviewed, amended and authorised (which should in reality already be approved, as it is the result of various ADM cycles and the output of Phase F: Migration planning), the multi-disciplinary programme team for the implementation during Phase G: Implementation Governance, will deliver the solutions to the business.
As already mentioned previously, the outline strategies will be refined and expanded with a low level of detail when addressing Segment and Capability architectures. This is the part that meets the first challenge described above, where we need different levels of detail for different stakeholders. The documents should be hierarchical, with the ability to drill down to lower levels as more detail is required.
One of the main reasons for developing an Enterprise Architecture with TOGAF 9 is to support the business by providing the fundamental technology and process structure for an IT Strategy. Enterprise Architecture is the superset that represents both Business and IT Strategy; this is reflected in Enterprise Architecture’s basic structure of strategy, business architecture and technology/information architecture. One can certainly do an IT Strategy without Enterprise Architecture, but Enterprise Architecture cannot be done without an IT Strategy; the same would apply to business strategy/business architecture.
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I haven’t updated the blog in a while; but I’ve been working. Here is a copy of a paper that I will present at an INCOSE Meeting in Detroit early in November.
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:
- From traditional offline analytics to in-line embedded analytics.
- From analyzing historical data to explain what happened to analyzing historical and real-time data from multiple systems to simulate and predict the future.
- 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.
As more enterprises engage in public, private and hybrid cloud computing services, they face new sets of security and compliance challenges. As a result of the rapid transition and growing capabilities of the cloud, enterprises must evolve their securi…
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).
Business Technology Management addresses four critical dimensions of enterprise-wide strategy
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.
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
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.
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.