Let’s assume digital transformation is your priority. The civilized world is buzzing with excitement over everything “digital” can do for their business. It’s the answer to everything. Want to reduce costs? Digital. Want to improve the customer experience? Digital. Looking for ways to increase revenues? Digital. While that’s an absurd oversimplification, there’s some truth in there. The question is, how do you know where and when to digital? You need a map and a plan, and that’s what an effective enterprise architecture program is going to provide.
I often describe enterprise architecture as being a GPS for your business. You can create what-if scenarios to compare strategic plans and determine which is most appropriate for your organization at this time. Once you’ve decided on a destination, your EA GPS will provide turn-by-turn instructions on where you are now, where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there. It can also make you aware of what resources you’ll need and have access to along the way, what risks and/or obstacles you’re likely to encounter, and how to navigate around them to arrive at your strategic destination.
If enterprise architecture can provide the visibility and supporting information to achieve strategic goals, why aren’t more companies investing more aggressively in EA practitioners and tools? Continuing to choose spreadsheets and static diagrams as the source of record for your EA initiatives is like choosing a gas station map in the glove compartment instead of a GPS. Is this information still accurate? Who knows – at least the map was cheap, right?
Let’s continue this analogy for a moment. What if you could make more money if you arrived at your destination more quickly and better prepared than your competition? Would you still choose the gas station map over the GPS? What if I told you your competition was using the latest GPS?
This workbook walks you through six steps to help you build a business case for business transformation using enterprise architecture. Each step involves fill-in-the-blank questions so that the resulting business case is based on the unique requirements and goals of your organization.
Here’s another benefit. If you’re working for a company that already understands the true value of enterprise architecture and you’ve got executive buy-in, you can use this same workbook as a charter for your EA program to ensure everyone is aligned on everything is moving in the right direction.
Take a look, let me know what you think. We’ve got other workbooks for IT Portfolio Management and Business Process Analysis.
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I tried the link, but even after registering, was not allowed to access it. The content is designated as for staff members only. Is there a public version of this that you could post here? I'd also like to explore further how people use the repository for creating patterns. Is it really just as simple as setting up a separate library and populating it with sample components, ready for duplication when creating real architectures? I saw another post that said they had added an attribute to contain the pattern name. This strikes me as a much more efficient way of working than our current method, which uses PowerPoint and relies on people's knowledge to find things and declare which patterns they are using.
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Committing to the decision to begin the digital transformation of your company is obviously only the first step. We have to identify goals, priorities, tactics, resources, etc. Then there’s the matter of putting plans in motion once we have the pieces organized. Who do you think is going to be at the center of all of this?
I am frequently astonished by how so many large organizations aren’t leveraging their enterprise architecture practices to their full extent. Managed the right way with the right tools, enterprise architecture is the GPS for your business, helping you navigate risky or uncertain territory with confidence and accuracy. What are the rest of you using? Luck? The Force?
I speak to enterprise architects from large organizations who are handcuffed with spreadsheets and sticky notes as their tools for communicating the intricacies of their vast business ecosystem. While these enterprise architects often demonstrate Jedi-like skill, imagine how much more effective they’d be with a more robust EA program in support of their activities.
If your organization is going to be forward-thinking and innovative, then it’s a good idea for your enterprise architecture program to be forward-thinking and innovative. Consider trends such as device mesh, ambient user experience, 3D printing, information of everything, and advanced machine learning, to name a few. Is your enterprise architecture program considering how these technologies and trends could bring value to your business? These specific items may not be relevant to your success, but your EA team does need to have its finger on the pulse of what’s hot in technology and how to leverage it for business growth.
A group of enterprise architects will be getting together in Chicago at the Camp IT Enterprise Architecture Strategies conference to discuss topics like these. MEGA will be there too. If you can make it, come by and talk with us (… it’s on July 12th.) If you can’t make it, reach out to us after the event and we’ll fill you in on what you missed. There’s a lot to be learned, and we’re happy to be in the middle of all of it.
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The MEGA teams in the US and UK have just come back from this year’s Gartner Enterprise Architecture & Technology Innovation Summits. The overall feedback from both events is positive, but this isn’t an endorsement of Gartner events. Rather, this is a commentary on a subtle, but important, shift in the enterprise architecture space.
A few of the companies that we spoke with at the enterprise architecture Summits told us that this was the year they’re embracing digital. We had conversations about customer journey mapping, moving from data-centers to cloud, integrating automation and real-time analytics into their processes, etc. To be clear, most of the conversations still focused on rationalizing application portfolios, designing future target states in response to business vision and strategic intent roadmapping. But, what was beginning to feel like a search for a mythical creature, one that sounds cool but doesn’t exist, became a search for a rare, but real, creature. I expect that by next year, companies engaging in digital business initiatives will be as common as cats and dogs.
Here’s another interesting take-away: there were far more first-timers at the events this year. We spoke with companies who were only now putting enterprise architecture programs in place for the first time. There were a lot of conversations about best practices and how to stand up a solid enterprise architecture program. Architects were eager to learn about what other organizations have done to achieve success, how they know if they’re going in the right direction, which metrics they should be using to measure success, which software the successful companies are using to manage their enterprise architecture efforts, and what the results look like on the other side.
Any theories out there as to why all the new people? Is technology and business getting to the point of complexity where organizations that used to do well with spreadsheets and sticky-notes now need something more robust for analytics and reporting? Was there some event that triggered a widespread epiphany among IT professionals? What has the experience been at your company?
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“The Magnificent Seven” is a movie about how an 1870’s robber baron besieges a mining town and slaughters a group of locals when they attempt to stand up to him. To stop this nefarious criminal, two townspeople find a bounty hunter who then rounds up an eclectic group of gunslingers, each with a different skillset, to help save the town. Your business is like a growing, thriving town, with threats coming at you from all angles. Who are you going to turn to for innovation, to create the digital business platform your business needs to be relevant and competitive in a customer-centric, digital world?
(Cue music: “dum, dat dat dum … dum, duh dat dat dum”)
You likely have a group of specialists working for your company right now that are the perfect team of rag-tag, motley data gunslingers who can bring together the necessary skills and resources that you need.
Your head of enterprise architecture is the visionary. They anticipate the needs of the company and identify synergies, with a specific focus on IT performance and optimization, experimenting with new offshoots of existing capabilities, process innovation, and data & cloud potential.
Your enterprise architects are the sharpshooters. They are the bridge between the strategic and operational sides of the business, and are responsible for the specific details necessary to connect all the dots. The enterprise architects must deal with IT non-compliance as well as speed of IT delivery, all while managing new technologies and capacities, seeking efficiencies and simplification, and leveraging IT to experiment and innovate.
Your business architects are your negotiators. They are the mediators between IT and the business, breaking silos and aligning business strategy with digital transformation. Your business architects apply the board’s strategy, and need to educate, communicate, and align everything and everyone.
Your business analysts are your executioners. These are the people on your team who help the business execute on strategic initiatives. They provide a holistic strategic business analysis, and pinpoint infrastructure needs and changes. The business analysts focus on time and costs to identify what change means in terms of business value.
Your CIO is the commander. This person is focused on how IT drives enterprise strategy, innovation, and differentiation. It’s a customer-centric world - CIOs leverage technology to enhance business initiatives, and provide data and intelligence to other department managers to transform the business to be more customer focused.
It’s possible that these “Magnificent 5” are already working for your company. Gather them into a room immediately and let them build a digital business platform to enable the strategic transformation of your business. To help them get started, send them to the Gartner Enterprise Architecture & Technology Innovation Summit. Not only will they learn about all the latest trends and best practices, but MEGA will be there and we’ll be happy to meet with your magnificent 5 one-on-one to help create your roadmap to innovation.
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Picture Scrooge as the CEO of Dickens Mortgage & Loan, who ran the business with long-time friend Jacob Marley, until Marley died. Together, they grew the business and made a lot of money for decades. But the company was struggling in today’s fast-paced business environment and Scrooge became more miserable with each passing day.
Bob Cratchit, as the VP of IT, had told Scrooge that new advancements in digital technology were giving competitors distinct advantages. Without a complete transformation of their business, Dickens M&L would end up as just a memory from a different era.
“Bah! Humbug!” cried Scrooge. “Technology is no more than an overhead cost that invites complexity and chaos. I’m not going to change a business that has been successful for more than 150 years!”
One cold evening, as Scrooge walked home, his frustration grew as he considered Cratchit’s incessant nagging about the need for new digital technology and how it would provide opportunities to engage customers more intimately and reduce the cost of operations. He longed for the good ol’ days when he and Marley could put an ad in the paper and see an immediate uptick in customer calls. It was even more infuriating that unhappy customers could now go online to give your company a poor rating for all to see.
As Scrooge prepared for bed, the room quickly became cold. The lights flickered and the power went out. Suddenly, he heard chains rattling and loud moaning.
Out of nowhere, a ghost appeared! “Ebenezer Scrooge …” the spirit moaned. “Who are you?!?” cried Scrooge! “In life, I was your partner, Jacob Marley. Because of my actions, I forged these chains through my mistreatment of employees and customers. Because of your actions, you’re headed for a fate worse than mine.” “But you were a brilliant businessman,” exclaimed Scrooge. Marley interrupted, “I took advantage of customers by not giving them with a chance to communicate with us. I forced employees to do work that could easily have been done using technology. I shunned all the good that technology can bring to a business. You must embrace technology now if you want to escape my fate.” “But, I don’t know how,” whimpered Scrooge. “Tonight, to teach you, you will be visited by three spirits – the ghosts of IT past, IT present, and IT future,” Marley explained.
Marley vanished, leaving Scrooge standing cold and alone in his bedroom. Disturbed and confused, he went to bed. He awoke a short time later to hear a young girl call his name.
Startled, Scrooge called out, “Who’s there?!?”
“I am the ghost of IT past. You don’t believe in the value of IT, but you’ve used technology to build success throughout your career.”
“I’ve created my success through grit and determination!”
“You’re romanticizing the past,” the spirit corrected. “I’m going to take you there now to remind you of the truth.”
In an instant, the two are standing in the doorway of Scrooge’s former employer, Mr. Fezziwig. Colleagues admired the man for his ability to grow the business and keep employees happy. One of Scrooge’s first projects at Fezziwig’s was to coordinate the replacement of all typewriters with new word processers and computers. Not only did productivity increase that year, but the money saved on paper and ink was reinvested back into the business. The Christmas party that year was legendary!
“I’d forgotten how proud I was of my contributions,” Scrooge declared. “We were the first to move to computers. That Fezziwig was quite the innovator.”
The spirit interrupted “… but your appreciation for those qualities soon waned. At Dickens M&L, you were so focused on strategy and revenue that you forgot how technology helps produce efficiencies and open new business opportunities.”
“What did you expect?!? It was my job to focus on strategy and revenue.”
“Yes,” the spirit replied. “But there are many managers who appreciate the value that technology delivers, and they leverage IT every day to improve operations and increase profits.”
The spirit waved her hand, and Scrooge was back in bed, alone in the dark. “Bah!” he muttered.
A short while later, Scrooge was awakened by hearty laughing. He went to investigate. “Who are you and what are you doing in my house?” “Ha ha ha, I’m the ghost of IT present.” The spirit was enormous and surrounded by a bountiful feast. He took a bite of a large turkey leg and called out to Scrooge “Come in, and know me better, man!” “I don’t need to know you better, I need to get some sleep!” Scrooge declared. “I suggest the opposite,” said the spirit. “You need to open your eyes to all the wondrous things technology can do for your business.”
Before Scrooge could protest, the spirit waved his mighty hand, and they were transported to Bob Cratchit’s meager house. It was the night before Christmas and the Cratchit family was preparing for the next day’s festivities. Scrooge and the spirit peered in the window … “Mother, how long before father returns?” one child asked. “It should be any minute now, dear. Your father and Tiny Tim went to the homeless shelter to help distribute supplies.” Seconds later, Cratchit and Tiny Tim came through the door, cold and somewhat frustrated. Mrs. Cratchit asked “Is everything ok?”
“I wish,” replied Bob. “Some Christmas magic would have been helpful at the shelter. The program director ordered supplies weeks ago, but the vendor’s ordering system hasn’t been updated in over a decade. Demand has grown and they can no longer meet delivery deadlines.” “What does this mean for the shelter?” asked Mrs. Cratchit. “The shelter planned for 1,800 people, with some staying overnight, but others simply needing basic supplies for Christmas at home. Because of the outdated order processing and supply-chain systems, only 1,200 people received supplies. 600 people will go without on Christmas.”
Scrooge turned to the spirit. “What will happen to those people if they can’t get their supplies, spirit?” “Some may be hungry or cold, while others will get sick,” said the spirit. “… and some may die.” “There must be something we can do. With all your power and wisdom, can’t you help those people?” “I could ask the same of you, Scrooge. With all your resources and influence, you could have invested in technologies that would allow for innovation, opening up new employment opportunities. You could have put systems in place to ease the burden on existing employees so they could be more productive. You could have freed up budget to reinvest back into the business and made it more profitable so you could create charity programs to help the very people you claim to be so concerned about now.”
Scrooge’s heart sank. From customers to employees to their families, all were affected by Scrooge’s unwillingness to invest in technology and transform the business.
Scrooge turned to ask the spirit what to do next, but the spirit was already gone. Scrooge realized he was alone, on a damp sidewalk on the other side of the city. A fog was rolling in, and he noticed several businesses were shuttered, no longer in operation.
A long shadow cast down on Scrooge. He turned and saw a tall figure. “Are you the ghost if IT future?” asked Scrooge. The spirit, shrouded by a hood and cloak, simply nodded. “Where has everyone gone, spirit?” Scrooge asked, weakly. The spirit said not a word, but pointed a boney finger across the street where many people were standing, crowded and impatient in a line. Scrooge heard several talking. “This is not how I envisioned Christmas Eve … in the unemployment line,” said one. “Unemployment benefits provide a great service, but with so many of us burdening the system, I can’t see how it can be sustained.” “This was a beautiful town, but it all fell apart because Dickens M&L refused to transform their business to meet modern-day needs. With so many of the businesses in town relying on them for loans and money for payroll, the company’s collapse meant that the other businesses went down like dominoes.” “How are we supposed to survive?” “A lot of folks are moving to the valley, where they embrace technology. Digital tech is everywhere; everyone and everything is connected, with the customer at the heart of every company’s business model. It’s a utopia for business growth, innovation, and opportunity.”
Then, a man’s modest voice joined the conversation. “It could have been like that here. If my old boss, Ebenezer Scrooge, had mapped out the architecture for the business and IT ecosystems, I’m convinced we could have helped these businesses stay open, and kept this town strong and prosperous.” “I’m sorry for your loss, Bob,” said a woman. “Regardless of how cold and detached he was from the rest of us, we know you were close to Mr. Scrooge. You always seemed to have hope that he would change.” “He was a good man at heart,” replied Cratchit. “He didn’t intend for things to go like this, but he just didn’t understand how much good it would do the bank and the town to have new technology. Now he’s dead, and he’ll never know what could have been.”
Scrooge turned to the spirit and begged “Please tell me this isn’t what will be, but instead what might happen if events are changed.” But, the spirit was gone.
Scrooge realized that everyone was gone. The streets were cold and empty. For the first time in a very long time, Scrooge became aware of how his rejection of technology impacted so many people. He felt his breathing became shallow. As he gasped for air, his surroundings began to spin. As he started to lose consciousness, Scrooge realized there would be no one there to catch him. No one to help him. If only he had done things differently…
Scrooge felt himself fall backwards, and a final, weak breath escaped from his lips.
He awoke to find himself in his bed. He leapt to his feet and threw open the window to find a girl walking on the street below. He called to her, “Hello! Young lady!” “Yes?” “Can you tell me what day is it?” “It’s Christmas, of course.”
Scrooge hurriedly thought, “They did it. The spirits did it all in one night. I still have time to change, to work with Bob Cratchit and upgrade the bank’s IT landscape.”
The next day Scrooge called Bob Cratchit into his office. “Bob, my friend. I hope you and your loved ones enjoyed the holiday.” “Thank you, Mr. Scrooge. It was quite wonderful.” “Bob, we’re going to make big changes around here! I’m promoting you to CIO and I want your first priority to be upgrading our IT landscape. I’m going to triple the IT budget for the coming year. What do you think?” Bob stammered for a moment, caught off guard by this incredible turn of events. “I … I’m grateful. Thank you, Mr. Scrooge.” “No thanks necessary, Bob. This was long overdue. Do you have any ideas about where we should start?”
“Of course!” Bob declared. “First, we’ll need to purchase enterprise architecture software so we can create visibility into the IT landscape and the entire business ecosystem. We’ll be able to understand where we are now, where we want to go, and how we’re going to get there.” Scrooge’s enthusiasm grew. “They make software that can do that?!?" Bob’s enthusiasm matched Scrooge’s. “Yes, it’ll provide analytics about the business and information to support strategic investments for innovation and growth. We can also create customer journey maps to ensure we’re delivering the experience the customer expects at each touchpoint throughout their engagement with Dickens M&L.”
Scrooge put his arm around Bob’s shoulder and said “Bob, I want to grow this business. I want to ensure our employees are well-compensated and have the tools they need to do their jobs effectively, that we deliver what our customers need to finance their lives and achieve their dreams, and that we give back to the community so we can all prosper as family and neighbors.”
Bob was speechless. This is everything he had hoped would happen. It was truly a Christmas miracle.
Merry Christmas to all, from MEGA.
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The world is rife with zombies. Movies, television shows, video games … you can’t escape them. The same goes for your business. You may have hundreds, or even thousands, of zombie applications that are costing your business a lot of money, as well as non-standard and aging technologies that are in dire need of remediation. Many organizations are focused on how they’re going to take their business digital, how they’re going to improve their customer experience, how they’re going to establish an agile IT and business infrastructure that allows them to adapt to rapidly changing market expectations, etc. They’re kidding themselves if they think they can do this while buried in all that clutter. To even get started (or understand where to start), a business needs 360° visibility into the IT landscape as well as the touchpoints throughout the operations.
Well, you can’t just throw away everything and start over. Ain’t nobody got time for that! … plus it would cost too much money. The problem is: how do you identify which applications are zombies that need to be eliminated and which applications are still useful to the business?
You could follow MEGA’s Survival Guide for a Zombie App-pocalypse.
If you’re going to be at the Gartner SYM event in Orlando this year, come visit with MEGA. You can attend the conference track sessions, and after you’ve soaked up all that wisdom, meet with us at booth 932 to discuss how to apply all of this in the real world. It all boils down to a simple concept: you need to understand where you are now, where you want to go, and how you’re going to get there.
We can clearly define a strategy, identify the business capabilities necessary to achieve executive goals, and modify the business model to leverage the new capabilities. With this improved visibility into the business ecosystem and IT landscape, CIOs can easily identify opportunities for strategic IT investments. Thwarting the zombies and stopping the app-pocalypse will put your company on the path to brighter days.
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So, what are the challenges of digital transformation? Well, by prompting a rapid change in consumer behavior, digital technology is upending “conventional” business models. As challenging as it can be to successfully embrace and enact change, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A recent Dell study demonstrates that "organizations actively using big data, cloud, and mobility enjoy up to 53% higher revenue growth than those that have not invested in these technologies." Obviously it’s not just about installing the latest technology, but businesses will have to apply the technology in a manner that delivers tangible benefits to the customer. This means putting the consumer at the heart of the business model.
When taking their business through a digital transformation, organizations have no choice but to recognize that customer experience is king! In a Forrester study published in October 2015, 56% of surveyed companies planned to assess the impact of digital as it relates to customer experience, and 63% were improving their online customer experience.
How do we capitalize on digital technology to improve the customer experience?
You can start with personas. In today’s customer-centric world, everyone wants everything to be personalized and localized for them. A company’s customer journey can be very different from one customer to another, so linking customer journeys to specific personas helps deliver the tailored experience the customer is expecting.
Digital is not a temporary phenomenon; the key to keeping the consumer at the heart of your business model is visibility and transparency. You can’t change what you can’t see. Unless your company was born “digital,” you are staring at layers of old and new technologies that can’t just be wiped out and replaced to suit the needs of digital transformation. Instead, you need a plan and tools in place to optimize these existing systems – modernization, rationalization, upgrade, etc. – to launch and sustain a transformation initiative. Don’t forget about business capabilities. Having the opportunity to map capabilities to drivers of digital transformation – SMAC: social, mobile, analytics, cloud – is a critical piece to achieving business outcomes. Even more, having a clear view into how your business capabilities will evolve over the short- and long-term helps business leaders understand how their decisions will impact transformation plans. The visibility into and transparency of your IT landscape is fueled by business outcome-driven enterprise architecture practices. It allows you to take into account: people, processes, technology – even drivers of change, capabilities, competition, customer expectations - and how each of them are interconnected … and how they impact your digital transformation initiatives.
If you’re looking for a way to get started with digital transformation, or to optimize what’s already been done, look no further. Download our whitepaper “How enterprise architecture will successfully help you plan your digital transformation” to read about 4 key steps to help you lay the groundwork for transformation, and how today’s digitally-driven, consumer-led market will decide whether your company sinks or swims.
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It's the most wonderful time of the year … well, for some. In 1996, Staples put out this commercial, which became wildly popular. The dad excitedly throws a few packages of sticky notes into the cart and dances with an old-timey pencil sharpener. (How many people under the age of 25 could even identify one of those?) Similarly, when I was a kid I got a new pair of sneakers, a Trapper Keeper, and a few pencils to prepare me for the new school year. Well, just as in business, times have changed. Technology is at the center of everything, digital is king, and there’s no going back.
Much like CIOs, many of today’s parents find themselves in unfamiliar territory when trying to understand this new digital landscape. What technology is available to me? Which things do I need to get started? How much will this cost? How do I prioritize my investments in digital and what metrics will I use to measure whether this new digital tech is delivering value?
According to the Consumer Technology Association, American parents will spend an estimated $18.5 billion on back-to-school tech products/accessories in 2016. There are "must have" lists for both grade school and college students. (It appears several versions of headphones and portable Bluetooth speakers are "must haves" for school.) While parents are wading through all these options, and feeling the pressure from their "customers" (a.k.a. children) to deliver on new capabilities achieved with digital tech, CIOs are facing similar circumstances in business.
Although business, culture, and technology are always evolving, the pace of change we're experiencing today is like nothing the world has ever seen. Keeping up with market changes and customer expectations, while pushing innovation, keeping the lights on and staying within budget, is a daunting task for many CIOs. Visibility into a clearly defined strategy, with specific goals, tactics, KPIs and metrics, helps when prioritizing strategic investments. It's also recommended that decision-makers avoid the tunnel vision that comes with project-focused initiatives, and instead use capability planning to set expectations and measure results. For example, the school may inform a parent that each student is required to have a tablet to participate in the coursework. If the parent takes a project-focused approach, they may simply buy their child a tablet and consider the project complete. However, did we take the time to ask "what does my child need to be capable of doing with their tablet?" before making the purchase?
What if the tablet that was bought is too weak to perform the required assignments or is about to be discontinued?
What if you spent unnecessary money on features that will never be used?
What if there was a more effective combination of technology that would achieve the required results, cost less, and have more flexibility (for example, a less expensive tablet with an external hard drive)?
To make informed decisions about tech investments, it’s important to meet with key stakeholders to understand the relationships in the business ecosystem. In school, the student may be graded on their ability to effectively gather information about history or science online, or collaborate with other students through dedicated social media channels for class projects. In business, CEOs may prioritize initiatives such as reducing time to market, eliminating information silos that divide business units, or improving the customer experience. To successfully manage the execution of these projects, you can tie strategy to a roadmap for execution on digital transformation initiatives. With this roadmap, you can spot opportunities for strategic investments in digital tech that will help the business (or student) achieve their goals.
Technology drives business, and now technology drives education. For both parents and CIOs, without a clear understanding of how we're defining success, the required capabilities, the existing and available technology in the IT landscape, and the ecosystem in which all of these things will coexist, it's very difficult to make precise, intelligent decisions about strategic investments.
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Since there are no “keepers of the digital”, anyone can get in on this any time they want. The problem is, where does an organization start when taking the business digital? It might have been easier if there was some all-knowing, governing body that presided over all things digital. They could tell each business exactly what they need and where to plug it in to maximize the return on investment. Alas, there are no such keepers. Instead, there’s just unlimited digital out there for everyone to grab and use as they see fit. For many organizations, chaos reigns supreme.
How do you know how much digital you need? How many parts of your business do you need to digitalize before you can call yourself a digital business?
“If I launch a mobile app, is my business considered digital?”
“Well, if I handed you four tires, would you be considered a car? What if I also handed you a steering wheel, a radio, and some engine parts, are you now a car?”
Of course not. But this is how many organizations approach the transition to digital business. Not knowing where to start or how to measure progress or value, there’s simply an attempt to gather pieces and hope it translates into innovation and business growth.
However, some organizations are getting it right. It turns out, there are in fact keepers of the digital. To blend into normal society, they cleverly disguise themselves as enterprise architects. And just as wizards are drawn to Hogwarts and gods are drawn to Mount Olympus, next week enterprise architects from all over North America will converge on National Harbor, MD for the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit. According to Gartner, this is where “attendees will learn how to maximize the value and minimize the risks of investments in cloud, big data, analytics and mobility — and explore the impacts of trends and technologies that every enterprise architect must master.”
If you are responsible for helping your organization navigate a digital transformation, are you leveraging enterprise architecture to act as the GPS for your journey? You could be developing transformation scenarios right now and identifying the most appropriate one to support your company’s digital business strategy. You could be reconciling application and technology portfolios to free up resources for investment in appropriate digital technologies. You could architect new business processes to enhance your customers’ journey as they engage with your organization.
Your enterprise architecture team can do amazing things if given the right tools and support. I’m looking forward to next week’s event. I enjoy hearing from the architects about which challenges their business is prioritizing and how they’re approaching those initiatives. If you’re going to be there, come find us - MEGA will be at booth 113.
Also, I thought I heard something about zombies and survival guides … I guess we’ll have to wait until next week to find out what that’s all about.
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1. Crowdsourcing ITPM
Why have some do all when all can do some? Very often, companies have a small team trying to collect and manage an extraordinary amount of data on their own. This is extremely difficult for large organizations. With crowdsourcing, you can have thousands of people contributing updates during their day-to-day activities, and you get trusted data that is updated in near-real-time. Separately, if you rely on discovery tools to identify what’s running in your data centers and use that to feed your CMDB, you may find that the data is not always accurate.
That’s a problem. How are you going to effectively monitor that portfolio?
What if you could crowdsource the attestation of that data? Whether you rely on manual data updates or automated data discovery, crowdsourcing is a value added activity to ensure trustworthy data as the basis for your evaluation and planning.
People trust what’s now, not what’s old. You know what’s sexy? Outdated information (…said no one ever).
2. Killing Applications
You’ve got hundreds, maybe thousands of applications that are costing you a lot (a LOT!) of money. Your organization can run on a significantly smaller number of applications, but only if you reconcile correctly. Mergers & acquisitions are a great example of where this is necessary. When two powerful organizations get all worked up and merge themselves together, there are going to be many redundant applications can’t simply be left lying around, and non-standard or aging technologies that need remediation. Reconciling IT resources and applications will help your company avoid the post-merger walk-of-shame the next morning.
3. Supporting Capability Evolution
You can’t just plug a lot of applications into a bunch of technology and hope it’ll work forever. The needs of your business are going to change, and that change requires an evolution of your capabilities. That means you’ll need to align applications to capabilities they support. As you plan your capability evolution, you can validate that the application portfolio supports that evolution. If you phase out a capability, you can identify which applications are no longer necessary.
4. Increasing Agility
You know what’s sexy? Things that are agile. When managed correctly, your IT landscape can increase your organization’s agility.
Your legacy systems slow you down. You can add new applications every week, but if you tie everything back to a legacy mainframe, you’re only going to be as strong as your weakest link. Your redundancy will slow you down. If you have five applications supporting the same business need, and that need changes or evolves, you now have as much as five times the amount of work to do to update your IT portfolio.
Simply put, having fewer applications makes you more agile. This enables greater flexibility when reacting to market changes in a world where every second counts.
How stable is your technology foundation? When you don’t know which applications are dependent upon which technology, it puts your organization in a very vulnerable position. You may update one piece of technology or retire another, and be surprised when your applications start crashing around you. A well-managed IT portfolio can give you the confidence you need in your technology foundation to “keep the lights on” while enabling you to repurpose resources for innovation.
So, does all that sweet talk have you excited yet? Love doesn’t have to conform to some standard set by the media - beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Now that we’ve exposed these reasons to love IT portfolio management, what else is out there waiting to be uncovered?
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Finally, they’ve made a Rocky VII. The Rocky storyline is a great metaphor for business. When you’re the small, no-name in the industry, you need talent, determination and grit to get to the next level of success. When you make it big, you can’t afford to get complacent, you need to maintain the eye of the tiger - stay hungry and competitive if you’re going to survive.
The 2015 Gartner Symposium in Orlando, Florida is going to be an epic event. Gartner has structured the agenda around mission-critical priorities and categorized them under six tracks: Renovate the IT Core, Architect the Digital Business, Plan for the Digital Future, Lead the Digital Enterprise, Create a Dynamic Organization and Drive Business Growth. There’s a clear focus on digital transformation, because this is a customer-centric world we’re living in and taking your business digital will be a key factor in your ability to stay competitive and relevant.
If you’re going to launch your business forward into the digital era, there are several components you’ll want to consider.
Understanding your CEO’s priority business outcomes. Options include:
Digital marketing capabilities to reach new customers
A more nimble and empowered field team
Expansion into new geographies to increase revenues
Decreased customer wait-times for products/services
Redesigning your supply chain to reduce costs
Determining what elements will be needed to build the digital business:
What technology investments?
Skills assessment – the best skills for evolving my digital business are:
Ability to evaluate the success of my digital strategy from:
A business perspective
An economic perspective
A security and risk perspective
An employee adoption perspective
A customer engagement perspective
Gartner declares “There is no room to stand on the sidelines, no safe haven to ride out this disruption. Digital will continue to define and redefine business for an entire generation to come.” At the 2015 Gartner Symposium, experts will address questions such as:
How can you modernize, measure, and manage a mission-critical runtime environment?
What patterns and practices can you use to deliver scalable, safe and ethical digital business solutions?
What should be on your 3- or 5-year technology and business radar?
How do you become a more effective leader in the digital enterprise?
How can you harness the potential of people and skills to change the culture of your organization and build a digital business?
How can IT help grow the business, especially through new revenue streams and high-value outcomes?
On top of that, PWC released a 2015 Digital IQ Survey that reveals cybersecurity (69%), private cloud (61%), and data mining and analysis (54%) are the top technologies that companies are investing in this year. However, PWC recommends that companies also consider wearables (3%), NoSQL (6%), and sensors for collecting business information (23%) have extraordinary potential. They say that these three technologies rank last in investment and perceived value, but may be the key to helping some companies become a disruptor.
Gartner always does a great job addressing issues like these and providing perspective. But in many ways, digital is uncharted territory, and your business is a unique ecosystem with specific needs. Trying to understand how all of this information can be leveraged by your company can lead to questions on top of the questions.
Once again, MEGA’s team will be on-site at booth 401 in the Enterprise Architecture Marketplace to provide customized clarity and guidance for your digital journey. Your IT landscape may be complex, but it doesn’t need to be confusing. With visibility and methodologies, you can bring clarity to your ecosystem and understand how to leverage assets and resources to achieve business goals.
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Ernst & Young published this white paper in 2014 where they warn that “Financial models introduce risks at all insurance organizations and should be addressed as part of a comprehensive risk management program to protect an organization’s financial strength and reputation.” Although this paper is directed at the insurance industry, the same is true for all organizations that rely on models to drive their business.
Michael Rasmussen of GRC 20/20 has stated “Models are used across industries to analyze, predict, and represent performance and outcomes that impact operations and business strategy.” Many organizations leverage financial models where information comes in, it’s processed through an equation/algorithm, and information goes out. The resulting data then cascades to the next model, and the next, and so on. What if information going in was incorrect and/or some part of the equation was incorrect? Of course the data coming out would be incorrect. That cascades to the next model, which may or may not also be incorrect – the result being even more flawed data now coming out of that model into the next, leading to a buildup of incorrect information. How do you trace it back?
In June of 2014, Chartis Research published a paper called “The Risk Enabled Enterprise – Model Risk Management”. In it, there are survey results that demonstrate that “Poor quality data and insufficient data are viewed as the two most significant sources of model risk. 72% of respondents said they view poor quality data as an important or very important source of risk. Firms need to set up a dedicated model inventory system and develop dedicated model risk management technology tools and systems to assess model risk.”
Now that potential problems have been identified, making sure there is a clear understanding of the nuances associated with model risk management is important. Sean Keenan, senior managing director of model risk at AIG, recently wrote a book titled “Financial Institution Advantage and the Optimization of Information Processing”. Keenan discusses many concepts related to model risk management, including the differences between model risk management and model governance. Many organizations, specifically financial Institutions, sometimes equate model risk management with model governance – but the two are very different, and the relevance of this difference is growing:
Model governance seeks to control risk across diverse processes (model development, deployment, and validations) and stakeholders (modelers, model users, validators) using granular rules and analysis of the model inventory. The focus is on minimizing downside risk.
Model Risk Management seeks to support the maintenance and evolution of analytic infrastructure, enhancing the effectiveness of that infrastructure to achieve evolving commercial objectives over time. Model risk management focuses on systems that include models, data sources, modeling platforms, and model delivery capabilities.
Understanding these differences is crucial, but now there is a need to take action. Mature organizations are beginning to understand they can use enterprise architecture to capture business and enterprise knowledge, to capture model logic, and above all, put the financial models in their actual use case and business context. If the organization is innovative, they can also incorporate standard GRC capabilities such as model testing, model control and business value assessment.
Sean Keenan notes that models are typically embedded in systems/streams, in which they interact to process data for downstream consumption. Analyzing models at stream level is key to:
Validating models: Model validation requires some consideration of this broader context/infrastructure.
Planning: Business strategic planning is also typically done at the stream level, to enhance analytical capabilities and to appropriately sequence work.
Assessing risks of models: At stream level, model risk & data risk can more easily be quantified and communicated. One of the biggest challenges to measuring model risk is establishing an appropriate “exposure” concept. The complexity of this problem is reduced by elevating the unit of observation to the stream level.
If managed from an enterprise architecture perspective, an organization can leverage data from a single repository to manage model related objects, including the models themselves and their inter-relations, their data sources, their delivery & monitoring mechanisms, and the specific reports and other end-uses that they serve. As Keenan points out, model relationships can be graphically represented in streams, which show how models interact to produce output for downstream consumption. This approach facilitates the management of the mass of complex information needed to preserve an accurate representation of the complete analytic infrastructure.
Understanding the problems associated with financial models, the confusion between model governance and model risk management, and the steps that can be taken to create visibility into the relationships between the data will help organizations to more effectively manage model risk. Model governance platforms - especially in the GRC domain - are progressively evolving to become major influencers of the way models are managed and how model risk management is handled internally. Given the influence of these platforms, platform features and platform architecture may either be enablers or constraints to future capabilities. Systems that are based on an object-oriented architecture are more likely to be an enabler on future capabilities.
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Being a CIO is like riding a bicycle in that once you’ve figured out how to do it successfully, you can pick it up at any time and get riding. Except, what if you couldn’t? What if technology evolved at an unprecedented pace and permanently changed how the bicycle worked? How quickly could you unlearn everything that had worked up until now and then learn the new moves that would be necessary for future success? It may be more difficult than we all think.
When researching the top challenges that CIOs face in 2015 (for example, here, here, and here), three items seem to always be near the top:
Security – operating in a world without borders
Visibility – understanding and managing all the data
Agility – managing digital disruption
For decades, CIOs have been responsible for keeping the lights on and the trains running, and now you’re expected to keep doing that, but also take on new priorities, often under the same budget constraints. Is it possible to forget instincts and behaviors that have been necessary for years and make an immediate shift to a new skill set, even when many of the moving parts look the same?
According to Destin Sandlin of Smarter Every Day, it’s very difficult. In this video, Destin’s engineering friends take a bicycle and make one small change – when you turn the handlebar to the left, the wheel goes to the right, and vice versa. Destin believes he’ll be able to figure this out fairly quickly and ride the bike, but that is not the case. He becomes very frustrated in his initial attempts because it all looks and feels as if it should be easy. He says the bike revealed a very big truth to him – he had the knowledge of how to operate the bike, but he did not have the understanding.
Therefore, knowledge ≠ understanding.
Destin goes on to say “Once you have a rigid way of thinking in your head, sometimes you cannot change that, even if you want to.”
Destin explains how he practiced for five minutes every day, he had many wrecks, but after eight months, something surprising happened. One day he couldn’t ride the bike, the next day he could. To take this even further, his son, who has been riding a normal bike for three years (over half his life), was able to learn to ride the backwards bike in two weeks. Does this say something about the plasticity of a child’s mind as opposed to an adult’s?
What does this mean for CIOs? It’s probably not a good idea to start bringing in six year olds to lead IT departments, so the adults are going to need to learn to adapt. Let’s consider managing IT as a strategic asset. We can rationalize the IT landscape by creating a detailed inventory of assets to fully understand the intricacies of your operating model. We can then reconcile legacy systems with new applications by understanding dependencies and value to the business. With assets now consolidated and visibility improved, CIOs can focus more resources on innovation and managing risks.
It’s the digital age, which means there’s a lot to plan for. What is your cloud strategy? What are your plans for managing disruptive technology, ever-changing customer expectations, and the nexus of forces? These things will be part of every conversation you have for the next few years. And you can handle all of it. You’re already on your way to figuring out how to leverage these things to open new opportunities for business growth.
The hardest part may be unlearning many of the things that allowed you to achieve success up until now and knowing where to implement newly learned behaviors to make them instinctual.
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Your business. It’s your baby. Even if you don’t own the business yourself, you work hard to keep it healthy, keep it safe, and help it grow. It’s not like the old days where you could just take the little guy down to the waterin’ hole and throw him in the deep end to teach him to swim. Nowadays there are new government regulations that need to be accounted for before we can take action (you know, because while that method worked for some kids, others weren’t so lucky.)
So while on one side of the coin we have controls and regulations, on the other side of the coin is the speed at which technology is evolving. How do you keep up? How do you make sure your business has everything it needs to succeed and stay competitive while simultaneously keeping it protected and compliant so it doesn’t get hurt or hurt others?
In the olden days you had to pick one: rigid or reckless. Not only is that no longer the case, but it wouldn’t even work in today’s environment. Customers expect you to be wherever they are, whenever they want you, and available on whichever device they’re holding at that moment. Are you there yet? Your competitors are. Not only do you need to be available, but you need to be user-friendly and safe (… and it doesn’t hurt if your interface is engaging and sexy as well.)
Earlier this year, Gartner, Inc. published a piece of research titled “The 12 Principles of Application Architecture for Digital Business and IoT”1. In that document, the authors discuss how “digital business and the Internet of Things demand a new level of excellence in enterprise architecture principles and practices. Strategic application architects and other IT strategists must arm their organizations for business and technology innovation.”
They go on to discuss key challenges that businesses and architects face when navigating this new digital ecosystem. I’ve listed two of those challenges here, as one focuses on why businesses are struggling to stay agile and the other focuses on the need for improved governance: (Agility)
Enterprise applications that run some core business processes of the organization are often not designed to meet the rapidly increasing demands of digital business, challenging the ability of the organization to compete.2
Cloud computing increasingly offers IT and business capabilities that are not available on premises, but many organizations are not sure of the safe transition path for their IT practices and delay entry at their peril.3
Here’s the reality of the situation – your business is growing up. It’s going to face an exciting, fast-paced, and dangerous world out there, and like any good parent, it’s up to you to prepare your baby to face those challenges as best you can. MEGA’s solutions for IT Strategy Delivery provide tools to rationalize the IT landscape, reconcile legacy systems with new applications, and implement IT strategy with a focus on innovation, all while mitigating risks.
If we care about architecting our applications as resources that support governance, we’ll want to consider the importance of architecting the means to achieve strategic goals, particularly in transition/disruption periods that require even more degrees of flexibility than in normal, more stable times. When we think about giving our child as many chances for success as possible, they need to be flexible in the sense that they need to be a sponge for any kind of knowledge. Once we’ve set that foundation, our kids have as many degrees of liberty as we’ve given them (language, history, music, sports, etc.) Success is more likely if we provide more paths to achieve success. Now we’re not stuck picking between rigid and reckless, but instead we can select the paths that provide the best balance. In that regard, flexibility is the means for stronger governance.
Architecture can help us understand where our business is flexible and where it’s not. If we do this correctly, we can provide visibility into the business ecosystem and the digital landscape so we can move as fast as we need to move, and make sure we’re moving in the right direction.
I need to get going – I hear the baby crying in the other room…
1,2,3 - Gartner Inc. “The 12 Principles of Application Architecture for Digital Business and IoT”, Published: 29 January 2015, Authors: Yefim V. Natis, Ross Altman
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“Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.” - Winston Churchill – November 1942
We’ve come a long way since 1942, and the context with which Winston Churchill delivered those words is very different than the context that I’m talking about here today. Although Churchill’s message was delivered under circumstances with far greater weight attached, the words in the quote above are a perfect description of what we are all experiencing in today’s digital revolution.
The internet, email, ecommerce, social media, etc… these are groundbreaking, historic advancements in human achievement. If we use a simplistic overview of the history of the United States as an example, we can acknowledge that colonizing the east coast, venturing out west, and discovering the Pacific Ocean on the other side were significant achievements. However, that was not the end of the adventure. This merely laid the foundation for everything that was to come after.
In a 2014 Gartner survey, the number one business priority among CEOs was identified as growth. Now that the digital foundation has been laid, what can we expect for post-nexus innovations? How will businesses leverage the digital foundation to create opportunities for growth?
The first step is to identify the goal, or business priority. According to the survey mentioned above, the current hot priority for business executives is growth. The next step is to determine an obstacle to achieving growth. Since we’re living in the age of the customer right now, let’s focus on improving the customer experience as a means to grow the business. Even for organizations that already provide a great customer experience, there are often still areas that can be improved. How do we identify those?
We can start with our business culture. Try switching from a culture of “Why should we do that?” to “Why not do that?” Get a few ideas on the table and map out a couple of scenarios to see which ones are the lowest hanging fruit.
Let’s consider a couple of examples: A group of taxicab company employees were sitting around talking, trying to figure out how to improve the customer experience and grow the business. Person A: “What is a pain-point for our customers in the taxi-transportation process?” Person B: “Is it the cleanliness of the cabs? Is it the lack of payment options?” Person A: “No, before all of that – what blocks us from getting more customers?” Person C: “Access to cabs. People struggle to find a cab in a timely manner when they need one.” Person A: “How do we get more people access to more cabs?” Person B: “We could double the number of cars and drivers we have around the city.” Person A: “True, but the operating costs would skyrocket. Is there a better way?” Person C: “What about a phone app that allows the customer to request a cab, and they’re immediately notified that a cab driver (name provided in the app) is ‘x’ minutes away and will be there shortly? The customer is also given an expected cost and time of arrival at their destination to remove the uncertainty from the experience."
A group of clothing retail employees were sitting around talking, trying to figure out how to improve the customer experience and grow the business. Person A: “What is a pain-point for our customers in the process of purchasing clothing online?” Person B: “The fit. They don’t know how the clothes will look on them when their order arrives.” Person A: “What can we do about that? We want to encourage people to shop through our website.” Person C: “We can ship the customer a wearable tech garment … a smart shirt … that takes their exact measurements and communicates that data back to our website. Then, when the customer orders any clothing item, they automatically receive the item in the perfect size.” Person A: “Person C, you’re a genius!”
Other companies, like Nike, are leveraging the borderless enterprise to provide value to the customers while simultaneously reaping value for the company. The Nike+ FuelBand helps the wearer to track their physical activity and amount of energy burned, allowing users to set fitness goals and monitor their progress. At the same time, that data is tracked by Nike, who can then send automated alerts to the customer suggesting they may need a new pair of sneakers or other fitness gear (… oh, and here’s a discount code if you purchase now.)
If we’re going to execute on these concepts, let’s look at expectations and actions from different roles in the organization to understand who needs what to move forward…
CIOs and other executives are looking for methods to:
Speed up time to market and create new sources of revenue
Improve connectivity between your business, customers, and stakeholders to grow the business
Utilize accurate, real-time data to make sure investments in digital business deliver calculated returns – making digital a profit center, not a cost center
Enterprise architects and project managers can support these things by:
Providing business stakeholders with actionable and measurable recommendations and decision-ready deliverables regarding the businesses’ digital transformation
Helping the CIO slide the line on the 80/20 budget allocation - increasing the innovation budget without increasing spending
Creating models and reports for business leaders to analyze the impact of responses to digital disruption so decisions can be made to best capitalize on opportunities for business growth
Churchill’s words are a brilliant summary of what the world is facing in this digital revolution. What is going to be the next thing your business does to leverage the digital foundation?
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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through IT, Panic set in, for who could foresee?
Shoppers still scrambling, all over the web, Buying products online, when they should be in bed.
Tech support was nestled all snug at their desks, While live chats and phone calls put them to the test.
And servers were buzzing, as orders were placed. “Will the system hold up?!?” – the CIO braced.
When out in the hall there arose noisy chatter, I stepped to the group, to ask “What’s the matter?”
Then a voice rang out, and was heard above all “I know who can help, I know who to call!”
“The enterprise architects can guide us through this. Their models and dashboards act like GPS!”
Then what to my wondering eyes did appear, But the enterprise architects (… and one had a beard).
More rapid than eagles and coursers they came, And whistled, and shouted deliverables by name:
“Now dashboards, now heatmaps, reports and assessments, On strategies, deployments, capabilities and investments.
From the top of the C-suite, to the architect’s hall, We’ve modeled it, modeled it, modeled it all!”
And quickly they listed for us, one by one, The projects and steps and work they had done.
They created best practices that will stick just like tape, Then explained how they rationalized the app’ landscape.
They reviewed artifacts and documentation, Then analyzed requirements and problem causation.
They took the time to create specifications, Then designed, prepared, and tested configurations.
The one with the beard put us at ease, When he told us they’d considered the company’s needs.
“We’re in compliance, efficiency’s improved. Risks are mitigated, legacy systems are few.
We ran as-is/to-be and made the right moves. The transition from one state to the other was smooth.”
There was something familiar about this old guy. Had we spoken before? I stood there tongue-tied.
He was confident and sure, with a little round belly, That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
“Infrastructure is sound, the vision is clear. Applications are stable, with nothing to fear.
The pace of change and digital disruption, Have hit the market like a technology eruption.
As customer expectations expand, We made sure the company could meet the demand.”
His words brought us comfort, and filled us with joy, I couldn’t have been happier if I’d been handed a toy.
We all began clapping and cheering and praising, “These enterprise architects are truly amazing!”
Then the one with the beard walked toward the door. I called “Don’t leave yet, we want to hear more!”
He said “This team’s good, this team’s got this, my son. Now I have to go - my night’s just begun.”
And laying his finger aside of his nose, And giving a nod, the elevator rose.
He was headed upstairs, I said “Wait, that’s the roof!” Then I heard footsteps (… those couldn’t be hooves?)
We raced to the top, like children at play, And there before us, were his reindeer and sleigh.
And I heard him exclaim, as he drove out of sight – “Happy Christmas from MEGA, and to all a good night!”
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The 2014 Gartner Symposium in Orlando … that was impressive. Over 10,000 people, celebrity speakers, magic quadrants, good food, intelligent conversations … what a party!
Speaking of intelligent conversations, did anyone else notice a trend in the discussions that were taking place? I spoke to many people who were focused on business-outcome-driven initiatives, and leveraging IT portfolio management, capability modeling, etc. to achieve business transformation. A wise man once said “you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone.” That was good advice fifty years ago and it’s good advice today. The pace of change that we’re experiencing is unprecedented, and it’s customer expectations that are driving that change. This isn’t simply a matter of “do I want to get my business in on that new trend?” – this is a swim or sink scenario.
I know, it doesn’t sound easy. Things have been done a certain way for a very long time, and with great success. I understand. Change can be daunting. But there’s good news. Not only will these changes allow businesses to better meet customer expectations, but you can lead the charge on converting IT from a cost center into a profit center. This is the Wild West, baby! Just because we have internet and smart phones now doesn’t mean we’re done. Quite the contrary - we’re just getting started. (… more on that to come.)
So now what? We’re back from Orlando, the party’s over, it’s raining – how do we transform the magic and enthusiasm from Symposium into tangible results back at the office? Here are a few steps we can take now to keep the momentum rolling:
Start talking: If business-outcomes are what matters, then we’ve got to talk to the people who drive the business. We need to understand strategy from decision-makers and we need to understand day-to-day logistics from the people who execute the tactics to deliver the strategy.
Assess the scene: Let’s take stock of what we have (equipment, skills, money, reputation) and figure out where gaps exist between what we plan to do and the resources we have to achieve these goals. We don’t want to start on a journey and then realize we forgot the GPS.
Pick a project: Here’s a cliché – if you’re on an island and you need to eat, don’t try to boil the ocean, start by frying a fish. We need to deliver results if we’re going to get buy-in on bigger transformation initiatives. Let’s pick something tangible where we can demonstrate an ROI, and then illustrate how we can carry that forward into broader successes.
Exciting conferences can be like New Year’s – there’s a huge celebration and we come away full of hope and ambition, but by February we’ve given up on our diet and we’re back to watching the world go by. Let’s make a pact … not this time! We can’t travel to Wonderland, party with queens, smoke with caterpillars, and come back as if nothing’s changed. Everything’s different. The world is different.
It’s time to sink or swim. What’s your next move?
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Le « tout digital » ou la « digitalisation des métiers » sont des expressions très présentes et à la mode dans le débat économique et médiatique. Est-ce bien justifié ?
Cela dépend à qui vous vous adressez, mais si vous réalisiez une enquête de micro-trottoir, la réponse serait plutôt oui.
Pour beaucoup d’entreprises, la digitalisation est aujourd’hui la méthode la plus efficace pour augmenter sa croissance et sa rentabilité. Il ne s’agit pas pas d’un coup de poker, mais d’un réel choix stratégique exigeant une transformation du business modèle de l’entreprise.
De quel type de changements parle-t-on précisément? C’est d’abord un état d’esprit. Dans l’étude 2013 Digital Transformation Global Executive Study and Research Project réalisée par le MIT Sloan Management Review et le cabinet de conseil Capgemini, les participants ont dû nommer les freins organisationnels les plus importants à la transformation digitale au sein de leur organisation. En haut de la liste :
Pas de sentiment d'urgence
Manque de budget pour le projet
Systèmes d’information limités
De même, les 3 freins culturels les plus significatifs à une initiative de Transformation Digitale cités par les participants sont :
Gestion des priorités - « Ça ne fait pas partie de nos priorités pour le moment » Méconnaissance du digital - « Je n’y connais rien au digital »
Résistance au changement - « Pourquoi changer si nous avons toujours fait ainsi ? »
Ces réponses résonnent comme les excuses que l’on peut donner lorsque l’on déserte la salle de sport !
Nous adressons tout de même ici des questions de rentabilité et de croissance pour l’entreprise, de compétitivité et de développement d’une offre qui réponde aux nouvelles attentes des consommateurs… Il est bien question ici des défis à relever lors de la digitalisation de l’entreprise. Essayons d’apporter des réponses et adopter une approche positive de ce changement nécessaire.
Par où commencer ?
Aligner les ressources IT sur les besoins métier
Cela peut sembler évident, mais combien de fois avons-nous entendu les DSI se demander : "Quels sont les objectifs des métiers et comment faire en sorte que mes projets actuels (et futurs), mes applications, les cycles de vie de mes logiciels et les investissements contribuent à l’atteinte de ces objectifs ?" C’est là le cœur de mon propos : si cette question trouve sa réponse, alors cette réponse entraînera de fait un changement de notre mode de fonctionnement. Une vue d’ensemble claire et détailléedes ressources applicatives et technologiques permet d’identifier la manière dont les ressources supportent les métiers et leurs objectifs. Une telle vue permet également de rassembler, analyser et partager les exigences nécessaires pour la transformation digitale.
D’autres challenges ?
Planifier la transformation
"Quelles sont les applications les plus stratégiques, les plus coûteuses et les plus exposées aux risques ? Par où commencer la transformation ?" Pour répondre à cela, il est nécessaire de décrire et de comparer des scénarios de transformation. Puis identifier, évaluer et gérer les risques … Ceci pour calculer l'impact de la transformation sur chaque utilisateur concerné, par exemple en termes de valeur pour le métier. Un manque de compréhension et de priorisation des facteurs nécessitant d’être changer peut contribuer à l’échec du projet de transformation digitale.
Évaluer les compétences digitales
"Ai-je en interne les compétences nécessaires ? Comment acquérir de nouvelles compétences tout en assurant la continuité de mon activité ? Devrais-je externaliser, établir un partenariat, et/ou monter en compétence ?"
Pour commencer, cartographions et comparons les compétences nécessaires et existantes. Un manque de ressources et de compétences appropriées peut mener à l’échec du projet de transformation, et/ou à la discontinuité de mon activité.
Piloter la transformation
"Pendant la transformation, comment gérer les imprévus et envisager des alternatives ?" Grande question. C’est un sacré défi car nous savons tous qu’il faut se préparer à l’inattendu. Mais comment faire ? La seule manière que je vois est d’obtenir une vue claire de son environnement… comme une carte routière ou un GPS … pour connaitre les itinéraires bis, la disponibilité des ressources et les risques associés à chaque décision. Nous pourrons alors piloter sereinement la transformation. Votre entreprise ne pourra pas réussir avec des vues approximatives, en tâtonnant, mais uniquement grâce à une prise de décision éclairée et à un travail précis. La visibilité d’une organisation au sein de son écosystème et de son environnement, comme notamment les interconnexions des différents éléments du système, est fondamentale pour optimiser la culture déjà forte de prise de décisions et aligner le travail des équipes sur une stratégie et un objectif communs.
En parlant de navigation, l'équipage m’a l’air prêt à embarquer. Allumons notre GPS et mettons-nous en route vers notre prochaine destination.
Traduction du post de Michael Hebda Challenges vs Resistance: Embracing Disruptive Innovation par Laura Wiest-Pillois.
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Do you believe in magic? If you follow a rabbit down a rabbit hole, will you stumble into a world where a bank customer can take a picture of a check and it’s automatically deposited into their account? Or, as Paolo Malinverno of Gartner described, where in the event of a car accident, the car will “interrogate” the driver’s wearable tech to check vital signs, the smart phone and car will send information to emergency responders and open up communication lines for survivors, where nearby video cameras are “interrogated” to collect digital evidence of the car crash as it occurred? What if your refrigerator recognized that you were low on milk and could automatically notify the grocery delivery system to add milk to the list?
Although I’m sure we’ll see some colorful characters at the 2014 Gartner Symposium, we don’t need crazed hatters or Cheshire cats for us to experience the wizardry described above. This is real. Some of these things are available now – some are a short distance away. Is your company in a position to harness and leverage technology to deliver this new level of connectivity to both internal and external customers?
The changing role of the CIO and IT, trying to slide the line on the 80/20 rule to get more innovation from existing resources, managing the pace of change and scaling the business accordingly … it looks like many businesses are facing a lot of the same challenges. Of course different organizations are at different stages of their transformation. Everyone will do what’s right for their business at the right time, but the sun is rising for all of us, and as much fun as we all had last night, it’s time to get ready for a new day. (As my wife would say, “We have to be there when the parks open!”)
Each year I enjoy getting together with everybody at Gartner Symposium to discuss all of these changes and how different players are navigating the landscape. MEGA will be there to provide an enterprise architecture perspective on managing these challenges. In the recently released 2014 Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Architecture Tools, Saul Brand explains that EA tools “should facilitate the implementation of a business strategy focused on business outcomes and risk mitigation.” He goes on to say “This is done to enable business change that supports the direction and strategy of the organization while confronting many types of business disruptions.”
Supporting strategy while confronting business disruptions. Certainly easier said than done, but I’m looking forward to hearing how different people make it happen. If you’d like, visit MEGA at booth 501 in the Enterprise Architecture marketplace at ITxpo – our team would love to hear about your plans to take your business digital.
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“Engaging in digital transformation”, “Taking the business digital”, “Digital business transformation”, etc. all sound like trendy phrases and buzzwords these days, but is there any merit to the hype?
It depends who you ask. It turns out that if you ask anybody (or everybody), the answer is yes.
For many organizations, taking the business digital is currently the most effective method to open new opportunities for growth and profitability. But this isn’t a lottery ticket; it’s a strategic business choice that requires changes to the operating model.
What kind of changes are we talking about? First, there’s a mindset issue that may need to be addressed. In an MIT Sloan Management Review and Capgemini Consulting 2013 Digital Transformation Global Executive Study and Research Project, participants were asked to name the most significant organizational barriers to Digital Transformation in their organization. The top three were:
No “burning platform” / no sense of urgency
Not enough funding
Limitations of IT systems
The same study asked participants to name the most significant cultural barriers to Digital Transformation in their organization. The top three were:
Competing priorities – “we don’t have time for this right now”
Lack of familiarity with digital – “we don’t know how to do that”
Resistance to new approaches – “this is the way we’ve always done it”
These sound like the things people say when asked why they don’t go to the gym.
We’re talking about growing your business. Staying ahead of the competition (… or in some cases, catching up). Staying relevant in a customer-centric world.
There’s no doubt that there are challenges to taking your business digital. But, let’s focus on the legitimate ones so that we can take action, overcome these obstacles, and get to the side of this where we’re creating new business opportunities.
So, where do we start?
1. Aligning Business & IT It sounds cliché, but a real question we hear CIOs struggle with is: “What are the goals of the business and how do my current (and planned) programs, applications, software lifecycles, and investments contribute to the business achieving those goals?”
Ah, now we’re talking about questions that, when answered, will allow us to transform how we operate.
To overcome this challenge, we’ll need a clear picture of the IT landscape and how it supports the business and strategy. We’ll also want the power to gather, analyze, and share requirements for IT transformation.
What are some other challenges to digital transformation?
2. Planning Transformation “What are my most costly, risky, and critical applications? Where do we need to implement changes first?”
For this, we need the ability to describe and compare transformation scenarios. We also need to identify, assess, and manage risks … AND, after we do that, we’ll want to calculate impact by polling users on things such as business value.
A lack of understanding and prioritization of factors that need to be changed can lead to a failure to deliver the digital transformation.
3. Assess Digital Skills “Do I have the right skills in-house? How do I acquire new skills while ensuring business continuity? Should I outsource, partner, and/or upgrade internal skills?”
Let’s map our required skills against our existing competencies as a starting point. A lack of resources and relevant skills can lead to a failure to deliver transformation, and/or a failure in business continuity.
4. Managing Transformation “How do I deal with the unexpected during the transformation, and contemplate alternatives?”
Great question. This is a big deal because we all know that the unexpected is going to happen. The only way to prepare for the unexpected is to approach the landscape with a clear view … a map or GPS … to understand alternate routes, availability of resources, and risks associated with each decision. Then we can navigate the transformation with confidence.
Your company isn’t succeeding with guesswork, it’s succeeding with confident decision-making and hard work. If we can increase visibility into your company’s ecosystem and the surrounding environment, as well as how each piece is related to the others, we can improve the already-strong decision-making and ensure that everyone’s hard work is driving the company toward achieving business goals.
Speaking of driving, the team looks like they’re ready to get going. Let’s grab the GPS and figure out our next destination.
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What are you doing on June 4th? If you’re a business or technology leader, you might be heading to the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit. Every year, EA is recognized by more and more CIOs and other executives as the window into their organization and the business landscape. Leadership requires decision-making, and decision-making requires accurate information delivered quickly. When executives can pull back the curtains and throw open the shutters, information about the operating model streams in, providing context and perspective.
With EA delivering results to the C-suite, it’s no surprise that Gartner continues to see increases in the number of decision-makers and innovators attending the EA Summit. Check out some of the hot topics at the center of this year’s event:
Business outcomes and actionable deliverables in the digital age
Driving effective business and IT change within the enterprise
Taking a leadership role in today’s global economy
Capitalizing on business and technology disruptions
To make this valuable, it can’t just be talk. Academic discussions are (yawn) entertaining at best. It has to be about action. Defining goals that are both realistic and worthwhile. Crafting strategies that actually achieve goals. Ensuring business activities and IT are supporting corporate strategies.
You know, delivering results.
How does MEGA fit into this? Not only have we been ranked as a Leader in Gartner’s Enterprise Architecture Magic Quadrant five years in a row, but MEGA acts as a business GPS to help companies understand where they are, where they want to take the business, and how they’re going to get there.
Kevin Costa, MEGA’s esteemed orator du jour, will be presenting on “Using Business Capability Maps to Deliver Business Outcomes”. Wednesday, June 4th at 1pm in the Solution Showcase Theater (Prince George A), following lunch, Kevin will review how to help executives make key decisions more quickly, how and why to share business capabilities with management, and how you can understand where to focus your efforts.
Following that, visit booth 201. Come talk to Kevin, Rick, Dan, Jacqui, and David. Tell them about your goals and challenges, have a coffee or a beer, and maybe uncover ideas about how to turn some of Gartner’s discussions into actions for your business.
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