Thanks Dave - we're glad we were able to harness your experience and translate it into some actionable advice! If you do not have a lot of experience at this event, make sure to check out our new blog post, First-timer's Guide to Navigating Gartner Symposium/ITxpo ---> http://community.mega.com/t5/Blog-Event/First-timer-s-Guide-to-Navigating-Gartner-Symposium-ITxpo/ba-p/15268
... View more
MEGA will be in sunny San Diego next week for OPEX Week Summer. We are looking forward to sharing best practices around accelerating your digital journey and improving CX. Our experts are onsite and ready to talk about all-things customer journey mapping, process optimization, and business capability evolution.
Check out our video – and make sure you say ‘hi’ below!
... View more
The role of the enterprise architect has undergone an evolution where it’s now more customer-centric and digitally-driven. We see evidence in the changing definition of what Forrester 1 describes as the main goal of an enterprise architect in 2012 vs. today.
2012: By strengthening communication and collaboration across business lines and building a robust, forward-looking EA program, [EA Professionals are] transforming business technology strategies to drive innovation and flexibility for the future.
2016: Enterprise Architecture Professionals have to shift their focus from technology standardization and cost reduction to customer-driven technology capabilities. To succeed, you must execute on a business technology agenda focused on delivering superior customer experience to drive growth; utilize agile, stakeholder-driven methodologies; and adopt wider people, process, information, and technology competencies.
The major changes from 2012 to 2016 are related to the constantly-changing enterprise ecosystem. 4-5 years ago, EAs were mostly dedicated to documenting their internal ecosystem – technologies, capabilities, processes – and standardizing this information so that decisions could be made based on comprehensive and accurate information. Now, the role (and the ecosystem) has expanded to include external factors – customer experience, competition, threats – that help create to get a clear picture of how digital can be woven into the fabric of your organization’s DNA, and what needs to happen to get it done.
As a customer-driven, future-oriented architect, your job has always been to support smart decisions, and the job of EA has evolved into giving you the transparency you need to be confident, informed, and ready at a moment’s notice – because we all know digital is here to stay, and in order to survive, and thrive, there’s no choice but to embrace it. We’ve developed a series of eBooks that are centered around helping you manage digital transformation. The first part – Capturing Digital Strategy Using Enterprise Architecture – gives tips on ways to incorporate business strategy, drivers of change, and business objectives into your digitally-centered EA framework using a capability-based approach.
source - 1- Forrester
... View more
The power shift to customers has led to unprecedented competitive pressure. Unless your company was born “digital,” you are staring at layers of old and new technologies that can’t just be wiped out and rebuilt to suit the needs of digital transformation. Instead, you need a plan in place to optimize these existing systems in order to launch and sustain a transformation initiative. Digital is not a temporary phenomenon; the key to succeeding is visibility and transparency. You can’t change what you can’t see. Having an integrated platform that provides an interactive view of all business and IT components – and their dependencies – helps drive transformation, improve decision making, and navigate change in a disruptive, competitive environment.
Check out these 4 steps to help you take control of your digital transformation:
4 steps to plan and navigate your digital transformation de MEGA International
... View more
As a starting point, I’d like to redefine “borderless enterprise” in the context of the digital foundation:
An ecosystem - powered by IT - of interconnected resources, assets and activities that make up an organization, where:
Boundaries of an operating model are fluid and adaptable to any size of internal or external change
The digital foundation of IT – mobile, social, cloud, and big data – is no longer what a company is striving for. It is now the expectation which strategy, capabilities, risk management, and innovation is built upon. Traditionally, these components are managed where they compete for attention and resources. It’s important to consider them working in tandem to support one another. Looking at this assumption from the perspective of the new borderless enterprise, let’s consider the “social” component.
Typically, organizations use the digital foundation to enhance the customer experience. What about supporting the internal customer experience (the business users)? This new digital world we live in can benefit employees just as much as it benefits customers. But, just like businesses need appropriate channels to gather customer feedback to better understand needs and expectations, if an organization is going to transform its culture and infrastructure to meet the needs of the employees and improve processes, they’ll need channels to gather the necessary information. Enterprise architects can create a map of where the business is now and where it wants to go, but they’ll need data to populate the map. Leveraging connections to communities of mutual interests – meaning inter- and intra-departmental networks – gives IT (and the architecture team) access to organic, raw information about the business – whether it’s products, services, or ideas.
How? Crowd sourcing. Instead of some people (the architects) doing all the work, all the people do some. It makes for an efficient process that can “take the temperature of the room” far more quickly than sending out a few architects to understand the needs of each department. IT can collect information through user-friendly surveys and questionnaires sent out to business users. The information that is crowd sourced must be organized in a central location that intelligently incorporates it into the overall architecture. To make this possible, it’s important to have end-to-end governance of this process. Guidelines need to be provided and rules need to be enforced. Once this information is collected through crowd-sourcing with surveys and questionnaires, and a system of governance is put in place, you can report against compliance regulations, business risks, resource efficiency, and more. Agility and governance are often seen as opposing forces. When adding more agility, we often sacrifice governance, and vice versa. The key to success for businesses in the digital age will be to find a way to increase both without sacrificing the other.
It’s important to point out that the basis of successful IT strategy delivery and improved business capabilities is a unified ecosystem that has comprehensive and accurate information about the organization. IT and business operations have been revolutionized by technologies that connect employees, customers, partners, and sales channels – which, in turn, creates feedback channels to share ideas and information. Enterprise architecture helps companies easily gather and evaluate data to create a central source of truth. CIOs can use this information to more easily lead business and digital transformation, and it also helps them predict the results of change before it occurs.
Great customer service starts with reliable customer feedback. That applies to both external and internal customers (employees.) The only way to improve processes and the operating model is to gather reliable feedback. Now, what constitutes crowd sourcing as an activity related to the concept of the “borderless enterprise”? I would say it’s the ability to leverage feedback channels within the new ecosystem to transform the business and deliver results: security, scalability, capability, accountability, and profitability. Once all of the enterprise data is collected, you have a stronger and more accurate picture of the operating model. The picture is not permanent, but rather, it’s dynamic … and changing every day. Armed with this picture, the interconnected ecosystem can adjust even to the smallest or most sensitive change – the result being fluidity. The more inviting to change that your architecture is, the more informed your decisions are.
Sometimes, there are cases between the IT side of the business and operations where operations will make a request and IT must tell them it can’t be done. By leveraging communication channels between communities of mutual interests in this new borderless ecosystem, architects can create a complete picture of the capabilities and strategy of your organization, and the answer no longer has to be “it can’t be done.” Details of the business’ ecosystem allow you to understand the objective of the request – see if the capability already exists – and find a solution to meet the need. Now you have a cultural transition from “no.” to “what will it take?” – something that promotes collaboration and partnership between lines of business.
What do you think about the evolution of the borderless enterprise from being a security term, to an architecture term? How can the definition be expanded?
To learn more about the borderless enterprise, watch this 20-minute MEGA Byte.
... View more
This past summer, NPR did an interview  with an IT help desk professional, who stated that he and his team have “challenges where [they] have to counsel people and comfort them during stressful times while also practicing [their] craft.” The premise is highly relevant to the role of enterprise architects, and even CIOs.
IT’s role in the business is to leverage technology and data to help the organization accomplish more in less time (and at a profit) by:
Managing smart, strategically-driven applications
Providing tools and resources that support collaboration
Promoting a culture of critical thinking and problem solving
Predicting and managing the impact of changes to operations
Establishing metrics and reports that help executives make more-informed decisions
Unless you live under a rock, you know that taking the business digital (mobile, social, cloud, big data) has become the cornerstone of success. Customer needs and expectations are no longer completely satisfied by business practices that were considered forward-thinking in the mid-2000s. The relevance of psychology when considering the behaviors and emotions that are tethered to IT has fast-tracked innovation and the evolution of today’s business into tomorrow.
Here’s an interesting definition of the psychology of IT  :
Psychology of Information Technology psy•chol•o•gy of in•for•ma•tion tech•nol•o•gy (noun)
1. an applied science study of the mental, attitudinal, motivational, or behavioral characteristics of an individual or of a type, class, or group of individuals in the development, maintenance, or use of computer systems, software and networks for the processing and distribution of data 2. the study of human behavior in relation to the generation, delivery, storage, use and sharing of electronic data
As an enterprise architect, you’re often faced with determining and navigating the “how”. By establishing a strong view from various specs, there should be a direct line from high level strategy straight down to the people who run the day to day activities. These are the activities that help implement the companies’ objectives that will support the overall business goals.
Without a solid understanding of your organization’s behavior and culture, determining and navigating the “how” is nearly impossible. In today’s business environment, CIOs should look to employ psychology-driven technologists.
Food for thought: This snapshot of the 2013 Deloitte CIO Survey demonstrates the importance of the connection between psychology and technology. CIOs find that IT is lacking in cognitive skills (critical thinking), but are fairly confident in the quantitative skills of IT (analytics). There are still significant shifts that have to take place in order to close the gap between cognitive and quantitative skills.
It’s imperative that companies seek software solutions that enhance their ability to connect technology and data to the human aspect of doing business. MEGA offers collaborative, scalable and secure solutions so that you can integrate the psychological and technological aspects of IT into the fabric of how your organization operates. What are you doing to bring the two together?
 http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/08/11/338984905/a-good-it-person-needs-to-be-half-technologist-half-psychologist  http://www.purplecar.net/2013/07/psych-of-it/
... View more
Risks directly impact revenue and profit.
There is a domino effect. The influence that risk management and compliance has on accurate decision making is far reaching – and it cascades from top management all the way down to operational staff …and sometimes back up again. If one domino misses its mark, the whole trail is compromised.
How are you currently evaluating the effectiveness of your corporate governance efforts to make sure they hit their mark? A successful corporate governance program relies on input from business users – and risks and controls only have meaning when they have context, which is accomplished using a corporate governance framework.
As many recent examples have proven, defining the right framework is not enough to guarantee success. Here are 5 key best practices to adopt:
Board Support: Key stakeholders must be trained and responsibility must be distributed as to who will oversee each of the corporate governance-related projects.
Appointment of a GRC Steering Committee: A governance board is necessary to effectively optimize business performance.
Formalized C-level Executive: This person is critical to secure sufficient resources and access to key management.
Strong Policies and Procedures: Employees must be held accountable for violations and periodic audits for compliance must be performed.
Measurable Value-Add: A sustainable program is started from an outline of the organization’s current risk environment and its impact on the bottom line.
Having a “just to pass” culture when it comes to regulatory requirements is dangerous and could disrupt the path of your dominos. Not every organization has the same goals, risk appetite, and Governance, Risk and Compliance (GRC) culture, yet they all need to make the decisions about how to optimize their business and protect their company. Going through the motions and completing the administrative tasks needed for risk, compliance, and internal audit without demonstrating concrete value to the company is no longer acceptable.
A company must establish a risk tolerance and corporate governance culture that is supported by the executive team and, in some cases, the board of directors. Without formal support (including training and communication throughout the company), a corporate governance framework that correlates complex risks, controls and business processes will not be as effective as it could be – and you’ll eventually miss your mark.
... View more
When you’re looking for a job, everyone will tell you “You have to brand yourself” or “Make sure to adjust your resume to meet each specific job description before you submit it”. It’s the same for getting company-wide buy-in for your brand new or long-running IT program or initiative. What you’re trying to do in this case is help the initiative earn the appreciation of the rest of the organization. This means demonstrating why it’s valuable to them (or the company). To make that easier (although nothing about this is easy …), you have to market the program—give it a brand—in a way that is mutually beneficial to both you and your audience.
As a marketing professional, I have witnessed the power that content has on branding and identity. I can tell you that there’s a difference between making headlines and going viral. Headlines have an expiration date to how long they are relevant. Going viral is the level above. Some quick Googling will tell you that the most important characteristics of a viral piece of content are: relevance, share-ability, and the capability to evoke an emotional reaction (no, not crying … think more like positively impactful on your co-worker’s workload). Your program needs to satiate their hunger—make them say, “Where has this been all my life?”
3 useful tips to help your program gain momentum:
Branding So, first thing’s first: give your program a name. Identify two or three benefits your program will bring if they get on board with it (you’ll have a longer lunch break because you’re centralizing document management, you’ll have more time to work on that proposal to enhance the website in a way that more-accurately captures customer activity, etc.). Make sure you demonstrate the program’s impact on business outcomes. Focus on the projects you support that have the most visible influence. Shop it around the department and get feedback. Use terms that are understood by the business (using their language is critical). Lastly, make sure your method of promoting the program speaks to the mixture of people who have the potential to become connected to the content.
Once equipped with a solid framework, it’s time for rubber to meet the road. Get ready to encounter resistance to change. Have your counter arguments prepared in advance. Make sure you have an answer to the questions, “Why is it different this time? What have you done for me lately? How will the business be better tomorrow?”…
Next, it’s time to address upper management. The inevitable: “Will this make us any more money?” Gartner analyst Brian Burke provided advice about getting buy-in from the top when he wrote, “The situation is about enhancing, extending, or differentiating existing business capabilities related to products, services, or markets.”*
In other words, are you embarking on a Digital Transformation project? Supporting innovative new business initiatives? Or are you trying to optimize your IT Strategy Delivery to reduce costs and gain more agility?
Keeping Momentum Once the project is launched, set a reminder to evaluate your status in one month, six months, and twelve months. Each time, make small adjustments to how you’re branding the program or the frequency at which you’re communicating each level of achievement on your way to influencing business outcomes.
Some experts argue that virality means that there is a sharp increase in sharing and excitement, followed by a sudden downward spiral of engagement. I tend to agree in some cases, but in the case of making your program stick, you can avoid this downward spiral by making sure you’re paying attention to and communicating about moves that support longevity and ongoing impact to the bottom line.
*Brian Burke. “To the Point: Measuring the Value of EA and its Impact on Business Outcomes”. Gartner EA Summit. May 22, 2013.
... View more
“Take nothing on its looks; take everything on evidence. There's no better rule.” Charles Dickens, Great Expectations
All business executives expect innovation. The question is how you’re making sure you’re not missing – and, instead, supporting - activities that have proven to produce top-line growth. Driving innovation is one way to fuel growth, whether it’s taking the business digital or knowing what the customer wants before they want it. Supporting business priorities is also top-of-mind. It’s more important now – than ever – to be deliberate and strategic about your customers. It’s the only way you’ll break through the noise and chaos created by your competitors.
Your customers have expectations … but the business sometimes has “great expectations” – they overshoot. Luckily they have you to organize, prioritize, and plan how they’re going to execute strategy according to their (sometimes lofty) goals. When taking on a transformation project, how are you making sure that your customers’ expectations are not getting cast aside to help cut costs, increase shareholder value, or meet regulatory requirements?
Conceiving of, and then starting, a transformation project can be cumbersome and might tempt you to lose some focus on your customer. To make sure you’re on the path to success, you must have accurate, relevant information at your fingertips (so you can make decisions based on evidence), and your team needs to have the right people in place.
Let’s look at characteristics to achieve this – because it’s not just about having the right skills, it’s about knowing how to use them in the context of the business.
Identify the people who are great at taking their work environment into consideration. Having people who can apply the bigger picture to a project is critical to how effective the project will be upon completion. This big picture view helps all players to understand the relevance of their role and facilitates communication between departments and up to the executive team.
Understanding of strategy
Before any project is started, the strategy needs to be applied to the intended business outcome. Who on your team can define this connection – and ensure that the steps taken are in line with the strategy?
Knowledge of organizational intricacies
Knowing the ins-and-outs of inter- and intra-department connections and the impacts that each has on one another is a key component when embarking on large projects, such as digital transformation. Not only is this valuable for gathering data and finding the right people to talk to when you need something done - but it also helps you build a business case for decision makers because you can clearly identify the impact that the transformation project(s) will have on other parts of the business.
Rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands dirty
Find that person who is willing to tear open the box and dig through the contents – no matter how messy it is. That’s right – permission to get dirty. But, on the other hand, being meticulous and critical are important characteristics, and knowing the details, or knowing how to find the relevant details when you’re digging, are the exact traits needed to execute on a large transformation project.
With these characteristics, project teams can be sure to start off on the right foot. Now, let’s think about what the team will need...
The people-process-technology trifecta: Knowing how to adapt the inner-workings of the how the organization is impacted by change is a great way to provide guidance on how it will affect the fabric of the business landscape. Even if the change seems like it’ll have little impact, knowing the people it will affect, the processes it will impact, and the technologies required to support it will significantly increase the chances of the change having a positive effect on business operations.
Identifying who’s right for the job: Assessing your team’s skills in the context of the transformation project is critical. First, identify what types of skills are needed to get the job done. Next, pinpoint any existing resources that match these required skills. Now that you’ve identified what you have and what you need, you can map the skills to key roles necessary to support transformation.
*Bonus! Now that you’ve identified these skills, you can more easily plan for training, future staffing requirements, and managing resource rotation that is required to help support different projects/processes across the organization.
By outlining these characteristics and identifying what skills are needed to support transformation projects, it’s now easier to assess your company’s strategy, strengths and weaknesses in the context of its resources – and the opportunities and risks associated with transformation initiatives - as well as other projects. You can’t assume that a skill exists on the team because of someone’s job title. It’s about the unique expertise and skillset they bring to the table – what have they identified as their strengths? Like Dickens said, take everything on evidence.
And that, my friends, is how Dickens would have done it.
... View more
It’s here, it’s amazing, but it’s going to take some getting used to … but when you do, it’s going to be better on the other side.
Let’s look at 5 takeaways that will equip you with just a little more as you make your way down the digital path:
Be ready to assess digital readiness: Of over 1,200 executives surveyed by Forrester, 19% of organizations have the necessary technology to execute digital strategy. 15% have the necessary people and skills.  Work with your teams to get an understanding of the current state of your organization—identify and manage your strengths and gaps.
Know your capabilities: An effective digital strategy addresses the needs of both the business and customer ecosystems.  Bridging the gap is critical to success.
Growing the business is top-of-mind: More business executives rank growing revenue as a top priority (24%) over reducing costs (17%). Organizations must capitalize on opportunities, such as leading a digital business strategy and rethinking the operating model. 
Managing digital disruption: Navigate through the noise by focusing efforts on specific business goals. Leveraging an agile digital approach will produce quick wins with incremental results. 
Strong digital leadership is critical to success: “Replace your inside-out viewpoint with an outside-in lens on your customers.” Look for “the three attributes of digital leadership”  :
Strategy: set and communicate digital strategy
Transformation: manage digital change
Execution: operate and optimize digital touch points
In a customer-centric business environment, DIGITAL IS KING. How would you rank your organization in terms of its digital-readiness? What are you doing to grow the business? Are you focusing on adjusting your lens to be more customer-oriented?
 Source: Forrester Research: “Turning Business Drivers into Digital Strategy”. Gordon Barnett. May 6, 2014. “The Future of Business is Digital”. March 10, 2014. Forrester Report: Forrester & Russell Reynolds 2014 Digital Business Survey.  Source: Forrester Research “Turning Business Drivers into Digital Strategy”. Gordon Barnett. May 6, 2014.  Source: Forrester Research: “Enterprise Architecture at the Front End of your Business”. Alex Cullen. May 6, 2014. Forrsights Budgets And Priorities Survey, Q4 2013.  Source: Forrester Research: “Navigating the Fast-Moving Landscape of Digital Implementation Partners.” Liz Hebert. May 5, 2014.  Source: Forrester Research. “Navigate Your Digital C-Suite”. Nigel Fenwick. May 5, 2014.
... View more