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What can the Scottish Referendum teach us about Enterprise Architecture?

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What can the Scottish Referendum teach us about Enterprise Architecture?

Over the last few weeks, a decidedly partisan English media has been awash with stories of woe, depicting a virtual apocalypse resulting from what appears to be an increasingly likely ‘Yes’ vote. Aside from the No campaigners’ trump card of uncertainty surrounding the currency which an independent Scotland would trade with, there are also question marks regarding the division and fair allocation of infrastructure such as defense, health, transportation and diplomatic resources. This stands to reason as a division of two nations who have been united for centauries is never likely to be straightforward, but decisions like this should be taken with a long-term view in mind. This is perhaps the reason why so many independence referenda fail – when it comes down to it, people tend to vote to protect their short to medium term interests – time will tell in this case!

Leaving politics aside, the task of dividing or allocating resource within the context of organisational change is something which will be familiar to most businesses. Organisations are constantly changing in size and structure, and mergers and acquisitions have become the ‘go-to’ strategy for scaling businesses. Whether acquisitions are undertaken to obtain customer base, intellectual property, infrastructure or market share within a new segment, considerable restructuring will be required to create an efficient end result. In these cases of organisational transformation (which pale in comparison to the proposed Scottish de-merger) one of the key focuses of senior managers’ is to ensure that all of the assets of the new organizational structure are optimised. This is not as simple as pooling resources and disposing of any duplicated assets. A holistic approach is required, taking into account the current and future needs of the new organization as well as assessing the relative quality of the newly merged or transformed organisation’s assets.

Organisational transformation is a difficult, complex and time consuming process and the tasks involved are all-too-often underestimated. Analysts such as McKinsey & Co have revealed that as many as 80% of mergers fail to result an adequately integrated and optimised organisation. This high failure rate is often attributed to a lack of understanding of the nature and unique qualities of each of the organisations being amalgamated. In order to understand these factors, clear visibility of what an organization is comprised of is fundamentally important, and as Gartner point out, this information is an essential component for delivering desired business outcomes. Although achieving this kind of understanding will require the investment of time and money, this is the only way to fully understand the processes by which business is conducted. The resulting optimisation of infrastructure will ultimately yield a return on investment through the elimination of inefficiency, duplication and waste.

One of the ways in which companies gain an understanding of these areas of organisational value and inefficiency is by establishing Enterprise and Business Architecture departments. These vital business functions monitor the complex relationships between user groups and the technology they use. The role of Enterprise Architects and Business Process Analysts is to provide companies with this insight, which can be the difference between success and failure when embarking on a Digital Transformation project. However, the insight that Enterprise Architecture aims to achieve is only possible if complex business functions are clearly visible and can be modelled and represented in a format that is easy to interpret. Although a range of modelling methods are used by Enterprise Architects, the most reliable involve the use of powerful tools in order to minimise risks of a project’s failure by overcoming the complexity of these tasks.

The right modelling tools can provide Enterprise Architects with a more accurate view of their organisational assets and processes, which is easier and less time consuming to acquire. The resulting model will allow progress towards an organisation’s strategic goals to be monitored, and will provide clear, reliable information in the event of progress not being made. Gartner Group recognise that a thorough understanding of business processes and technical requirements is at the heart of making the right decisions during periods of change and upheaval. As a result, tools that can deliver this understanding and visibility represent a significant competitive advantage for growing organisations. For this reason, Gartner have released their EA Capacity report which independently evaluates all of the various tools within this varied market place. Click here to download this report free of charge – fortunately with the help of Gartner, the selection of the most appropriate EA tool is far less of a journey into the unknown than the choice of independence or continued union for the Scottish nation.

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Over the last few weeks, a decidedly partisan English media has been awash with stories of woe, depicting a virtual apocalypse resulting from what appears to be an increasingly likely ‘Yes’ vote. Aside from the No campaigners’ trump card of uncertainty surrounding the currency which an independent Scotland would trade with, there are also question marks regarding the division and fair allocation of infrastructure such as defense, health, transportation and diplomatic resources. This stands to reason as a division of two nations who have been united for centauries is never likely to be straightforward, but decisions like this should be taken with a long-term view in mind. This is perhaps the reason why so many independence referenda fail – when it comes down to it, people tend to vote to protect their short to medium term interests – time will tell in this case!

Leaving politics aside, the task of dividing or allocating resource within the context of organisational change is something which will be familiar to most businesses. Organisations are constantly changing in size and structure, and mergers and acquisitions have become the ‘go-to’ strategy for scaling businesses. Whether acquisitions are undertaken to obtain customer base, intellectual property, infrastructure or market share within a new segment, considerable restructuring will be required to create an efficient end result. In these cases of organisational transformation (which pale in comparison to the proposed Scottish de-merger) one of the key focuses of senior managers’ is to ensure that all of the assets of the new organizational structure are optimised. This is not as simple as pooling resources and disposing of any duplicated assets. A holistic approach is required, taking into account the current and future needs of the new organization as well as assessing the relative quality of the newly merged or transformed organisation’s assets.

Organisational transformation is a difficult, complex and time consuming process and the tasks involved are all-too-often underestimated. Analysts such as McKinsey & Co have revealed that as many as 80% of mergers fail to result an adequately integrated and optimised organisation. This high failure rate is often attributed to a lack of understanding of the nature and unique qualities of each of the organisations being amalgamated. In order to understand these factors, clear visibility of what an organization is comprised of is fundamentally important, and as Gartner point out, this information is an essential component for delivering desired business outcomes. Although achieving this kind of understanding will require the investment of time and money, this is the only way to fully understand the processes by which business is conducted. The resulting optimisation of infrastructure will ultimately yield a return on investment through the elimination of inefficiency, duplication and waste.

One of the ways in which companies gain an understanding of these areas of organisational value and inefficiency is by establishing Enterprise and Business Architecture departments. These vital business functions monitor the complex relationships between user groups and the technology they use. The role of Enterprise Architects and Business Process Analysts is to provide companies with this insight, which can be the difference between success and failure when embarking on a Digital Transformation project. However, the insight that Enterprise Architecture aims to achieve is only possible if complex business functions are clearly visible and can be modelled and represented in a format that is easy to interpret. Although a range of modelling methods are used by Enterprise Architects, the most reliable involve the use of powerful tools in order to minimise risks of a project’s failure by overcoming the complexity of these tasks.

The right modelling tools can provide Enterprise Architects with a more accurate view of their organisational assets and processes, which is easier and less time consuming to acquire. The resulting model will allow progress towards an organisation’s strategic goals to be monitored, and will provide clear, reliable information in the event of progress not being made. Gartner Group recognise that a thorough understanding of business processes and technical requirements is at the heart of making the right decisions during periods of change and upheaval. As a result, tools that can deliver this understanding and visibility represent a significant competitive advantage for growing organisations. For this reason, Gartner have released their EA Capacity report which independently evaluates all of the various tools within this varied market place. Click here to download this report free of charge – fortunately with the help of Gartner, the selection of the most appropriate EA tool is far less of a journey into the unknown than the choice of independence or continued union for the Scottish nation.