Ah, Valentine’s Day! This day of romance is all about chocolates, hearts, pink and red Valentine’s Day cards, flowers, romantic dinners, and customer love. Wait, customer love? Yes, that’s right! Valentine’s Day is the perfect holiday to be inspired to better engage, love, and appreciate your customers. You might send out a Valentine’s Day themed newsletter or email, or maybe you even offer a Valentine’s Day special, but we think you can go deeper and do something more meaningful that will provide significant value to your customers. To do this successfully requires an understanding of your customers and how your products and services could be enhanced to meet their needs.
Many business leaders with the best intentions make changes to products and services only to find these changes have disappointed customers. If you find yourself like many business leaders, looking to innovate and transform but unsure how to do so in a meaningful way, you’re not alone, but there are resources at your disposal. Wanting to improve and make your solutions and services more customer-centric is a noble initiative. Why not let Valentine’s Day inspire you to invest in your customers and show them love by making impactful changes that will enhance their experience with your company – and most likely boost your bottom line.
A driving force behind a successful business is the ability to craft a positive customer experience. Happy customers will not only come back time and again, but will share their buying experience online and become your champions and advocates. With the power of social media today driving many people’s buying decisions, this can make or break your business.
A great place to get started is to invest in a solution that has a customer journey mapping capability that would allow your organization to:
Manage the end-to-end customer experience
Map and rank touchpoints to identify where to optimize and invest first
Rank touchpoints from a customer satisfaction perspective
Monitor how internal processes support the customer journey
Customer journey mapping can give your organization a competitive advantage by allowing you to understand who your customers are, and design products and business processes that attract the customers you want; see and repair imperfect touchpoints with customers; improve the customer experience, which improves buyer engagement, as well as brand reputation and loyalty; and create business agility to respond to quickly changing customer demands.
This Valentine’s Day show your customers some love and invest in plans to improve their experience. You can learn more about the customer journey and the path of engagement between a business and its customers in our blog post Customer Love is a Battlefield. You can also download our datasheet and learn how to leverage MEGA's HOPEX Business Process Analysis solution to improve your company’s customer journey, take control of business transformation, and manage risk by capturing, assessing, and transforming your business processes.
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If you haven’t already heard, there’s big data privacy news coming from California. The California State Legislature signed a bill giving California residents some of the strongest consumer privacy protections ever granted. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 is a first of its kind US privacy law giving Californians new online privacy protections. The new legislation, which goes into effect January 1, 2020, will have a massive impact on how companies manage California residents’ data. This first-in-the-nation consumer privacy law has many people celebrating, but also leaves lots of organizations confused and unsure how to comply. Many in the tech industry are preparing to fight the new law which requires more transparency from websites about their data collection practices.
Beginning in 2020, websites must communicate to users what data is collected on them, how the data will be used, and which third parties have access to the data. Website visitors will be within their legal right to opt-out of having their data collected and sold and can request that their information be permanently deleted.
According to Californians for Consumer Privacy, here’s a summary of the consumer rights established by the California Consumer Privacy Act:
Right to know all data collected by a business on you
Right to say no to the sale of your information
Right to delete your data
Right to be informed of what categories of data will be collected about you prior to its collection
Mandated opt-in before sale of children’s information (under the age of 16)
Right to know the categories of third parties with whom your data is shared
Right to know the categories of sources of information from whom your data was acquired
Right to know the business or commercial purpose of collecting your information
Private right of action when companies breach your data
With so much confusion around compliance to the new rules, companies might want to explore using GDPR software which could help them comply with California’s new regulations. GDPR solutions allow organizations to understand how they comply with GDPR, and where they need to implement changes. Our GDPR compliance software provides a collaborative workspace for cross-functional stakeholders to manage compliance initiatives and integrates up-to-date regulatory details and legal templates to accelerate remediation plans. While this solution was designed for GDPR compliance, it’s possible it can be tailored to help companies meet California’s new data privacy regulations and laws around data collection practices.
To learn more about our GDPR software solution, developed with Gruppo Imperiali, an Italian company with more than 30 years of data protection legal expertise, download our brochure or read our eBook for tips on tackling organizational challenges of GDPR compliance.
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With so much positive, forward momentum, we’re left feeling excited and optimistic about 2019 and the role enterprise architecture will play in business. Before we bid farewell to this year, let’s recap MEGA’s top 10 most popular blog posts selected by our readers.
Organizational agility and enterprise architecture – the perfect match
As efficient and agile competitors enter the market and force existing business to digitize, speed of delivery becomes a top priority, and agile methodologies become the solution. Enterprise Architecture can be a crucial facilitator of change in this digital era, but is it able to keep-up with the pace of change?
Foster innovation and align with the business thanks to enterprise architecture
By using enterprise architecture, IT departments can capture business needs through a business capability approach. They can engage with the business to understand how IT assets support the transformation of business capabilities and build an IT roadmap that efficiently support the transformation of the business.
Three must-remembers before you begin customer journey mapping
Discussions about customer journey mapping often focus on an end game of improving the customer experience. But that’s not why leading companies invest in customer journey mapping; it isn’t the final goal for businesses.
The furious pace of change: How IT leaders should leverage application portfolio rationalization
Constant change is the new normal. While this is true in so many facets of today’s world, this is particularly the case in business. Rare is the large enterprise that is not struggling with the dual imperative to improve customer experience and to increase the value of the product or service that is being offered. Business models are under attack by more nimble and well-funded new entrants who are able to leverage social media to establish overnight brand identity and build a tribe of followers.
How customer experience is driving business transformation in 2018
Customer-centric marketing and business strategies have been on the rise for years, but one of the biggest business transformations to come this year will be the role enterprise architecture plays in customer experience. Savvy business leaders looking for ways to accelerate their companies’ growth and win customer loyalty will turn to EA for help designing customer-centric business models and strategies.
Is customer journey a buzzword, or is it here to stay?
Has “customer journey” become one of these cliched and over-used phrases – a quick Google search of the term currently generates just under 23 million results in less than half a second – or is it worthy of its popularity?
How adding ArchiMate to your enterprise architecture toolkit helps give you the big picture
Adoption of the ArchiMate standard by the enterprise architecture world has grown rapidly in recent years. At the end of 2017 it made yet another step forward when it was approved by NATO for use with the NATO Architecture Framework. What are the reasons for ArchiMate’s rise in popularity?
Don't rely on shamrocks, rainbows, and lucky charms: How to select the best enterprise architecture
Whether you’re looking to implement a tool that will solve one specific challenge or roll-out an enterprise-wide solution, there are important questions to answer and many issues to consider before selecting the best tool for your company. To get you started on your path to success, here are 3 steps to help you select the right EA tool for your organization.
Making enterprise architecture actionable: Fannie Mae’s success story
It takes support from senior leadership and the right enterprise architecture tool to create an EA program that becomes a powerful driver of growth, innovation, and business strategy. Fannie Mae has seen great success with their EA program illustrating that when done right, EA can help companies overcome some of their greatest challenges.
Will the Facebook debacle finally wake everybody up?
Hey, wanna take a quick Facebook survey? It’ll be fun – we can learn what type of animal or color best represents your personality. All it will cost you is all the micro-specific data that has been collected about you. Oh, you’re not into those quizzes and surveys? No problem, because if any one of your Facebook friends has ever consented to one of those, there’s a possibility that connection gave somebody else access to your data anyway.
Thanks to all our readers and bloggers!
And you, what was your favorite blog post of the year? Do you have any topics you’d like to see us cover in 2019? We’d love to hear from you so please share your thoughts with us and let us know what you’d like to read more about next year.
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Here at MEGA, we don’t want to see any children disappointed because they didn’t get the toys on their Christmas wish list. To help local families and make sure the holiday season is bright and happy for all, we’ve partnered with Saint Vincent’s to buy gifts for families that need some assistance making sure their children’s Christmas wishes come true.
To kick off this initiative and get in the holiday spirit, we put up a Giving Tree in our Raynham, MA office and decorated it with colored lights and special ornaments. Each ornament represents an item on a child’s Christmas wish list that we’re going to fulfill. Our Giving Tree is decorated with wishes for dolls, toys, games, winter coats, shoes, pajamas, sweaters, and more. It’s our pleasure to bring a smile to a child’s face on Christmas morning and help local families in need of some kindness and generosity this holiday season.
We hope you’re inspired to donate your time or money to a cause of your choice. If you’d like to join MEGA and Saint Vincent’s provide Christmas gifts for children, please visit Saint Vincent’s website.
Happy holidays from MEGA!
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Here at MEGA, we’ve been curious about the current state of affairs regarding enterprise architecture (EA) practices and if the business’s perception of EA is beginning to change from being an innovation blocker to an innovation supporter. We’ve been hearing lots of chatter that enterprise architecture’s value is finally starting to be recognized by business leaders – but is this true? Has the tide finally started to shift so that EA is seen as a must-have instead of a nice-to-have? We took advantage of being in the presence of such a great group of attendees at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo and decided to examine how enterprise architecture practices are perceived by the business. We ran a survey from our exhibit booth asking attendees:
Which of the following most accurately describes how the business perceives your enterprise architecture program?
Attendees had 4 options to choose from:
NOISY – EA has no “perceived” value and is seen as extra effort
USEFUL – EA has produced value, but for too few stakeholders
TRUSTED – EA has a reputation for delivering value, it's seen as a source of truth
INFLUENTIAL – The business asks, "Let's ask EA before we do...," you're in collaborative mode
We had 223 responses to our survey and discovered that almost 40% felt their organization viewed the enterprise architecture practice as useful, which is encouraging. However, almost 30% responded that their business viewed enterprise architecture as having little or no value, illustrating that there’s still much work to be done educating senior leaders and business executives about the power and value of EA.
Here’s a breakdown of our survey results:
Although we’re thrilled to see some enterprise architecture practices have gained status and are trusted and influential within their organizations, many EA programs still struggle to earn trust and be viewed as valuable. Enterprise architecture is often seen as an intrusive cost center that builds architecture for the sake of architecture, delivering nothing more than noise. But there is a path that can be followed where the efforts of the enterprise architecture team will deliver value back to the business. Identify short-term projects, deliver small wins, and soon you will be appreciated as useful to a few key stakeholders. Leverage this new confidence in EA as a catalyst into bigger projects that have more visibility throughout the organization and you’ll expand the audience that recognizes the value of enterprise architecture and become trusted then influential.
We know EA practices are delivering business value, but as we discovered from our survey results, too frequently they are viewed as offering little value and creating extra work. If you focus on delivering tangible results back to the business, you can elevate your EA practice and increase your influence throughout your organization. Check out our blog post Does Your Enterprise Architecture Practice Amount to Anything More Than Noise? for a step-by-step guide to increasing enterprise architecture’s influence and business value in your organization.
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What is your position at MEGA International?
My role at MEGA is Customer Success Manager for North America. I’m responsible for interacting with our customers on a personal basis to make sure that they have success, both in using our product and with their Enterprise Architecture (EA) function in general. What that means is, I counsel them, I consult with them and we formulate go-forward plans so that we can see how they can better integrate new technologies, do roadmapping for technologies that they have, and then develop proper EA functions.
What are the primary technologies that you’re helping people integrate to modernize their IT landscape?
I’m seeing a lot of different technologies come in; a lot of people want to work with artificial intelligence or robotics. A lot of people are also working with blockchain, it depends on the industry. Many people are upgrading systems, but more than anything the big buzzwords are always digital transformation and business transformation; these are the big buzzwords that we’re hearing from many of our customers. We have some very specific thoughts on digital transformation which starts with making sure that you have good customer architecture.
You previously worked at AIG, what was your role there?
I had two different roles at AIG that crossed at different intersections. My first role at AIG was Vice President of Enterprise Architecture delivering a technology introduction, where all new technologies were implemented through our function. Then I moved to a different role, which was emerging technology and innovation risk, where I was responsible for developing a program that evaluated new technologies and strategies from both the opportunity and risk perspectives.
During this transformative period is there a moment you can pinpoint and say ‘this was my biggest challenge?’
The biggest challenge is always having a clear understanding of what it is you’re trying to do and how new technologies will play a role. Let me use blockchain as an example; blockchain is interesting because it’s a new technology, there’s a lot of potential in it, so it’s a big buzzword. There’s a great ability for privacy and how to distribute ledgers, but finding the right application for that technology is a challenge; you’ve got privacy laws, you’ve got to make sure encryption is there; there’s a lot of issues that you have to address with this tech, that was a great part of the role from emerging technology risk management. I would go out and analyze this new technology and discover the pros and cons. That was the best part of that job; it had the ups and the downs because on one hand, we were able to figure out uses for blockchain. On the other hand, there were times when you had to tell very important or very powerful people: ‘I know you want to do this, but we can’t find a very good use for it, so let’s hold off and continue the analysis.’
Is it a similar situation at MEGA where the biggest thing is for people to understand what they want the software to do, as well as get a grasp on all the capabilities that the tool can deliver?
That’s still a very big part of it. What I’m doing now is taking on an even broader role because we’re looking at the enterprise in general. When you’re talking about capabilities, you’re looking at these new technologies and you’re asking: what does this enable?; What is this going to do?; What capabilities will this support? Then looking at the capabilities systemically and saying ‘what impact will this technology have on the company, positive or negative?’ One of the major things that I see is that you need to know what the impact and the cost of that transformation effort is going to be, starting with that capability that you’re trying to improve. What are your deprecated technologies? What’s the old stuff you’re going to have to rip and replace and is that connected to something else? You’ve got to find out what the ripple effect is and then translate that back into a feasibility assessment.
Is there an example you can think of where, during a digital transformation, somebody didn’t understand what the far-reaching-impacts might be?
In a company previous to AIG, we were going through a big ERP transformation. The problem was that we did not have a clear understanding of what the impact would be. We didn’t have the processes modeled, we didn’t have the organizational impact; we weren’t looking at the comprehensive picture. If there’s one thing that I can impart to anybody who reads this: you need to know every component of your enterprise and how these components interact. I don’t mean just the technological component because technology is utilized by people, or it automates a process, and all of these things build towards the capability of the business model. If you don’t understand how this connects, that everything you do has an impact and if you’re impacting some large system, especially like an ERP, it could bring your business to a grinding halt. Here’s what we had to do: we abandoned the project $9 million later, we decided just to cut our losses there.
This content was created by IQPC, a global business to business event company for online and offline events, information, education, networking, and promotion for executives across an extensive range of industries and professions.
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This trend is confirmed by a Gartner survey that finds, “ 77% of respondents were either restarting or renewing EA efforts (18 percent), initiative EA for the first time (34 percent) or taking EA efforts to the next level (25 percent). ” Enterprise Architecture practices are delivering business value, which is great news, but there are proactive steps you can take to accelerate and elevate your EA practice. If you focus on delivering tangible results back to the business, you can elevate your EA practice and increase your influence throughout your organization.
Your path to success: Elevate your EA practice from noisy to influential
Noisy – Enterprise Architecture seen as extra work and unnecessary
Most EA programs are stuck in this first stage where EA is seen as making a lot of noise (“don’t make any moves until I catalogue and architect everything first”). If business leaders don’t feel the positive impacts of the architecture, then enterprise architecture is just seen as extra work and unnecessary. How many times have we heard the phrase architecture for the sake of architecture? To move from this stage into stage 2, begin successfully implementing use cases to illustrate real business value. You need to have a picture of what that end-state looks like and think strategically about the future goals of the business but start with small wins. Each step forward should work towards the company’s broader vision.
Useful – Enterprise Architecture seen as business operations support
When you start implementing use cases that deliver on business outcomes, you’re able to produce real value and now you can start earning trust outside of the IT department. From here you can gain traction and buy-in from business leaders and begin to transform into a business unit seen as helping the organization reach strategic goals. At this point, if you haven't already, you should start shifting your focus to supporting business operations. You will implement additional use cases, building towards that strategic plan, but always focused on business outcomes. As your use cases expand, the amount of data you use and maintain grows, and this increases your business value.
Trusted – Enterprise Architecture seen as business partner
As you start building a reputation for delivering greater value, you’ll see your influence increase and you’ll become more trusted. You’ll start being a source of truth for reliable information and you’ll get requests for help with additional use cases. Once you’ve gain trust from the business, you can start shifting your focus from business operations to strategic planning and make the C-suite your key stakeholders. You should have a comprehensive view of the enterprise (maintained in your repository at this point) to support rapid impact analysis and transformation scenario simulations.
Influential – Enterprise Architecture seen as strategic partner
Once you’re in the influential stage, congratulations are in order, because now business leaders see you as a strategic partner. You’ll know you’ve arrived at this stage when they start consulting you before undertaking new initiatives. How’s that for elevating your EA practice? To remain in this stage and not take steps backwards, continue focusing on capabilities and the needs of the business, providing tangible business value, and driving transformation and innovation.
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Read the full case study for an efficient business process mapping program on our website.
Can you tell us a little about Edison Energia and your department?
Edison Energia is part of the Edison Group and provides Italian consumers with electricity and natural gas, as well as innovative home solutions for comfort and well-being. For business customers, Edison offers tailor-made solutions suited to companies and professionals’ specific needs. We were established in 1884 and employ about 4,000 people in Europe, Africa, and the Middle East.
The Quality & Process Innovation function supports the gas and power division in defining, updating processes, and formalizing documents. Looking back over our long experience in process mapping, the three key pillars have remained been business needs and development, instruments, and people.
What challenges was Edison Energia facing when you began exploring enterprise architecture tools?
In 2008 Edison decided to enter the mass market. The company was becoming increasingly customer centered and received the ISO 9001:2000 Certification, awarded for meeting the needs of customers and other stakeholders while also meeting statutory and regulatory requirements. It was during this time that we learned about MEGA. We immediately realized the potential of an enterprise architecture tool and how it can answer our need to design an end-to-end customer experience. Three years ago, we wanted to implement the new ISO 9001:2015 requiring the organization to be Risk Based Thinking and that’s when we realized we needed a tool that could handle processes including risks and controls.
How has MEGA’s solutions been used at Edison Energia?
MEGA’s business process analysis tool supports the organization in mapping processes and all the elements that contribute to this process. I like to describe a process like a daisy: each petal is a process component. MEGA’s solution has allowed us to trace each petal of the process in a unique repository: the company organization, processes workflow, procedures, activities in house and outsourced, operational instructions, processes’ owners, customers touch points, operational risks, sector regulation, KPIs and systems. Additionally, MEGA’s platform allows us to share information with internal stakeholders through an online portal and this was extremely valuable.
What results have you seen from using MEGA’s business process analysis tool?
We’ve been able to support the business in the development of new projects through a representation of the whole pipeline by highlighting only the processes involved. This allows us to provide a complete picture of the end-to-end process for new projects and products, and all the connections between processes. This shared view of the organization and connections between the different functions enables us to control business transformation.
Other benefits we’ve experienced since implementing MEGA’s solution include:
Having a smart instrument to design organization processes
Generating workflow and process documents at the same time
Having a repository containing all the processes and being able to share information throughout the organization thanks to a mini-site
Ability to incorporate company organizational changes quickly
Ability to create reports according to the business needs (i.e. KPIs, risks)
All the results we obtained over the past years were possible thanks to the dedicated process team that communicated to all colleagues the importance of working by processes to work better. The next step for us will now be enriching our platform to enhance the support of other business areas and bring more internal stakeholders to the platform.
Interested in learning more? Read Edison Energia’s customer story.
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Cutting-edge organizations know that their competitive advantage is gained (or maintained) by transforming their business into a well-oiled digital machine, with every gear operating efficiently and effectively. With the business environment changing faster than ever before, and business complexity being at an all time high, it’s imperative that companies develop and execute on tangible operational excellence and business transformation strategies.
Successful business transformation through enterprise architecture
In today’s world, enterprise architecture has proven to be an effective way to manage change and foster business transformation. Enterprise architecture assists in capturing company strategy and helping to create a strategic roadmap, redesigning business processes while improving customer experience, and mapping IT transformation based on planned business capabilities and improved alignment with business needs.
By establishing processes and business models designed to get the most out of new technologies, leading organizations are not just implementing a digital transformation, they’re transforming their entire business operation. A robust enterprise architecture program is key for successful business transformation by helping organizations:
Map business capabilities to get a clear picture of the company’s current state
Assess drivers of change to help set objectives
Capture strategic planning information
Assess and select relevant business capabilities to improve execution
Build and communicate a clear enterprise roadmap
Enterprise architecture can drive your organization’s business transformation through the alignment of your company’s strategy, objectives, business capabilities, processes, and technology stack. This creates the opportunity to incorporate digital into your organization’s DNA and integrate business strategies with operational and informational perspectives, ultimately leading to increased agility, innovation, and efficiency while lowering IT costs and complexity.
OPEX Summer: Business Transformation Leaders Summit
Interested in learning more? Join us at OPEX Summer: Business Transformation Leaders Summit in San Diego, CA from August 27-29. We can grab a coffee and talk about how you can build and execute a world-class operational excellence and business transformation strategy – specific to your company. Sure, there are best practices, but there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to business transformation. Every business is a unique ecosystem that requires a customized approach if they’re going to thrive. Knowing that, what are the first two things you’re going to do tomorrow morning to enable your company’s transformation?
If you don’t know the answer to that question, let’s get that coffee and talk. To learn more about OPEX Summer visit our website
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The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRMA) for example, seeks to eliminate redundancies across agencies and improve communications between agencies – a worthy pursuit. However, to be compliant with the GPRMA, agencies are required to develop strategic plans, which include long term goals, and prepare performance plans with established annual goals and measures. Where do agencies find the most accurate information and data needed to create these plans? The information required for these projects is frequently difficult to find.
Four years later, the 2014 Federal IT Acquisition Reform Act requires US federal agencies to provide the Office of Management and Budget with a data center inventory, a data center consolidation and optimization strategy, and quarterly progress reports. Again, an act that has a worthy purpose to improve IT structures, but agencies are left without the means necessary to gather the required information to produce these plans and reports.
And more recently, the Modernize Government Technology Act of 2017 establishes guidelines for agencies to prioritize and fund IT modernization projects such as transitioning legacy systems to the cloud or improving existing systems to enhance cybersecurity and improve efficiency. However, if agencies don’t have a clear, easily accessible view of their IT portfolio, how can decisions be made about which systems to improve, retire or replace? How can an organization even attempt to build cross-agency capabilities that address evolving threats to information security without accurate, easily accessible information?
As difficult as these projects sound, there is a proven solution: enterprise architecture.
Enterprise architecture benefit #1: increased transparency and visibility
Enterprise architecture (EA) can support the federal IT world by increasing the ability for smooth, seamless operations and flexibility. Integrated IT systems that offer a collaborative platform and a single, shared repository increase transparency and visibility. EA solutions that ensure technology systems are resilient, agile, and effective across a range of uses can help agencies modernize and comply with the numerous acts and regulations they need to meet. The best way to face the growing number of requirements, and protect against constant IT threats, is a fully developed and robust EA solution.
Enterprise architecture is about getting an in-depth, “under the hood” peek at an organization and how to sustain, enhance, repair or transform it. The visibility that enterprise architecture provides can serve as the catalyst that spurs agencies to consolidate systems and reduce costs by modernizing redundant and obsolete technologies. Enterprise architecture also has the power to strengthen organizational and partner integrations with comprehensive operational views and modeling abilities, making it essential to any agency’s modernization.
Enterprise architecture benefit #2: support planning and decision-making
EA solutions can help in planning, decision-making, and management across agencies to ensure improved communication and increased collaboration and transparency. Enterprise architecture can support planning and decision-making efforts so that the organization’s structures are better aligned with core goals and strategic direction. EA programs can help agencies eliminate waste and duplication, increase connectivity and teamwork, breakdown silos, and reduce risk .
Enterprise architecture benefit #3: access accurate data in a centralized repository
Many agencies struggle with being able to quickly access accurate data. An enterprise architecture solution can help by serving as the “single source of truth” that accesses all authoritative data sources and presents them in one centralized location for increased transparency, communication, and collaboration. Enterprise architecture can help government agencies accelerate transformation and meet today’s challenging operational demands.
In an effort to create a coherent model that provides visualization infrastructure enabling effective decision-making, the United States Department of Defense developed the Department of Defense Architecture Framework (DoDAF). DODAF enables agencies to efficiently coordinate and execute enterprise architecture initiatives to facilitate IT projects, ensure full traceability of their activities, and contribute to defense IT modernization and security initiatives. By leveraging enterprise information within a single shared repository, managed by a consistent communication framework, agencies have the power to ensure defense networks are adaptive and effective across a range of uses and threats.
MEGA’s enterprise architecture solutions can help all government entities measure, manage, and improve mission agility and performance through the development of and visibility into robust, integrated, business and IT architectures. Read our latest white paper 3 Steps to Tackling IT Modernization in the Government and learn how to architect for interoperability and openness.
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We want to help you get there. While the destination may be in sight, getting to the cloud (public or private) requires doing your homework and due diligence to make sure your IT portfolio has been modernized and is cloud ready.
What do we mean by "cloud ready?"
You’ve done your due diligence to avoid any obstacles that would slow down migration and you’ve taken the necessary steps to ensure applications moving to the cloud are structurally sound. This is also the perfect opportunity to identify applications to be sunset, merge applications that are redundant, and reduce budget and complexity.
There will be some challenges to solve and obstacles to overcome before cloud migration, but the benefits are well worth the growing pains. And if you migrate to the cloud in a well-planned fashion, your data should remain secure and your business shouldn’t experience any down time as long as your in-house designed software is configured appropriately to run in a public cloud environment. According to a Forbes article, “With so much buzz about cloud-based software, it's easy to believe that most businesses are already operating in the cloud. Cloud adoption has indeed increased significantly -- in fact, the number of organizations using hybrid cloud solutions grew from 19% in 2016 to 57% in 2017. However, that still means a significant number of companies haven't yet joined the cloud.”
IT Application Modernization & Cloud Migration
IT application modernization and cloud migration are the perfect opportunities to make your company succeed and thrive in the digital world. But before you race to move everything to the cloud, IT departments need to take some precautions to ensure a safe and secure migration. Important steps include:
Visibility into in-house built applications
Gain clarity on in-house built applications so you know what to retire, merge, or reprioritize
Identify and assess the risks of applications that will become unavailable with cloud migration, the ability to transfer and maintain applications, and the complexity of software code
Detect which applications are the easiest or best value candidates to migrate
Identify applications to be sunset and reduce budget and complexity
Merge applications that are redundant
Ensure the application portfolio moving to the cloud is structurally sound
IT risk assessment
Examine metrics including software resiliency, software elegance, and software agility that cover the risks of unavailability, complexity, and adaptability
To help you prepare for cloud migration so you too can enjoy the benefits of the cloud, MEGA has partnered with CAST, pioneer and world class leader in software intelligence and analytics, to help clients easily take control of their application portfolio, monitor software health, and prepare for cloud migration. However, the journey doesn’t stop at cloud migration. After you’ve taken advantage of moving applications to the cloud you’ve reduce infrastructure costs and made a huge improvement, but now the real value/challenge is to modernize your applications, make them intelligent. Intelligent applications integrate in the cloud, not just run on the cloud, and this is the future of cloud migration.
Contact us to learn how MEGA can help accelerate your IT modernization and cloud migration projects and check out our other blog posts Rationalize your IT landscape like an Army General and The Furious Pace of Change: How IT Leaders Should Leverage Application Portfolio Rationalization.
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Making enterprise architecture actionable is something most organizations strive for but often come up short due to a lack of sponsorship, collaboration, adoption, and clear goals for the program. It’s also important to note that enterprise architecture at Fannie Mae has shed its image as being a governance function and has become a catalyst for increasing agility , collaboration, transparency, and accelerating digital transformation.
Business operations are changing faster than ever and because of this, EA programs (and the tools that support them) must facilitate agile and transformative initiatives, such as improving customer experience.
Starting with enterprise architecture governance
From its beginnings as a governance function, Fannie Mae's enterprise architecture program has grown to delivering measurable value in defining the company’s digital strategy down to its execution. Fannie Mae’s road to success has something to teach all of us about enterprise architecture best practices and how to develop an EA program that brings the most value to an organization.
Fannie Mae’s enterprise architecture program began the way so many do, with a governance-focus. The company used enterprise architecture to enforce policies, standards and procedures, to ensure compliance, and reduce risk.
Connecting enterprise architecture to business
With support from MEGA’s enterprise architecture solutions , Fannie Mae evolved its enterprise architecture program from governance-focused to enabler-focused through strategies that fostered collaboration, and increased communication. Fannie Mae invited various business user groups to have access to the software and the ability to capture their data. As more information started entering the repository, it grew richer, more accurate, and more valuable.
Today, the company’s repository is robust, with accurate data and so well organized that it’s enabled self-service which frees up time and resources. MEGA’s HOPEX software facilitated the building of interfaces between data platforms which allowed the data to be stitched together making it much easier to gain an accurate view of the company’s IT platforms, processes, and business operations. The abundance of accurate data and the increased visibility into the company’s processes gave Fannie Mae the ability to build new dashboards and reports to drive actionable work.
Leveraging enterprise architecture to make strategic decisions
Fannie Mae’s journey to enterprise architecture success has been all about integrations, collaboration, increasing visibility, and fostering a culture of inclusion and enablement. Fannie Mae was able to remove the mystery from EA by putting key information and metrics in front of decision makers, so they could see the value of the data being collected. This data serves as a good starting point for strategic initiatives by providing visibility and information to make the right decisions.
Enterprise architecture to accelerate innovation and digital transformation
Portfolio architects have become influential at Fannie Mae and are trusted partners to all who work with them on various projects. Tools and processes have been implemented allowing for better, more effective use of technologies. Because of these new tools and their automation capabilities, Fannie Mae has seen standardization and increase in digital documentation.
Fannie Mae is continuing its use of EA to facilitate innovation and digital transformation efforts and views MEGA’s HOPEX software as an enabler for future business modernization initiatives and improvements to the customer experience. It took time and determination, but Fannie Mae succeeded in developing an EA program that’s providing the company with enormous value and insight.
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So how do you know which process or processes to update? Where should your company modernize first? Where is your company weakest and in jeopardy of falling behind the competition? This is where enterprise architecture (EA) comes in. Think of EA as the blueprint of your business. Enterprise architecture is the map to your business, IT portfolio, systems, platforms, and ecosystems. Without a blueprint of your business, it’s impossible to make strategic, educated decisions about where and how to modernize. Without enterprise architecture, updates to your business happen in a silo which isn’t a good thing since you’ll have no idea how a change will impact other parts of your business.
Ensuring your company fully benefits from modernization starts with a robust EA program. You wouldn’t start building a house or make an addition to your home without a blueprint, so the same concept can be applied to growing or updating your business. Enterprise architecture ensures your company benefits from modernization by enabling you to easily understand the impact of modernization on your business and processes. If you don’t have a clear view of your business today, how can you determine where you want to go and how you want to transform? Enterprise architecture gives you that power.
This topic and more will be discussed at one of Gartner’s most exciting events, taking place June 11-12 in National Harbor, MD at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. The 2018 Gartner Enterprise Architecture & Technology Innovation Summit will focus on strategies, technologies, and skills needed for enterprise architecture leadership, how to apply expert insights to your own organization’s goals, and how to navigate through the hype of emerging trends, and as Gartner puts it, be the bridge to the digital business future.
This year MEGA is excited that our customer Fannie Mae will be there to present the session “Fannie Mae’s Journey to Making Enterprise Architecture Actionable” on Tuesday, June 12 at 11:00am in the Maryland Ballroom. From its beginnings as a governance function, Fannie Mae's enterprise architecture has grown to delivering measurable value in defining the company’s digital strategy down to its execution. We’re proud to play a part in Fannie Mae’s road to success with EA and hope you can attend this presentation.
In addition, Kevin Costa, application portfolio rationalization expert at MEGA, will speak to conference attendees about leveraging a rationalized portfolio to enable modernization. Many of the people that we speak with tell us that legacy, unused, end-of-life applications and technologies are often inconspicuous budget-eaters. How do you prioritize what to eliminate first and where to invest in applications that directly support strategic business capabilities? It’s time to stop letting dying technologies, bloated portfolios, and legacy systems slow your business down, hamper innovation, and block transformation efforts.
To learn more about this year’s Gartner EA & Technology Innovation Summit, please visit the conference website.
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Against this backdrop where the customer exerts greater influence and control over the buying decision, organizations are compelled to rethink their relationship with customers, employees, and key stakeholders. This is an exercise in remapping business processes and the IT and applications that drive these processes. In contrast to new entrants who are unburdened by legacy IT and process debt, digital immigrants must confront the enormously complex task of rearchitecting their business without creating disruptions that could compromise product or service quality.
An essential component of this rearchitecting is an assessment of the technology that is being used to run businesses and deliver value to the customer. This exercise begins by creating an inventory of the applications you’re currently running. When business grows, either organically or through acquisitions, the application portfolio expands. As the cost and complexity of supporting an expanding IT portfolio increases, it’s necessary to rationalize and eliminate applications that are no longer essential to support the business’ capabilities. In the absence of modeling tools, this rationalization process can be a complex undertaking. Rationalization, however, is critically important to maintaining IT health; and it doesn’t have to be painful.
A recent Gartner report titled “How to Assess Your Current Application Portfolio Using Fitness and Value Review Processes” provides an excellent summary of why application rationalization is necessary, stating “Application fitness and value may deteriorate over time from business, operational or technical perspectives. This is especially true of the fast-changing demand from digital business that challenges application architectures and impacts application fitness and value.”
Whatever organizational changes your company is working through, how do you determine your application portfolio health and decide which applications to maintain, replace, retire, or consolidate? And as a CIO or CTO, how are you identifying investments in technology to support growth within your organization? A great first step is to develop an application roadmap strategy that leverages the current state IT portfolio and anticipates applications to support emerging business requirements brought on by market changes such as blockchain, AI, machine learning, augmented reality, etc.
An important goal of the rationalization is to eliminate redundant and non-value-adding applications, freeing up budget for new, business-critical work. If slowed down by legacy technology, you can’t keep up with rapid business transformation demands. Here’s the critical point: rapid transformation and an agile IT portfolio are a competitive advantage. While most organizations meet business demand with a strategy of continuous acquisition, this approach is not sustainable. Forward-thinking IT leaders will balance this with continuous, proactive application rationalization as a top priority.
MEGA has partnered with CAST, pioneer and world class leader in software intelligence and analytics, to help clients easily take control of their application portfolio, monitor software health, cloud readiness, complexity, and cost with code-level analytics. This partnership can significantly help IT leaders manage organizational change and application portfolio rationalization by providing information to assist with:
Advanced IT rationalization – Make informed decisions on applications to keep, merge, retire, or reprioritize according to your context and objectives
Cloud migration – Assess the cloud readiness of your application portfolio
IT health and risk monitoring – Quickly understand portfolio health and monitor software risk over time
This integration enables clients to quickly and objectively measure software health, risks, complexity, and cost of their application portfolio – in days – allowing for an exclusive insight into application strengths and weaknesses before any investment, rationalization or retirement decision is made on an IT asset.
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Investing in an enterprise architecture solution is a smart business decision that will increase transparency and open opportunities for improved efficiencies and business growth. Consider linking applications to processes to understand how well your IT systems support business activities. Or maybe you’d like to get a higher visibility into your systems, so you can perform impact analysis and make quicker decisions when planning changes. An EA solution will help you to execute on initiatives like these.
Whether you’re looking to implement a tool that will solve one specific challenge or roll-out an enterprise-wide solution, there are important questions to answer and many issues to consider before selecting the best tool for your company. What kind of tool should you be evaluating? How important is your relationship with the solution vendor? How smooth and easy will the transition be for your staff? These are examples of basic questions to consider when selecting an EA tool before you commit to one and begin down the implementation path to your pot of gold.
To get you started on your path to success, here are 3 steps to help you select the right EA tool for your organization.
1. Identify your short and long-term goals.
What challenge is your organization experiencing and what are the benefits you believe your new EA tool will deliver to help overcome this challenge? Identify measurable goals you’d like to see achieved over the first 6-months to a year. These goals don’t need to be massive, all-encompassing changes, but each one should move you closer to delivering value back to the business. For each goal you set, consider asking yourself how is this specifically helping the business?
2. Seek out EA solution vendors that are flexible and will work with you, not against you.
Ideally, you should love your EA tool vendor and think of that company as your partner and trusted consultant. A vender with knowledgeable professionals that make time for you and truly have your company’s best interest in mind will be one of your best assets and provide you with invaluable guidance as you embark on this journey to improve your operations. They’ve done this before – successfully – and can help you do it as well.
3. Ensure the solution is capable of growing along with your business.
A solution that is flexible, scalable, and can be integrated into the day-to-day operations of your business is going to deliver more long-term ROI than a point solution. You don’t want to be shopping for new EA solutions every couple of years. So, while it’s important to put out urgent, burning fires today, you’ll also want to leverage features and visibility that meet the needs of your expanding operations tomorrow. To extract the most return on investment from your EA solution, consider what your needs will be both now and later when evaluating vendors.
May the luck of the Irish (and some sound selection strategies) be with you!
May there always be work for your hands to do
May your purse always hold a coin or two;
May the sun always shine on your windowpane;
May a rainbow be certain to follow each rain;
May the hand of a friend always be near you;
May your EA tool fill your heart with gladness to cheer you.
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Customer-centric marketing and business strategies have been on the rise for years, but one of the biggest business transformations to come this year will be the role enterprise architecture plays in customer experience. Savvy business leaders looking for ways to accelerate their companies’ growth and win customer loyalty will turn to enterprise architecture for help designing customer-centric business models and strategies.
Serving your customers’ needs and not just meeting, but exceeding their expectations, is now what’s required to acquire new customers and keep your current ones happy. It’s crucial to design digital business models that have a focus on customer journey mapping enabling your organization to improve customer experience. Gartner believes that this year, 40% of enterprise architects will focus on design-driven architecture that puts the customer at the center.
To be a 2018 technology innovation leader, customer experience should be a top priority for your organization’s future digital business plan. Leading digital business evolution and transformation isn’t done overnight but is a must-do as consumers’ choices grow and the competition to win their business is stiffer than ever.
If you haven’t implemented a plan yet, a great place to start is customer journey mapping which helps companies see their business from the customer’s perspective, including the pain points that can derail buyers from making or completing a purchase. It is the starting point to redesign company processes that make the customer journey easier and more rewarding for buyers.
So many companies, including your competitors, are focusing on improving the customer experience and need software solutions that can unite information about customer-facing processes across the enterprise. The increased transparency these software solutions are providing is equivalent to having a crystal ball that shows you why customers aren’t buying, where they’re dropping off in the sales cycle, how to influence their purchase decision, and how to increase current customers’ satisfaction with your products and services. Isn’t that a crystal ball you’d like to own?
If customer journey mapping and customer experience is on your 2018 roadmap, check out our recent blog post 3 Must-Remembers Before You Begin Customer Journey Mapping and you can learn more about MEGA’s customer experience solutions on our website.
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Smart organizations know that their company’s competitive advantage will come by transforming their business, function by function, and process by process. With the business environment changing faster than any previous time, and business complexity being greater than ever before, it’s imperative companies around the world are rethinking and adjusting the role of operational excellence.
All companies need to act now and join the digital revolution – waiting on the sideline is no longer an option. A great place to start for those new to this world, are to follow these four recommended steps:
Capture company strategy
Decide future direction by assessing drivers of change, defining goals, and planning business capabilities.
Plan business transformation
Design new processes by incorporating end-to-end customer experience.
Plan IT transformation
Identify and assess different IT transformation scenarios and select the best one based on business outcomes.
Mitigate transformation risks
Identify, assess, and mitigate transformation risks associated with your company’s digital evolution without jeopardizing the customer experience.
Achieving operational excellence and business innovation through digital transformation requires dedication, support from both the executive leadership team and the entire organization, and being capable of balancing risks with benefits.
Interested in learning more? Join us at Business Transformation & Operational Excellence World Summit (BTOES18) in Orlando, FL from March 12-16. The BTOES event looks at end-to-end business transformation delivered by operational excellence to achieve business excellence throughout the organization. This event will show how progressive leaders are using operational excellence as the backbone, the discipline, the framework of strategy development and execution, innovation execution, CX, and business transformation.
MEGA is a sponsor of this event and will be exhibiting on the show floor in booth 7. We’ll also be participating in the Technology Test Drive, where attendees follow a round-robin visiting 6 vendors in 1 hour to see mini demonstrations. To set up a private meeting with MEGA at this event, please send us an email.
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Here’s a recap of MEGA’s presentation summarizing the key takeaways from our webinar.
Near the end of the Age of Information (late 90s to early 2000s), companies increased their focus on identifying new revenue streams from existing loyal customers. This was a lucrative business strategy, but also contributed to a power increase for the customer paving the way to where we are today – the Age of the Customer. We are in a new era where the customer has endless possibilities to search for the best products and services and compare vendors – all with the simple click of a mouse. This has created unprecedented competitive pressure affecting the pace of innovation in all companies and contributes to the constant need to deliver the best customer experience possible. It’s now imperative to innovate faster and deliver the best customer experience possible – certainly better than the one offered by your competitors!
We all know the highest cost for any organization is acquiring and keeping customers, which is why it’s so important to understand your customers and how they interact with your company. Research shows that 97% of customers are multichannel users when it comes to engaging with a company – and they use an average of 5.6 channels in total*. This means it’s extremely important to understand how each of your company’s interactions with your customers could impact their journey.
Customer journey mapping can help more-tightly control the cross-channel customer experience and empower your company with insights that can help successfully and proactively retain your current client base and win new clients. It’s important to begin any customer journey mapping project with a good understanding of your customers’ current experience and then build, transform, and innovate from there.
Three steps to build innovation around customer journeys
Understand the customer journey
Understand your customers! What makes them happy, and what drives them crazy?
What does your customer go through as they interact with your business? What are they feeling at that moment in time when they are considering purchasing from you or leaving you?
Determine key moments to influence customers
How are they interacting with your business? Is it a good experience or one of frustration? Where can you improve?
Map and rank touchpoints to identify where to optimize and invest first
Link digital moments to business processes
Rank touchpoints from a customer satisfaction perspective
Monitor how internal processes support the customer journey
Remember, you have control over customer experience because you have the ability to control your IT systems that interact with and support customer experience. By connecting customer journey maps to processes, IT systems, business requirements, and business capabilities you can create winning customer journey maps that enrich customer experience.
Mapping the voice of your customers can enable you to identify what your customers want, expect, and need, and help you find solutions to meet those expectations by ensuring that the right processes, people, and technologies are in place. This is a unique opportunity for IT and business leaders to collaborate with other business departments to drive transform and innovate through a lens focused on customer experience.
Interested in learning more about customer journey mapping capabilities and how you can successfully deliver the best experience to your customers? Download our eBook “Plan Business Transformation and Improve Customer Experience.”
*Source: 2016 NICE-BCG CX Survey
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