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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During the webinar, a few people asked questions along the lines of: “Where do I get started if my team is newer to customer journey mapping?” Nicole, in my opinion, answered this question really well during the Q&A portion. She said that customer journey mapping is a great place to start in general. First, you should pick a few personas where you can map out their experience to get an understanding of the various steps & phases that they’re going through. From here, you have a clearer view of where in their journey (a touchpoint) that they’re having a bad experience. You can then look a little deeper to figure out exactly what they’re interacting with at that moment in time – is it a process? a person? a system? an application? Let’s say you identify that a certain application is not working correctly for a particular touchpoint along the customer’s journey. You can go from a high-level view of seeing a touchpoint as a bad customer experience, and dive down as deep as you need to into your IT landscape to understand the problem. Which processes are the application tied to? What are the integration points with this application? Which technologies are supporting this application? Determining how deep you go is based on what your team identified. Would you agree?
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