CIO’s Must Make Enterprise Architecture a First Class Citizen

I am really liking the new string of articles and posts on The New World of Enterprise Architecture as I am calling it. It seems like the tone and the perceptions of Enterprise Architecture is slowly changing from pessimistic to optimistic on what EA should or could be. 

This brings me to this post, this is an important topic in that it get's to the heart of the "top down" organizational challenges.

You see that in recent series of blog posting from Dan Woods. In a more recent post called "Why CIOs Fail at Increasing Awareness Through Enterprise Architecture", he discusses that the CIO role must change. I mostly agree and would extend this a little bit more. Thanks for getting this out Dan, I think you hit the nail on the head.

Here are my general thoughts and observations based on my experience and industry observations in talking to CxO's around the world through Microsoft and out executive briefings:

  • The CTO is referenced. I do not think that the CTO (at least how I define it) should be part of this equation. Just the CIO. The CTO is the Chief Technology Officer not the Chief Information Officer. If we look at these role names and what they do, they operate in different spheres. 
  • I think we should give credit where credit is due. There is a transformation happening as we speak. I think this article could be spun in a much more positive light as we are seeing major players like Dell, USAA and others that have publicly talked about how they are business before technology all the way at the top levels of IT. Not only that, they are making investments in those areas. Again, noting wrong with the broader current state analysis. 
  • Use just enough EA but don't over do it. EA just like anything is a very specific domain (e.g., ITIL = Operations or PMBOK = Project Management) Use the right tool for the right job, it doesn't mean however you can't leverage core principles or even elements of each to solve a problem.

In his post he gives a bit of a current state of the CIO and CTO. I think it relatively accurate with the outside few of CIO's that are more advanced than others. Ultimately it's representative of the industry. 

While it seems strange, most CIOs and CTOs (which I refer to collectively as CITOs) live in a state of limited awareness out of fear. CITOs are more comfortable running operations, evaluating technology, and developing new solutions than they are attempting to understand how and why the businesses use the systems they create. CITOs lack the temperament for the fuzzy world of business processes, and also lack the skills. If CITOs do start poking around, asking questions, developing metrics about how a business process is run, they will most likely be greeted by, “Why don’t you go do your job instead of measuring how I do mine?”

 

I think his assessment is pretty good but I think we can distill some more out of it and add a few more characteristics of the CIO:

  1. Mode of Operation from Reactive to Proactive – This is the fundamental behavior in IT that has to change. 
  2. Move from Order Takers to Collaborators – CIO's should help the business in a very collabrative manner not just take orders from them.
  3. Run IT as a Business – There is a lot to learn here and a tremendous opportunity if more CIO's looked at IT as a Business Unit. As eluded to by Dave, a business not only creates new products and services but it also has to optimized it portfolio of products as well. And while CIO's do embark on modernization or optimization projects, it is usually a surface level technology optimization and not a true business optimization effort (e.g., desktop upgrades shifts to a business solution centric capability upgrade that may or may not involve a desktop upgrade, it could be mobility is the key.)
  4. Make EA a First Class Citizen – Right now it is getting close, but not there yet. The EA charter is to help in the key areas of concern. Don't just say you are doing EA, institutionalize it!

 

For all this to occur there usually needs to be some catalyst. I come from the Financial Services space so I know this well. While there isn't a specific EA regulation like there is in the Public Sector / Government there is however, a strong lean towards EA. So you see very strong ties to EA as a result.

I agree with Dan's assessment that something has to happen (i.e, a crisis) but I think there are other entry points as well. Here are my thoughts:

  1. Regulation – If there is significant risk and deemed to be regulatory this change will happen fast and will up level a industry at a time to a capability level.
  2. Industry Tipping Point -Momentum in the industry makes this a forgone conclusion that this is what needs to happen. Global mind share is acquired.  
  3. Viewed as a TRUE Competitive Differentiator – Right now this isn't the case broadly, but some companies are getting it. When this is made much more obvious this could be a catalyst for change as well.
  4. Legal Implications – I always say, once someone is sued or put on the front page of the Wall Street Journal change happens pretty quick. I think this is true here as well. 

I do not see any evidence that IT will magically come up with this either by inwardly looking at itself nor comparing to the failures in IT overall. IT has already had an extremely poor track record with little broad and pervasive movement in this space.

But at some point, something really bad or really good happens. In a crisis, politics can get set aside as everyone takes a deep breath and focuses on how to make the business survive. In good times, a similar thing can happen in which the glow of success makes everyone feel secure. 

I also fully agree with Dan's statement shown below, as I stated above, that CIO's must make Enterprise Architecture a first class citizen.

What can we do about this?” CITOs should answer the call by suggesting the application of an established enterprise architecture methods. One of them is TOGAF, developed by The Open Group,  a consortium of IT users and suppliers that develops standards facilitating Boundaryless Information Flow™.

 

I wouldn't necessarily make everyone use an architecture method as it's not right for all problems. However, can we get people to think more like architects, yes! Can we get people to understand why we need architecture, yes! Can we get more people to appreciate the methods, activities, deliverables and key outcomes EA's wish to achieve, yes!

So with the comments around TOGAF, it's a starting point.

Use TOGAF to:

  1. Get a common vocabulary within the enterprise
  2. Obtain an understanding of how deliverables / documents achieve business outcomes
  3. Level set on why we do specific methods
  4. Think business first
  5. Appreciate the rigor and science involved in Enterprise Architecture
  6. Establish and leverage at multiple levels practices that scale to most problem areas like: Trade-Off Analysis, Risk Management and Transformation

So for me, I think Dan is right and what is shows it there is a great deal of opportunities that the CIO can leverage from the EA' by making them a first class citizen. They can also gain insights by shifting a portion of the way they think to be more architecturally grounded and not just technology.

More at Source: http://blogs.forbes.com/ciocentral/2011/06/23/why-cios-fail-at-increasing-awareness-through-enterprise-architecture/ 

 

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EA Classification, Understanding, and Frameworks

Mike Walker's Blog: EA Classification, Understanding, and Frameworks

I ran across an interesting article today written by Mike Rosen on Enterprise Architecture Frameworks. He shares a similar belief as I on these. Ironically I was going to post something along these lines as well. I just sat in a one day course on Zachman and EACOE and was going to distill my thoughts. I will see what is different from this article and expand on my key observations from that training.

Below is the article abstract and link. This is in a controlled subscription area.

 

Abstract

In other words, data is a collection of unorganized/uninterrupted facts. When we put those facts in the context of a schema or classification, then we have useful information. When we put that information into the context of experience, then we have knowledge. When we apply that knowledge to add value, then we have wisdom.

Full Article
http://www.cutter.com/content/architecture/fulltext/advisor/2011/ea110615.html

Making Your Strategy More Relevant

I ran across a very interesting article on HBR this morning entitled, “Making Your Strategy More Relevant”. It’s a great read and completely applies to Enterprise Architecture and the strategies we create. There are some good tips and observations included in the article that are worth a read.

 

Since the idea of a "business strategy" — a long-term plan for growth and profitability — was first developed in the early 1960s, companies around the world have used this tool to pick a competitive position and make their way closer to it.

But many business leaders seem to be losing their confidence in strategy, or at least in their own company’s approach to it. This is evident in our ongoing Booz & Company survey, which asks executives from around the world to comment on the results of their strategic initiatives. With more than 2,350 responses so far, the findings suggest a high degree of disillusionment:

  • Most of the respondents (53%) don’t feel their company’s strategy will lead to success.
  • Two thirds (67%) say their company’s capabilities do not fully support the company’s strategy and the way it creates value in the market.
  • Only one in five (21%) executives think their company has a "right to win" in all the markets it competes in.

What is going on in these companies? You might say executives are reacting to turbulence: The world is changing so fast that any effort to stick to a strategy will be futile. And in some sense, companies can only profit through speed — adapting immediately to external pressures and moving rapidly to exploit new opportunities.

 

More at Harvard Business Review

 

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Microsoft Joins the Open Group as a Gold Member

Mike Walker's Blog: Microsoft Joins the Open Group

There has been a great deal of momentum with the Open Group over the past few weeks (Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) recognized by The Open Group as valid Architecture Framework).

I am happy to announce today that for the first time Microsoft has joined the Open Group as a Gold Member. Personally, this is a huge step forward for Microsoft. Not because I work for Microsoft, nor that I fostered this through the process to become a member, but rather the value this will add to Microsoft and the products and services we offer to our customers.

From an earlier post (The Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program) you can see that Microsoft is making more and more investments into Enterprise Strategy and Architecture area with services offerings to customers. As time goes by more updates will be made available on what this partnership means to the Open Group, Microsoft and their customers.

I will be at the Austin Open Group Conference and will be available if people want to meet and discuss collaboration.

 

Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program

Mike Walker's Blog: Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program

Some of you have asked about what I am doing these days at Microsoft. So I thought I would let you all know. I joined the Enterprise Strategy and Architecture Team back in November of last year to build a methodology and framework for how services delivers the Enterprise Strategy Program. For those that are interested below is the details of the program. It’s interesting and exciting work given that this is a new business for Microsoft.

The Enterprise Strategy Program

Enterprise Strategy Program, a business value focused executive-level service engagement led by an experienced Enterprise Architect. The Enterprise Strategy Program delivers the right knowledge, skills, and resources to help you realize the full value of your existing investment in Microsoft technologies to help meet your company’s business objectives.

The Enterprise Strategy Program consists of the following elements:

Mike Walker's Blog: Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program

 

One key resource for the Enterprise Strategy Program is our outstanding network of subject matter experts—the Enterprise Strategy Network. These experts support your Enterprise Architect and provide rich insight on business and IT issues, proven techniques, and related experiences that extend across industries and geographies.

In addition to the Enterprise Strategy Network, your Enterprise Architect can tap into our extensive Enterprise Strategy Library. The library contains a broad inventory of architectures and tools, customizable solutions, and business value proof points. It is the keeper of methodologies, industry patterns, and analyses from a wide variety of experts. Library resources include academic papers from key partners, licensed external analyst reports on IT practices and trends, and internal pieces on strategic thought leadership.

With the Enterprise Strategy Network and Enterprise Strategy Library, your Enterprise Architect has access to a comprehensive set of Microsoft capabilities and will provide a most up to date view of the Microsoft enterprise product roadmap, enabling you to make more effective decisions regarding technology development and deployment.

 

More Information:

 

Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF) recognized by The Open Group’s ITAC as valid Architecture Framework

imageFor all of you out there that use or embrace the Microsoft Solutions Framework (MSF)  there is some good news for you. Today The Open Group officially confirmed that the MSF meets all criteria to be recognized as a valid IT Architecture method and is now listed and available to all architects that want to pursue ITAC certification.

This is a very interesting move for the Open Group as MSF originated as a variant of an SDLC process at the development (i.e., Solutions) level. The same is true for RUP. One could say, however, that you can use these methods for EA by abstracting them up for that purpose. Even though I have no issues with MSF as a SDLC process I do believe that it is primarily for software development and not for enterprise architecture.

You can find more information about OpenGroup-recognized IT Architecture Methods here.

 

List of Recognized Methods

 

Allstate Architecture Standards and Methods (AASM)

BearingPoint Configure To Fit Method

BearingPoint Methodology

Bredemeyer VAP

CA Solution Architecture Methodology

CSC Catalyst

Capgemini Integrated Architecture Framework (IAF)

Credit Suisse IT Solution Framework

EDS GSMS/GAD QMS

Enterprise Solution Delivery (ESD)

GM System Delivery Process (SDP)

HP Global Method for IT Strategy and Architecture (HPGM for ITSA)

IBM Global Services Method

IBM Team Solution Design

IMPACT (TCS Architecture Development Methodology)

Intel AEPF

Intel IT Architecture Development Methodology (Intel IADM)

MSF Microsoft Solutions Framework

New Zealand Inland Revenue – IR Method

Rational Unified Process (RUP)

Raytheon Enterprise Architecture Process (REAP)

SUN Architect Implement and Manage (AIM)

TOGAF 7

TOGAF 8

TOGAF 9

Telstra Technology Delivery Process (TDP)

TelstraClear Infrastructure Lifecycle Process (ILP)

UPS Solution Architecture Process