Sunday, July 14, 2013

A Set of Q&A to Brainstorm EA & Beyond

With emergent digital enterprise, traditional EA practice is not agile enough to adapt to the changes, major barrier to successful enterprise architecting is the failure enterprise architects to understand what the business outcomes are for Enterprise Architecture. How to reinvigorate EA in achieving expected business value? Here are a set of questions to brainstorm EA & beyond.

  1. What activities are EA efforts comprises of in an organization ?

1) Building a capability model at enterprise level enabling better business 
2) Recommending how processes should be optimized to reduce time to market, better ROI etc. 
3) Articulating the value of Enterprise Architecture which customer understand
4) Set the metrics which communicates the value of Enterprise Architecture 
5) Explaining what should be done and why should be done 
6) Enabling business to go where they plan to go

  1. How does EA improve things?

1) Better acceptance of EA as a business discipline and alignment with business strategy (upstream), business planning (cross-stream) and operations (downstream) 
2) EA orchestrates the functions ensure enterprise as a whole is superior than sum of pieces. 
3)  More focus on EA "entry points" and "how to get started with EA" with EA maturity assessments so businesses understand that they can develop EA capability gradually and maintain focus on priority items......

  1. Why are businesses frustrated about EA?

1) They do not know where they want to go in the future
2) They do not know what are the objectives that they should expect from EA
3) They do not know where to stop in EA to start generating benefits in line with their objectives
4) They have never performed EA projects
5) EA dies once it is completed and it is never updated
6) They do not know how to render their EA traceable when performing daily activities
7) They do not really understand the power of EA and what they can do with it in their daily operations 

  1. What are EA Value Propositions?

1) Does EA or how can EA assist business to explore where they want to go in the future?
2) How do you outline the value proposition for EA in plain language?
3) What is the minimum EA investment required before value can be delivered?
4) How much continuous effort is required for EA - how often should the resultant change program be reviewed / refreshed?
5) What elements of EA require attention in order to afford reasonable traceability?
6) What artifacts or outputs of EA might offer value to daily operations?

  1. Is EA a decision-making role?

(1) Facilitators who are concerned only with the quality (objectivity, logic, etc.)   of the process by which a decision is reached, versus
(2) Stakeholders who are concerned to influence the outcome of decisions
(3) Deciders with power to negotiate or determine outcomes.
Architecture is defined not by what is being considered but by what is being decided !

  1. What’s EA highest-value output or where’s EA direct mandate and contribution to the value stream stops?

(1) Models/maps that represent or analyze enterprise states (as-is, to-be, could be)
(2) Designs that propose new synthesized states
(3) Plans that lay out the steps from current to target state
(4) Implementations or transformations that realize target states
(5) Strategies that determine and shape outputs 2 through 4.

  1. What’re perspectives on the role, tasks, value, etc. of EA

(1)  The employee's view that is constrained by organizational accountability, mission statements and job descriptions;
(2)  The business manager/executive's view that is constrained by return on investment;
(3)  The consultant's view that is constrained by revenue needs competitors, time-limited contracts and deliverable definitions.

  1. What’s perception of EA's success to date?

(1) Positive, important and impactful
(2) Not particularly influential
(3) Harmful and constraining/delaying.

  1. What’re EA Priorities?

(1) Press EA's cause however defined within your own organization
(2) Continue working on practitioner definitions, practitioner consensus, industry credibility, etc. to fix EA problems today
(3)  start thinking about the transformation of EA to deal with future needs.

  1. What’s EA Value Focus?

(1) It’s about technology - rare but there
(2) It’s about business alignment, information and process automation
(3) It's about business integration
(4) It's about business strategy and marketplace alignment
(5)  It's about managing change.

  1. What’s EA technical discipline?

(1) it's all too abstract, abstraction is the problem
(2) Not enough is being abstracted, abstraction is the solution.

12. Why EAs do what we (EA) do? 

What EAs do is to balance the aspiration & practicality in defining business strategy, or bridge today and future state of business, to make continuous improvement upon communication, strategy making, knowledge management, and governance discipline

13. What are some of the emerging business challenges that we will need to address?    

The upcoming challenges include:
(1) The accelerated business change, the business is hyper-connected, and always on
(2) global dynamic, hyper-digitalization connects the world more seamlessly than ever
(3) The emerging technology trend such as SMAC- Social/Mobile/ Analytics/Cloud., etc.

As they brings both unprecedented opportunities and significant risks to run business today, EA needs to play critical role in driving such digital/global transformation. Brainstorm these trends: Outside-in EA, Agile EA, Elastic EA, Digital EA., etc.

14. What might prove to be effective tools (beyond those currently being used) given the new and emerging challenges we face?

Beyond EA frameworks such as TOGAF or strategy analysis tools such as SWOT, there're many common perspectives between business analytics and EA, should EA use analytics feedback loop to answer questions such as:
(1) Allow businesses to interpret their past to better plan their future
(2) Allow people to ask interesting questions and expect to get answers
(3)  Assist in prioritizing business problems or opportunities.
(4)  Enable clear linking of strategy from the boardroom to the shop floor (assist in decisions)
(5) Tell a person/business that something is heading in the wrong direction (trend with notification parameters) 
(6) Translate technical (IT) jargon, requirements, rules, etc. into business language      

15. What’re characteristics of digital enterprise? How does EA enable designing a customer-centric organization?

Hyper-connectivity and hyper-digitalization are the new digital characteristics, where hyper accountability and hyper integration can be achieved well beyond anything we have previously experienced. An architectural approach would focus on the need to integrate the fundamentals of change management, strategy, talent management, individual and organizational learning, socio-technical systems analysis, and organization capability development.
(1) Client Intimacy - indicates a desire on the part of management to understand client behavior and create an operating model that uses that understanding to keep clients from choosing to go elsewhere
(2) People Skills - Again, a social skill with limited business or technology concerns
(3) Insight and Intelligence - This is a serious integration of people and technology. Requires understanding people, and learning information transfer mechanisms, also requires understanding the business.
(4) Enterprise model changes - goes to motive and culture, people issue.
(5) Industry model changes - Mostly business, but includes training people, so has people impact.
(6) Revenue model changes - Mostly business, but requires understanding customer motivation and has people impact. 

  1. Should EA act as Business Ecological Facilitator? 

 Based on the new characteristics of business, the EA challenge is about enterprise ecosystem adaptation. 
(1) This gives much more attention to the dynamic part of the environment in which enterprises operate - markets, communities, etc
(2) And to the dynamic part of enterprises themselves - the people who form the enterprise -moving from the "architecture / engineering / constructed enterprise" to the dynamic, complex adaptive system
(3) Enterprise as systems or ecosystems view, which seeks to deal with the fact that the Internet of things and the Internet of people is radically changing the world at a continually accelerating pace and some much more dynamic mechanisms are required to respond successfully to the changing environment in which we live, work, learn and play. 

EA for its own sake, reified as a large bureaucratic function in its own right, will tend to become self-referential and counterproductive. The function needs to get, not just executive buy-in, but wide-spread participation throughout the organization, so that all designers, builders, and change agents have a small aspect of their role that is responsible for alignment to and refinement of the enterprise architecture as mutually understood. Then EA acts as business ecological facilitator.


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