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By Regine Deleu, GM Digital Architecture, Auckland Transport
What is the value of building a strategic enterprise architecture and how can be done successfully?
Success depends on the enterprise as an initiative or entrepreneurial activity. An appetite for participating in risky endeavours is vital. Enterprise transforms ‘capital’ into ‘value’ and enterprise architecture is capital - people using the technology produce value!
Every organisation has a value chain, formal or informal, for investing in the enterprise and capital needed to do so. The value chain for enterprise investment reflects the proportion of the organisation’s goals and objectives achievable through existing operations and therefore how much to invest in innovations. The organisation strategy reflects how they act and plan to achieve goals and objectives. An enterprise investment defines how they will be achieved through structure and value of the organisation.
Enterprise architecture defines the structure of an organisation. Innovations, transformations and major changes alter that structure to achieve goals that are beyond what is currently possible. An enterprise architect understands and articulates what the existing structure achieves. They assess structural impacts of proposed changes, initiate, and design structural changes and ensure investments deliver a structure that is suitable for the future.
The management of the investment portfolio defines the value of the organisation. It risk-efficiently manages strategic goals and objectives as a portfolio, by pro-actively managing probabilities of success. It delivers the value and is an investment capability.
However, programme and portfolio management is different. It delivers the change and is a sourcing or supply capability to deliver non-core capabilities for both operations and innovations. It is represented by people, services, and, products- internal or external, along with cloud services.
The core capabilities of any organisation are strategy + enterprise investment + sourcing, many others are also needed to achieve a strategy.
Before making any significant changes, an organisation must be ready for change:
• At strategic level, there is a clear vision of the future and defined outcomes. Key principles to guide activities and decisions are defined and teams understand the core tactics to achieve that future.
• There must be clear answers to the questions: “How will we know when we have achieved our goals?”, “How do we measure success?”, “What does success look like?”
• Cultural attitude towards change is an overlooked aspect. Techniques are available to help diagnose cultural readiness and can highlight what to tackle first before carrying out major transformations.
• Once these elements are defined, design of alternatives to achieve the strategic vision can commence. Once the transformation is complete, the new organisational structure and values become BAU - providing space for further innovation.
• Have a business capability model that provides an overview of the organisation.
Manages processes, methods and technologies used by the organisation and designed around those capabilities in the following ways:
• Enterprise capability-based portfolio
• Customer & business event-based portfolio
• Sector & Agency based portfolio
There can be a mix of portfolio structures according to the needs of the organisation.
Defines and designs the artefacts needed within the organisation. Note the many artefacts at different levels that align with one another.
The Core dimensions contain:
• Business- catalogue and strategy for customers, channels, product and services, people and organisation, processes
• Data and Information- taxonomies, asset catalogue, quality framework, and governance framework
• Applications and ICT services- taxonomy, asset catalogue, and API catalogue
• Infrastructure- taxonomy and asset catalogue Around the Core dimensions are the Controlling dimensions:
• Strategy, Investment and Policy– strategic plans, portfolios, capability road maps
• Governance and performance– benchmarks, measurements, assessments and, targets
• Standards– national, international, industry standards used within the organisation
• Privacy, Security, and Digital Identity– laws, regulations, guidelines, possible threats and vulnerabilities, and mitigation plans
Across the Core dimensions are different perspectives, each designed to align with the other:
• Reference Architectures, Design Patterns
• Transformation Programmes
• Business Capabilities
What is the value?
Use this technique to align capabilities with business services, application, software services, data and information, infrastructure, skills and competencies. Indicate if the capability 'Uses’, 'Produces’, or 'Impacts/Influences' services, applications, information, infrastructures, competencies, etc. This will give you a holistic view of your organisation.
• Services used by different capabilities
• Impact on capabilities from planned updates to archived applications
• Visibility on information that flows through the organisation. Where it is produced, used, stored, what more can we get out of it
• What are our critical infrastructures?
• What skills do we need, gaps, who to hire
• Fact-based decisions on change, innovation, and transformation
• Focused transformation road-map:
• Manual processes
• Product and service
• Optimise processes
• New opportunities
It all contributes to the design of a successful strategic enterprise architecture.
Designing a strategic enterprise architecture is not a one off job. It is a guideline for a possible implementation of the future. The further into the future, the more abstract it must be. Your organisation changes constantly, and that needs to be reflected in your strategic enterprise architecture, the holistic view of your organisation. It needs to be part of the culture and therefore must be part of the change management process of your organisation.