Louise Harris

Jul 162015
 

Value Of ChangeThere is a new technology around every corner. Customer and client expectations are evolving at an ever increasing pace.

How do you determine what strategic changes you should make that will deliver value to your enterprise? Whether you have a for-profit, non-profit or public sector enterprise, figuring out WHY you may need to implement change in your enterprise is a very important step. It will serve as a solid reference point for the subsequent decisions you will need to make as summarized in my previous post. A solid reference point keeps you focused and enables you to ensure that all the small decisions you make in designing and implementing the change are aligned to the result you want to achieve.

Change Context – Drivers and Results

There are two key parts to figuring out WHY, first of all, clearly articulate and agree on one or two key change drivers and the results you want to achieve. This will define the context and the direction of the change you will introduce and the value to your enterprise of investing in this change.

If you have too many and vaguely understood change drivers, you will not be able to focus your business change to attain the specific results that you desire. Some common change drivers are;

  • Expanding market share,
  • Entering new markets,
  • Responding to changing customer needs and expectations
  • Cost or resource challenges,
  • Strengthening customer relationships,
  • Addressing regional economic or quality of life challenges, and
  • New regulations or standards to name but a few.

Your strategic response to the significant change drivers must lead you in the direction of achieving a clearly identifiable result.

Define this result in terms of one or more goals that are S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). You may not always be able to specify a time bound target at the outset but it must be set prior to a detailed design of the change.

New technology can be a significant contributor to the change drivers but it is not itself the purpose of the change.

“The adoption of new technology must be a means to your intended result rather than the desired result of the change.”

The rapid growth and improvements in technology, cause shifts in customer expectations, creating new markets and enabling streamlining of operations which are all potential change drivers. In responding to technological advancements, you must identify the key change drivers that are most relevant to your situation, directing you to achieve specific results such as; cost reduction, stronger relationships with clients or market expansion.

Value Proposition

The second part to figuring out “WHY”, is defining the value proposition of implementing change to your stakeholders. These value propositions will provide a reference point to direct and bound the scope and design of the change. A stakeholder’s value proposition is a description of measurable value that addresses one or more stakeholder’s basic needs for; solving a problem, performing a job, or improving their experience. Value propositions are very specific to the situations being addressed and the type of stakeholder.

There are a number of different recognized techniques for defining stakeholder’s value propositions, such as;

  • Value Proposition Canvas,
  • Customer Journey Map, and
  • Variation of the Five Whys.

In the end, all of these techniques share a common aspect as they are aimed at discovering the fundamental need of the stakeholders in terms of the outcome that they, the stakeholders, wish to achieve. That outcome may be related to accomplishing a task, reaching a financial goal, realizing a quality of life, or delivering value to their own stakeholders.

You may also include adjectives in the value proposition, to address key expectations that a stakeholder has about the product or service and increase its value to them.

Wherever possible, engage with your stakeholders to confirm their needs and gain a clear appreciation of the outcomes they desire. This is important not only with customers or clients but also with groups and organizations that partner with you in the delivery or your products and services.

Understanding the stakeholder’s desired results will give you a much more focused understanding of their key needs and expectations. This will lead to a more relevant and effective value proposition and is the critical first step to fostering stronger commitments on behalf of your stakeholders, to engage with your strategic change.

This is the first decision gate to determining which value propositions are worth further explorations.

The WHYs

  • Identify what the drivers are, that are necessitating change and determine your desired results.
  • Then understand and articulate what values the change will provide for your stakeholders.

Following these two key principles will allow you to focus your strategic change and produce desired outcomes for your enterprise and stakeholders.

 

 

Jul 012015
 

Digital Business - Connected World

New technologies are changing the way we do business, changing the way we interact with things

We are intertwining digital tools with everyday life and everyday business processes, creating a world of connected things and connected people.

Organizations also are becoming more connected, forming stronger partnerships to deliver smarter value to customers and clients.

As often quoted from Darwin’s theory of species evolution, it is not the strongest that survive, it is not the smartest that survive, it is those that adapt most effectively to the changing ecosystem. Your enterprise has the opportunity to not only leverage ecosystem changes to grow, but also to develop new products and services that bring new value to customers and clients and the communities they exist within.

The pace of change is increasing – organizations must architect their growth and change to stay ahead. There is no standing still. Continuing to simply evolve in a reactionary way will result in diminishing effectiveness, potentially being left behind – ergo Kodak

Architect Optimum Alignment

Architect Optimum Alignment

Architecting your enterprise future involves vision, creativity, courage and discipline to achieve optimum alignment of all aspects of your business model and strategy. It requires

  • Establishing a strategic direction reference point.
  • Keeping strategy and operations aligned to that reference point.
  • Understanding operational gaps that need addressing to implement the strategy.
  • Understanding the journey to implement the changes.
  • Purposefully architecting the journey so that all stakeholders are engaged and committed to success.

Along the way it is critical to periodically monitor and evaluate the reference point in light of changes in your ecosystem. This will alert you to know if you need to adjust the reference point and to determine what corresponding re-alignments to make to your strategic plan.

Effective enterprise architecture describes a vision of the effective value delivery of an enterprise, maps the scope of change and charts the journey to get there. It does so in such a way that adjustments can be decisively made along the journey by leaders that are fully informed of the resulting internal impacts and the key requirements to address any new gaps.

In this series of posts we will explore a straight forward method you can use to architect business change to ensure your strategy will deliver your desired future business model. This approach can be used by organizations of all sizes and purposes – for-profit, non-profit, and public sector.

Align your Strategy & Business Model

Align your Strategy & Business Model

There are 4 key steps to architecting strategic change:

  1. Figuring out WHY to change
    • What new or improved value will you deliver in response to the needs of  your stakeholders?
  2. Figuring out WHAT to change
    • What new or improved products or services will deliver this value?
    • What new or improved business capabilities are needed to deliver the products and services?
    • What new or improved business resources are needed to deliver the business capabilities?
  3. Figuring out HOW to change
    • What initiatives and projects will deliver the business resources and implement the changes?
    • What results will each initiative and project achieve?
  4. Figuring out WHEN to change
    • What is the schedule for these initiatives and projects?

In the next post we will focus in on the first and most critical step – clearly understanding and articulating the purpose of your strategic change.

May 232015
 

How successfully does your organization implement strategic business change initiatives?

A recent study[1] by the Economist Intelligence Unit revealed that only 56 percent of strategic initiatives meet the original goals and business intent. Advances in digital technology will continue to enable all kinds of new products and services and inspire innovative strategies, but will your organization be able to successfully implement those strategies? Successful implementation of strategic business change has been receiving increasing focus in business management publications over the past decade. The pace of change is increasing and organizations cannot afford significant time and effort lost to failed strategic initiatives. Organizations need a coherent approach to strategy implementation that

  1. facilitates clear articulation of stakeholder value;
  2. provides direct relation of strategic goals to stakeholder value; and
  3. enables direct traceability of all projects and business change activities to strategic goals.

Clarity of communication and traceability of relationships through structured models is a core benefit of applying an enterprise architecture approach to identifying, scoping and implementing business change.

Purpose : Stakeholder Value

The purpose of the business change must be relevant to all key stakeholders. It must be very clearly articulated and understood by everyone involved. Ambiguous communication of the initiative purpose will result in stakeholders having conflicting, or out of scope, expectations and potentially a lack of interest and engagement. This will cause stakeholder adoption apathy or even resistance that undermines the achievement of optimal business benefits.

The initiative purpose has two components:

  • The value to the organization
  • The value to the key stakeholders

The value to the organization is generally well stated for most business initiatives – decrease cost, increase revenue, reduce risk, etc. However the value to the key stakeholders is often vaguely defined or not explicitly communicated at all. This is the most significant cause of inappropriate or just plain wrong business solution design. A large national mortgage brokering agency wanted to modernize their mortgage application system used by their brokers. This would reduce maintenance and operating costs for the agency and they assumed a modern tool would be easier to use than the existing mainframe and paper based system. They executed what they thought was a successful initiative. The new system was well designed technically, it supported the documented standard process flow and the project was on schedule and budget. They had some issues during user acceptance testing but put it down to lack of user training as all the functionality worked. A friend of mine was a broker with that agency and was looking forward to the new system that was supposed to be “much better” than the old one. The day came when the new system went live and she logged on with anticipation. It certainly looked a lot nicer but what a disappointment it took three times as long to enter a mortgage application. Her income depended on the number of mortgages she successfully processed and even after several weeks the new system was still taking twice as long as before. The problem here was twofold.

  1. “Much better” had not been clearly defined in terms of benefit to the mortgage brokers. The strategic goal of “reduce IT costs” had no value to the mortgage brokers.
  2. The documented standard process and the mortgage application form layout didn’t reflect the actual workflow of the brokers.

There was an intent to make life better for the mortgage brokers but because there was no clear articulation of value to this stakeholder group there was no focused analysis on the necessary solution requirements to deliver that value.

The diagram shown below represents a subset of a stakeholder needs value model. It facilitates focus on the needs of the various impacted stakeholders in addition to the goals of the organization. Where the customer/client is directly impacted by the initiative it is critical that they are also included in the model.

Stakeholder Needs Value Map

Stakeholder Needs Value Map

 

These stakeholder value statements will serve as the reference point throughout the execution of the initiative. Design decisions and scope changes can all be evaluated against these value statements in an objective and coherent manner.

Result : Measurable Business Outcomes

The result of the business change initiative must be defined in terms of measurable business outcomes that reflect the achievement of the various stakeholder value propositions. Those outcomes relevant to solution users should be traceable to and demonstrated in user acceptance testing. Each one of these outcomes needs to be

  • measurable in some form
  • base lined prior to implementing the initiative
  • defined with an ideal target and also interim targets where applicable

Where the ideal target will not be achieved immediately after implementation, having interim targets will give early indication if an adjustment to the solution is needed. These measurable outcomes will also serve to further clarify stakeholder expectations and provide guidance to solution design.

Scope : Boundaries and Dependencies

The scope of an initiative generally involves the provision of business resources needed to address the gap between the current business outcome baseline and the desired target. These business resources fall into six categories which must be optimally aligned with each other in delivering the business capabilities required to achieve the strategic outcomes.

Business Capability Alignment Wheel

Resource Scope
People  Role, Responsibility, Expertise, Behaviour, Culture
Process Standardize, Improve, Transform
Information Transactional, Textual, Social, Business Intelligence
Technology Software, Hardware, Smart Devices, Robotics
Infrastructure Virtual, Electronic, Physical
Guides & Constraints Policy, Industry Standards, Regulation, Legislation

 

The business capability alignment wheel is a useful model for both assessing initiative viability and preventing misalignments early on in the design and implementation process. It is also a useful communication tool for effective stakeholder engagement.

Change scope can be clearly defined in two steps.

  1. Identify the level of change required for each of these resources for each stakeholder value proposition and
  2. Determine how much of this change will be addressed in this initiative.

This will further clarify stakeholder expectations of benefits and impacts. It will also give context to determining the level of engagement they need to have. Changes that are required but not initially envisioned to be within the initiative scope will also be evident at this point. Where these required changes are part of other projects, a plan can be put in place to manage these external dependencies. Changes not currently in scope of any project can now be included in scope of this initiative or added to other projects. Establishing traceability of resources to initiative scope will uncover resource gaps that often get missed, such as the need to update policy or generate information that is missing or corrupt. This model is also very useful for identifying potential resource conflicts between initiatives before they occur. In addition it can be used to identify external forces that may impact resources undergoing change and thus enable early development of a risk mitigation plan.

Summary

Two keys for successful implementation of strategic business change initiatives are

  • Clear and concise definition and communication of key stakeholder value, expected results of the initiative and the scope of both the final solution and the activities to design the solution.
  • Traceability from stakeholder value to expected initiative results to scope requirements, scope of design activities, and scope of actual implementation.

Structured models provided by an Enterprise Architecture approach provide a consistent and coherent framework for stakeholder communication. Architecting business change enables traceability of all solution design and implementation decisions back to strategic goals and ultimately stakeholder value. This improves risk management of the change and increases the level of benefits achieved by business change initiatives. The question to ask yourself is will you evolve your business over time potentially wasting time and money or will you purposefully architect business change for success?

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Louise is a featured speaker at the IRM Enterprise Architecture Conference 2015 and will be leading a pre-conference workshop on EA for Executive Consumption – How to Support Executives in Strategic Planning and Execution.

[1] Why Good Strategies Fail: Lessons for the C-Suite : Economist Intelligence Unit 2013

May 232014
 

Frank is Director of Strategic Planning at an insurance company and he is very stressed. The company has had significant challenges recently with implementing strategic initiatives effectively and the C-suite has set an aggressive customer service transformation target. Frank knows he is on the hook for a robust implementation plan that will span multiple service offerings. If he nails this he is up for a big promotion and if he doesn’t, he will be looking for another job. The pressure is on, and Frank urgently needs to come up with a new approach that will address the company’s challenges and inspire executive confidence.

Frank has lunch with a friend who tells him about how his company is successfully using the Business Model Canvas for scoping strategic initiatives. Frank hopes this might be the approach his company needs. He recalls that his lead enterprise architect, Karen, talked to him previously about the usefulness of structured models in scoping and planning initiatives. He decides to ask her to help him figure out how to use the Business Model Canvas to aid in developing the implementation scope for the company’s new strategy. Karen is excited about the opportunity to get engaged early in the strategy planning process. However, she views the Business Model Canvas as just a brainstorming tool. She has no idea how to incorporate it into enterprise architecture models to use for strategic planning. The pressure Frank is placing on her is making her very anxious. What should she do?

The first step she makes is to take advantage of her company’s leadership coaching program and find a business architecture coach who has used the Business Model Canvas. Her coach asks her seven questions to help her figure out what to do.

1. What are Frank’s key challenges?

The company operates in silos with fractured communications and Frank believes their recent strategy implementation challenges arose because certain key stakeholder needs and expectations were not evident until late in the design process. This has happened with other projects as well.  It seems no one realizes until after the implementation that a critical policy, process or system change has inadvertently affected delivery of other service offerings. Frank sees that strategic initiatives are seldom about changing only one component of the business in isolation. Multiple interacting components must usually be changed in tandem.  Frank needs a mechanism that will help identify, and keep track of, all the people, processes and resources that are impacted by, or influencing, what is being changed.

 2. How could Enterprise Architecture help address Frank’s strategy implementation challenges?

Karen suggests that Enterprise Architecture (EA) can provide the methodologies and models that will help people see all of the business components across the enterprise and the relationships between them.  With visual models it will be easier to articulate a clear scope and path for implementing strategic initiatives and then track the effectiveness of those initiatives. This would demonstrate the value of EA to strategy implementation.

 3. What barriers to involvement in strategy scoping and planning has she experienced in the past?

Karen knows that most strategy planners and organizational leaders find EA models and visual views complex and not intuitive. The methodologies and vocabulary are foreign to them and they see EA as something for the IT folk. They have no desire to learn new vocabularies and methodologies. So, she has to make these approaches easier to understand.

 4. What is the value of the Business Model Canvas in strategic planning?

Frank believes that the Business Model Canvas is much more than a brainstorming aid. His research indicates it is a tool for building the blueprint of his business strategy that represents the core elements and how the business functions across the silos. It is also becoming more widely accepted as a business strategy tool and business leaders are investing their time in understanding it. The Business Model Canvas provides a familiar and accepted context for facilitating effective strategy design discussions based on an architectural approach.

5. What does she perceive as the limitations of the Business Model Canvas within EA?

Karen initially believed the key shortcoming of the Business Model Canvas is that it does not depict relationships. The identification of relationships is a fundamental strength of EA and critically to successfully scoping strategic initiatives.

 6. Is there a way to overcome these perceived limitations?

Karen learns that relationships don’t have to be depicted graphically as lines. Relationships can be identified on the Business Model Canvas using physical spacing, grouping and colour. This will provide the ideal opportunity to introduce other high level and intuitive architectural views that will depict the relationships in even greater detail.

 7. What could be a key benefit of using the Business Model Canvas as a top level EA model?

Frank also discovers that he can adopt his organization’s vocabulary into the Business Model Canvas. Enterprise architects can then leverage this vocabulary throughout other high level architecture models they develop to make them more intuitive to organization leadership and strategic planners. The Business Model Canvas can be tailored to provide a clean and simple visual for identifying key interacting components that will support successful strategy implementation across the company.

Frank is excited about his new learnings.  He now knows that to be successful he must enable the leaders in his company to think about their business model and its “architecture” while planning and designing strategic business change.  By understanding the linkages cross all functional areas they will improve the success rate of strategy implementations and the achievement of value.  He thought of the words of Richard Buckminster Fuller, the inventor of the geodesic dome: “If you want to teach people a new way of thinking, don’t bother trying to teach them. Instead, give them a tool, the use of which will lead to new ways of thinking.”

Karen is now working with Frank to use the Business Model Canvas to introduce enterprise architecture concepts and methods. She has discovered it is a user friendly, and widely accepted tool that can be leveraged for much more that strategy brainstorming. If used appropriately, it has significant potential to help people use a common vocabulary and think architecturally, with an enterprise–wide view, as they plan, design and execute strategy implementations.

Examples of leveraging the Business Model Canvas as an effective tool for integrating Enterprise Architecture with strategic planning will be described and practised in my workshop “EA for Executive Consumption – How to Support Executives in Strategic Planning and Execution” at the IRM UK Enterprise Architecture Conference 2014 in London, England in June.

Dec 172012
 

Business Capability Alignment WheelThe Business Capability Alignment Wheel is a quick and effective means to scope and describe what is needed within an enterprise to achieve strategic direction. Once the strategic direction is articulated, and  the key  business results or success measures that contribute to achievement of the strategic direction are defined, you are ready to use the Strategic Business Capability Wheel.

Step 1 : Identify Strategic Business Capabilities

Start by identifying the corresponding business capability for each business result. A business capability is comprised of what business resources are needed to achieve that business result, bounded by the required capacity and grounded on legal or voluntary guidelines and constraints.

Business resources that make up a capability can be grouped into five categories each represented by a different spoke in the strategic business capability wheel:

  • Information; This may be insight, knowledge or data that is needed or generated.
  • People; The organization structure & roles, the individual expertise and the culture that will support the successful implementation of the business capability, not only within the enterprise but also externally, including partnerships and the customer’s environment.
  • Technology; The technological and manual systems and tools used.
  • Infrastructure; The networks, space and other assets required.
  • Process. The transactional, dynamic and social processes used to execute the capability both from the perspective of the enterprise and the perspective of the customer. In some situations a capability is fulfilled by a single business process, in other situations multiple business processes are needed to fulfill one capability.

Step 2: Assess the Strategic Business Capability Gaps

With the strategic direction clearly articulated and the required capabilities identified, it is quick and easy to perform an initial assessment of the gap between the current results achieved by each capability and the results required to achieve the strategic target. Focus on the capabilities with larger gaps first and rotate around the wheel to assess each business resource, not only for performance, but also for effectiveness in achieving the business result. For example, a organizational process might be performing well but may no longer be the most effective process for achieving the business result given a redefinition of the result or shift in the customer process or a change in one of the other business resources.

Step 3: Prioritize and Scope Strategy Implementation Projects

You now have enough information to effectively prioritize and scope the various projects that will implement your strategic direction. Assemble the business resource gaps into logical groups that can each be effectively addressed by a solution project.  Use your business capability and business resource gap assessment to define the scope and rational for each project.

 

This is a very brief overview of how the Strategic Business Capability Wheel can be effectively used to scope and prioritize strategic initiatives and there is lots of room for adapting the overall approach for your particular situation. The key is to articulate strategic goals in terms of outcomes and results and keep the business capability assessment focused on effective achievement of those results.

Please contact me if you have questions or would like further information on this approach.

Nov 152012
 

Upon reading the article titled As Chocolate Is To Peanut Butter, Strategy Is To Tactics, by Nacie Carson, author of The Finch Effect, two questions came to mind.

  1. How does the team leader/manager identify which of their organization’s strategic outcomes they can impact, either directly or indirectly and how much  impact can they actually have?
  2. How can companies “crowd source” within their ranks to identify tactical initiatives that implement strategy in addition to, or perhaps even instead of, large business initiatives?

The answer to both questions involves the clear communication of strategic intent. I addressed how Business Architecture is an effective tool for communicating strategy and helping operational teams identify how they may impact the implementation of strategy in my previous post. Let’s now have a look at the second question.

First a quick recap. The core of the business architecture approach is as follows

  1. Identify measurable strategic outcomes for each strategy,
  2. Create a map of the business capabilities needed to achieve these outcomes,
  3. For each mapped capability, identify at a high level, what is needed to implement the capability, including business processes, people & organization structure, information, technology,  physical infrastructure, etc.

This strategic outcome, capability and enabler mapping provides an easily traceable path from each operational team and their work, to the relevant strategic outcome(s).  Notice at this point what is being communicated is (a) strategic outcome – what we want to achieve; and (b)what capabilities and enabling resources are needed for success.

The next step is for executive to identify the strategic value assess the strength of each mapped capability. At this point an in-depth assessment is not needed. Existing high level performance measures and executive knowledge are leveraged to make value and strength assessments using  three point scales. Those capabilities with high value and greatest weakness are the ones that need to receive the most focus.

Executive leadership can now use simple diagrams depicting these strategic capability maps with value and strength  color coding to gain feedback from their staff in several ways.

Firstly, senior management can:

  1. Validate the capability strength assessments
  2. Identify what enablers need strengthening for the weaker capabilities
  3. Identify missing enablers or areas of innovation

Then, management can interact with their staff via various mediums to gain additional insight and ideas for:

  • Areas of innovation;
  • How to effectively improve those enablers that need strengthening;
  • Potential barriers to implementing improvements.

Armed with this focused feedback, leadership can more effectively determine the scope of a signficant initiative, as well as identify a series of tactical initiatives that may even replace the need for a single large initiative.

Using this one simple approach the organization realizes a number of benefits

  1. Employees understand both the strategic direction and goals of the organization and how they can contribute.
  2. Innovation and improvement ideas are focused on achieving strategic outcomes.
  3. Ideas can effectively be crowd sourced across the organization.
  4. Potential barriers to strategy implementation will surface a lot sooner and can be handled more effectively with proactive rather than reactive response.

In summary, using the business architecture approach of mapping strategic outcomes, capabilities and enablers and a subsequent quick assessment of necessary enablers provides a simple and effective means of

  1. Improving communication of strategy across the organization
  2. Increasing staff ownership of stragegic solutions

Both of these together will improve the success of your organization in implementing strategy.

Oct 172012
 

I just read an interesting article by Nacie Carson, author of The Finch Effect, on the need of operational teams to act tactically in support of strategy. In this article titled As Chocolate Is To Peanut Butter, Strategy Is To Tactics, she particularly focuses on the ability of the team leader to straddle both strategic thinking and tactical action. Two questions came to mind as I read Nacie’s post.

  1. How does the team leader/manager identify which of their organization’s strategic outcomes they can impact, either directly or indirectly and how much  impact can they actually have?
  2. How can companies “crowd source” within their ranks to identify tactical initiatives that implement strategy in addition to, or perhaps even instead of, large business initiatives?

Business Architecture is an effective tool in both these situations.

Lets look at the first question. The key idea here is the ability to link operational tactics with strategic outcomes. Not every operational area or team will have the potential to directly impact a strategic outcome, so how does the team identify where and how much, they can potentially impact strategic outcomes? This is where business architecture is an effective tool. One of the key purposes of business architecture is to describe the structure and behaviour of an organization in relation to its mission and strategic goals. A central aspect of business architecture is a clear definition of measurable strategic outcomes and a map of the capabilities needed to achieve these outcomes, including their supporting capabilities. Linked to the capability map is identification of all the resources needed to implement each capability, including business processes, people & organization structure, information, technology,  physical infrastructure, etc. This capability resource identification provides an easily traceable path from each operational team and their work, to the relevant strategic outcome(s).

Another characteristic of business architecture is that it provides different views of the business from different perspectives. By looking at the organizational view of the business architecture any employee can immediately see which strategic outcomes they can impact. By looking at a business process view of the business architecture a team leader can narrow down the areas where their team’s tactical efforts can make a difference. Armed with this knowledge, an operational team can now focus their creative thinking in the right areas and assess their ideas for the most potential impact.

In summary a business architecture for an organization is both a useful communication tool and a simple analytical tool to enable business managers and team leaders to both think strategically and act tactically.

I shall explore the second question in Part 2.

Jul 282012
 

The Business Process Manifesto edited by Roger Burlton is now available. The purpose of this manifesto is to create common definitions for terminology and concepts used in the business process management space. This document has been a number of years in the making and has received review and input from many business professionals worldwide. It has been an honor for me to have had the opportunity to provide input to this manifesto from a business architecture point of view.

I highly  recommend all professionals in the business process and business architecture spheres use the Business Process Manifesto in their business practice.

Apr 192012
 

Maximizing the effectiveness of your business architecture and business capabilities, requires you to develop your process architecture and information architecture together in lock step. Most will agree that processes and information are intricately linked. For example, the effectiveness of process decisions depends on quality information and the quality of information depends on the processes that create and maintain it. However, many organizations do not intricately link their approaches to business process management (BPM) and information management (IM).

Three of the key challenges to interleaving process and information architectures  are:

  1. Different types of processes interact differently with different types of information, requiring different design and management approaches
  2. The existence of two completely different groups optimizing information architecture (often non-existent) and optimizing processes, with little synergy between these groups.
  3. Focus on structured information stored in databases, completely ignoring all the unstructured information that is used to guide processes and inform human decision making.

I will be presenting more detail on this topic and how to address these challenges at the IRM UK Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Modelling Conference Europe 2012 in London, UK June 18th to 20th. If you are able to attend this conference there is a half day workshop on the 18th that also deals with how to rectify this missing link from the information architecture point of view.

I hope to see you at the conference and look forward to interacting with you.

 

Apr 072012
 

I have just finished reading Roger Martin’s book “The Design of Business”. He is describing and promoting the use of “design thinking” in developing products and services. Basically he is writing about the balance of creative design and analytical design, which is a key principle behind successful business architecture. The purpose and challenge of the business architect is to facilitate innovative business solutioning and then model it in a way that it can be analyzed and refined and clearly communicated for successful implementation. Since many folks in the role of business architect have come from a business analysis or technical architecture path, it is easy to settle into analytical modelling too early in the process of defining a new business solution and thus stifle creativity and innovative thinking. A key aspect of developing a business architecture when defining business solutions is to spend time ensuring the “what”  (strategy, partnerships, policy, business process, information, governance)  is the most effective what for achieving desired strategic business outcomes before defining “how” (organization structure, work flow, business rules, human resources, technology, other resources)  the solution can be efficiently implemented. Although Martin does not specifically discuss business architecture per se, a read through this book will stimulate your thinking in terms of avoiding the typical pit fall of focusing mostly on how to make the what better rather than first identifying the best what.