Focussed Business Strategy is making a Resurgence

In recent months there has been a noticeable resurgence in the need for Business Architecture at both tactical and strategic levels. In my experience, there are many Enterprise Architects (EA’s) thinking about Business Architecture, but very few who are really doing Business Architecture.

The Standish Group, an IT research organisation, documents this annually and has historically found that 31.1% projects are cancelled before completion, 52.7% of projects will cost 189% of their original estimated cost and only 16% of projects are completed on-time and on-budget.

Apart from the typical Project Management and Software Delivery Governance and Optimisation improvements that can be adopted to improve this situation, a further and probably more advantageous approach would be to adopt ‘Problem Architects’.

Solution Architects (the opposite of Problem Architects) are more commonly technical specialists focused on defining a technical solution that is usually heavily dependent on ‘clear’ business requirements often formulated by users and project Business Analysts. In most cases, this tends to be an inexact science as it is often too complex, too ambiguous, and has lots of errata due to tight project specific deadlines.

Forrester 2010 research has found that:

“…40% of organizations now have an established business architecture program. And most of the rest are working toward creating one. For a large majority of EA teams the question has shifted from ‘When should I start my business architecture effort?’ to ‘How do I get business architecture moving?’…“

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BPM Centre of Excellence – Strategic & Tactical Value Explained

Foreword: Having recently completed the design and implementation of an operational BPM Competency Centre for a Global Insurance company, I thought I would share a bit of my recent experience on the subject. The Competency Centre initiative formed part of the extremely ambitious IT and Business Transformation programme that is fundamental in redefining the organisation and laying the foundation for its expansion strategy across Europe.

Over the decades, the search for IT and/or Business ‘Excellence’ has led to a concept that is often misunderstood and can be very amorphous in definition and execution – Business/IT Transformation.

A term also commonly used in the same context is that of a Centre of Excellence or ‘CoE’ aka ‘Competency Centre.’  In this post, I will not attempt to redefine either, but rather explain a bit more about how the various constituent parts of a CoE can support Transformation projects and more specifically Business Process Management (BPM) initiatives.

The purpose of a CoE is to act as a nucleus for promoting and managing the collaboration of people, processes and technologies around key organisational objectives by ensuring the application of best practices, education and training, support services and technology awareness.

In most organisations, this is an extremely complex challenge, especially if the level of organisational maturity is low and their existing operational model is disjointed. That said, more mature and integrated organisations find the exigency and necessary focus for adopting a CoE a challenge.

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Free SOA and BPM Webinar Roundup

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There has been a lot of talk in the press recently about SOA and BPM and convergence. In a recent article from Joe McKendrick entitled ‘Will vendors finally force SOA and BPM to mingle?‘ the following observation was made wrt BPM and SOA convergence:

  It may take time for the SOA and BPM worlds to come together anyway. It’s like the separate Francophone and Anglophone cultures that exist in Canada; the Scotts, Welsh, English, and Irish in the UK; the Flemish and Francophones in Belgium; or the residents of North and South New Jersey. They’ll all agree to exist under one roof, but that’s about it — they still want their own ways of doing things.

 As a result, I thought it may be useful to share some of my resources on SOA and BPM…. 

Gartner who have made 2 complimentary BPM webinars available:

  • Using BPM to Survive, Thrive and Capitalize in a Turbulent Economy
  • How to Use Process as a Competitive Weapon

Free registration for both can be found here

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A 15 min BPM Workout – Lombardi

Lombardi_logoAs someone who works with customers to deliver business value through BPM, I have definitely noticed an increased interest from organisations exploiting existing BPM investments as well as those that are new to BPM trying to determine its potential.

Lombardi Software recently released this 15 min (more like 30 but who’s counting) introduction to BPM. Thought it may be informative for those of you trying to understand the value of BPM.

Quoting Lombardi marketing:

…let us help you share the BPM vision with your co-workers. ‘How To Explain BPM To Your Co-workers In 15 Minutes or Less’ is an informative webinar to help you discover what to present and how to answer the most frequently asked questions.

To view, click here.

Insurance IT Budgets 2009 – Strategic Planning vs Tactical Gains

The Insurance Industry, as with all other industries, are under pressure to reprioritise their business plans and initiatives as a result of the current economic climate (see previous post). They are reassessing thier positions and evaluating where and when to invest in new IT initiatives and equally importantly, where to cut back.  

Reading a recent article it became clear that various insurance companies have opposing views to what the future holds and how they will be moving forward in the short to medium term.

As far as the insurance industry is concerned, there was no such thing as a finalized IT budget for 2009. Most CIOs had their budgets in hand in January, but none knew just how far the economy would fall, how their organizations would fare or how technology spending would be affected as a result.

But while the overall economic picture remains in flux, insurers’ IT budgets seem to be falling into two key categories: those with a view toward the future and the strategic deployment of technology, and those that are taking a more tactical approach to technology in an effort to realize short-terms goals and ride out the recession.

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Comparison of Zachman, TOGAF and PeaF – Survey Results

I am continually faced with Organisational and IT related complexity of customers I work with on a daily basis.

As most readers would know, the fundamental purpose of an EA Framework (and associated method(s)) is to manage complexity through visibility, abstraction and governanace and therefore it is important that the framework and method are not overly complex.  

Following up on from a previous post about the new Pragmatic Enterprise Aritecture Framework (PeaF), I thought that interested readers would find the survey results comparing Togaf v9, Zachman and PeaF enlightening.

The founders of PeaF have published the results of how TOGAF v9, Zachman and PeaF compare and the highlevel results are reflected in the graph below.  The data does not say how many contributors were surveyed or what their demographics were but according to the published results on the website, PeaF is smaller and less complex, whilst being easier to use and covering more of the scope of EA.

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Underpinning these results is a data table (shown below).

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A Guide to Beating the IT Recession Blues

 glass_scupture_desiree_hopeIT spending is often an issue for any organisation, but especially in harsh economic times it is even more important to see what benefit IT brings to the business. This report looks at the degree to which UK organisations understand what IT is doing for their business, and in particular how some companies measure this and benefit from it.

This guide from Quocirca is essential reading  for organisations wanting to outpace their peers during tough times.

Summary

Companies have to remain competitive, but the recent years of prosperity have made this less of a driving need in many industries. Most organisations think they can outperform their rivals, and many believe that their approach to IT can play a significant part in this.

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