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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What is Enterprise Architecture BI Reporting?

For those who are not familiar with Enterprise Architecture, you may be wondering how does it value other than the obvious i.e. ‘Modelling the Enterprise’. The short presentation below explains the concept of EA BI Reporting in a very simple and easy to understand way.

The presenter, Helmut Schindlwick states that:

Many organisations building models in order to understand their enterprise. Different stakeholders, teams working together in central repositories to be prepared for solving future problems. This presentation is focusing on Business Intelligence (BI) for Enterprise Architecture models/projects. Most important are the impact analysis reports, what happens if an application will be retired, or who is affected if an IT centre is no longer working are just a few possible questions to answer for an EA team.
Most experienced EA teams who are implementing strategic and tactical Enterprise Architecture initiatives use a variety of tools. In my experience the ability to take the concepts explained in this presentation to ‘next level’ and ensure that reporting can be readily accessible by all is to use a robust EA platform.
I would be interested to hear how well EA BI reporting is being adopted by not just EA teams but also wider organisational stakeholder.

BPM Conference – Vendors Showcase BPM and EA Capabilities

The recent event from BPM CON II – Intelligent BPM for the Productive Enterprise highlighted something that I have posted about before – the importance of EA & BPM convergence.

Admittedly, everyone has a different view on what BPM and EA is and how value can be derived from each but as with most things, real benefits come from combining individual concepts, methods and tools rather than just working with them individually on a case by case basis.

This  general principle of holism was concisely summarized by Aristotle in the Metaphysics:  “The whole is more than the sum of its parts”.

Reductionism in contrast, is sometimes seen as the opposite of holism. Reductionism in science says that a complex system can be explained by reduction to its fundamental parts. This sounds very much like the abstraction capabilities that Business Process Mangement and Enterprise Architecture provide.

No matter how you choose to define it, ultimately the focus should be on  how both can be used to solve tactical business problems while executing a longer term strategic roadmap. But I digress…..

The BPM II conference had four vendors presenting their capabilities and approaces to how BPM & EA could be used.

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Gartner Release Enterprise Architecture MQ 2009 – Findings

Earlier in the year I posted about how EA and BPM are merging in both the practioner and tools space. This was also highlighted by evidence  from reports by Gartner and Forrester.

Gartner has released their latest analysis of the Enterprise Architecture vendor market.

Their overall assessment is favourable and in summary states the following:

  • EA tools adoption has increased despite economic challenges
  • Tools vendors have increased the richness of the features and functionality of their tools sets
  • Merger and aquisition activity (Software AG buying IDS Scheer) has provided momentum for 2009/2010.
  • Most tools seem to be more well rounded and now include, modelling, business intelligence and analysis capabilities that use a single data repository.
  • Open source and entry level tools have emerged and are seen to be gaining acceptance and interest but it is too early to tell what type of adoption there will be by a wider audience.
  • There is recognition in the market that entry level and no cost offerings can pose a longer term threat to vendors. This is as a result of vendors not listening to customers and not not aligning themselves with customer needs and their associated adoption of a fit for purpose EA tool.

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Free Enterprise Architecture Modeling Tools

While researching BPM Process Modeling tools recently (see post here),  I also came across a few Enterprise Architecture tools that I thought I would share with readers.

iteraplan, the Essentials Project and the Togaf Customiser are all Open Source initiatives and are briefly summarised below:

iteraplaninteraplan

Claimed to be the first open source tool for enterprise architecture management (EAM), iteraplan is based on the IT landscape modelling method developed by the consulting company iteratec.

It is available in two editions: Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE). A feature comparison table can be found here.

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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.

 frameworks-overall

 

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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