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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What is the State of the Cloud? – An Overview

There are various views in the market regarding the adoption of Cloud computing  and as I have experienced with BPM, many folks are still struggling with trying to figure out what it is,where the value proposition is and how to quantify it. Some of the more common comments supporting the Cloud computing argument include:

  • Cloud computing is expected to grow in adoption within the next five years.
  • Drivers for adoption will include the need for higher levels of service at lower costs.
  • Benefits of cloud computing include faster development speed and better payment structure.
  • SMEs may be more interested in cloud computing in the next three years, particularly when they need to build or expand their data centers.
  • <add your own here….>

As a snapshot on the ‘State of the Cloud’ I have included a presentation from Interop 09 Enterprise Cloud Summit late 2009. It gives some introductory thoughts on clouds, how we got here and where it’s going. I would be interested to hear about your plans and experiences regarding BPM and Cloud adoption.

For further reading, have a look at this post that states Ovum Research firm has chosen Cordys as the the best fit for SaaS enabled BPM platform.

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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New IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF) – Assessment Tool Released

The Innovation Value Institute (IVI) at the National University of Ireland (NUI) has launched the IT Capability Maturity Framework (IT-CMF)

industrial_frameworkIt is said to provide a concise management roadmap to optimize business value derived from IT investments. This framework is postioned as a tool that can be used to deliver greater business value from IT while reducing the complexity of IT choices for CIOs.

 

According to IVI, the IT-CMF provides a management roadmap to optimize business value derived from IT investments. IT-CMF provides an integrated roadmap that:

  • Leverages the power of existing best practices
  • Open Innovation: is being developed by a diverse consortium of academic and business leaders
  • Is being tested in the real world at every stage of development
  • An actionable approach that helps IT design, deliver and manage for business value

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SOA Adoption – So Far, So Good….

Towards the end of 2008, Dave Linthicum issued his predictions for the year ahead in service oriented architecture. They are summarised below:bpm-questions-you-should-ask-your-bpms-vendor1

  • The interest in cloud computing (or WOA, Web 2.0, or insert current Webby buzzword here) will drive many enterprises toward SOA
  • The explosion in PaaS (platform as a service) will leave many enterprise architects and CIOs scratching their heads
  • The economy will recover, but most enterprises out there will focus on cost reduction
  • There will be a larger focus on inter-domain SOA technology
  • Jig will be up for poor SOA governance solutions out there
  • Most failed SOA projects will be traced to unqualified SOA architects
  • SOA the buzzword will become a bit less relevant and will begin to morph with concepts, such as enterprise architecture and cloud computing

So where are we?

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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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