NATO Architecture Framework and ArchiMate: comparing Defence architecture drivers with Industry

-Kevin Wallis (MOD ISS) & Marc Lankhorst (BiZZdesign) 
In this blog series, we want to update you on the UK Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) use of the ArchiMate modelling language as described in the NATO Architecture Framework version 4, which was officially approved by the NATO Consultation, Command and Control Board (C3B) in January. The document states: “NAF v4 compliant architectures can be created using the following meta-models; The Open Group®’s ArchiMate® and the Object Management Group®’s Unified Architect Framework (UAF)® Domain Meta-Model (DMM)®.” In addition, the approved method for architecture is based on The Open Group’s TOGAF® framework.     Read more

Communicating Architecture with Stakeholders

Previously, I have blogged about stakeholder management and showed you some useful techniques to support this important part of enterprise architecture. In this blog post, I want to address different ways to share architecture information with different types of stakeholders involved in changing your enterprise. 

Communication goals 

When communicating about architecture, you need to consider the type of stakeholder you are addressing and the information he/she needs from your architecture. As originally described in Enterprise Architecture at Work and also mentioned in the ArchiMate® standard for architecture modeling, there are three main goals in communicating change: 

  1. Designing: Supporting architects, process designers, software developers, and others with precise, unambiguous information on designs. Typically, this group uses various diagrams in languages like ArchiMate, BPMN, or UML. Their main focus is on functional and non-functional aspects of their designs. 
  2. Deciding: Supporting managers with information they need to decide on priorities, investments, planning, and more. They commonly use tables, various charts, heatmaps for highlighting, and Gantt charts for scheduling. They also tend to emphasize financial and risk metrics to decide on change.  
  3. Informing: Addressing other stakeholders, such as employees, customers, and business partners, to involve them in (proposed) changes. This does not require the precision of the previous two groups, but it requires a simple and intuitive understanding of the (sometimes personal) consequences of change. Examples of these include illustrations, cartoons, animations, and infographics. 

Communication styles 

Next to these communication goals, you also need to take into account the way people prefer to consume information: 

  • Visually oriented people like to communicate via images, e.g. diagrams, pictures, and animations. Stakeholders with a technical background often fall into this category.  
  • Numerically oriented people favor numbers, tables, and charts. Of course, those in finance are often in this group.   
  • Verbally oriented people best understand a situation via a textual description. The legal profession is an important example of this.  

Because architects are often visually oriented, we tend to show the fruit of our efforts by means of diagrams. But this is not always the best option; it mainly works for 1) designing and 2) visually oriented people. In management, we often find people with a legal background. They are ill-served by diagrams and other pictures, but instead require text, while those with a background in finance need numbers, tables, and charts. Speaking their “language” is an important part of effecting the change you want to see. 

Examples of stakeholder communication 

The information contained in architecture models can be displayed in many forms – not just diagrams. In particular, the various dependencies between the elements of your architecture can be exploited to create cross-cutting insights that serve the needs of various stakeholder groups. Displaying this information in multiple ways may help different types of stakeholders gain the understanding they need to move forward. 

Below, you see the technology obsolescence risk of (part of) the business capabilities of an organization. The end-of-life dates of various technologies, as provided by Technopedia (which we can import in our platform), are aggregated across the entire architecture via, in this instance, applications and business processes supporting each capability. Such an analysis helps management address business continuity risks of old technology, and also decide where to invest in upgrades or replacements. 

A heatmap like the one above works best for visually oriented people, who will immediately zoom in on the red capabilities at the top right. The same information can also be shown in a table, as demonstrated below. This may be more suitable for people who prefer text or tabular information.  

 

Below is another example: a planning diagram with additional tabular information on project conflicts. This is the type of information a manager needs to assess the impact of delaying a project, or the information a product owner requires when deciding whether or not to push a feature to the next sprint.  

At the top, we see that the delay in the first project on the timeline leads to a problem with the second project (the yellow warning sign), since that relies on the first. The table at the bottom shows (in red) that there is also an indirect potential conflict: both projects work on the same system, so if they overlap in time, they may step on each other’s toes.  

 

Next to the diagram and the table, the text you just read is, of course, a third description of this information. Any diagram or table should come with such an explanation. Such natural language text can even be automatically generated from models. But we can go beyond that: If you have attended the presentation given by our customer and innovation partner, Schaeffler AG, at the Gartner Enterprise Architecture Summit in London, you have seen a demonstration of our chatbot, which allows you to talk to your architecture models! 

Do you want to know more about the communication capabilities of BiZZdesign Enterprise Studio and HoriZZon? Contact us for a demo! 

How is AI Impacting Your Business?

Artificial Intelligence (AI) seems to be a buzzword lately, promising techniques and tools that could influence our lives, our work and the way we do business. For many designers and enterprise architects, the question becomes: What would be the role of designers on all levels (strategic, EA, BPM, data, technical) in incorporating AI in a company? There are even ethical questions that may arise when instituting AI in a company, which you must take into account before making the change.

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Behavioral Economics & Enterprise Architecture (1): The Case for Slower Decisions

Humans have evolved to make fast decisions. For example, when a stranger approaches you, you know almost instantaneously if they represent a threat, if they are angry, friendly or happy. The cognitive processing involved is mind-boggling if we actually stopped to think about it (which we don’t).

We subconsciously process a myriad of information, such as the person’s stance and their facial expression, and make a decision in a split second about whether this stranger represents a threat or opportunity. Or, in the language of evolution, we decide “Which one of us is lunch?” and “What am I going to do about it?”

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A Pattern for Sizing ArchiMate Diagrams

In my recent blog series, I highlighted the importance of communication for strategic transformations. This affects several functions and various roles in your organization by asking different questions, such as:

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Schaeffler AG and BiZZdesign BV Partner to Unleash the Power of Enterprise Architecture

“DUSSELDORF, Germanyand ENSCHEDE,The Netherlands,May 17, 2018/PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Schaeffler AG and BiZZdesign BV today announced the execution of a 5-year joint development and innovation agreement between the two companies. The agreement sees the two companies collaborating to further develop BiZZdesign’s award-winning Enterprise Architecture (EA) software for use by Schaeffler in their strategic IT transformation initiatives.”

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Three Key Techniques for Managing Your Stakeholders

Everyone remotely involved with enterprise architecture and similar disciplines knows the importance of knowing your stakeholders. Stakeholder management is a key technique in EA and many methods, including TOGAF, stress its importance. But there is more to management than keeping individual stakeholders happy. In this blog post, I want to introduce three techniques that not only help you ensure stakeholder satisfaction, but also make good use of stakeholders and their influence in achieving business goals. 

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Supporting Large Architectures as a Team

The architectures of large organizations can become quite large and complicated, posing a challenge for the architects developing and maintaining them. In previous discussions, we have addressed a number of techniques for organizing and controlling such large models to keep things manageable. In this installment, we look at the processes and practices you can use to optimize the collaboration between the people working on these architectures. 

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Combine ArchiMate & TOGAF Standards to Support Digital Change Published More ShareEdit

In the first blog of this series, I explained how important it is to raise your digital change capability to become an adaptive enterprise. I also highlighted the role of effective communication, as well as approaches to categorize and visualize enterprise architecture descriptions based on the TOGAF and ArchiMate standardsIn this series, also included guidance on which approach to select for modeling Architecture and Solution Building Blocks (both are types of logical or physical components)To round out this series, I will end by discussing the connection to Deployed Solutions. 

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6 Ways to Organize Your Architecture Models (Part 2)

In the previous installment of this architecture organization series, I wrote about organizing your model repository according to business, information and technology domains. I also explained the need to create separate current- and future-state models, and the separation between and model content and views. In this part of the series, I have a few more things to add on the topic of naming and modeling conventions, as well as advice on how to set up governance and quality assurance structure around your models. 

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Using ArchiMate to Visualize the TOGAF Enterprise Continuum

Previously, I have written about the use of a modeling language and the practical usage of the TOGAF Enterprise Continuum to classify architectural descriptions along different levels of abstraction. In this blog, I’m going to demonstrate how the content of these descriptions can be visualized with a standard notation. While TOGAF 9.1 provides the standard architecture development method (ADM), ArchiMate is the worldwide standard to model and visualize the content of enterprise architectures. Both are a public standard of The Open Group.

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6 Ways to Organize Your Architecture Models (Part 1)

If you have some experience in modeling real-life, full-size architectures for large-scale organizations – preferably in the ArchiMate language, of course – you have likely come across the challenge of organizing your models in logical and manageable ways. In this two-part series, we’re going to share our top 6 ways to organize your architecture models. These six methods should help you keep your models neat and tidy while also supporting better outcomes for your strategic initiatives.

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Protect Your Enterprise Analyze Your Security With Architecture Models

In a previous blog on cybersecurity, I wrote about the essential steps to keep your organization safe in an increasingly dangerous digital environment:

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Using the TOGAF Enterprise Continuum to Classify Architectures Descriptions

Previously, I wrote about  the need to digitize change capabilities and how enterprise architecture can support and provide value to your organization. I also discussed how to categorize architecture descriptions along different levels of abstraction. But there is one dimension I didn’t dive into: How generic or specific is the architecture description compared to your organization?  

Over the past decade, reference architectures have been developed and many have been published. They are a very useful start describing an enterprise, and the architectures are more or less specific to our enterprise. I don’t want to lose myself in academic discussions about what should be classified as what, so I will focus on the big points of the idea behind. Read more

Cyber Security 5 Steps to Stay Safe in a Dangerous World

Cybersecurity threats are ever increasing. It is sometimes said there are two kinds of organizations: those who know they have been breached, and those who don’t know it yet. To mitigate the risk and damage associated with cybersecurity, it’s important to know how to assess these risks and improve your defenses via security-by-design. It’s also important to plan for what to do if (and when) things do go sideways. 

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Language: The Basis of Successful Strategic Transformations

We are currently living in an interesting time. The digitization of all business capabilities has reached a new level and has had a huge impact on virtually every industry. Business models are being redefined and new companies have emerged to become global players. Today, companies must be more agile than ever before and the speed of change will only continue to increase.

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Transparency: Key Foundation for Change

In modern enterprises, change is no longer a simple, top-down affair. All levels of the organization need to be involved, and everyone from shop-floor employees to the CEO need to work on local improvements to business processes. Lean projects and agile product development teams must rapidly innovate digital environments, strategists need to invent and experiment with new business models, project and program portfolio managers have to decide on investment allocations, and those responsible for domains like risk management and regulatory compliance have to do their part. This “all hands on deck” approach requires enterprise-wide transparency and visibility of plans, structures, opportunities and constraints.

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7 Key Strategy Views in Enterprise Studio (part 2)

In my previous blog post, I described how Enterprise Studio supports the Business Model Canvas, Ecosystem maps, Balanced Scorecards including SWOT, PESTEL and Five Forces analysis, and heatmaps to highlight salient information for your organization. Now, I want to focus on more advanced views and analyses that help you evaluate the viability of your strategy and business models and then take steps towards their implementation.

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7 Key Strategy Views in Enterprise Studio (part 1)

A survey conducted by The Open Group in cooperation with BiZZdesign and other partners found that the largest difficulty in strategy process (for over half of the 500+ respondents) is bridging the gap between strategy development and implementation.

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How to Not Fail When Implementing Strategy

Defining a good strategy is difficult, especially in this rapidly moving digital world. But realizing your strategy is even more complicated. After all, how do you ensure a strategy is implemented in a coordinated, coherent way? How do you manage all of the moving parts?

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