The recent release of the annual Gartner MQ Report for Enterprise Architecture Tools provided all of us here at BiZZdesign with a very pleasant piece of news. For the fourth year in a row we were acknowledged as a Leader, and for the second time the vendor with the highest Ability to Execute score.
Enterprise Architecture Software
A great many organizations have migrated their workloads (databases, back office systems, web applications etc.) to the cloud over the last decade or so. A great many more have still to do so, either because they’re dealing with industry-specific regulatory requirements or, more likely, because of the disruption this change would cause. In any case, the benefits of a cloud migration are well-known at this point, so we won’t waste time talking about those.
One of the biggest challenges in making Enterprise Architecture successful is ensuring proper communication with business stakeholders. Enterprise Architecture is quite often perceived as a discipline of the IT organization (where unfortunately also many EA teams are operating), and the traditional EA diagrams are not always the best visualizations for business stakeholders. To create better alignment with the business organization, it is important to create business-friendly visualizations, both from format and content perspective. This will help in improving the maturity of your EA practice and establish it as an enabler of strategic decision making and continuous change.
“Do I need an EA tool to deliver digital transformation, or can I just rely on a CMDB?”. Or, in the same vein “What is the difference between an EA tool and a CMDB?”. And “Why buy an EA tool if I have a CMDB?”.
Whatever your role, wherever you are, you are measured by the value that you bring. People interact with you because they derive some value from that interaction. That could be political, social, economic, intellectual or technical. To maximize your value, you need to understand how that interaction is measured.
An enterprise architect friend of mine recently posed an interesting question: “I lead a relatively mature EA practice that delivers good value to our organization. We are digitally transforming the organization and adopting agile ways of working across the enterprise, which is improving our outcomes for individual initiatives. But I am worried these efforts are sometimes wasted on delivering capabilities managers tell us are important, rather than the ones that are truly game-changing. How do I get in front of this, and help lead us to the right strategic outcomes?”
A while back we put out a post meant to give enterprise architects a hand with successfully passing a job interview. In a similar vein, today we’re offering architecture practitioners some great pieces of advice that we’ve come by after consulting with some of the more experienced members of the BiZZdesign team, people who have counseled countless EA practices and successfully carried out a wide range of business change initiatives. Read more
Cybersecurity is one of the key issues the business world has to deal with, and its importance will only rise. As technology steadily evolves to take over increasingly more aspects of business (and personal) life, the need for security is being made pressingly apparent by incidents such as the breaches at Yahoo and Experian, or the WannaCry ransomware attack. Every year, a huge number of companies are hacked. Here are just some of the most famous cases to give you an idea. The result? Countless people worldwide being affected, with the cost of poor cybersecurity easily running in the millions.
Talent is rare
Well, the right talent is, anyway. As new technologies make their way into the marketplace and their adoption becomes generalized, organizations are experiencing a personnel squeeze that poses a risk to both ongoing operations as well future plans. The newer (and more sophisticated) a technology, the scarcer the talent to support it, and ultimately the more difficult it is for an enterprise to ensure it doesn’t miss out in favor of the competition.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is probably the most important new technology today. It has clear use cases, and the value that it’s produced so far is indisputable – just think of the digital assistant on your phone, driverless cars, even Gmail uses it. But it’s no longer the sole remit of huge tech companies. With AI becoming more established, many organizations are starting to get access to and try their hand at running artificial intelligence initiatives. The business world is after all similar to an arms race, and having the latest ‘weapon’ to help you get ahead of competitors is an irresistible prospect. The forecast? A large wave of new AI deployments in the near future… and with it, a lot of heartache.
Making the case for Enterprise Architecture in your organization is not always straightforward. That’s because management and, generally speaking, business stakeholders tend to want numbers up front, which is impossible to calculate beforehand. Now, there are plenty of studies that have been done that prove the value of Enterprise Architecture, but that’s only possible after engaging in the practice.
Today, organizations need to move at speed and adapt their business to a volatile environment, while at the same time dealing with many inside and outside stakeholders and influences, ranging from customers and partners in the ecosystem to regulators, competitors, and the uncertain effects of politics (viz. Brexit or the US-China trade war). To be an adaptive enterprise, business architecture is an indispensable discipline. Without an architectural approach to your business, you will quickly get mired in the myriad changes and effects, without a clear path forward.
It seems like an unlikely pair, doesn’t it – Agile and Enterprise Architecture? Yet, as Agile awakens to the reality of having to move fast but in concert with other parts of the organization, and EA itself becomes more engaging and business goals-oriented, it actually makes a lot of sense to want to combine the two. Both practices bring significant benefits to an organization. Together they promise to unlock efficiencies that would increase business performance to a whole new level. Who could say no to a mix of organizational agility and solid strategic decision making? That would boost any business or digital initiative.
Much of what we do in the world of enterprise architecture and business process management is based on pre-defined analysis and design techniques, like a game that has a well-defined set of rules and operates within a bounded, predictable universe. You know what the aim of the game is (check-mate your opponent, or reduce the cost of your application landscape, for example) and follow the rules to get the optimal outcome.
A key driver for management in general and enterprise architecture in particular is to get a better grip on the future, on the evolution of your enterprise. A common technique used to support this goal is roadmapping. A roadmap is a strategic plan that shows the main steps or milestones needed to achieve a desired outcome. It articulates the strategic direction of your enterprise and shows the path forward. It helps you identify what is needed and what the main dependencies and priorities are, and serves as a communication instrument to align the organization along a common course of action.
Enterprise architecture done well holds terrific benefits for organizations dealing with the challenges of an increasingly digital world. All enterprise architecture initiatives are not created equal, however. While some grow and develop into important business success enablers, others may simply flounder after a while.
Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) have emerged in recent years as a key enabler of digital transformation and enterprise agility.
In the past I’ve written several blog posts on enterprise architecture in an agile world, most recently together with my colleague Fabian on our tool support for Agile and DevOps, and a bit longer ago on the use of ArchiMate in an agile context. In this blog post, I want to revisit the latter subject and add some newer insights and ideas with SAFe®.
One of the more interesting developments in the tech space taking place right now is the emergence of digital twin technology. For those of you asking What is a digital twin? right now, allow us to elaborate.
In previous blog posts, we have written about various analysis techniques that help you get more value from your models, as well as dashboarding techniques to visualize data in all kinds of ways. These two topics point to a more general theme: the new possibilities you get from enriching your models with various types of external data. We call this Business Intelligence 2.0.