2008-10-23

Anything Enterprise Architecture: forming an EA group

<question >
Hello All

I just joined this group and reading up on EA and its roles etc. I have been given the task of forming an EA group and then present that to management. I wanted to seek help to point me in the right direction.

Q) where do I start
Q) wanted to use some business examples(eg finance, or sales at my company) and present to management where each EA roles fit in
Q) how EA will help improve things etc

Thank you all
</question>

May share with you my draft...

The vision statement
Experience shows that business wants separate requests for change to be implemented quickly. These changes are typically small (from the point of view of the business) and unpredictable (from the point of view of IT). To carry out these changes easily and in a managed way, the enterprise (as a complex and dynamic system) must be properly architected and implemented, thus becoming a platform for business improvements including innovations and optimisations at any scope.

The mission statement
The mission of the EA unit is to provide to stakeholders (top managers, business managers, process owners, super-users, users, business analysts, IT managers, IT architects, IT developers, IT operators, and partners) clear guidance and practical help for transforming the enterprise to implement any given vision (merger, higher level of business agility, etc.).

The objectives
The EA unit develops and maintains the enterprise architecture framework as a comprehensive set of recommendations, models, patterns, examples, tools and training materials.
The EA unit provides a dedicated version of this set (in a form of an implementation guide) to each type of stakeholders. Each implementation guide explains to stakeholders how the enterprise architecture framework addresses their concerns. Each implementation guide practically helps particular stakeholders effectively and efficiently participate in the transformation.

Thanks,
AS

2008-10-20

LinkedIn: Given a blank sheet of paper how would you go about driving business value from an Enterprise Architecture roadmap?

<question discussion="The Enterprise Architecture Network">
Given a blank sheet of paper how would you go about driving business value from an Enterprise Architecture roadmap?

There are various models around that discuss how IT / Architecture should create a roadmap to support the business. Seems that none of these actually talk (apart from in brief) about how a business stakeholder will realise tangible benefits from an EA strategy. There is lots of discussion around consolidation / simplification etc.. but no one can answer the question "yeah I get all that but what does all that mean to ME?" - interested in all views.

</question>

The second part of the presentation -- see URL below -- shows how EA (with the use of BPM and SOA as main tools for enterprise performance improvement) can address concerns of different stakeholders (from top managers to users and IT operators).

http://www.improving-bpm-systems.com/pubs/AS-AW08-keynote.pdf

Thanks,
AS

2008-10-19

LinkedIn: I have conducted tons of research regarding the 'enterprise architect'. And, it seems that the 'jury still out' as to what

<question discussion="Enterprise Architect User Group">
I have conducted tons of research regarding the 'enterprise architect'. And, it seems that the 'jury still out' as to what (education, experience and skill) makes a great enterprise architect.

The questions I am attempting to answer are relatively simple:

(1) Please describe what you believe to be an ideal candidate for an entry level enterprise architect position. What would one look like in terms of education, skill, and experience?

(2) Please describe a great veteran enterprise architect, including their education, skills and background?

Please be specific (e.g. education - MBA, PhD, etc.).

</question>


Transgrowth.com website provides an excellent definition of “architect”:
An architect is someone who translates wishes, dreams and expectations of a client into a workable plan and guides others in executing that plan.

In the case of enterprise architect, the "roles" from this definition can filled in the following way:
“client” = stakeholders, top management
“wishes, dreams and expectations” = merger, changing of unit’s internal structure, survival in heavy competition, cost cutting, modernisation of legacy applications, outsourcing the whole unit or just its IT environment, portfolio rationalization, etc.
“others” = the whole enterprise

In my experience, enterprise architects work simultaneously in the following positions :

- Scribe who keeps up to date the documentation about EA artefacts and relationship between them.

- Scout who brings new technologies into an enterprise.

- Salesman who finds good arguments for investments in non-obvious improvements.

- Superman who is usually asked for a quick rescue of a rotten IT project by completing during week-end some work to be done during many man-months.

- Sociologist who has to understand concerns and fears of everyone at the enterprise.

- Servant who serves all others at the enterprise.

- Scientist who uses scientifically proven methods in his/her work.

- Student who is ready to learn quickly new technology, new tool and new business domain.

So, an ideal candidate has to be good in these positions; the great enterprise architect masters them (e.g. a scientist with PhD in an applied science)

Thanks,
AS

2008-10-18

LinkedIn: Aswers: Have you developed a business process architecture?

<question>
Have you developed a business process architecture?
I am starting work on a business process architecture for my company, and would be really interested to hear:

* how you sold the benefits to senior management
* how you developed your architecture
* how you use it to help manage your business
</question>

These and similar questions are addressed in the "Improving BPM systems" (see www.improving-BPM-systems.com) -- a practical implementation guide of how to transform existing disparate IT systems into a coherent, agile and flexible BPM/SOA solution.

A presentation from the slideshare (see the URL below) gives you an overview of the foundation and some practical examples.

Thanks,
AS

Links:
http://www.slideshare.net/TransformationInnovation/architecting-enterprise-bpm-systems-for-optimal-agility/

LinkedIn: Answers: I understand that Six Sigma and other QA approaches are about mapping and documenting organizational processes, identifying

<question>
I understand that Six Sigma and other QA approaches are about mapping and documenting organizational processes, identifying weaknesses and of course recommending changes. What tools do you use to monitor that changes and calculate success?
I would like to say my question is completely benevolent, so up front I will say “it is not”. I believe there is a great opportunity to align a Business Process Management solution with a Quality Assurance program and I am seeking to connect with those who can help me determine if my feelings are correct. I would truly appreciate everyone’s thoughts on the subject and please offer suggestions on how to proceed?
Christian Murphy

</question>


Some experience with Business Process Management(definition: BPM, as a discipline, allows you to model, execute, automate, control, measure and optimize the flow of business process steps that span your enterprise’s systems, people, customers and partners within and beyond your corporate boundaries.) and ISO 9001 quality management system (which is process-centric approach since year 2000).

Often ISO 9001 is implemented as a “system based only on documents” even if they contain diagrams of business processes. While it must be a “system for an organisation to manage its business processes” and maintenance of the quality management system documentation is only one of the needs.

We found that basic quality management requirements can be embedded into a BPM / SOA system. In the quality management system we usually have three types of document: quality manuals, business procedures and records. A modern BPM suite allows implementing EXECUTABLE business procedures which generate reliable records (good for traceability and for performance measurements). So, instead of maintaining “paper” and “program” versions of the same business process, you will need to have only one source understandable for both people and computers. For example, one of my clients (related to Quality of Medicines & HealthCare) took a modern BPM suite to model all business processes by business owners; execution of these models will be next step for this client.

It is very important that your BPM / SOA system is easy to evolve (or agile) – this, of course, requires some architecting (see a presentation below).

Thanks,
AS

Links:
http://www.improving-bpm-systems.com/pubs/AS-AW08-keynote.pdf

LinkedIn: Answers: How to prevent the hijacking of BPM/SOA projects by PMs who have never worked on the involved technologies (TIBCO, BEA, etc.)?

<question>
How to prevent the hijacking of BPM/SOA projects by PMs who have never worked on the involved technologies (TIBCO, BEA, etc.)?
I am currently facing and have faced this problem before where project managers (who have never particpated in, let alone manage) completely mess up BPM and SOA technology projects by giving them a direction directly opposite to that proposed by the Lead Architect (who obviously has several years experience in the BPM/SOA domain).

How should architects engage with the Project Management Office at the beginning of the project? What is the level of empowerment that should be provided to architects who usually do not have a team of developers reporting to them.

The challenge remains of making a PM execute a project that is aligned to the development methodology proposed by the architect. Any insight into this based on current or previous experiences would be appreciated.

Cheers,
Sid

</question>

I would recommend to consider socio-technical nature of BPM/SOA: *how* you do something is sometimes more important than *what* you do.

If an architect (literally "chief builder") is a person who translates a user's requirements in a built environment then "a user" is your best ally. Who is that "a user" in your BPM/SOA solution?

In my experience, a BPM/SOA solution has many stakeholders with different views, different concerns and different understanding:
• top managers
• business managers
• process owners
• super-users
• users
• business analysts
• IT managers
• software architects
• developers
• operators

ONLY the architect can explain to each of them how their concerns will be addressed and how their current working practices will be changed for better. It is important to give a correct explanation/story for each of them and use right wording, e.g. "a version of a document" means different things for a quality manager and for an IT developer.

You may have a look at my presentation below that follows this approach to explain to different stakeholders how a particular architecture brings "ability for easy evolution".

Please feel free to contact me if you need more detail.

Thanks,
AS

Links:
http://www.improving-bpm-systems.com/pubs/AS-AW08-keynote.pdf

LinkedIn: Answers: Does implementing a Software within an organization impede continuous Process Optimization?

<question>
Does implementing a Software within an organization impede continuous Process Optimization?
- Time-Frame for Implementation (say for ERP) - at least 1.5 years
- Time-Frame for maturity and stabilization - 2-3 years
i.e. - even after 3.5 years the organization is still stuck at current state.

Considerations for changing the process -

- Cost of Change (customization cost)
- Consideration of impact on other modules
- Dependence on external third-party

Thus 3.5 years at current state followed by uncertainty and additional dependencies. So that brings me back to my question - Does implementing a software impede continuous Process Optimization?
</question>

My answer is “NOT NECESSARY” – if you architect your BPM system (a set of tools and practices to handle business processes as enterprise-wide important artefacts) for optimal agility (required level of agility may change over the time).

Of course, such architecture should define a set of principles, recommendations, examples, etc. for “implementing software” within your organisation. Examples of such principle are: “avoid dispersion of the business logic” (e.g. not embed it into ERP), “explicit is better than implicit” (e.g. keep your business processes in BPMN, but not code them in Java), etc.

In my experience, a properly architected BPM system (with explicitly and formally defined executable business process) will help you to
a) provide tools for better decision making– real models and real performance data can be used by popular process improvement disciplines as Lean and Six Sigma.
b) guarantee that your business system is capable to implement changes with required pace.

Some practical examples were presented this summer at the conference "Architecture World 08" in Bangalore, India (see below).

Thanks,
AS

Links:
http://www.improving-bpm-systems.com/pubs/AS-AW08-keynote.pdf

LinkedIn: Answers: Trying to figure out if there's a BPM software people really like (or not)

<question>
Trying to figure out if there's a BPM software people really like (or not)
Over the years I bumped into quite a few BPM software systems, but from my side they always seemed either too complicated (i.e. the BPM portions of ERP systems), or focused on one specific industry (i.e. software QA systems).

Curious to know if anyone bumped a software they consider the ultimate solution for general BPM, which you'd be able to use for support common business processes, ranging from QA, to service system (ticketing), to customer support, sales cycles, maybe some simple supply chain management and whatever other simple process comes to mind that you can draw on a whiteboard.
</question>

Any BPM system is a socio-technical system, so _how_ you do something is sometimes more important than _what_ you do. This is the key for a BPM implementation which "people really like" -- the software is not the major issue. It is important to be able to explain to anyone with an enterprise how a BPM system with address people's concerns and how it will change people's working habits for the better.

Thanks, AS

LinkedIn: Discussions: Are citizens the government’s customers?

<question discussion="eGov Community">
Are citizens the government’s customers?
To what extend should a government treat citizens as its customers? What do you think? Are citizens customers? Or is it a bit more complicated than this?

</question>

In a couple of e-gov projects in Switzerland (cantonal and federal levels) we consider customers as partners. They are explicitly presented in governmental business processes.

Thanks,
AS

LinkedIn: What is your definition of BPM?

<question discussion="Business Process Management Professionals Group">
What is your definition of BPM? Also, who are some of the major players in the BPM space?
My company is looking to offer a BPM solution as part of our software portfolio and I’m just looking for more general information about BPM.
/question>

From my terminology...

business process management, BPM (as discipline)
a discipline, which allows you to model, automate, execute, control, measure and optimize the business processes that span the enterprise’s systems, people, customers and partners within and beyond the corporate boundaries.

Remark: BPM uses the following types of business artefact: events,
processes, rules, activities, roles, objects (data structures), objects (documents), audit trails, performance indicators, services.


business process management system or BPM system
a set of business process of an enterprise as well as practices and tools for governing design, execution and evolution of this set

Remark: Any process-centric enterprise has its own BPM system. That BPM system may not be perfect (e.g. some processes may be only documented on paper, some details are only “located” only in the minds of certain people, etc.), but it does exist.

business process management suite or BPM suite
a coherent set of software tools for facilitating the implementation of BPM systems

Abbreviation BPMS is very confusing because diiferent people use it with different meaning. So, better to avoid it or use it only for "BPM suite".

Thanks,
AS

LinkedIn: Discussions: What is your definition of BPM?

<question discussion="Business Process Management Professionals Group">
What is your definition of BPM? Also, who are some of the major players in the BPM space?
My company is looking to offer a BPM solution as part of our software portfolio and I’m just looking for more general information about BPM.
</question>

From my terminology...

business process management, BPM (as discipline)
a discipline, which allows you to model, automate, execute, control, measure and optimize the business processes that span the enterprise’s systems, people, customers and partners within and beyond the corporate boundaries.

Remark: BPM uses the following types of business artefact: events,
processes, rules, activities, roles, objects (data structures), objects (documents), audit trails, performance indicators, services.


business process management system or BPM system
a set of business process of an enterprise as well as practices and tools for governing design, execution and evolution of this set

Remark: Any process-centric enterprise has its own BPM system. That BPM system may not be perfect (e.g. some processes may be only documented on paper, some details are only “located” only in the minds of certain people, etc.), but it does exist.

business process management suite or BPM suite
a coherent set of software tools for facilitating the implementation of BPM systems

Abbreviation BPMS is very confusing because diiferent people use it with different meaning. So, better to avoid it or use it only for "BPM suite".

Thanks,
AS

Linkedin: Discussions: Where do I find a comprehensive list of BPM Design Prinicples?

<question discussion="Business Process Development">
Where do I find a comprehensive list of BPM Design Prinicples?
Although BPM's normally evolve as time progresses but a good first time design is very helpful in reducing the time required for the BPM to stabilise. Is there a comprehensive list of such design principles similar to those put forward by the GoF( Gang of Four )?
</question>

From my book...

We strongly recommend that you first establish a set of principles for building your BPM system. This set of principles must be agreed unanimously by all major stakeholders. Take, or make, the time necessary to obtain this agreement – it is a cornerstone for all the work that follows. Remember that ideas agreed by the group are priceless in comparison with those imposed from the outside.

Such a set of principles usually includes a few high-level design heuristics and decisions. (Useful information is found in the book “Toyota Production System” and “Art of System architecting”). But the actual content should depend on the assessment of your needs with respect to the task, and it should also take into consideration the needs of the stakeholders.

1. A few definitions can be useful

2. Endorse the “building block” architectural concept from TOGAF

Building blocks, services and processes can be considered to be intimately related since in real terms
• all our services are building blocks,
• all our processes are services,
• some operation(s) of a service can be implemented as a process, and
• a process may use services for its implementation.

3. Avoid modification of shrink-wrapped commercial or freely available software

4. Danger of premature optimisation

5. Avoid the trap of the selection of “top-down” vs. “bottom-up” – use the “pinball” style

6. Explicit is better than implicit

7. The big picture

8. Horizontal and vertical coordination

9. Long-running processes

10. Avoid dispersion of the business logic

11. The importance of business events

12. BPM stakeholders’ views

13. Digitalisation of artefacts

14. Externalisation of artefacts

15. Virtualisation of artefacts

16. You may break any principle provided that you master it

Sure that any of principle is just an advice. It is quite normal to break any them if you know the reasons which are behind a particular principle and how they do match to a particular situation. For example, in the chess game is it recommended to novices do not exchange the queen vs. a pawn, but such an exchange can be a part of a combination which leads to the checkmate.

Thanks,
AS