Examining the State of EA and Findings of Recent Survey

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Transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on the findings from a study on the current state and future direction of enterprise architecture from a from The Open Group 2011 U.S. Conference.

Transcript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on the findings from a study on the current state and future direction of enterprise architecture from a from The Open Group 2011 U.S. Conference.

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  • 1. Examining the State of EA and Findings of Recent SurveyTranscript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on the findings from a study on the currentstate and future direction of enterprise architecture from a from The Open Group 2011 U.S.Conference.Listen to the podcast. Find it oniTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: The Open GroupDana Gardner: Hi, this is Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions, and yourelistening to BriefingsDirect. Today, we present a sponsored podcast discussion in conjunction with the Open Group Conference, held in San Diego in the week of February 7, 2011. We’ve assembled a panel to examine the current state of enterprise architecture (EA) and analyze some new findings on this subject from a recently completed Infosys annual survey. Well see how the architects themselves are defining the EA team concept,how enterprise architects are dealing with impact and engagement in their enterprises, and thelatest definitions of EA deliverables and objectives. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor ofBriefingsDirect podcasts.]Well also look at where the latest trends around hot topics like cloud and mobile are pushing theenterprise architects towards a new future. Here with us to delve into the current state of EA andthe survey results, is Len Fehskens, Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open Group.Welcome, Len.Len Fehskens: Thanks, Dana.Gardner: Nick Hill, Principal Enterprise Architect at Infosys Technologies. Welcome.Nick Hill: Thank you very much.Gardner: Dave Hornford, Architecture Practice Principal at Integritas, as well as Chair of TheOpen Group’s Architecture Forum. Welcome, Dave.Dave Hornford: Welcome. Thanks for being here.Gardner: Chris Forde, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and Membership Capabilitiesfor The Open Group.Chris Forde: Good morning.Gardner: We have a large group here today. Were also joined by Andrew Guitarte. He is theEnterprise Business Architect of Internet Services at Wells Fargo Bank. Welcome.
  • 2. Andrew Guitarte: Thank you very much.Gardner: And, Ahmed Fattah. He is the Executive IT Architect in the Financial Services Sectorfor IBM, Australia. Welcome.Ahmed Fattah: Thank you, Dana.Gardner: Nick Hill, let’s go to you first. Youve conducted an annual survey. You just puttogether your latest results. You asked enterprise architects what’s going on in the business. Whatare the takeaways? What jumped out at you this year?Hot topicsHill: There are several major takeaways. There were some things that were different about thisyear’s survey. One, we introduced the notion of hot topics. So, we had some questions aroundcloud computing. And, we took a more forward-looking view in terms of not so much what has been transpiring with enterprise architectures since the last survey, but what are they looking to go forward to in terms of their endeavors. And, as we have been going through economic turmoil over the past 2-3 years, we asked some questions about that. We did notice that in terms of the team makeup, a lot of the sort of the constituents of the EA group are pretty much still the same, hailing from largely the IT core enterprise group. We looked at the engagement and impacts that they have had on their organizations and, as well, whether they have been ableto establish the value that weve noticed that enterprise architects have been trying to accomplishover the past 3-4 years.This was our fifth annual survey, which was started by Sohel Aziz. We did try to do somecomparative results from previous surveys and we found that some of things were the same, butthere are some things that are shifting in terms of EA.More and more, the business is taking hold of the value that enterprise architects bring to thetable, enterprise architects have been able to survive the economic troubled times, and somecompanies have even increased their investment in EA. But, there was a wide range of topics,and Im sure that well get to more of those as this discussion goes on.Gardner: One of the things that you looked at was the EA team. Are we defining who thesepeople are differently? Has that been shifting over the past few years?Hill: Essentially, no. If you took a look at this year’s survey compared to 2007-2008 surveys,largely they’ve come from core IT with some increase from the business side, business architectsand some increase in project managers. The leader of the EA group is still reporting through theIT chain either to the CIO or the CTO.
  • 3. Gardner: Dave Hornford.Hornford: Are you seeing that the leader of the architecture team is an architect or manager?The reason Im asking is that were seeing an increasing shift in our client base to not having anarchitect lead the architecture team?Hill: Well, that was very interesting. We didnt exactly point to that kind of a determination. Wewanted to see who they actually reported into. That would help us get some indication of howwell they would be able to sell their value within the enterprise, if youre largely aligned morewith the IT or more with the business side functions.Gardner: Chris Forde, youve been observing a lot of these issues, is this a particularly dynamictime, or is this a time where things are settling out? Is there any way to characterize the way inwhich the enterprise architect occupation or professional definition is involved with theorganization? Where are we on this?Forde: Actually, Ill defer commentary on the professional aspect of things to my colleague Len.In terms of the dynamics of EA, were constantly trying to justify why enterprise architectsshould exist in any organization. Thats actually no different than most other positions are beingreviewed on an ongoing basis, because of what the value proposition is for the organization.Certifying architectsWhat Im seeing in Asia is that a number of academic organizations, universities, are looking foran opportunity to certify enterprise architects, and a number of organizations are initiating, stillthrough the IT organization but at a very high CIO-, CTO-level, the value proposition of an architected approach to business problems. What Im seeing in Asia is an increasing recognition of the need for EA, but also a continuing question of, "If were going to do this, whats the value proposition," which I think is just a reasonable conversation to have on a day- to-day basis anyway. Gardner: So, Chris is pointing to the fact that business transformation is an undercurrent to all these things in many different occupations, and processesand categories of workforce and even workflow are being reevaluated. Len, how is the EA job orfunction playing into that? Is this now an opportunity for it to start to become more of a businesstransformation occupation?Fehskens: When you compare EA with all the other disciplines that make up a modernenterprise, its the new kid on the block. EA, as a discipline, is maybe 20 years old, depending onwhat you count as the formative event, whereas most of the other disciplines that are part of themodern enterprise at least hundreds of years old.
  • 4. So, this is both a real challenge and a real opportunity. The other functions have a pretty goodunderstanding of what their business case is Theyve been around for a long time, and the case that they can make is pretty familiar. Mostly they just have to argue in terms of more efficient or more effective delivery of their results. For EA, the value proposition pretty much has to be reconstructed from whole cloth, because it didnt really exist, and the value of the function is still not that well understood throughout most of the business. So, this is an opportunity as well as a challenge, because it forces the maturingof the discipline, unlike some of these older disciplines who had decades to figure out what itwas that were really doing. We have maybe a few years to figure out what it is were really doingand what were really contributing, and that helps a lot to accelerate the maturing of thediscipline.I dont think were there completely yet, but I think EA, when its well done, people do see thevalue. When its not well done, it falls by the side of the road, which is to be expected. Theresgoing to be a lot of that, because of the relative use of the discipline, but well get to the pointwhere these other functions have and probably a lot faster than they did.Gardner: So this is a work in progress, but that comes at a time when the organization is intransition. So, that might be a good match up. Nick, back to the survey. It seems, from myreading of it, that business strategy objectives are being given more to EA, perhaps because thereis no one else in that über position to grab on to that and do something.Hill: I think that’s very much the case. The caveat there is that its not necessarily an ownership.Its a matter of participation and being able to weigh in on the business transformations that arehappening and how EA can be instrumental in making those transformations successful.Follow throughNow, given that, the idea is that its been more at a strategic level, and once that strategy isdefined and you put that into play within an enterprise the idea is how does the enterprisearchitect really follow-through with that, if they are more focused on just the strategy notnecessarily the implementation of that. That’s a big part of the challenge for enterprise architects-- to understand how they percolate downwards the standards, the discipline of architecture thatneeds to be present within an organization to enable that strategy in transformation.Gardner: Len.Fehskens: One of the things that I am seeing is an idea taking hold within the architecturecommunity that architecture is really about making the connection between strategy andexecution.
  • 5. If you look at the business literature, that problem is one that’s been around for a long time. A lotof organizations evolved really good strategies and then failed in the execution, with peoplebanging their heads against the wall, trying to figure out, "We had such a great strategy. Whycouldn’t we really implement it?"I don’t know that anybody has actually done a study yet, but I would strongly suspect that, ifthey did, one of the things that they would discover was there wasn’t something that played therole of an architecture in making the connection between strategy and execution.I see this is another great opportunity for architects, if we can express this idea in language thatthe businesspeople understand, and strategy to execution is language that businesspeopleunderstand, and we can show them how architecture facilitates that connection. There is a greatopportunity for a win-win situation for both the business and the architecture community.Gardner: Chris.Forde: I just wanted to follow the two points that are right here, and say that the strategy toexecution problem space is not at all peculiar to IT architects or enterprise architects. Its afundamental business problem. Companies that are good at translating that bridge are extremelyeffective and its the role of architects in that, that’s the important thing, we have to have theplace at the table.But, to imagine that the enterprise architects are solely responsible for driving execution of astrategy in an organization is a fallacy, in my opinion. The need is to ensure that the team ofpeople that are engaged in setting the strategy and executing on it are compelling enough to drivethat through the organization. That is a management and an executive problem, a middlemanagement problem, and then driving down to the delivery side. Its not peculiar to EA at all inmy opinion.Gardner: Andrew at Wells Fargo Bank, you wear a number of hats outside of your organizationthat I think cross some of these boundaries. The idea of the enterprise architect or a business architect, where do you see this development of the occupation going, the category going, and what about this division between strategy and execution? Guitarte: I may not speak for the bank itself, but from my experience of talking with people from the grassroots to the executive level, I have seen one very common observation, enterprise architects are caught off-guard, and the reason there is that there is this new paradigm. In fact, there is a shift in paradigm that business architecture is the new EA, and I am going out beyond my peers here in terms of predicting the future.Creating a handbookThat is going to be the future. I am the founding chairman of the Business Architecture Society.Today, I am an advisory member of the Business Architecture Guild. Were writing, or even
  • 6. rewriting, the textbooks on EA. Were creating a handbook for business architects. What mypeers have mentioned is that they are bridging the strategy and tactical demands and areproducing the value that business has been asking for.Gardner: Okay, we also see from the survey that process flexibility, and standardization seemsto be a big topic. Again, theyre looking to the architects in the organization to try to bridge that,to move above and beyond IT and applications into process, standardization, and automationacross the organization.Ahmed, where do you see that going, and how do you think the architect can play a role infurthering this goal of process flexibility and standardization?Fattah: The way I see the market is consistent with the results of the survey in that they see the emergence of the enterprise architect as business architect to work on a much wider space and make you focus more on the business. There are a number of catalysts for that. One of them is a business process, the rise of the business process management, as a very important discipline within the organization. That, in a way, had some roots from Six Sigma, which was really a purely business aspect, but also from service oriented architecture (SOA), which has itself now developed into business process, decomposition and implementation.That gives very good ammunition and support for the strategic decomposition of the wholeenterprise as components that, with business process, is actually connecting elements betweenthis. The business process architect is participating as a business architect using this businessprocess as a major aspect for enabling business transformation.Im very encouraged with this development of business architecture. By the way, another catalystnow is a cloud. The cloud will actually purify or modify EA, because all the technical detailsmaybe actually outsourced to the cloud provider, where the essence of what IT will support inthe organization becomes the business process.On one hand, Im encouraged with the result of the survey and what I’ve seen in the organization,but on the other hand, I am disappointed that EA hasn’t developed these economic and businessbases yet. I agree with Len that 20 years is a short time. On the other hand, it’s a long time fornot applying this discipline in a consistent way. We’ll get much more penetration, especially withlarge organization, commercial organization, and not the academic side.Gardner: So, if we look at that potential drop between the strategy and the execution, someonedropping the ball in that transition, what Ahmed is saying that cloud computing could come inwhereby your strategy could be defined, your processes could be engineered, and then thetactical implementation of those could be handed off to the cloud providers. Is that a possiblescenario from where you sit, Dave?Hornford: I think it’s a possible scenario. I think more driving from it is the ability to highlightthe process or business service requirements and not tie them to legacy investments that are not
  • 7. decomposed into a cloud. Where you have a separation to a cloud, you’re required to have theability to improve your execution. The barriers in execution in our current world are very closelytied to our legacy investments in software asset with physical asset which are very closely tied toour organizational structure.Gardner: How about you, Chris Forde, do you see some goodness or risk in ameliorating theissue of handing off strategy to a cloud provider?Abdicating responsibilityForde: Any organization that hands over strategic planning or execution activity to a third-partyis abdicating its own responsibility to shareholders, as they are a profit-making organizations. SoI would not advocate that position at all.Hornford: You can’t outsource thinking?Forde: Well, you can, but then you give up control, and that’s not a good situation. You need tobe in control of your own destiny. In terms of what Ahmed was talking about, you need to bevery careful as you engage with the third-party that they are actually going to implement yourstrategic intent.You need to have a really strong idea of what it is you want from the provider, articulatingclearly, and set up a structure that allows you to manage and operate that with their strength inthe game. If you just simply abdicate that responsibility and assume that that’s going to happen,it’s likely to fail.Gardner: So there probably be clearly be instances where handing off responsibility at somelevel will make sense and won’t make sense, but who better than the enterprise architect to makethat determination? Ahmed.Fattah: I agree, on one hand, the organization shouldnt abdicate the core function of thebusinesses in defining a strategy and then executing it right.However, an example, which Im seeing as a trend, but a very slow trend -- outsourcingarchitecture itself to other organizations. We have one example in Australia of a very largeorganization, which gives IBM the project execution, the delivery organization. Part of that wasarchitecture. I was part of this to define with the organization their enterprise architecture, thedemarcation between what they outsource and what they retain.Definitely, they have to retain certain important parts, which is strategy and high-level, butoutsourcing is a catalyst to be able to define whats the value of this architecture. So the numberof architectures within our software organization was looked with a greater scrutiny. They aremonitoring the value of this delivery, and value was demonstrated. So the team actually grew;not shrunk.
  • 8. Forde: In terms of outsourcing knowledge skills and experience in an architecture, this is a waveof activity thats going to be coming. My point wasnt that it wasnt a valid way to go, but youhave to be very careful about how you approach it.My experience out of the Indian subcontinent has been that having a bunch of people labeled asarchitects is different than having a bunch of people that have the knowledge, skills, andexperience to deliver what is expected. But in that region, and in Asia and China in particular,what Im seeing is a recognition that there is a market there. In North America and in Europe,there is a gap of people with these skills and experience. And folks who are entrepreneurial intheir outlook in Asia are certainly looking to fill that gap.So, Ahmeds model is one that can work well, and will be a burgeoning model over the next fewyears. Youve to build the skill base first.Gardner: Thank you, Chris Forde. Andrew, you had something?Why the shift?Guitarte: Theres no disagreement about whats happening today, but I think the most importantquestion is to ask why there is this shift. As Nick was saying, there is a shift of focus, andoutsourcing is a symptom of that shift.If you look back, Dave mentioned that in any organization there are two forces that tried tocontrol the structure. One is the techno structure, which EA belongs to, and the main goal of atechno structure is to perpetrate themselves in power, to put it bluntly. Then, there is the otherside, which is the shareholders, who want to maximize profit, and youve seen that cycle go backand forth.Today, unfortunately, its the shareholders who are winning. Outsourcing for them is a way tomanage cash flow, to control costs, and unfortunately, were getting hit.Gardner: Nick, going back to the survey. When you asked about some of these hot trends --cloud, outsourcing, mobile, the impact -- did anything jump out at you that might add more toour discussion around this shifting role and this demarcation between on-premises andoutsource?Hill: Absolutely. The whole concept of leveraging the external resources for computingcapabilities is something we drove at. We did find the purpose behind that, and it largely playsinto our conversation behind the impact of business. Its more of a cost reduction play.Thats what our survey respondents replied to and said the reason why the organization wasinterested in cloud was to reduce cost. Its a very interesting concept, when youre looking at whythe business sees it as a cost play, as opposed to a revenue-generating, profit-making endeavor. Itcauses some need for balance there.
  • 9. Gardner: So cutting cost, but at what price, Len?Fehskens: The most interesting thing for me about cloud is that it replays a number of scenariosthat weve seen happen over and over and over and over again. Its almost always the case thatthe initial driver for the business to get interested in something is to reduce cost. But, eventually,you squeeze all the water out of that stone and you have to start looking at some other reason tokeep moving in that direction, keep exploiting that opportunity.That almost invariably is added value. Whats happening with cloud is that it’s forcing people tolook at a lot of the issues that they started to address with SOA. But, the problem with SOA wasthat a lot of vendors managed to turn it into a technology issue. "Buy this product and you’llhave SOA," which distracted people from thinking about the real issue here, which is figuringout what are the services that the business needs.Once you understand what the services are that the business needs, then you can go and look forthe lowest-cost provider out in the cloud to make that connection. But, once you’ve already madethat disconnection between the services that the business needs and how they are provided, youcan then start orchestrating the services on the business side from a strategically drivenperspective to look at the opportunities to create added value.You can assemble the implementation that delivers that added value from resources that arealready out there that you don’t have to rely on your in-house organization to create it fromscratch. So, there’s a huge opportunity here, but it’s accompanied by an enormous risk. If you getthis right, youre going to win big. But if you get it wrong, you are going to lose big.Gardner: Ahmed, you had some thoughts?Cloud has focusFattah: When we use the term, cloud, like many other terms, we refer to so many differentthings, and the cloud definitely has a focus. I agree that the focus now on reducing cost.However, when you look at the cloud as providing pure business service such as software as aservice (SaaS), but also business process orchestrated services with perhaps outsourcing businessprocess itself, it has a huge potential to create this mindset for organization about what they aredoing and in which part they have to minimize cost. Thats where the service is a differentiator.They have to own it. They have to invest so much of it. And, they have to use the best around.Definitely the cloud will play in different levels, but these levels where it will work in a businessarchitecture is actually distilling the enterprise architecture into the essence of it, which isunderstanding what service do I need, how I sort the services, and how I integrate them togetherto achieve the value.Gardner: So, the stakes are rather high. We have an opportunity where things could be verymuch more productive, and I’ll use that term rather than just cost savings, but we also have the
  • 10. risk of some sort of disintermediation, dropping the ball, and handing off the strategic initiativesto the tactical implementation and/or losing control of your organization.So, the question is, Dave Hornford, isn’t the enterprise architect in a catbird seat, in a real strongposition to help determine the success or failure on this particular point?Hornford: Yes, that gets to our first point, which was execution. Weve talked in this group aboutthe business struggle to execute. We also have to consider the ability of an enterprise architectureteam to execute.When we look at an organization that has historically come from and been very technicallyfocused in enterprise IT, the struggle there, as Andrew said, is that it’s a self-perpetuating motion.I keep running into architecture teams that talk about making sure that IT has a seat at the table.It’s a failure model, as opposed to going down the path that Len and Ahmed were talking about.Thats identifying the services that the business needs, so that they can be effectively assembled,whether that assembly is inside the company, partly with a outsource provider, or is assembled assomeone else doing the work.That gets back to that core focus of the sub-discipline that is evolving at an even faster rate thanenterprise architecture. That’s business architecture. Were 20 years into EA, but you can look atbusiness literature going back a much broader period, talking about the difficulty of executing asa business.This problem is not new. It’s a new player in it who has the capability to provide good advice,and the core of that I see for execution is an architecture team recognizing that they are adviceproviders, not doers, and they need to provide advice to a leadership team who can execute.Gardner: Anyone else want to add to this issue of the role and importance of architect, be itbusiness or be it information or IT, and this interesting catalyst position we are in between on-premises and outsource?Varying maturityForde: I have a comment to make. It’s interesting listening to Dave’s comments. What we haveto gauge here is that the state of EA varies in maturity from industry to industry and organizationto organization.For the function to be saying "I need a place at the table" is an indication of a maturity levelinside an organization. If were going to say that an EA team that is looking for a place at thetable is in a position to strategically advise the executives on what to do in an outsourcingagreement, thats a recipe for disaster.However, if youre already in the position of being a trusted adviser within the organization, thenits a very powerful position. It reflects the model that you just described, Dana.
  • 11. Organizations and the enterprise architecture team at the business units need to be reflecting onwhere they are and how they can play in the model that Ahmed and Dave are talking about.There is no one-size-fits-all here from an EA perspective, I think it really varies fromorganization to organization.Gardner: Nick, from the survey, was there any data and information that would lead you to havesome insight into where these individuals need to go in order to accommodate, as Chris wassaying, what they need to do from a self-starting situation to be able to rise to these issues evenas these issues of course are variable from company to company?Hill: One of the major focus areas that we found is that, when we talk about businessarchitecture, the reality is that theres a host of new technologies that have emerged with Web 2.0and are emerging in grid computing, cloud computing, and those types of things that surely arealluring to the business. The challenge for the enterprise architecture is to take a look at whatthose legacy systems that are already invested in in-house and how an organization is going totransition that legacy environment to the new computing paradigms, do that efficiently, and at thesame time be able to hit the business goals and objectives.Its a conundrum that the enterprise architects have to deal with, because there is a host of legacyinvestment that is there. In Infosys, weve seen a large uptake in the amount of modernizationand rationalization of portfolios going on with our clientele.Thats an important indicator that there is this transition happening and the enterprise architectsare right in the middle of that, trying to coach and counsel the business leadership and, at thesame time, provide the discipline that needs to happen on each and every project, and not just thevery large projects or transformation initiatives that organizations are going through.The key point here is that the enterprise architects are in the middle of this game. They are veryinstrumental in bringing these two worlds together, and the idea that they need to have more of abusiness acumen, business savvy, to understand how those things are affecting the businesscommunity, is going to be critical.Gardner: Very good. Were going to have to leave it there. I do want to thank you, Nick, forsharing the information from your Infosys Technologies survey and its result. So, thank you toNick Hill, the Principal Enterprise Architect at Infosys Technologies.Id also like to thank our other members of our panel today. Len Fehskens, the Vice President ofSkills and Capabilities at The Open Group. Thank you.Fehskens: Thanks for the opportunity. It was a very interesting discussion.Gardner: And Dave Hornford, the Architecture Practice Principal at Integritas. Thank you.Hornford: Thank you very much, Dana, and everyone else.
  • 12. Gardner: And Chris Forde, Vice President of Enterprise Architecture and MembershipCapabilities at The Open Group. Thank you.Forde: My pleasure. Thanks, Dana.Gardner: And of course, weve also been joined by Andrew Guitarte. He is the EnterpriseBusiness Architect of Internet Services at Wells Fargo Bank. Thank you.Guitarte: My pleasure.Gardner: And lastly, Ahmed Fattah. He is the Executive IT Architect in the Financial ServicesSector for IBM, Australia.Fattah: Thank you, Dana.Gardner: And I want to thank our listeners who have been enjoying a sponsored podcastdiscussion in conjunction with The Open Group Conference here in San Diego, the week ofFebruary 7, 2011. Im Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. Thanks forjoining and come back next time.Listen to the podcast. Find it oniTunes/iPod and Podcast.com. Sponsor: The Open GroupTranscript of a sponsored podcast panel discussion on the findings from a study on the currentstate and future direction of enterprise architecture from a from The Open Group 2011 U.S.Conference. Copyright Interarbor Solutions, LLC, 2005-2011. All rights reserved.You may also be interested in: • Examining the Current State of the Enterprise Architecture Profession with the Open Groups Steve Nunn • The State of Enterprise Architecture: Vast Promise or Lost Opportunity? • Cloud Computing, Enterprise Architecture Align to Make Each More Useful to Other, Say Experts