Six Practical, Tactical Tips for the Enterprise Architect
Six Practical, Tactical Tips for <br />the Enterprise Architect<br />
Enterprise architecture is the business and technology blueprint that details your business entities, the visible properties of those entities, and the relationships between them.<br />Excellent theory.<br />Turning theory into practice requires vision,* but also demands a tactical approach.<br />!<br />*<br />*For more about vision that drives a transformed enterprise architecture practice, see 7 Steps to Transform Your Enterprise Architecture Practice<br />
Did you know? An ever-growing number of enterprise architects are getting down to tactics, as the profession grows.<br />The Association for Open Group Enterprise Architects, for example, counts some 15,000 members in its professional body across 116 different countries. So said Allen Brown, President and CEO of The Open Group, during a panel at The Open Group’s Enterprise Architecture Practitioners Conference last year.<br />!<br />
Six Top Tips for Enterprise Architecture <br />Tip 4: <br />Find Your Best <br />Enterprise Architecture Tools.<br />Tip 5: <br />Avoid the Data Traps.<br />Tip 6: <br />Architect for the <br />Cloud.<br />Tip 1: Create a Common <br />Requirements Vision.<br />Tip 2: Evaluate, evaluate, <br />evaluate.<br />Tip 3:Do a SWOT Analysis.<br />
Tip 1: <br />Create a Common Requirements Vision.<br />A common requirements vision, or CRV, helps define an organization’s purpose, outcomes and business priorities, along with the IT requirements necessary to satisfy the business strategies. <br />A CRV lets enterprise architects capture, document and examine the matrix of relationships among trends, strategies, business processes and IT requirements. <br />
Tip 1: <br />Create a Common Requirements Vision.<br />Take a top-down approach to your CRV. <br />Create a mock-up for, and get approval from, the group of business and IT leaders who help guide IT investment decisions in the company. <br />
Tip 2: Evaluate. Evaluate. And Evaluate.<br />As enterprise architectures are developed, and CRVs are created, enterprise architects will spend a lot of time evaluating current business and IT environments.<br />Be thorough.<br />
Tip 2: Evaluate. Evaluate. And Evaluate.<br />Evaluate your application portfolios as a starting point. <br />Evaluate your software licensing structures. <br />Determine how many licenses you have.<br />Determine which lines of business use them.<br />Determine whether there is duplication.<br />
Tip 2: Evaluate. Evaluate. And Evaluate.<br />At Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), with some 1,500 applications defined in its repository, leadership was focused on understanding the shadow IT pieces of the application portfolio.<br />“We are trying to get to that view, trying to understand the shadow pieces and the cost information associated with them.”<br />!<br />Tannia Dobbins<br />Enterprise Architect with Advanced Micro Devices, “What EAs Encounter During Transformation Initiatives,”<br />PricewaterhouseCoopers Technology Forecast: 2010, Issue 1.<br />
Tip 2: 2. And 2. And 2. Evaluate. Evaluate. And Evaluate.<br />GXS, a B2B services provider, is performing a comprehensive and detailed discovery of technology and evaluating everything as it defines the enterprise architecture scope: <br />“The need for continuous availability of the B2B services GXS provides, the new data center build-out, database replication, shared services, operational metrics and more are included [in the process].”<br />!<br /> John Radko<br />Chief Technology Strategist at GXS, leading the internal enterprise architecture efforts<br />
Tip 3: <br />Do a SWOT Analysis.<br />According to Wikipedia, a SWOT* analysis is a strategic planning method used to evaluate the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats involved in a project or in a business venture. It involves specifying the objective of the business venture or project and identifying the internal and external factors that are favorable and unfavorable to achieve that objective.<br />*stands for Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.<br />
Tip 3: <br />Do a SWOT Analysis.<br />An analysis of an enterprise architecture initiative might, for example, focus on IT.<br />Strengths: Characteristics of the organization’s IT that give it an advantage over others in the industry.<br />Weaknesses: Characteristics of IT that put the <br />organization at a disadvantage relative to others.<br />Opportunities: Elements that could improve IT.<br />Threats: Elements in the external or internal environment that could cause trouble.<br />
Tip 3: <br />Do a SWOT Analysis.<br />Did you know?<br />The SWOT technique is credited to Albert Humphrey, who led a convention at Stanford University in the 1960s and 1970s using data from Fortune 500 companies.<br />
Tip 3: <br />Do a SWOT Analysis.<br />Forrester Research has suggested that a SWOT analysis will foster tighter and more productive collaboration between enterprise architects and the CIO, enable a clear set of CIO-aligned enterprise architecture goals, and position enterprise architects to become more valued members of the IT organization. <br />Moreover, it will help sharpen the EA initiative.<br />
Tip 3: <br />Do a SWOT Analysis.<br />Specifically, Forrester Research Senior Analyst Jeff Scott, in an article, “How Enterprise Architects Can Gain Influence with the CIO” in PC World, recommends that enterprise architecture teams:<br />“…Architects can perform a SWOT analysis to uncover opportunities for improvement. And once these improvement opportunities are identified, architects can select the high-priority targets by comparing the value of a solution with how it fits into the enterprise architecture’s overall mission and goals. This exercise will help focus the EA [enterprise architect], since not all solutions will be in the enterprise architecture domain and should be passed on to other groups.”<br />
Tip 4: <br />Find Your Best Tools.<br />Did you know? <br />There are plenty of enterprise architecture tools from which to choose. In the most recent enterprise architecture software analysis from Gartner, entitled, “2010 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Architecture Tools,” 17 vendors were evaluated.<br />
Tip 4: <br />Find Your Best Tools.<br />So, which tool is right for you?Beyond minimum requirements, enterprise architecture tools vendors are ramping up their offerings with more sophisticated capabilities, including future-state analysis, road mapping, presentational aids, dashboard analysis and scenario planning.<br />“We have to consider the yin and the yang. The question is: <br />Do you want something that can be widely used and is simple or more complex yet really powerful?” <br />John RadkoChief Technology Strategist at GXS<br />?<br />
Tip 4: <br />Find Your Best Tools.<br />The minimum requirements of an enterprise architecture tool are:<br /><ul><li>The ability to create or import models and artifacts.
The ability to present repository information to support a variety of stakeholder needs, including displaying it graphically and textually, as well as providing it in executable forms pertinent to the reader.
A robust, yet flexible, repository and metamodels that support often-changing relationships between the objects within and between the various viewpoints or architectures, as well as capturing temporal relationships and changes.
Requisite administrative capabilities to meet diverse needs, such as security, audit/control, collaboration, configuration and versioning, including in multiple environments (for example, development, testing and production).</li></ul>Source: Gartner Research, “2010 Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Architecture Tools,” <br />by Chris Wilson and Julie Short, October 28, 2010<br />
Tip 5: <br />Avoid the Data Traps.<br />Don’t fall victim to the data element bloat, warns Brand Niemann, Senior Enterprise Architect and Data Scientist at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.<br />“How many mission-critical data elements are there in your system? Take a close look, and you’ll actually find a tremendous [number] of redundancies,” Niemann says.<br />
Tip 5: <br />Avoid the Data Traps.<br />By introducing an Enterprise Architecture Repository as part of Discover Financial Services’ enterprise architecture effort, the company was able to identify expensive and outdated legacy applications that resulted in application "tuning." This step alone provided $500,000 in processing cost savings, according to InfoWorld’s 2010 Enterprise Architecture awards.<br />
Tip 5: <br />Avoid the Data Traps.<br />GXS Chief Technology Strategist John Radko says businesses need to nurture their rivers of data, and that the data flowing among various business units and even with trading partners should move through the same conceptual channel, or repository, so that it can be viewed, analyzed, secured and governed. The data repository that Radko and his team are defining is critical because it serves as “the lake” that influences and regulates that data, <br />he says.<br />
Tip 5: <br />Avoid the Data Traps.<br />Step by Step - How to Avoid Those Data Traps:<br /><ul><li>Model data from the top down.
Avoid localization of data within business units and lines of business.
Define data with an eye on the broad enterprise.
Take into account security, audit trails, data visibility, access controls.
Don’t forget your business processes when defining data elements. The two are inseparable.
Consider investing in a data repository as part of your enterprise architecture. </li></li></ul><li>Tip 6: <br />Architect for the Cloud.<br />Every enterprise architect should cover emerging states. <br />Translation: Architect your enterprise for cloud computing.<br />By 2012, 20% of companies will own no IT assets at all. (Gartner's “Top Predictions for IT Organizations and Users, 2010 and Beyond: A New Balance”)<br />Worldwide public and private cloud services revenue will exceed $148.8 billion in 2014.<br />(Gartner forecast: “Public Cloud Services, Worldwide and Regions, Industry Sectors, 2009-2014”.<br />Public cloud computing services have topped $16 billion and will reach $55 billion by 2014. <br />(IDC Worldwide and Regional Public IT Cloud Services 2010-2014 forecast)<br />
Tip 6: <br />Architect for the Cloud.<br />The Cloud Is Here.<br />It will fundamentally change your enterprise IT, giving users on-demand access to applications and services, creating new challenges for ensuring reliability and security of your IT infrastructure. It can even enable more nimble creation of new business models and foster greater entrepreneurial spirit within your organization.<br />Are you ready?<br />
Turn Theory into Tactics!<br />To move enterprise architecture from theory to practice …<br />… enterprise architects should start with a focus on:<br /><ul><li>Understanding their current business and technology requirements and goals, and mapping their assets and functions.
Executing a SWOT Analysis will sharpen enterprise architecture’s aim, and more tightly align its efforts with the CIO’s agenda.
Enterprise architects also need to pick the right enterprise architecture tools and be (data) smart. </li></ul>Finally, keep enterprise architecture grounded in the future, and the future is the cloud!<br />!<br />