OpenText ProVision - Architecture Modelling Considerations


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There are many considerations when conducting an architecture modelling exercise - and many reasons why such exercises fail. The following bullet points are not intended to be exhaustive but will provide the makings of a workable check-list.

A successful architecture modelling exercise doesn't just happen - it needs to be driven and controlled. Therefore, a wide variety of skills are required by the modelling lead, from technical to inter-personal and all points in between.

Enterprise Architecture Modelling ...

  • is not a panacea - it is difficult to do and takes time to do well but it is a vital part of understanding and transitioning the organisation.
  • is a dark art - not only must the models be ‘correct’, they must also be structured, communicative and maintainable.
  • must not be considered as just a tick-in-a-box or as a cost (it pays for itself).
  • should be approached in the context of a corporate programme rather than an isolated project.
  • should be undertaken using a framework of (flexible) standards enabling ease of future maintenance which provides a 'living' reference business model.
  • should ideally be organised around the end-to-end process, not around the departments, locations, people or systems.
  • when done properly, provides the business with the vital, current, accurate information required to ...
  • prove the business case (via simulation) for a process improvement programme.
  • generate flexible best-practice process models.
  • conduct gap analyses (via matrices).
  • determine the correct right-sizing strategy.
  • disseminate business knowledge.
  • provide the basis for training programmes.
  • enable development of contextual step-by-step guides (use-case / work instruction) reducing corporate memory-loss and helping to ensure the correct execution of processes, especially those conducted externally (offshore).
  • create a clear, unambiguous and common means of communication (a graphical and textual 'language') between the business, IT, administrative and 'shop-floor' communities.
  • enable agreement between staff and management thus simplifying the implementation of optimised processes, continual process improvement (Kaizen) philosophies and cost/waste reduction programmes.

A successful architecture modelling & improvement exercise requires ...

  • commitment from senior management and participants.
  • availability of resources, e.g. time, access to knowledge-owners and business users.
  • modelling the entire organisation at a high level to determine which domains and processes will need full documentation and/or will benefit from being improved.
  • the first couple of processes selected for documentation/improvement are an 'easy-win'.
  • models be kept simple, consistent and structured - KISS.
  • an ongoing Kaizen approach to assessment and improvement of the business models and practices, taking into account new technologies and regulations etc.



Why Enterprise Architecture projects fail ...

Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst, Betsy Burton, recommends the following three-tier strategic approach for Enterprise Architecture project leaders:

  • Change the way you think: Frame every comment in terms of business outcomes, value and business performance.
  • Show value for money, meaning the right services at the right level of quality and the right price.
  • Position EA in investment terms, including near- and long-term business performance.

The EA methods that Burton said had a negative impact are:

  • No link to business strategic planning and budget process.
  • Confusing "IT Architecture" with "Enterprise Architecture".
  • Lack of governance.
  • Too much standardization.
  • Focusing on the art/language of EA rather than the outcomes.
  • Adhering too strictly to architectural frameworks.
  • An "Ivory Tower" approach by IT and EA team members.
  • Lack of communication and feedback.
  • Limiting the teams to IT resources.
  • Missing performance measures.
  • Selecting a tool before understanding business needs.
  • Focusing on the current state first and primarily.
  • Thinking that implementation equals completion.

An article on this subject may be seen by clicking here.

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