Enterprise architecture programs deal in change – that’s where EA provides value. And the businesses and government organizations they are part of are in the midst of a lot of change. Witness the accelerating turnover in the Fortune 1000, or how Apple is poised to be a powerhouse in electronic payments, or how healthcare is being transformed by new technologies and new entrants. Market dynamics and digitally-powered competitors are forcing organizations to find new ways to acquire and retain their customers. That means change, and change brings opportunity and risk. Successful firms navigate these changes better when they have the insights that a high-performance, business-focused enterprise architecture program provides.
For this year’s Enterprise Architecture Awards, sponsored by InfoWorld and Forrester Research with the Pennsylvania State University’s Center for Enterprise Architecture, we are seeking entries from EA leaders who have helped their business change. For example:
Helping their organization engage more agilely with their business and customer ecosystem
Translating high level business strategies into plans of change
Guiding a business’s digital transformation
Engaging with product, marketing, sales and customer experience initiatives to accelerate results
We’re also looking for EA programs who have transformed themselves to make their value easier to consume by the organization they are part of – for example, by:
Restructuring their operating model away from the traditional data, application and technology domains to the new competencies of digital customer experience architecture or digital operational excellence
Enabling more flexible architecture practices through architecture zoning or greater federation with other resources
I have never put ‘Wow’ into the title of a blog before – but for this one it’s fully justified.
This is the fifth year InfoWorld, Penn State University Center for EA, and Forrester have run the annual Enterprise Architecture Awards. When I compare the winners of five years ago – all excellent EA programs, with this year’s winners and the runner-ups, all I can say is ‘Wow – EA is really advancing’.
I am pleased to announce the winners of the 2014 Enterprise Architecture Awards. This year, we have six winning programs – all of which demonstrate leading edge thinking on how they engage with their business, how they provide value, and how they help their business achieve its strategic goals. Here are the winners, selected by a panel of leading EA practitioners drawn previous years’ winners and other excellent programs. (For a more extensive write-up, see the InfoWorld report)
Driving Innovation with Enterprise Architecture
The best way to succeed in Property and Casualty insurance in the US market is to create innovative products and services for unique customer segments, each with a customized customer value proposition. This is the need that Doug Safford, Vice President and Chief Architect pivoted his EA program towards.
I’m seeing many signs of an evolving role and recognition for enterprise architecture. This is changing how we ourselves see the practice of EA.
For example, one of the more frequent inquiries I get from EA leaders is around customer experience and the customer lifecycle - where our clients want to know how EA should help translate business customer experience goals into architecture. Our inquiries around mobile are less around the technology and more around shaping an enterprise digital strategy. The questions we get around Big Data have shifted from technology towards how gain better insights on a company’s markets.
‘Engagement’ is the underlying theme of this evolution. Companies need to build Systems of Engagement - and EAs are at the front-lines of decisions. But also, EAs are stepping up their engagement with their business leaders to provide the value their busness needs.
The practice of enterprise architecture is about your business – guiding decisions and designing solutions for better, more sustainable business outcomes.
Pretty much every EA leader would agree with this statement – but only a small percentage can say that this describes their program. Whether due to the situation they are in, or their own leanings, their impact is mostly on IT outcomes. It’s in this context that it’s such a pleasure for me to announce the winners of the 2013 InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards.
Two words stand out in all these winning submissions: “business” and “transformation.” These EA programs all share a singular focus on being central to how their business, not just their IT function, evolves.
Many in our profession have said that EA should report into the business, not IT. The EA program in the National Bank of Abu Dhabi; the second largest lending bank in the United Arab Emirates, does so. In their submission: Building the Global Business Transformation Roadmap, they describe how the credibility and impact they had when they were part of IT lead to them being moved into the Transformation Management Office, reporting to the CEO. They are now responsible for the analysis and transformation road maps, transformation program design, and balanced scorecards for the overall bank as it seeks expand to 45 countries in five years.
The healthcare industry is undergoing transformation. What’s driving this? A wide range of factors, from new regulations and government programs, to new treatments and approaches, to perpetually rising costs. To thrive in this environment, , Forrester believes healthcare providers and payers must embrace four critical imperatives that will provide the most transformational impact:
The Age of the Customer. Health insurance has historically focused on plans and subscribers, and healthcare providers on patients in treatment. But both of these industries – like many others, are now seeing the need to be Customer-centric, and to engage their customers in a holistic and personalized way.
Mobile engagement. These customers use mobile as an extension of their daily life. Smart healthcare providers and payers are using this to provide services to keep their customers healthy, not just treat them when they come to a clinic.
Insights through Big Data and analytics. To engage these customers, healthcare firms needs more insights into who they are, how they live, and how best to serve them. Enter the opportunities provided by the confluence of Big Data, Social, Open Data, predictive analytics and smart business processes.
Digital disruption. Healthcare is big business, dominated by big firms. But at the other end of the spectrum are nimble innovators with mobile apps, health monitoring devices and social tools. Are they competitors or potential partners? How should these big firms bring digital disruption techniques into their business?
The InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards recognize excellent EA programs — ones that due to their business focus, and strategic yet pragmatic orientation, provide sustained value to their business. I caught up with two of our 2012 winners to find out what they have been doing in the year since their award submission. I was specifically interested in hearing:
Have there been changes to business strategy or IT strategy since one year ago that they’ve had to respond to?
What would they say has been their greatest accomplishment over the past year?
The priorities for their EA programs today — changes in the scope, mission, or organization?
What would they say is a key learning of their EA program, or the larger IT organization about making EA effective?
As architects, we all know the importance of context. The right architecture for one context – say, an organically growing company – doesn’t work for a company growing by acquisition. The right technology strategy for a medium-size American company doesn’t work for a China-based one.
Well, the context for enterprise architecture itself is changing. We’ve got The Age Of The Customer forcing companies to transform outside-in. We have what is called technology consumerization – our business users have access to ever more powerful technology solutions independent of IT. We have digital-fueled business disruption, as described in James McQuivey’s book, Digital Disruption. And all this is driving the demand for greater business agility – the ability to quickly sense and adeptly respond to new opportunities and threats in their context.
What a great opportunity for enterprise architecture programs! But this is only possible if they shift from a focus on cost to a focus on opportunity, change from controlling to enabling technology, and adapt their practices to the need for quickness with “just enough insight.”
I recently had a conversation with a new EA practice leaders in the investment management business unit of a large multi-line insurance company. They wanted to hear my perspectives on what a world-class EA program should look like. They knew of all the traditional EA building blocks: standards and roadmaps, architecture domains, methodologies like TOGAF. They had a long list of things to do, but were uncertain about which to tackle first, and had a nagging feeling that these had little to do with world-class EA programs. We touched on EA maturity models, but quickly concluded that there isn’t an obvious and compelling business value proposition to simply ‘being mature’.
The conversation shifted to outcomes – what are the outcomes of a world-class EA program? IT cost reduction could be an outcome, and has been the raison d’etre of EA for years. IT solution design quality could be an outcome, and has been the justification for architects for longer than EA has been around. But these are all IT-centric outcomes.
We all know the world is changing. Digital capabilities are radically impacting our customers, the competitive landscape, the regulatory context, and the operating models of businesses. Kyle McNabb summarizes this very well in his blog post. The mantra today is business agility in the face of all these radical changes. Because of this, being IT-centric is no longer the hallmark of a world class EA program.
In Forrester’s EA Practice Playbook, we describe high-performance enterprise architecture programs as “business-focused, strategic, and pragmatic.” They are business-focused so that the direction and guidance EA provides has clear business relevance and value. They are strategic because the greatest value EA brings is to help its business to achieve its business strategies. They are pragmatic because, well, the path to strategy is never straight, and EA teams who aren’t agile in their approach get pushed aside.
National Grid, facing the enormous changes to the utility industry, developed an enterprisewide business capability model and made that the center of their joint business-IS planning. The result? All the way up to the C-level, EA is being recognized as a strategic change agent.
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership “reinvented” their EA program, centered on a business capability model developed over four weeks, and used to organize and link all the EA portfolios. They now have business managers as well as EA using their architecture planning tool.
The pace of business change is accelerating. The reason why it is accelerating is the mushrooming of disruptive factors: your customers expecting anytime/everywhere access to you through their mobile devices, competitors leveraging big data technology to rapidly execute on customer-centric value propositions, and new market entrants with lean business models that enable them to outmaneuver your business.
Most companies deal poorly with disruptive change. If they are the “disruptor,” seeking to use these disruptive factors to steal market share, they often run without a plan and only after, for example, a poor mobile app customer experience, realize what they should have changed. If they are the firm being disrupted, the desire for a fast response leads to knee-jerk reactions and a thin veneer of new technology on a fossilized back-office business model.
This is where the value of business architects and business process professionals comes to play: you help your company plan and execute coherent responses to disruptive factors. That’s why your company needs you to attend Forrester’s Business Architecture & Process Forum: Embracing Digital Disruption in London on October 4 and Orlando, FL on October 18–19, 2012.
We’ll start with James McQuivey describing how technology is changing the playing field for disruption in his keynote: The Disruptor’s Handbook: How To Make The Most Of Digital Disruption.
We’ll look at how firms have used technology to rethink their operating models, eliminating low-value activities to focus on what their customers value in Craig Le Clair’s Implementing The Different In The Age Of Digital Disruption.