For a discussion with a friend, who is CIO&COO at a Thai company, I have drafted a few pages showing one approach to a technology driven change agenda, around an enterprise architecture team.
Enterprise Architecture is evolving to become a business and technology strategy and transformation office for corporates. The precise role depends on the organisational context. Architects – much like consultants – need to align with the way the organisation works and change it, to ensure desired outcome. Remember the key focus must be the result in achieving metrics and results in delivery, not the academic beauty of a model. As such Change Agents metrics should be aligned with the desired results the organisation has to achieve. Productivity and revenue improvements, agility, quality, etc. These encompass all other measurements.
The dimensions of change journeys are around the business itself: Strategy itself, but also the priorities of the strategic imperatives and (new) it’s properties. The strategy might be a geographic expansion, the priority is the consumer business, and the property is the level of agility product implementation and speed. Technology would need to consider evolving targets and not be in a sequential delivery model, but focus on more rapid and more quality, rather than overly focusing on commodity products and vendors. Commodity shouldn’t be a concern, but the delivery of the unique capabilities. This requires depth and experience, which can be bought only with difficulity. This while adopting innovation and consistently driving productivity, as part of life. This interlinks with the operating model itself. Technology influences processes, setting of metrics, and organisational needs, as well as a move to data centricity. Process centric organisations staff often let go of the goals the organisation has and rather focus on following processes. People enablement comes on the back of data and analytical results. This requires cultural changes, as much as skill development, and a strong change management function. I am a big fan of developing people and make them better, stronger, faster, creating a cheaper, better, and more agile organisation.
Logical Enterprise Framework
The core of the architecture work is to drive a sensible framework, in alignment with the business and other enabling functions. This becomes the road map and a communication vehicle. What we are trying to develop – Services for startups/corporates/consumers/employees? What products and frameworks do we require – Corporate, Retail, Cash? What do we need to manage — Monitoring, Operational risk? Finally, what is the business infrastructure required – ERP, Process and Data Management, etc.
Guiding principles are an essential way to drive strategy and the transformation journey it self.Key principles are to generate a new delivery engine for technical and business artefacts, at key level of detail.
The upgrade of the corporate ‘engine’ end to end is a difficult business has many dependencies, but this is the task at hand. Building a new corporate engine takes a couple of months and is the platform of which we can iterate in weeks or months new capabilities. A new capability could be a new HR function, contact centre, knowledge management, data centre, etc. It is important, however, not to stop the engine whilst it’s running. The larger and more immovable the organisation (feels like my back pain), the longer it takes to get it going. When it is humming though, intelligent management to keep it going is required. This often includes the redo of a delivery methodology (“SDLC System Delivery Life Cycle”). Examples are time to delivery, but also problems in the testing phase. These are pointing to lack of quality of delivery and a gap in-depth design. New methodologies for delivery such as “DevOps” will help to drive better design and strategy (alignment) and quality (better resources, adoption of open source, improved and reusable APIs).
Typically, the team who is getting it going and start with renovating the ‘hotel’, will at some point want to move on to the next house (2-3 years) and that is actually a good thing. There are people at corporates who love to be there for the long run and there are others, who are thrilled by change and will feed of the next change. Both are required to drive fundamental change. It is also my experience, that the team responsible for large programs (and who are good at it), often cross political boundaries and that can make moving advisable – often consultants are at the core of these journeys, which can make such aspects easier. The skill requirements are diverse, but each of the key people must be exceptional strong. To me this means, that they are close and hands on to the content and not only “power point experienced.” In my view, it is more helpful to have a small team of 5-10 skilled resources or are managing all key initiatives within the transformational portfolio. The key resources need to enough of source code, pay structures, credit card dynamics, etc. to drive success. They link board level thinking to the execution tier. Not having this, will fail this journey. Often these projects are being made too big with too many senior managers. The project teams doesn’t see the ground anymore (What is the ground? Heaven is nicer!) and you know this program will cost hundreds of millions, but definitely not deliver benefits. Most successful initiatives are small budgets with ingenious teams versus big budget productions where a few million don’t matter. Many small directly benefiting projects are key, but are difficult to orchestrate and manage. This is the experience to build. I recall at the transformational journey at General Electric – reporting directly to the global CIO – I called the global leaders at really inconvenient times around the globe, worked out configurations, processes, and APIs with vendors, negotiatied, because every day is precious and the delivery date and content is scared.
There are many aspects in a transformational journey and images try to give lead to most topics, but books can be filled around this. So just take it as its meant: A teaser!