Dr. Randy Frid

Enterprise Architecture: Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow

  1. The Outcomes of Enterprise Architecture:

The ultimate outcome of Enterprise Architecture (EA) is to provide both a discipline and a program that creates a graphical blueprint of an organization (built over time) to enhance management’s ability to achieve increased Decision Advantage. EA provides a “graphical” view of an organization’s strategy, structures, behaviours, relationships, processes, information, technologies, security, privacy and policies. EA helps align desired outcomes to objectives, and objectives to capabilities. EA then deconstructs each capability (like cracking open an egg) into it’s constituent parts (people, process, info, apps, tech, security). EA is then used to graphically describe the current state vs any potential desired future state so the deltas in the options can be analyzed, costed and evaluated.

EA helps enable Decision Advantage when planning any transformation and investment. The results are then mapped onto a graphical EA roadmap. By adopting, mandating, and enforcing the use of a formal EA program, management not only generates a persistent, point-in-time (past, present, and future) model of their organization, they also receive the added bonus and rigour of well-documented traceability and auditability, as well as the assurance of interoperability and compliance across the greater whole.

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Note: Some large organizations also expand the EA Program to include a Technology Forecast, or to assimilate work done by other research teams (marketing, engineering, standards, etc.) to produce graphical Outlook Reports that analyze and present potential opportunities or disruptions on the near and long-term horizons.

As an example; the pharmaceutical industry (classically the domain of chemistry) was almost completely caught unaware by rapid advancements being made in genetics engineering, a field of science they had previously paid little attention to). As a result, the were caught completely off-guard when the first genetically engineered drugs began to hit the market. Overnight, Big Pharma had to scramble and start buying up almost every genetic engineering lab world-wide to avoid being wiped out faster than buggy-whip manufacturers when the automobile took the world by storm. The point being, if Big Pharma had taken advantage of an Enterprise Architecture Program that dedicated some of its time and resources to analyzing potentially disruptive technologies on the horizon, they could easily avoided a near calamity and gained a significant advantage over the competition.

The Objectives of Enterprise Architecture:

Enterprise Architecture plays a beneficial role in helping organizations bridge the gap between their strategic objectives, operational capabilities, and tactical demands. It enhances an organization’s abilities to:

  • Enable Decision Advantage by modeling a holistic view of the enterprise, its components and relationships,
  • Model graphical Strategy Maps that articulate Outcomes and Objectives as defined by senior management,
  • Identify and prioritize capabilities required to achieve strategic objectives,
  • Create strategic, logical and operational models of:
    • business processes,
    • information systems,
    • infrastructure, and
    • security, that enables capabilities,
  • Ensure alignment of architecture with industry and organizational standards and compliance,
  • Provide graphical traceability for all transformations and investments,
  • Help in facilitating effective communications and collaboration across all stakeholders.

Capability Based Planning (CBP):

One of the key focus areas of EA is Capability Based Planning (CBP). CBP involves identifying and prioritizing the capabilities required to achieve an organization’s strategic objectives. By deconstructing and modeling organizational capabilities, management can graphically see where capabilities are weak, strong or over-invested. This enable management a Decision Advantage when determining where they need to invest, divest or innovate to improve. It also helps management align their resources and funding to deliver maximum value or drive innovation where disruption is either required or on the horizon.

Outcomes Management:

Outcomes Management is another important area of expertise for Enterprise Architecture. It involves defining and measuring the outcomes that an organization aims to achieve, and mapping those Outcomes to the various discrete Objectives necessary to achieve those Outcomes. What is the difference between an Outcome and an Objective? The answer is simple: cause and effect. The Objective is the cause and the Outcome is the effect. You can’t assign resources or capital to an Outcome, but you definitely assign them to Objectives. By setting clear Objectives and tracking progress of Objectives against targets, organizations can reasonably ensure that Outcomes might then manifest. By generating an Outcomes Map, EA can graphically demonstrate how each Objective is tied to one or more Outcomes and what those Objectives specifically contribute to ensure the Outcome comes true. By doing this graphically, it is so much easier to see where you are missing elements of you strategy to ensure desired Outcomes manifest.

Demonstrating how every desired Outcome is sufficiently fulfilled by contributing Objectives is a very difficult task in large organizations because of the sheer number of interrelationships that exist between Objectives and Outcomes. Trying to generate a mental model of a strategy from a thick text document makes it almost impossible to determine what you’ve missed. Whereas, an Outcomes Map makes it easy to spot gaps and deficiencies in any strategy. This tool is a very powerful aide to achieving a Decision Advantage when you’re job is to develop and manage the organization’s strategy. This goes beyond Situational Awareness (SA) since SA is more about now and the very near-term. Strategy maps are about vision and a way to articulate a means of achieving that vision. In today’s environment, Enterprise Architecture has been mistakenly relegated to the scope of IM/IT and is often given to the CIO to manage. However, the true scope and power of Enterprise Architecture is the Enterprise itself.

Enterprise Architecture is a graphical representation of the “whole enterprise”, not just the IM/IT elements of an organization. When you design your new home, you don’t hire an architect to simply model the electrical and plumbing systems do you? Of course not. You hire an architect to work with you starting from your overall vision of what you see the entire home and property to be. How you intend to live. Whether or not you prefer the sun streaming in the kitchen in the morning or the evening, how many people you expect to live there, etc. The Architect needs a vision, then a strategy to realize that vision, then they work creating strategic and logical models until eventually getting down to detailed physical models.

At this point, the Architect hands their architectural models to the engineers, who are tasked with figuring out how to actually build the individual components and integrate them together into the whole. The exact same principles and processes applies to Enterprise Architecture. Why would you do it different? It’s worked well like this for thousands of years; from the great pyramids to the vast Roman roadways and aqueducts, to the layout and design of major metropolitan cities, eventually down to the individual buildings. The role of the Architect is all encompassing.

If you’re current thinking is that Enterprise Architecture in your business is predominantly IM/IT, then you are openly inviting EA to fail. We hope your organization doesn’t (or hasn’t) fallen into this mindset by following those that know little or nothing about the discipline of architecture, leading you down the wrong path. It’s never too late to change your perspective, now that you know the true scope of EA.

Near-Term Situational Awareness: What you should be contemplating:

Having said all that, we think that there are a couple of significant disruptions on the near-to-mid term horizon that every large organization should be paying attention to. These are Zero Trust Environments and Data Centric Security. These two disruptions will impact your organizations culture, processes, information, technology, security and privacy: all the way from behavioural change to behavioural control. These two changes are not just about technology or Software as a Service (SAAS) or any such thing as simple as that. These will change the entire way an organization is operated. What once was managed by technology will now be managed by policy, and I don’ think “anyone” understands the pending scope of impact this will have.

You will come to know this as “Future Shock”.

1. Zero-trust Environments (ZTE):

With the increasing complexity of cybersecurity threats, Zero-trust Environments (ZTE) have become crucial for many organizations. Frid Enterprises Inc. specializes in designing and implementing ZTE, which is an approach that assumes no trust in any user or device, both inside and outside the organization’s network. This approach ensures that every user and device is verified and authorized before accessing any resources, minimizing the risk of unauthorized access and data breaches.

2. Data Centric Security (DCS):

Data Centric Security (DCS) is another area of expertise for Enterprise Architecture. DCS focuses on securing data at its core, rather than solely relying on perimeter defenses. By implementing robust data encryption, access controls, and monitoring mechanisms, organizations can protect their sensitive information and mitigate the risk of data breaches.

In conclusion, Enterprise Architecture plays a vital role in aligning an organization’s outcomes with its strategic objectives and tactical demands. Frid Enterprises Inc. specializes in Capability Based Planning (CBP), Outcomes Management, Zero-trust Environments (ZTE), and Data Centric Security (DCS) to help organizations achieve their goals and ensure the security of their data. By leveraging these key focus areas, organizations can enhance their operational efficiency, make informed decisions, and stay ahead in today’s rapidly evolving organization landscapes.

Authors: Dr. Randy Frid and Colt Frid

Author: Dr. Randy Frid

 

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