From Strategy to Execution and Beyond - Part 2

Creating the foundation for positive change

Blog QualiWare From Strategy to Execution and Beyond - Part 2

By Harriet Hansen 

In this four-part blog series, I will, based on a business-outcome-driven enterprise architecture view, guide you through what you need to do to transform your business. Starting at the beginning of the enterprise architecture efforts, this series will go through what you need to do to form a strategic direction, choose the right enterprise architecture tool to support your efforts, create a roadmap and execute it, and finally how you can use enterprise architecture as a strategic navigator.

The blog series is structured in the following four parts, where each part presents relevant knowledge, timely actions and real results for your enterprise architecture program:

During the vision and strategy phase, you should have ensured executive support and fostered a business outcome driven mindset by creating a business outcome statement, a value proposition with measurable goals and KPI’s, and a communication plan.

In this phase, you will learn what you should do to capitalize on your management support and create an environment that fosters the enterprise architecture mindset’s integration throughout your organization.

The Design Phase - Creating the Foundation for Positive Change

In the design phase, you must focus on enabling both the planning and the execution of enterprise architecture through business process management. When fostering the right environment for enterprise architecture, you must consider not just the nearest future but also the enablement of future capabilities that will be needed to execute the business strategy.

In QualiWare, we look to the three C’s; Coherency, Consensus, and Consistency for guidance on how to manage business processes and enterprise architecture. In this phase, you need to choose an enterprise architecture tool that will help you in your work and foster collaboration throughout your organization. You must also set up a governance structure and start modeling the information you have gathered in the previous stage along with core business processes.

What you need to know

The 3 C’s – Coherency, Consensus & Consistency

 The 3 C’s are important elements for enabling positive change in any given organization and entail:

  • Coherency in the knowledge the different business units possess
  • Consensus among employees and stakeholders regarding what they are doing, why they are doing it and which goals the organization is aiming for
  • Consistency in how things are done and documented by, for example, enforcing an automatized governance structure

It is imperative that knowledge can be captured, managed, analyzed and maintained, so it can be used as valuable input when important decisions are made. Using the three C’s as guideposts to how you design your enterprise architecture sets an excellent foundation for innovation, as they foster good and relevant information. The three C’s are methodologically neutral and leave room for your organization to utilize the expert resources available to you.

Collaboration is an inherent part of the 3 C’s. It is one thing to include a limited number of important stakeholders in a collaborative effort, it is another to tap into the knowledge held by each individual employee. This untapped knowledge source is where a digital platform really could make all the difference, crossing time and space. One of the biggest challenges for organizations is to retrieve information from the ‘islands of knowledge’, that exist in each business unit and department. It is necessary to communicate the intent to retrieve this knowledge and setup permanent communication channels to retrieve, store, and share it.

Business Process Management

In their Business Process Manifesto , BPTrends define a business process as the following:

“An organization's Business Processes clearly describe the work performed by all resources involved in creating outcomes of value for its customers and other stakeholders”

This definition can lead you to think that business processes don’t exist until they are modeled – this is not true. All organizations have business processes, it just isn’t all who have good business processes. Roger Burlton pointed this out during his talk at the BPM conference in Portugal 2015. Business Process Management entails uncovering business processes across business units, modeling, analyzing and improving them.

You can divide Business Processes into two types: Core and non-core. Core Business Processes produce outcomes for external customers, where non-core Business Processes do not directly affect the customer’s experience. An example of a non-core Business Process could be the payment of wages to employees. Even though this is a very important process, it is not a Core Business Process.

In the previous post, we established that enterprise architecture is a pervasive capability. As such it affects/includes all business processes, core as well as non-core. Enterprise architecture provides structure and information. It is the business outcome driven view that entails you focus on your organization’s core business processes.

According to Marc Kerremans, Research Director at Gartner, you should enable visibility, accountability, and adaptability in your organization to realize your business strategy while staying open to innovation . You need to focus on both planning and execution. Managing your Business Processes is a big part of this. By modeling your business processes in collaboration with those who execute them, you enable transparency and accountability.

Acquiring the right enterprise architecture tool

To attain optimal results from your enterprise architecture program, it is essential to acquire an enterprise architecture tool to support your efforts. The right tool will help you manage your models, keep them coherent, analyze them in accordance with organizational goals and visualize alignments between technology, business processes and strategy across business units. It is not possible to have a successful enterprise architecture program that fosters innovation and collaboration throughout your organization without sophisticated technical support. However, it is important to choose the right tool for your organization.

Samantha Searle, Senior Research Analyst at Gartner, advised at the Gartner Enterprise Architecture and Technology Innovation Summit 2017, that you should look at acquiring an EA tool similarly to how you would buy a present for a someone – in this case your colleagues and management.

You should determine selection criteria based on information gathered from your stakeholders while keeping the desired future state of your enterprise in mind. You might not think your organization is mature enough to handle a system that can be used for analysis and prediction as well as modeling – however, it is important to choose a tool your organization can grow with so it doesn’t become a hindrance for innovation. The tool should assist your organization in attaining the three C’s as well as fostering collaboration if it is to truly help you to form and utilize your architecture. Also, consider including quality management and atomized governance as selection criteria.

What you need to do

Step 1: Choose an enterprise architecture tool that suit your needs

Plan for the architecture you want – not necessarily the one you have: Make room for scaling. See the acquisition as an investment in your organization’s future viability, and choose a tool your organization can use quickly, but also grow with.

Determine tool selection criteria and keep the three C’s (the tools ability to foster Coherency, Consensus, and Consistency) in mind when evaluating candidates.

For more knowledge on the different tools available, you can read Gartner’s 2017 ‘Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Architecture Tools’ where the main vendors are reviewed.

Step 2: Decide on Modeling Standards

The devil is in the detail: You need to decide on a modeling method and structure. Do this as soon as possible and get help if needed. It is important that the models are coherent across the organization and easily understood by the people who use them. The information must be available across business units so it can be accessed when needed. Remember that the models should fit reality – not the other way around. The models are only valuable if used. This is a balancing act you must master – interpreting reality through a modeling language so it is understandable and of value to the end-user. Choosing the right tools can help make this task more manageable.

Step 3: Model the Business Operating Model and Essential Business Processes

Model with purpose – go for quality not quantity: Make a prioritized list of which models are necessary for you to execute your value proposition. In continuation of step 2, it is crucial to ensure that the end-users understand the chosen models. Models that are created to teach and lead employees in the right direction, such as process models, are worthless if the target audience can’t decipher the message.

It is important to not fall into the trap of modeling in unnecessary detail. Too detailed process models foster non-compliance and complicate their maintenance. Let the detail be defined in cooperation with stakeholders (both managers and their employees) – what information do they need to have accessible regarding their tasks? What information is important for them to ensure conformance with rules and policies?

When beginning the modeling efforts of an organization a good place to start is with the core business processes, which are the ones that deliver value to the organization’s customers and shareholders. Depending on the desired extent of enterprise architecture models, you can choose to model ‘just enough, just in time’ or ‘eat the elephant’ one 1-3-month sprint at a time.

Potentially relevant models for the initial phase include:

  • Architecture Framework
  • Architecture Overview
  • Organization Overview
  • Product Architecture
  • Business Process Networks

Step 4: Set up a Governance Structure for the Architecture

Architecture is only valuable if it is kept updated: To ensure your architecture is continually updated, you should set up a governance structure for it. The most optimal governance should ensure that the architecture is reviewed by those who work with the processes the models depict and approved by the manager who is responsible for the process. This governance can be executed very easily with a tool that supports role-based digital collaboration. The models should be updated within a suitable timeframe for example once a year and when major changes in the organizational structure occur.

Real results from the design phase

When concluding this phase, you should be well on your way modeling your strategy and chosen business models while enforcing governance of your enterprise architecture with the help of the right tools. Fostering collaboration as an integrated part of your governance setup ensures the relevance of the architecture for both employees and management. The products of this phase are:

  • Chosen enterprise architecture tool
  • Governance structure
  • Chosen modeling rules
  • Models, created with the end-user in mind and in prioritized order

In the next installment, we will look further into executing your value proposition by creating a roadmap that shows the journey from your current business capabilities to your desired ones.

Sources & further readings

BPTrends. 2017.

Burlton (editor), Roger. Business Process Manifesto! BPTrends, n.d.

Burlton, Roger. BPM CP 2015 - Roger Burlton: . Lisboa, 05 26, 2015.

Kerremans, Marc. "How a Business Operating System can Guide CIOs to Digital Business Success." Gartner, 2017: (G00303777). Link to Gartner article (Registration needed)

Kerremans, Marc. How Business Operating Systems can Guide Business Strategy Execution. Live webinar hosted by QualiWare, June 20, 2017.

Searle, Samantha, and Marc Kerremans. "Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Architecture Tools." Gartner, 2017: (G00308704). Link to Gartner article (Registration needed)

Searle, Samantha, and Philip Allega. "Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Architecture Tools." Gartner, 2017: (G00319167). Link to Gartner article (Registration needed)