The Holy Grail of EA – Agile Planning
One of the “holy grails” in Enterprise Architecture is to remain flexible and agile in the face of constant change. To do that you need the ability to connect the dots between business strategies and goals, business operations, information, application systems, technologies and network elements.
For example, if the COO asks how the architecture is supporting the company’s goal of improving customer satisfaction by 20%, you should be able to show traceability through all levels of the BOST™ framework right down to technologies that are supporting the business outcome.
Or if the COO asks how the new mobile devices that were deployed to field personnel is impacting the customer score, you should be able to show where the mobile devices sit in the technology platforms (T-view), which application systems (S-view) are using those platforms, the operational capabilities (O-view) that are enabled by those system, and finally how all these elements are related to products sold to specific customer segments through specific channels in order to meet specific strategies and goals (B-view).
The ability to do this is not a pipe dream. The BOST Toolkit is a standard offering from Informatica’s Business Transformation Services (BTS) team. A typical customer challenge is to develop program plans in support of a strategic direction and to do so 1) quickly but while still identifying all dependent elements, 2) solidify enterprise alignment and agreement for HOW the goals will be achieved, and 3) structure the program so that it remains flexible when new opportunities come along and business priorities change
Let’s look at an example of how such an agile program plan gets built using a set of interconnected models to streamline the analysis and planning. In the B-view, the Strategy Model, the key performance indicator of a customer satisfaction score, and the related business outcome of improving that score by 20 points, are defined. An initiative called Customer Satisfaction Improvement is established to achieve that business outcome. Two business Milestones – improve customer satisfaction by 10% in 2016, and by an additional 10% in 2017, are defined for the initiative. Four strategies to support the business outcome are identified: innovative offerings attractive to the customer base, effective management of customer relationships, redesigned business processes to achieve seamless operation, and improved management of customer information. To implement those strategies, a BOST planning engagement called Customer Centricity was established.
The Customer Centricity planning engagement resulted in six O-view operational Milestones: formation of an account management structure, creation of a customer advisory panel, Phase 1 of the implementation of a Customer Information Management System, enabling web-based purchasing, enabling mobile access, and Phase 2 of the Customer Information Management System implementation.
Each operational Milestone for the Customer Centricity planning engagement links to a set of operational capabilities. For the Customer Information Management Phase 1 milestone, there are three operational capabilities defined: Consolidating All Customer Profile and Contact Information, Consolidating Custom Quotation Information, and Consolidating All Customer Order Information. The operational capabilities are assigned to the new Customer Information Management System Version 1 in the S-View. And, that application System is assigned to a Informatica MDM Platform in the T-View.
The new operational systems and technology capabilities require related Projects to design and implement those capabilities. Each of those Projects is linked to the Customer Information Management Phase 1 Milestone.
The Projects are assigned to Programs within overall Portfolio Categories. Related Projects and Programs from other Initiatives may also be included. All of these Projects are tied back the Customer Satisfaction Improvement Initiative, identifying the interdependencies between the projects.
The Program Model cuts across all four views of BOST and has relationships with objects within those views. The Initiatives can be related to Product Offerings and Market Regions in the B-View. Milestones are related to several B-View and O-View Objects, including the Plan, Business Requirements, Operational Capabilities, and Operational Requirements. Projects are directly associated with several S-View and T-View Objects, including all types of Systems, Data Stores, Technology Platforms, and Technology Systems. And, Architects are assigned to Programs and Projects.
The Program Model is used to convert the near term target architecture into actionable execution Projects, with assigned Program and Project Managers, designated Architects, identified dependencies, and defined delivery timeframes. It provides the basis for governing the funding of Initiatives, Programs, and Projects based on their strategic relevance and the prioritization established over the course of the BOST planning engagement. Milestones capture the deploy date sequence of the deliverables in the Transformation Roadmap. All projects are linked to the target capabilities they are intended to deliver, providing the basis for architectural governance of the project execution.
Voila! Agile planning is achieved by connecting the dots between all the moving parts in a “live” repository. To learn more, check out some of the BOST whitepapers.