OpenText ProVision - Architecture Modelling Considerations

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There are many considerations when conducting an architecture modelling exercise - and many reasons why such exercises fail. The following bullet points are not intended to be exhaustive but will provide the makings of a workable check-list.

A successful architecture modelling exercise doesn't just happen - it needs to be driven and controlled. Therefore, a wide variety of skills are required by the modelling lead, from technical to inter-personal and all points in between.


Enterprise Architecture Modelling ...

  • is not a panacea - it is difficult to do and takes time to do well but it is a vital part of understanding and transitioning the organisation.
  • is a dark art - not only must the models be ‘correct’, they must also be structured, communicative and maintainable.
  • must not be considered as just a tick-in-a-box or as a cost (it pays for itself).
  • should be approached in the context of a corporate programme rather than an isolated project.
  • should be undertaken using a framework of (flexible) standards enabling ease of future maintenance which provides a 'living' reference business model.
  • should ideally be organised around the end-to-end process, not around the departments, locations, people or systems.
  • when done properly, provides the business with the vital, current, accurate information required to ...
  • prove the business case (via simulation) for a process improvement programme.
  • generate flexible best-practice process models.
  • conduct gap analyses (via matrices).
  • determine the correct right-sizing strategy.
  • disseminate business knowledge.
  • provide the basis for training programmes.
  • enable development of contextual step-by-step guides (use-case / work instruction) reducing corporate memory-loss and helping to ensure the correct execution of processes, especially those conducted externally (offshore).
  • create a clear, unambiguous and common means of communication (a graphical and textual 'language') between the business, IT, administrative and 'shop-floor' communities.
  • enable agreement between staff and management thus simplifying the implementation of optimised processes, continual process improvement (Kaizen) philosophies and cost/waste reduction programmes.



A successful architecture modelling & improvement exercise requires ...

  • commitment from senior management and participants.
  • availability of resources, e.g. time, access to knowledge-owners and business users.
  • modelling the entire organisation at a high level to determine which domains and processes will need full documentation and/or will benefit from being improved.
  • the first couple of processes selected for documentation/improvement are an 'easy-win'.
  • models be kept simple, consistent and structured - KISS.
  • an ongoing Kaizen approach to assessment and improvement of the business models and practices, taking into account new technologies and regulations etc.


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Gartner

Why Enterprise Architecture projects fail ...

Gartner VP and Distinguished Analyst, Betsy Burton, recommends the following three-tier strategic approach for Enterprise Architecture project leaders:


  • Change the way you think: Frame every comment in terms of business outcomes, value and business performance.
  • Show value for money, meaning the right services at the right level of quality and the right price.
  • Position EA in investment terms, including near- and long-term business performance.



The EA methods that Burton said had a negative impact are:


  • No link to business strategic planning and budget process.
  • Confusing "IT Architecture" with "Enterprise Architecture".
  • Lack of governance.
  • Too much standardization.
  • Focusing on the art/language of EA rather than the outcomes.
  • Adhering too strictly to architectural frameworks.
  • An "Ivory Tower" approach by IT and EA team members.
  • Lack of communication and feedback.
  • Limiting the teams to IT resources.
  • Missing performance measures.
  • Selecting a tool before understanding business needs.
  • Focusing on the current state first and primarily.
  • Thinking that implementation equals completion.


An article on this subject may be seen by clicking here.



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