Key Components of An Enterprise Architecture Practice Play book

In this era of technology transformation, corporations need an EA practice to assist its units including IT and business in managing, operating, and extending NEW Context-Rich Systems, Smart Machines, Cloud and Mobile Support Systems, Software Defined Apps and Infrastructure, Risk-based security protection Setup that will be required to support the business. EA practice needs to have well defined mission and agenda. Following are the key areas an EA practice needs to concentrate. I have divided the key areas into four parts. I will cover Part 1 and Part 2 in this blog and Part 3 and Part 4 in my next blog.

Part 1: EA Practice Competency

Part 2: EA Charter

Part 3: Formulating The Practice

Part 4: Areas of Concentration (Business, Portfolio, Solution, and Technical)

  1. Part 1: EA Practice Competency
    1. Strategy and Business Alignment
    2. Customer and Partner Relationship
    3. Architecture Excellence
    4. Financial Acumen
      1. App Rationalization Opportunities
        1. Forecast, Accurate and Quantifiable Savings
    5. Communication and Collaboration
    6. Leadership
  2. Part 2: EA Charter
    1. Introduce the EA Function
      1. Define EA Mission, Planning Horizon, Scope of EA Activities and Span of control
        1. Areas
          1. View Technology Components Holistically
          2. Evaluate Solutions
          3. Communicate Technology Direction
          4. Integration and Enterprise Collaboration
          5. Reusability  and Standards
    2. Defined EA Deliverables
      1. Describe Short Term and Long Term work that EA will complete
          1. Short Term
            1. Assessment of IT portfolio
            2. Define Future State Architecture – Requirements, Principles, and Models
            3. Architecture Roadmaps (Tactical Alignment)
            4. Communication Plan
          2. Long Term
            1. Business Strategy Alignment
            2. High Value Projects
            3. Capability Enablement
            4. Operating Cost
            5. Architecture Roadmaps  (Strategy Alignment)
    3. Identify Objectives and Metrics
      1. Define EA’s Measures of Progress and Success
    4. Define EA Roles and Organizational Structure
      1. Describe EA’s Role in Strategic Planning
      2. Architecture Review Board
      3. Core Enterprise Architecture Team
    5. Describe EA Governance and Communication
      1. Define the Architecture Review Process
      2. IT Change Management
      3. Communication of EA information

Key Concepts and Terminology behind Cloud Computing

1)      Business drivers or motivation for Cloud

  1. Capacity Planning
  2. Cost Reduction
  3. Organization Agility

2)      Organization’s Goals and Benefits

  1. Reduced Investment and Proportional Costs
  2. Increased Scalability
  3. Increased Availability and Reliability

3)      Risks and Challenges for the organization

  1. Increased Security Vulnerabilities
  2. Reduce Operational Governance Control
  3. Limited Portability Between Cloud Providers
  4. Multi-Regional Regulatory and Legal Issues

4)      Cloud is the main beneficiary of the following technology Innovations

  1. Clustering
  2. Grid Computing
  3. Virtualization

5)      Cloud Main Characteristics

  1. On-Demand Usage
  2. Ubiquitous Access
  3. Multitenancy (and Resourcing Pooling)
  4. Elasticity
  5. Measured Usage
  6. Resiliency

6)      Cloud Delivery Models

  1. Infrastructure-as-a –Service
  2. Platform-as-a-Service
  3. Software-as-a-Service

7)      Cloud Deployment Models

  1. Public Clouds
  2. Community Clouds
  3. Private Clouds
  4. Hybrid Clouds

8)      Cloud Patterns

  1. There are about thirty eight Cloud Patterns

9)      Cloud Technology Pillars

  1. Broadband Network and Internet Architecture
  2. Data Center Technology
  3. Virtualization
  4. Web Technology
  5. Multitenant
  6. Service Technology

Key steps for a successful cloud integration

1)      Create a clear vision for the cloud usage for your organization

2)      Define clear business goals (growth, revenue, improvement, and/or differentiation)

3)      Get agreement from the Leadership

4)      Define a clear business case and link it to opportunities in areas like business-process improvement, business intelligence, and innovation

5)      Define cloud deployment road-map

6)      Define ROI in terms of revenue, expenses, growth potential and  market share

7)      Get detail cost analysis for the potential cloud solution for your organization’s environment

8)      Communicate the road-map to internal groups involved in cloud deployment

9)      Do pilot programs for cloud deployments

10)  Create quantifiable metrics for cloud usages

11)  Do an agile approach and improve release cycles

12)  Adapt policies to ensure consistency in procurement, data usage, and integration.

A view from the Top

Goal: IT leadership goal is to get fast access to technology insight so they can quickly transform their IT assets for greater value to the business.
Technologies: Key technologies driving the changes are Cloud Computing, Virtualization, Big data, Mobility and consumerization.
Challenges: Some of the key and common challenges facing the organizations today are Smaller IT budgets, Lack of skill set, Legacy integration, Deployment time, Transformation of big data into strategic assets, Security, Cloud approach, Mobile and consumer empowerment strategy.
Expected Results: IT is looking ways to transform these technologies into business insights so they can give their organizations the competitive advantage.

Practical approach for Cloud adaption to drive Social, Mobile and Analytic initiatives in an Organization

Many organizations big or small are struggling these days on how to transform their organizations including people, processes, and technologies. The transformation is due to this new disruptive technology stack which includes Social, Mobile, Analytic and Cloud (SMAC).  These technologies and concepts have been around for a while but their usage in this combination is new.

All over in the media the advantages of this stack have been advertised with great promise. There is no shortage of articles in the media on how organizations in every industry have started using these technologies and their business units are benefiting from the value these technologies are providing both in agility and cost. Irrespective of this hype many organizations are having a hard time in understanding the applications of this technology mix in their organizations. It is very hard to look at this technology stack holistically from an implementations perspective and not worry about the cost.  The cost alone is not justifiable and the risks are too high because some aspects of this technology are still maturing.

There are innovative ways in which this problem can be addressed.  Different organizations have different strategies, people, processes and technology mix. These corporations have different positions in the market they compete.  All these companies have one thing in common they are all facing similar challenges when it comes to transformation of their organizations to this new disruption. These challenges can be met and solved in a very systematic way so that their impact on the organization both from the cost and culture perspective can be absorbed.

Organizations can take certain steps to approach this problem.  They can start with their corporate strategy.  Some of the questions to ask are what are the capabilities the organization is looking to create and improve? Is the corporate strategy is mapped to the IT strategy? How much of this strategy is being followed? If there is no clear corporate strategy the organization should create one and map it to its IT strategy. If the initiative can’t be taken at the company level, the department(s) can create their department(s) strategy. This approach if taken and communicated in successful manner can become the catalyst for the change in the rest of the organization. Other questions to ask are what business and technology capabilities the current IT organization supports? What are the current systems in place that support different business units? What are the programs and projects in flight or in plan to be delivered?

The Corporate strategy, IT capabilities, business priorities and current programs will determine what approach the organization should take to start consuming the SMAC stack (Social, Mobile, Analytic and Cloud). Most all organizations have legacy infrastructure with huge investment and cannot be converted into the Cloud. Now a days vendors are offering cloud-based Services for almost all the services traditionally offered by the internal IT. For example there are Cloud-based back-up Services, Cloud-based Disaster Recovery Services, Cloud Gateways and Connections for Cloud storage, Cloud-based Automation tools. There are so many choices of services available in the market for organizations to pick. Some of these services are new and some have matured. All these services provide a good business case from cost and time perspective.  Organizations can subscribe to these services based on their needs. The main factors to look at when deciding to use a cloud based service are the cost, time, impact on current systems and the risks. All these variables are manageable. Corporations can start collecting data on their implemented cloud based services both for efficiency measuring and cost benefits.  They can use this data to build their case for transformation of other IT services into the Cloud.

The bottom line is that all organizations need to find ways to get into the cloud game otherwise they will be playing catch-up with their competitors and their business will lose out to new opportunities that are being presented due to this new distributive technology mix.

Top ten Health Information Exchange HIE participation strategy questions for hospital organizations

1)      What is the Return on Investment ROI?

2)      What will be the initial cost to the organization?

3)      Does it benefits the hospital organization and its providers?

4)      Will it improve and streamline the hospital and affiliated clinician’s offices workflow in the long run?

5)      To what level the hospital has to share its Clinical Data Repository CDR  information with the HIE?

6)      How much control the hospital organization will have on the project and how will it impact its competitive marketplace?

7)      Is the chosen technology platform for the HIE is ready?

8)      What are the legal barriers?

9)      What are government mandate implications (HITECH, HIPPA, and IDC-10) if the organization chooses to participate in the HIE?

10)   Can privacy and security for the patient data is achievable?

Why a clear strategy definition is so critical for the success of an organization?

The companies that do not have a clear strategy definition usually fail to execute their strategy and end up at a competitive disadvantage. Lack of clear definition of the corporate strategy hinders its employees from top down in making the right tactical and strategic decisions. They often end up making decisions that puts the business units on the path of divergence rather than convergence toward the corporate strategy. It makes the organization less agile to the fast changing needs of the business. It affects all aspects of the business units from hiring the right skilled professionals, developing the correct processes, and investing in IT systems that will add greater value to the overall organization’s goal.  Most organizations assume that the annual budgeting process and strategic-planning process companies go through is enough to ensure competitive success. Even a great strategy if not clearly defined will never get fully implemented due to lack of understanding and misinterpretation by the employees.

What are key aspects of the strategy definition that makes it crystal clear for its leadership team and employee? Here are few characteristics of a corporate strategy definition.  It should be precise, should not be more than 40 words. Everyone in the organization should be able to understand it and be able to apply it while making difficult decisions that will align with the corporate goals and direction of the company.  Strategy definition should be created based on careful analysis of the landscape which includes corporation’s capabilities, nearest competition’s capabilities and customer needs. The company should understand its customers, their wants and needs, and how to best serve them. The company should find its strategic spot which is where it meets its customer’s needs in way that the competition can’t, given the context it competes.  Strategy definition is not a mission statement; it does not define the value of an organization, or its vision. It describes the employees the organizations competitive game plan. What it wants o achieve as an organization, who are its customers, what makes its different from the competitors, what gives the organization the competitive edge. It should define and implement criteria on how to measure success towards its goals.  Strategy definition should act a guide that the employees can refer when making daily corporate decisions. Without clear strategy definition and proper guidance to the leadership and employees the strategy never gets fully implemented in an organization.