Tag Archives: Systemic Architecture

Innovation in an Enterprise Architecture Context: Innovating the Business Processes, Technological Services and Corporate Strategies.

Innovation

This blog post deals with innovation in regards to the Enterprise Architecture program. I’ve been able to identify two different approaches to innovation. The first approach to innovation is what I define as incremental innovation. The second approach to innovation is radical innovation. In most cases incremental innovation is innovation in social systems where small improvements have been introduced to the social systems.

Likewise is radical innovations forms of innovations that fundamentally changes the social systems e.g. how they work or how they interact with one another.

Likewise is the concept of innovation extremely context dependable. For one social system a particular approach could be considered an innovation where the same concept could be considered old news. Innovation, could as before mentioned, be incremental saying that a new way to deal with the piece of technology or business activity. Likewise could the same situation be radical if the technology never had been used before.

When it comes to innovation and applying it in the context of the enterprise the question of adaption would have to be dealt with.

Adaption

Rogers speaks of how the innovations spreads to the various organizations, parts of the organizations and people. In this process there are five stages before the people of the enterprise would be able to fully apply any given form of innovation.

Innovation defused by that people observer other people who have success by applying the particular innovation in order to solve problems or to certain things in a new way that benefits them and their social structures.

Social systems shares a culture that is shared among the individuals who interact with the social systems. The purpose of the culture is to give the members of the enterprise a sense of security against the ever changing environment that the members of the enterprise is situated in. Culture is usually against changes and thereby against innovations. However there are also cases that suggests that culture can be used to enable the enterprise with innovation if the executives and middle management gives the employes the proper amount of trust.

In other words Enterprise Architecture has to be adapted to the enterprise that is about to invest in the program and as such the Enterprise Architecture program can be seen as an incremental innovation and a radical innovation depending on how the decision makers and the stakeholders sees the implementation process.

Innovation and EA

In regards to enterprise innovation the focus of Enterprise Architecture would be to deal with the processes in the enterprise. For enterprises the idea of incremental innovation would be dealing with the processes in small steps while radical innovations would be innovations that are “game changing” for the enterprise. In this particular light it is a necessity to see Enterprise Architecture as a form of continuous innovation for the enterprise and as such a container for future innovations and as such can the Enterprise Architecture program become a barrier for the innovativeness of the enterprise.

It easily become a fine act of balancing between the rules, standards and principles and the necessity to crystalize solutions for the various unplanned situations that the enterprise experience. Ciborra named this the concept of bricolage (or organizational hacking). In order to facilitate bricolage it is a necessity for the decision takers to empower the employees of the enterprise by allocating power and accountability to the middle managers or the employees. As such this should give the enterprise the necessary platform in order to make bricolage works.

Innovation in this context could be facilitated by the various stakeholders of the enterprise and through the Enterprise Architecture program the concept of innovation could empower the alignment and the agility of the enterprise.

Enterprise Architecture

So what is Enterprise Architecture all about? I’ve chosen to define Enterprise Architecture as a program that deals with the various projects that the enterprise works with in order to change its architecture. However this can not serve as a definition since it doesn’t include some of the most important elements of Enterprise Architecture. Enterprise Architecture as a concept includes an element of documentation of the current architecture of the enterprise (known as the AS – IS situation) and an element that deals with how the future architecture of the enterprise should be like (the To – Be situation). Different communities of practice within the ecosystem of Enterprise Architecture practitioners sees the concept of Enterprise Architecture differently e.g. some sees Enterprise Architecture as a set of processes that constantly ensures some alignment through the implementation of processes and others who sees Enterprise Architecture as a form of blueprinting that ensures that the enterprise develops in to a coherent entity. There are most likely different views of what Enterprise Architecture is all about in the various communities in the ecosystem, and it is almost certain that each book that have been published on Enterprise Architecture works with its own definition of the concept.

My definition of Enterprise Architecture is in this context that Enterprise Architecture (as a concept) consists of a program for documentation of the enterprise’s architecture, a program for identification, specification and development of projects that enable the enterprise to achieve its goals. Likewise does the concept of Enterprise Architecture include the development of standards and principles that are used to govern the enterprise on all levels. When this is said the last component that add to the definition of what Enterprise Architecture is all about is the concept of enterprise governance.

Enterprise governance has to ensure that the enterprise achieves its goals and the goals can only be achieved if there is some kind of innovation in the enterprise. Innovation should in this context be understood as an ability to alter the various parameters of the enterprise.

The Synthesis

I’ve with some inspiration from Leavitt (1965) and his diamond model defined my own model that shows what Enterprise Architecture is all about. Enterprise Architecture is the platform for how the organization executes the business objectives, business processes and technology services. As such the holistic approach to deal with the elements of tasks, business objectives and technology services will have an impact on what kind of employees that would be needed in order to ensure that the enterprise can produce products and services to its customers. Each of the elements impacts the other elements and as such the decision makers (executives, middle managers, team leaders or anarchies) have to deal with the problems through the Enterprise Architecture platform and program.

People are the key when it comes to the breakdown of the classical barriers in the organizational hierarchy and as such it becomes a necessity to deal with people in order to achieve a better and more mature enterprise architecture. It becomes a necessity to deal with the focus of who the enterprise have access to and how the various stakeholders of the enterprise can add to the innovativeness of the enterprise.

While the enterprise adds value through producing products and services to its customers. The various stakeholders in the enterprise do some kind of bricolage or organizational hacking. The concept of organizational hacking can’t be dealt with in any other way and as such most of this “hacking” helps the organization deal with the everyday crisis and as such the Enterprise Architecture program (principles, standards and security) has to take this into consideration and find the balance between hacking and standardization.

While implementing an Enterprise Architecture program the decision makers would have to ensure that incremental innovation isn’t neglected or for that matter locked due to the approach to standards and principles. Likewise should the decision makers work with the concept of bricolage in their assumptions of planning, and as such they should embrace that two, three or five year plans can’t lead to competitive advantages.

Bushido of the Coherency Architect: The Ways of the Coherency Architect to Efficiently Apply Suitable Solutions!

The Path to Improvement

The focus is to combine lean, Toyota Production System, Enterprise Architect and Coherency Management into a guide line like the Bushido: The ways of the warrior.

The main principle of Coherency Management is to implement a holistic management approach that enables the management to achieve alignment, assurance and agility.

Enterprise Architecture is the foundation of achieving Coherency Management and it is possible to combine that with efficiency to achieve an enterprise that have a lesser amount of slack and adds more value to its share holders and customers.

First of all an Enterprise Architecture program has to be established.

Second of all an economic analysis of the activities that the organization performs to get income.

Third of all communication of change needs to be performed. That means that the Chief Enterprise Architecture needs to communicate to various stakeholders. The various forms of stakeholders needs to be dealt with in different ways. The various stakeholders needs different kind of information.

Third of all the Enterprise Architect has to work with various applying a framework e.g., the EA3 Framework, TOGAF, OIO or other framework.

Forth of all the Chief Architect needs to demonstrate the value of the Enterprise Architecture. The Enterprise Architect should apply the evaluation models that give the information that the stakeholders needs to make their mind (approve or disapprove) the Enterprise Architecture program. It is necessary to apply the evaluation model for the business processes and IT processes before the EA program has been established. This is needed to compare the before and after approach.

Fifth of all the Enterprise Architect has to make use of his or her talent to deal with the persons who have to change their way of working after the Enterprise Architecture program has been established. According to Doucet et al. (Doucet et al 2009) then the organization then there are three forms of applied Enterprise Architecture. The first form is known as Foundation Architecture. The Foundation Architecture is when the organization has applied Enterprise Architecture in the IT department. The IT department has been the driver of the Enterprise Architecture and made use of it to uncover the the operational model of the Enterprise Architecture. When the organization mature the Enterprise Architecture then it should over time come to the Extended Enterprise Architecture where both the business side of the enterprise and the IT side. The IT side and the business side works uncovering the business and its processes. There are several forms of architects who have various functions and responsibilities. There will be a centralized office for Enterprise Architecture and there will be a commitment from the Executive Group1 to enhance and use Enterprise Architecture to govern the enterprise. There are business architects, process architects, technology architects information architects and the Enterprise Architects. The Enterprise Architects will be dealing with handling the overall aspects of Enterprise Architecture. The Enterprise Architects will be dealing with keeping the other architects in line with the Enterprise Architecture program.

After the Extended Enterprise Architecture level then the organization will be moving toward the Embedded Enterprise Architecture. The form of architecture is so far a kind of utopia where every employee in some way acts as an architect which leads to that there are explicit and implicit architects. Theres is a focus on a central EA department that consist of the best Enterprise Architects who works with the overall Enterprise Architecture framework and enabling the other architects with their work through empowering the framework and governance of the Enterprise Architecture.

Sixth of all the Chief Architect has to implement a Coherency Management framework so far there is only one kind of a kind. That means the CoMOF framework has to be adapted. As it is with all other frameworks then the CoMOF framework is a generic framework and it has to be modified for the particular organization. While applying the modified CoMOF framework in the organization then Coherency Architect (or Chief Architect) has to make use of the efficiency theories such as LEAN, Six Sigma or Toyota Production System. This is a necessity to improve the organization’s enterprise.

Seventh of all the Coherency Architect has to ensure that executive group continues supporting the Enterprise Architecture program and Coherency Management program. This have to be done through emphasizing the support for Enterprise Architecture by using external pressure to enable the internal pressure(groups with power) to invest resources into renewing the program. If the Enterprise Architecture program isn’t renewed then the value of the Enterprise Architecture program will lose value. The same is the case for the Coherency Management program.

Eight of all the Chief Enterprise Architect should be working for improving the channels of how the Enterprise Architecture is transforming.

The Code

The Coherency Architect should be therefore be working with being efficient, effective and use his or her experience to develop develop efficient enterprises through Enterprise Architecture.

  1. Focus has to be on efficiency and effectiveness. The ideal is that the Coherency Architect should be thinking in systems where to much slack is minimized; however enough slack to harvest the benefits of innovation.

  2. The vision of Enterprise Architecture has to be communicated to the stakeholders . The people skills and abilities to communicate fluently with people are virtues.

  3. Improving the Enterprises and their Enterprise Architectures then the Coherency Architect have to focus on influencing the organization cultures to institutionalize improvement through Enterprise Architecture.

Applying the Code

The Bushido Framework
The Bushido Framework.

The code can be applied through the model dealt with above . The path to improvement is designed around the stones n the circle. The circle represents continuity. Bernard’s EA 3 framework is located in the bottom is matured a long side the principles of the CoMOF-framework. The lines with arrows are symbolizing the maturing process and a part of the continues process.

1Top managers including CEO, CIO, CFO and COO etc.

Download the paper here.

Coherency Management and Innovation

When it comes to innovation then coherency management is an enabling tool. This means that the organization that is aware of the various processes, the various elements and various technologies enables the  apply radical innovation and evolutionary innovation.
Schumpeter was of the idea that the single most important function of the organization was to crystalize the innovation in to products that could be used on the market and therefore can innovation be viewed as specific competitive advantage.
When it comes to coherency management then innovation can both be radical innovation and it can be process innovation.
The difference between radical innovation and evolutionary innovation is that radical innovation is game changing e.g., by creating new business models or new ways to do business. Process innovation is different in the way that the issues e.g., the processes are improved over multiple steps.
Both forms of innovation have their impact on how the organization performs e.g., organizations that have a well developed culture based upon evolutionary innovation often have the ability to perform well within their industry they operate.
Organizations that are able to enable radical innovation are often good to define new products, business models and markets that all in all give them a competitive advantage and thereby they are often able to be the first movers at many markets.

Innovation and Coherency Management
Innovation

To sparkle innovation there is a need for using the right people for the right positions within the project organization.
Tom Kelley is of the opinion that these profiles should be combined to create HOT teams that truly creates innovations:

  1. The Visionary is the type of person who is able to identify future possibilities (visions) and he is able to recruit the project team.
  2. The Troubleshooter is a person who in way or the other who are able to identify problems internally in the organization and is able to handle all situations that might occur in the project organization while the project is being executed.
  3. The Iconoclast is a person who is able to challenge the current believes of what is right inside the project organization and is able to see possibilities in other paradigms.
  4. The Pulse Taker is a person who is able to work like a hearth does in a human. The person has to be versatile in his or her way of thinking and is able to channelize the “life blood” of the project on to other individuals in the project organization.
  5. The Craftsman is that kind of person who is able to construct prototypes and work around with them to make innovative designs. These competences are vital for any kind of radical innovation.
  6. The Technologist is what many people would call a geek. A person who is dedicated to work with technology and is able to handle complex tasks, uncover and create deeper meaning.
  7. The Entrepreneur is a person who is able to work out with brainstorms, innovation, prototypes and communicate these to other persons.
  8. The Cross-Dresser these kinds of persons who have studied or worked with a totally different form of field then he or she works with today. These individuals make use of their skills to envision new solutions.

This leads to the concept of the maturity of the architectures and thereby the concept of Coherency Management.

The Concept of Coherency Management

Coherency Management deals with the maturing process of the architecture within the organization. The architecture consist of the various layers of the organization which are:

  1. People.
  2. Organization culture.
  3. Organization structure.
  4. Bureaucratic structure.
  5. Process structure.
  6. Information structure.
  7. Technology structure.

The more matured the architecture of the organization is the better the organization will be come to understand the processes, people, information and technology needed to create both evolutionary innovation and radical innovation.
Every organization has an architecture otherwise they wouldn’t be able to operate but there are three forms of architectures. The first architecture is called an architecture before Enterprise Architecture tools were applied and the organization is not aware of how it operates.
The more mature form of the architecture is called the foundation architecture. The foundation architecture is characterized by that the organization has applied Enterprise Architecture tools to the IT side of the organization. The first level of maturity with in this mode of architecture is where the IT structure and information structure is articulated for the enterprise wide perspective.
The second level of the architecture is when the needs of the business is articulated in a methodical way.
The third level of maturity is known by that the business side of the organization makes use of EA tools to identify, analyze and engineer the processes and structures after a methodical approach and after the change process has ended then the CIO takes over and apply the IT perspective.
The fourth and last maturity level for any organization is called the embedded architecture. This form of architecture is characterized by that all processes are aligned and by that there is a great need for design leadership. The design leadership has to create a framework for how the documentation and plans are to be designed. The other elements of the organization such as the Human Resources, annual planning, strategic planning, public reporting makes use of the structured framework and tools of the EA not to mention the that the strategic goal of the business drives the business requirements a and by that  drive the technological solutions.

Sources

Gary Doucet et al., Coherency Management: Architecting the Enterprise for Alignment, Agility and Assurance (International Enterprise Architecture Institute, 2009).

Tom Kelley and Jonathan Littman, The Art of Innovation: Lessons in Creativity from IDEO, America’s Leading Design Firm, 1st ed. (Broadway Business, 2001).