Hope everyone is doing well and staying home, maintaining social distancing, and staying healthy. In these COVID times, I got an opportunity to enhance my perception and knowledge on 2 key aspects related to Enterprise Architecture (EA) and Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM). In this blog, I will try to provide my view on EA and EAM and its challenges that the leadership team faces when trying to lay a path towards the digital transformation of their company.
I would like to set the stage here regarding considering the data as the new oil for digital transformation using intelligent enterprise. On average every human being produces 1.7 MB of data per second. In 2019 the total amount of data produced in the world was around ~12 petabytes according to IBM university of St. Gallen. This should emphasize enough the importance of the data in this digital era and the value that it produces to the companies if they are implementing and moving towards the digital transformation of their landscape.
In any company, it is important that the People, Data, and Technology work in conjunction. In today’s world data is the key to revenue generation. It helps in generating new ideas depending on consumer needs or by analyzing the patterns of the data and make a decision in which area of business should company invest their money. We all live on a huge consumer platform and with the use of the right platform and tools provided by SAP intelligent suite, we can achieve a robust automation process. This automation process will help companies to achieve data-driven revenue and create opportunities by making the data smart and intelligent.
There 2 approaches to achieve automation. The first is called “Outside-In”. In this approach, we need to understand customer expectations. It is always important that we cater to the customer need by creating omnichannel by having an
e-commerce platform which is designed in a way that it helps companies to retain the customers. The second approach is called the “Inside out- In”. In this, the new SAP intelligent technologies like Integrations, Analytics, Artificial Intelligent (AI), Chatbots, Blockchains, and deeper concepts of Leonardo technologies can be implemented to achieve the company’s objective from a consumer platform perspective. Like I mentioned we all live on a huge consumer platform world.
To achieve the above-mentioned holistic objective. The company needs to implement EA and EAM concepts. What is EA? In general, the basic understanding of EA is related to just IT architecture. It is true to some extent and false to the full extent. EA is just not IT, but it is a blend of Business and Organization which represents people and technology. This is very important to understand that EA needs to be implemented in a way that the future growth of the company related to the business and IT landscape is taken into consideration.
The principles of EA are fundamental and abstract views. If anyone says that digital transformation is a switch of a button then you can consider the statement to be false. It takes planning and execution which are directly proportional to time. EA can play a major role in planning and EAM can help execution by providing the correct Tools and Methodologies which help in designing the role matrix across the board and create KPI’s.
The EA covers the entire stack of the company starting from Business to IT. In any given large and small organization following stacks are maintained and will work in conjunction to make the business operations successful help in generating profits.
- Strategic Layer
- Organization Layer
- Alignment Layer
- Software Layer
- Infrastructure Layer
The above-mentioned layers are the logical layers that are part of landscape architectural design from a top-down approach. These layers can be mapped out during the discovery phase of the digital transformation foundation. In every layer, people and technology play a very important role. These layers are an integral part of the company and it may vary in size depending on how big of a footprint we are considering. The digital transformation may be of any size but still, the principle of EA and EAM will remain the same.
I tried to understand the phycology of the organization running a complex IT footprint showing the reluctance in embracing the digital transformation. I completely agree with them that there are challenges that leaders face with both internal and stakeholders. Unless there is a justification of business case the move of the pawn will never happen to approve the budget to undertake a project in which there are technology changes that will be implemented. Like I said the canvas of the company can be small as 20 million revenue or big 20 billion revenue but the concerns to some extent remain the same. Some of which have listed below.
- Number of applications
- Number of systems
- Number of departments
- Number of people to be involved in scoping
- Finding a correct implementation partner
- Budgeting and Approvals
- Technology Mapping
- AI-driven tasks to make the landscape intelligent
- Integration touchpoints across various applications and platforms
- Strategy for testing application
- Strategy for rollout and infrastructure management
- A large amount of data
- Application Compatibility
- Need for speed with every application
Just to put the above-mentioned pain points in realization, consider if you posed with a challenge to lay the foundation path for the digital transformation of a National Bank running around 10 k application across multiple countries! Brain boggling auto starts!
Next, Look at EAM and its role in achieving to be stated from the current state of the landscape. EAM is are the management activities that are performed in the organization to install, implement, maintain, develop, and succeed in achieving Enterprise Architecture (EA). The main goal of EAM is Agility and Flexibility. These 2 concepts play an important role in any project implementation. Agility is important to adapt to a new way of development or new technologies that make a positive impact on the futuristic state of the landscape and Flexibility helps to adapt to know and specifiable adaptation needs.
EAM has the following deliverables
Transparency: In this phase needs to be a clear understanding of the metadata, applications, systems in the landscape. Secondly, a detailed analysis needs to be performed so that well-articulated KPIs can be carved and developed which can be set as a reference point in any given digital transformation project.
Planning: This is also can be called a discovery phase of the EAM. In this phase, it is very important to understand what the target model is and what are the steps taken in transformation plans to achieve the same
Rules: In this phase of the project sets rules to lay the foundation for the digital transformation of the landscape. In this phase strewing committees will be formed; Governance structure will be put in place so that every aspect of the project is carefully crafted so that it does not deviate from the target model.
Communication: This phase is very important. The communication between different departments, stakeholders, steering committee, project sponsors, project implementation team, business users, and end-users, analyst are very important. In any digital transformation, the communication about the training is very important, and also it is important to make that only relevant team received specific communication that is related to their area. Doing this confusion among the teams can be reduced.
Implementation: All the efforts so far will be in realization. To achieve a successful implementation project reviews, project support, and project controlling play a key role.
I hope you enjoyed reading this blog and got some insight into EA and EAM. I will explore more in the future and share my experience and learning with our community.