Tag Archives: IS

#InfoArch – Post 2. The starting point

diagnosis
As often, we needed to start somewhere. The main idea here was about “marking the starting point” and formalize it, in order to be able to come back and measure what has been achieved later on during the journey. So, as a starting point, we performed a survey, involving stakeholders across every different main organizations (or functions) of the enterprise. Here is an extract of the main outputs of this survey (snapshot taken at the beginning of the initiative).

 The diagnosis

As a general comment, up to now, no corporate structure existed for a business driven approach to manage Core information of the group (so called Master Data, see our definition) and their life-cycle cross different organisations, processes or functions.

Here is an extract of this survey, giving a rough picture of the perceived situation. Diagnosis of the starting point situation (2011):

  • Some organizations (within the enterprise) did make impressive Master Data efforts within their area of responsibility, but, so far, nothing has been coordinated (across these organizations).
  • Master Data are handled inside organizations, to be more specific, inside each and any IT applications. This practice leads to high complexity, redundancy and inconsistency. At the end of the day, such practice (let’s call it “silo practice”) has, of course, high IT cost impact.
  • Information Management / MDM is not in focus as a discipline
  • The existing IT Governance organization has a strong focus on solutions & infrastructure – NOT on MD Governance as discipline.
  • No pro-active and commanding Portfolio Management (e.g.: Project Portfolio Management, Application Portfolio Management) taken a MD view in existing scope and approach.
  • Lack of KPI´s and measures for Master Data discipline.
  • Lack of Management focus on Master Data.
  • Transformation’s roadblocks, due to problem with information harmonization, transparency & availability, exists to achieve the wishing Business Model.
  • No enterprise standard is appointed (nor used) to document / communicate regarding the Master Data (e.g.:information models, class diagrams…).
  • No organization exists to escalate MD issues and pain-points – who to call?
  • Master Data issues are today a problem in many projects, and organizations across the enterprise.

Recommendations

  • Master Data must be governed and managed through-out their entire life-cycles with joint responsibility by Business and IT – as a core asset.
  • Governance of core Master Data entities used cross the whole enterprise must be established.
  • The enterprise CIO is responsible to make it happen.
  • Management of Master Data is to be established and treated as a discipline.
  • Management of Common Master Data should focus on core business information entities that have highest degree of reuse and commonality across the enterprise and be based on demands from an end-to-end process view.
  • Information Management/MDM must be addressed to Top Management as a core and strategic area for business & IT improvements
  • Management of enterprise common information Entities must be considered as one key area of the Process & IT portfolio Management accross the whole enterprise.

Next post of the serie

Break the conventional thinking… coming soon. Stay tuned.

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#InfoArch – Master Data – Short definition

definition

Master Data is the core information, that is needed, to Manage and Operate the Company businesses. Master Data is a Core asset for Enterprise/Company. As such, it has to be Governed and Managed properly. Customer, Product, Supplier and Financial information entities are typical examples of some very essential Master Data. They need to have a common information structure & definitions, the right level of quality, accuracy and availability to enable the Enterprise/Company to achieve its strategic objectives such as Customer Satisfaction, Profitability and Operational excellence.

Iceberg

Considering Master Data should not avoid you to think about the real important topic: Information Management. Master data is only “the top of the iceberg”… but don’t we say:

To be able to succeed, one needs to start somewhere…

So why not starting by the core information? 😉 That was/is our choice from the beginning of this journey.

Social networking… How?

It’s been a few weeks that while discussing with people at conferences, meetings or even lunch… “Social Network” topic come up on the table quite often. Is it because of me, raising the topic or not? That I cannot say. Anyhow, due to these discussions I decided to share this article with you, even if, at the first glance, it might seem not fully in-line with my usual topics on this blog, in a way it is.

Goal

The goal of this article is to share what I call “My social network strategy”, even if I know that “strategy” might sounds a bit presumptuous in this context. But, to my defend, I always prone a vision + a meaning (which we can call “strategy”) to whatever we start to do (otherwise, why doing it?). So even for social networking, I think it is needed to know what we want to do and set a strategy, principles to follow… even our own borders to not cross. Of course, we all do that, unconsciously at least, but like some philosophers would (better) explain than me: it is always better to be conscious of what we want to do!

My social network strategy / principles and a few more…

For the ones who already know me a bit, guess what, yes, all is described in the mind map below! 🙂 I hope you will enjoy reading!
Of course, don’t hesitate to react on the comments if there are things that are not clear to you after your map reading.

Please, find the downloadable mindmap version (.mmap) on http://www.biggerplate.com :  http://www.biggerplate.com/mindmaps/DDMCQJZf/my-personal-social-networking-strategy

Opening

There we are, time to conclude this article. As usual, I would like not to close this topic but more give it an opening. As you might see, I gave you some of my strategies / principles for personal social networking. I do believe that most of these principles apply to Social Networking in the Enterprise as well… The generation Y effect (increasing amount of generation Y people in the enterprises) might help us to give it a kick, but as usual, this should not be done through the technology only (even if it is attractive) but with a real strategy! (Again!! 🙂 ) When it comes to “Enterprise social network”, I think some additional principles have to be taken care of. Of course, a meaning is (as always) needed, but in addition to a personal initiative, this meaning (e.g.: “Why do you want to establish an “Enterprise Social Network” at your company”) has to be explained / communicated / anchored with the whole enterprise. And this is another challenge to be reach!

Next generation of Enterprise Architecture

Early this morning, while glancing through the latest tweets on my iphone, I was attracted by last post from Richard Veryard on slideshare:

Preamble

Good slideshow though, but since I felt that it is going a bit in many different directions, I felt that I had to react on this one, directly on my blog to reflect my own thoughts regarding: How should we deal with enterprise architecture in big companies? Richard starts his slideshow by exposing 2 historical views of Enterprise Architecture: the “Simplify and Unify” view and the “Differentiate and Integrate” view. Structuring the begining of his presentation through this split, Richard starts quickly to mention ancient approaches such as “Information Engineering” structure versus the well-known “Zachman framework“. then, he also mentions the different trends / challenges the EA is facing to… But, finally, what is the main stand-point that comes out of this presentation? To be honest, I miss a bit Richard’s stand point at the end of the presentation. So here is mine (stand-point):

My point is…

I would say that, in general, I try to learn from history and experimented people such as John Zachman and Roger Session, but at the same time, I don’t want to follow them blind. I think times change and EA has to change as well (even quicker).
To me, such approach as Zachman’s framework, which is a 198x’s vestige (see my article: Top Four Enterprise Architecture Methodologies) or trying to simplify the IS way too much, when if fact we, as Enterprise Architect must admit/deal with this complexity (up to a certain point). We (EntArch) have to make this complexity manageable and introduce enough flexibility in it to better support the business objectives.  Not saying, as I mentionned earlier that we should forget the previous frameworks or structures, but more to know them, understand their points, why they raised when they did and look at today trends/issues to make our own opinions.

Then, let’s re-invent the wheel again will you tell me… No, sorry I am not this kind. I looked for a real EA methodology for a while before finding one that suit the best to my personnal beliefs. To me, the Praxeme methodology is the EA methodology that suits the best to my personal perception of what the EA should be/do.

There I think that Praxeme is fully supporting the EA challenges Richard is pinpointing. (see fig. 1)

My Conclusion

I would quote Richard when Richard writes:
“Not suppressing complexity but managing complexity”

This is exactly what I am trying to do when practising EA. EA should not be done for the “beauty of the move”, but for the whole-of-the-enterprise sake and benefit. To add to Richard’s presentation, I would say that in order to “manage the company IS complexity and support business objectives“, we need both the theory and the practice. There,  it’s time to mention Emmanuel Kant that is underneath the Praxeme’s approach:

Theory without practice is useless; Practice without theory is blind.

Let’s come back to the title: “Next generation of Enterprise Architecture”. To me the next generation of Enterprise Architecture and as a consequence: Enterprise Architects :D, where I expect from myself to be a key player ( 😉 french humor) is based on a true Business approach. We, as Enterprise Architects, have to get our key business decision makers to understand the value of spending money on EA to gain money on the maintenance (IT costs), reduce the project failure rate… stop re-doing project to achieve the same goals without succeeding each time.

Once your top management is convinced, then it is time to go to work. Start from the semantic level to keep the flexibility in the whole enterprise system. Break the silos, avoid hard-coded business rules that have lead us to where historic companies are entangled in today. Complex and frozen Information System that is not anymore able to support the always moving targets of our companies, neither the economical volatilities that we are currently facing or the increasing competition (to mention a few…). Our companies have no choice to evoluate or die. This is pure evolution theory.

  • If you are lucky and work for companies like Google or Apple, then you have not much to achieve in the first hand (convinced your management), mainly because the top management is already convinced and they have trusted the vision I described above. In addition, they didn’t have to manage the complexity coming from all the heritage of ages (usually called “Legacy”).
  • In case you’re not working for Google or Apple, then you are even more lucky! Look at all the interesting job you have in front of you! I use to quote Booker T. Washington when saying:

“You measure the size of the accomplishment by the obstacles you had to overcome to reach your goals.”

So, let’s go to work!