The People Components of Enterprise Architecture

Introduction to Enterprise Architecture, TOGAF and the ADM

Architecting any enterprise is not a simple undertaking. Establishing a solid and self-sustaining architecture practice in itself is a challenge; not even the challenge. The most difficult component of enterprise architecture today is the ability to bring about the people components of change.

Before beginning to assess the capacity of the enterprise, the target state of the enterprise must be determined along with the gaps between the target and current state. The beginning phases of the Architecture Development Method (ADM) begin to assess the capacity of any enterprise to change. The people components of enterprise architecture are often compounded in Stakeholder and Change Management, Organization Development and Business Architecture. As stakeholders are influential in the success of change initiatives, Change Management provides a framework in which you can effectively communicate, consult and involve stakeholders which will determine the success of change.

The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF) is a framework that offers tools designed to assist in enterprise architecture. TOGAF defines an enterprise as any collection of organizations that have a common goal. This definition therefore determines that an enterprise (as defined by TOGAF) could be a whole corporation, division of a corporation or even a single department. Enterprise architecture refers to all components of the enterprise such as technology, services and processes.

An architecture framework is a foundational structure, or set of structures, which can be used for developing a broad range of different architectures. .An architecture that provides value to the organization should describe a method for designing a target state of the enterprise in terms of a set of building blocks, and show how the building blocks fit together. The architecture should also contain a set of tools, provide common vocabulary and include a list of recommended standards, guidelines, models, principals, repetitive processes that can be used to implement building blocks.

Drastic changes in customer behavior have prompted businesses to adapt to the needs and high expectations of the consumer. Gauging customer experience has become a high priority for organizations in order to retain their competitive edge. This new prioritization has made companies re-evaluate their operations. Many companies operations are siloed which makes them more cumbersome in their service to the consumer. Solving problems such as lack of agility and the inability to meet customer needs requires an understanding of the changes that should be made and the impact of those changes. Enterprise Architecture provides tools and guidelines to implement solutions. In cases such as this companies are encouraged to maintain a common framework and develop an Architecture Repository so that models, designs etc. can easily be accessed and regurgitated. Business Transformation Readiness Assessments are the first step in quantifying an organization’s readiness for change and take place in the preliminary phase of the ADM.

The Purpose of Enterprise Architecture

The purpose of enterprise architecture is to streamline processes across the enterprise and help mold an environment that is responsive to change and supportive of the delivery of the business strategy. Enterprise architecture can create a more agile organization, lower operation costs and determine IT solutions that create a more flexible workforce. In turn these capabilities can reduce risk and maximize investment return.

Architects utilize tools to recognize the devastation of siloed projects and ties business functions to a single purpose and mission. Without this unification, enterprises tend to move in separate directions which can create rogue entities and misaligned priorities. Although enterprise architecture encompasses multiple roles, the EA is not responsible for executing the activity throughout the whole process. An effective EA practice will collaborate with Project Managers, Business Architects, Solutions Architects, etc. to execute necessary tasks in each area.  

Stakeholder Management within Business Architecture


TOGAF Architecture Development Method 84mmPhase A of the ADM is where a formal analysis of stakeholders is performed. Stakeholder management is actually a specific discipline that is absorbed into the ADM. Stakeholders are not only the executive branch of an organization but any person or third party that has interest within the organization. Stakeholder participation is a vital component of enterprise architecture and may be one of the more complex parts of the process because of common miscommunication between senders and receivers. Often times the message from the sender is not received as the sender initially predicted that it would. The process of Enterprise Architecture helps to clarify stakeholder needs then translate and articulate those needs to other stakeholders and key players to ensure the alignment of company vision and goals.  

The Enterprise Architect should clearly address stakeholder concerns. Developing architecture viewpoints to represent and reflect conflicting stakeholder concerns along with using trade-offs to offer solutions is an important part of the process. Although stakeholders are a diverse Group within the enterprise, some stakeholders hold more decision making power than others. An EA process is an effective way for the Architect to understand all stakeholder expectations and obtain feedback from the beginning. The EA connects expectations and promotes cohesiveness through constant communication.

Phase B of the ADM houses the Business Architecture domain. Business Architecture is where the road mapping, requirements gathering and execution of stakeholder expectations begins. This is also where value is demonstrated to stakeholders the most. Gap analysis can be used to determine missing stakeholder concerns that were not addressed and also help to discover missing gaps in the enterprise’s workforce. It is vital to ensure that stakeholder goals are aligned with the enterprise’s goals.

Change Management

“The reality in today’s environment is that change management is not always initiated at the start of a new project. In many cases managers rush to implement change management tactics only after problems surface” (Hiatt & Creasey, 2012).  

Phase H of the ADM is where Change Management lives. Change Management is a practical mechanism that works in favor of both the organization and the individual. It is not an organizational power play to control behavior. Change Management seeks to harness vision and engagement as a structural organizational mechanism. Simply put, Change Management utilizes tools, processes, skills and principles for managing the people side of change.

With all of the resources and frameworks that have been developed in the enterprise architecture domain, why are people resistant to change? In order to find an answer to this question, we must first understand that people become resistant to change for many reasons. Volatile organizational culture can stifle change and people also tend to become stuck in specific behaviors and habits even if their established processes are counterproductive. The misalignment of people’s interest versus the interest of the enterprise also creates conflict and resistance.

The beginning of finding the answer to this question lies within our understanding of people and enterprise. When an enterprise seeks to implement changes and in turn meets resistance, the previously mentioned question is common amongst those implementing change. The question that really should be asked is what are people’s perspective and understanding of this change and why?  The five tenets of Change Management provide a firm foundation of Change Management principles and specifically address the issue of people.

The Five Tenets of Change Management

  • We change for a reason
  • Organizational change requires individual change
  • Organizational outcomes are the collective result of individual change
  • Change management is an enabling framework for managing the people side of change
  • We apply change management to realize the benefits and desired outcomes of change

Change management is not a tool that is used to control or simply decrease resistance. People have capacity, limitations and choice that may not always align with business initiatives. Even if there is an alignment with the organization’s vision, the interpretation and execution of the business vision is subject to the individual.

Change is often associated with leadership because change within an enterprise commonly comes from the enterprise level. When change trickles down from the executive level, mid-level  leaders can combat roadblocks and sponsor change in a more effective capacity. Effective sponsorship of change does require specific behaviors. These behaviors include active engagement in all components of the process such as, building coalitions of key business components to support the change and actively evangelizing changes to members of the enterprise. Although change leadership often starts from the top, it does not always have to start at the executive level. No matter where change in the organization is birthed, leadership should be responsible to and accountable for the results. Collaborative change from the ground up or the top down is positive and can be accepted by all but leadership should communicate changes clearly and encourage all associates to participate. It is necessary to suss out sponsorship and change evangelists to advocate and support the cause.

Consider for a moment how change is expressed. The culture of an enterprise dictates how its individuals may express change. Our global marketplace has ushered in an international workforce that has brought cultural differences to this component. The one size fits all approach does not suffice. The why behind procedures must always be explored and communicated. Change saturation can also prohibit effective change and must be considered in the process.

Companies must remember that, “Resistance is a normal human reaction to change” (Hiatt & Creasey, 2012) that is not to be demonized but simply managed. Road mapping and communicating mission and strategy on a consistent basis to all stakeholders is the key to success that enterprise architecture can help facilitate. Communication is vital in making change impactful along with creating metrics to track progress, providing incentives, creating a transparent culture and having a clear understanding of what is needed to drive changes.

Organization Development

Organization development is a practice of continually flowing OD activities and methodologies that work to increase organization effectiveness. Head (2006) defines OD as an effort to improve an organization’s relationship to its environment and promote cohesiveness between its technical, political and cultural systems. Organization development is about nurturing employees, skill development and enhancing capabilities. In turn OD helps employees to connect with customers, partners and fellow employees.

Head (2006) also professes that organizational development has been birthed out of long term neglect by management along with massive structural and cultural problems. Triggers that can alter the environment of an organization include changing requirements, new executive leadership and technological advancements (Head, 2006). The modified OD perspective suggests that vigilant monitoring of “causal” issues, identifying problems and implementing solutions before they escalate is a founding organization development best practice. Head (2006) promotes six lessons that we can learn from OD.

  1. Perform regular and systemic based data collection. Organizations should regularly assess the organization.
  2. Avoid packaged assessments. Continuous and viable assessments require breadth, depth and flexibility.
  3. The greater participation in data analysis the better the interpretation. Multiple perspectives in data interpretation are needed to identify the small issues before they become large problems.
  4. Adopt a “change is good value” into the culture. Provide new perspectives of change to help fight resistance.
  5. Continued vigilance is the key to success. The balance of celebrating success while still retaining momentum is vital.
  6. Pay attention to the organization’s environment. Being present and involved will develop proper perspectives on the health of the organization.

But where does OD live within the ADM? We can answer this question by understanding what OD is and discovering what behaviors Organization Development brings about.

Published cases of organization development indicate the following essentials:

  • Clear perspectives of central issues
  • Communication forums and feedback loops
  • Implementation of specific initiatives

blowoutPieces of OD fall into multiple phases of the ADM. Gaining perspectives of the issues requires analysis that takes place in the early phases of the ADM. Implementation and execution of the solution comes in the later phases. The iterative like structure of the architecture development method allows for checks and balances and re-architecting if necessary. Each domain can also potentially become it’s on wheel and be fleshed out into sub-phases where sub ADMs can live within the phases of the larger ADM.  

Conclusion

Enterprise architecture is a tool to help manage and facilitate changes that are relevant to an environment. Without enterprise architecture, momentum can easily be miscalculated and misconfigured.

The value of enterprise architecture as a whole has been under fire. Successful architectural endeavors must offer simple information that is easily understood by architects and business leaders. Many times concepts are misconstrued during the preliminary phases which in turn affect the end analysis and execution of the project. Developing clear and concise information for decision makers enhances the success of the Architect.

Such as in the case of Enron, what if a company is profitable but has a severe ethical deficit? How does enterprise architecture assess this? Should enterprise architecture assess culture? Assessing regulatory issues and overall risk is a vital part of EA. An enterprise has an obligation to implement core values in order to help shape its internal culture and mitigate risk.  Corporate responsibility impacts the health of the enterprise as a whole.

Wong speaks of the four core areas that corporations need to adopt in order to be healthy and productive organizations.

  • Financial capital in terms of investments and profits
  • Technological capital in terms of cutting-edge software and hardware
  • Human capital in terms of knowledge, expertise, and creativity and
  • Social-spiritual capital in terms of ethics, relationships, meaning and purpose.

“The fourth area is perhaps the most difficult to manage and most difficult to quantify and yet, no less important than the other three core areas. Enron used to own a lot of real assets and values. They were one of the leaders in technology related to gas and oil. They had hired some of the most talented workers. And yet, they have failed miserably with respect to developing social-spiritual capital” and this was the demise of an entire enterprise (Wong).

The Business Transformation Enablement Program (BTEP) helps to determine the readiness of an enterprise. Factors include the assessment of the organization’s vision, it’s capability to execute, accountability, desire, willingness, resolve and much more. This is a powerful tool in the hands of the Architect as it can present the value of ethics, meaning and purpose and re-focus leadership within organizations on the people side of enterprise.  

“Incorporating ethical standards and handling in the corporate culture will create respectful organizations where the corporate governance structure is reflecting these ethics and where people are involved in identifying legal violations, corporate risks and security vulnerabilities (Institute For Enterprise Architecture Developments)”.

References

Head, T. C. (2006). Strategic organization development: A failure of true organization development. Organization Development Journal, 24(4), 21-28. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.depaul.edu/login?url=http://search.proquest.com/docview/197977693?accountid=10477

Hiatt, J., & Creasey, T. (2012). Change Concepts. In Change management: The people side of change (2nd ed.). Loveland, Colorado: Prosci Research.

Jones, S. (2014, September 16). Improving the Value of Enterprise Architecture: Three Strategies for Developing Business-Friendly Results . NVTC Blog. Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://blog.nvtc.org/index.php/improving-the-value-of-enterprise-architecture-three-strateg ies-for-developing-business-friendly-results/

Schekkerman, J. (2004, September 1). Another View at Extended Enterprise Architecture Viewpoints. IFEAD. Retrieved January 14, 2016, from http://www.enterprise-architecture.info/Images/Extended%20Enterprise/E2A-Viewpoints_IFEAD.PDF

TOGAF® 9.1. (n.d.). Retrieved January 16, 2016, from http://pubs.opengroup.org/architecture/togaf9-doc/arch/  
Wong, P. (n.d.). Lessons from the Enron Debacle: Corporate Culture Matters! Retrieved January 16, 2016, from http://www.meaning.ca/archives/archive/art_lessons-from-enron_P_Wong.htm  

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