>To Be A CIO and Enterprise Architecture

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Public CIO Magazine, June/July 2008, has some interesting articles on what it takes to be a next generation CIO (and many of these have to do with enterprise architecture).

Here are some tips (adapted from Public CIO):

  • Develop your EA and IT Governance Capabilities—one of the first moves of Michael Locatis, the CIO of Colorado, was “hiring an enterprise architecture team leader and the development of new governance structures.” This is critical in effectively planning and change managing the consolidation of IT. In Colorado it means uniting “20 disparate IT departments into a single citywide Technology Services Division.”
  • Be a strategist—Liza Massey, CEO of The CIO collaborative, a Las Vegas-based consultancy believes that a “CIO needs to make the leap from being a technologist to being a strategist [what EA planning is all about!]…’you have to be seen as a peer working for the good of the organization, not as the chief geek.’” She says, “if you know the version number of the operating system running on your mainframe, you’re probably not a CIO.”
  • Understand that mission drives technology—Pat Schambach, retired CIO of the Secret Service, ATF, and the TSA said “it was his ability to understand his organization’s business imperatives that made him CIO material.” Pat states about the Service, “they wanted someone who knew the mission well and could bring technology to bear against that mission.” Again, this is good EA and IT governance in practice: where business drives technology and not doing technology for technology’s sake.
  • Focus on business processes—Vivek Kundra, the CTO of Washington DC believes that “The key is to focus on the business process.” He stated, “My approach is to go after the core of the problem, to look at how the employees do their jobs and then look for how we can affect change.” Again, this is EA synthesizing business and technology to satisfy mission and end-user needs and requirements.
  • “Behave like an enterprise”—Dave Wennergren, Deputy CIO for the Department of Defense and prior CIO of the Navy, said “we have to behave like an enterprise. We don’t need 50 smart card solutions or 50 collaboration tools.” He believes “the enterprise can be responsible for tools everyone uses, freeing up agency developers to work on tools specific to their needs.” In other words, we can leverage enterprise architecture and IT governance to develop enterprise solutions that are cost effective and efficient, but at the same time remain nimble in meeting niche or localized needs.
  • Be able to translate business to technology and vice versa—Alan Shark, executive director for the Public Technology Institute said, “I’m seeing a big shift from issues that were purely technology to issues have much more to do with IT governance and leadership—being a translator between the technologists who work in the trenches and the politicians or the [higher-level] people who just want to hear the facts.” Again, EA plays a critical role here in synthesizing business and technology to enable better IT decision making for the mission/business.
  • Leadership skills—In the latest survey of the National Association of State CIOs, the traits that rose to the top for CIO success: “communication skills, negotiation skills, being able to collaborate and work across the agencies, to work with their executive team.” Laura Fucci, the CIO of Clark County Nevada (home to the Las Vegas strip) echoes these sentiments for a CIO and talks in terms of team building [and networking], being a consensus builder, improving customer service (ITIL), studying metrics, and good project management.

A few other traits worth mentioning from David Wennergren, from DoD, is continuous learning and studying and driving best practices. This again ties strongly to enterprise architecture which builds the target architecture, transition plan, and IT strategic plan, bringing together the best practices from inside and outside the organization to move it steadily forward.

Clearly, the enterprise architecture is the foundation for a successful CIO and the organization he/she serves.

>Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture

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Business process management is part of enterprise architecture. Enterprise architecture is often equated with IT architecture. This is incorrect; they are not the same. IT architecture is focused on IT solutions. Enterprise architecture is broader and encompasses engineering both business and IT sides of the organization.

There are two primary ways that enterprise architecture modernizes and transforms the organization. From the technology side, you can introduce new technologies to enable mission. From the business side, you can reengineer or improve existing business processes.

“Business process management (BPM) is a method of efficiently aligning an organization with the wants and needs of clients. It is a holistic management approach that promotes business effectiveness and efficiency while striving for innovation, flexibility and integration with technology.” (Wikipedia)

Where does BPM fit in with enterprise architecture?

To answer this we can look at guidance from The Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Particularly Circular A-11 provides guidance on the submission of federal budgets; Part 7 (Planning, Budgeting, Acquisition, and Management of Capital Assets) spells out the requirement that an Exhibit 300 be completed for all major investments.

Aside from extensive questions for justifying your budget in the Exhibit 300, there are what’s commonly called the “Three Pesky Questions.” The 3rd of the three pesky questions is as follows:

  • “Does the investment support work processes that have been simplified or otherwise redesigned to reduce costs, improve effectiveness, and make maximum use of commercial, off-the-shelf technology? If not, management should reengineer business processes first, then search for alternatives, or the agency may issue a very broad statement of the requirements in a solicitation to the private sector and allow the private sector to do the reengineering in proposed solutions. Management should also improve internal process through cutting red tape, empowering employees, revising or pooling existing assets within the agency or with other agencies, redeploying resources, or offering training opportunities.”

What’s key here is the requirements that before planning to acquire capital assets, such as new IT, we first look to reengineer the underlying business processes. Only once we have addressed the BPM, do we look to enable these processes with IT.

How do we reengineer our business processes?

DM Review, 18 April 2008, reports that “BPM includes the modeling, implementation, measurement and monitoring of business processes.”

Here is the way I see it:

  • Three types of models: Business process (or activity) models are the first step, supported by data models and systems models.
  • Decomposition and relationships: In these models, we decompose the business functions, processes, activities, and tasks; identify the relationships to the information required to perform the business processes, and the systems (manual or automated) that serve up the information.
  • Areas for Improvement/Reengineering: Through this decomposition and identification of relationship between business/data/systems, we are able to identify gaps, redundancies, roadblocks, and opportunities in doing our business efficiently and effectively. Once identified, we can then tweak or wholly reengineer the business processes, fill in gaps, eliminate unnecessary redundancies, and so on.

Similar to the OMB Exhibit 300 “Three Pesky Questions,” DM Review reminds us that we cannot just focus on systems to fix what’s wrong in our organizations.

  • “Keep in mind that for almost every process evolution exercise, there will be more than just systems change (IT change) required. Organizational needs and personnel skills must be accounted for. It the organizational dimension is ignored, there will be another story about failure in process management and business change.”

Business Process Management is essential to organizational change management.

  • If a business is to be responsive to change and remain competitive, its ammunition will come from its ability to inspect, analyze and forward-engineer its processes and its business…before its competition!

So whenever you think of enterprise architecture remember business + IT, and the business comes first!