>Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Enterprise Architecture

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Franklin Delano Roosevelt (January 30, 1882 – April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was the thirty-second President of the United States. Elected to four terms in office, he served from 1933 to 1945, and is the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms. A central figure of the 20th century during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war, he has consistently been ranked as one of the three greatest U.S. presidents in scholarly surveys.

During the Great Depression of the 1930s, Roosevelt created the New Deal to provide relief for the unemployed, recovery of the economy, and reform of the economic and banking systems. Although recovery of the economy was incomplete until almost 1940, many programs initiated in the Roosevelt administration continue to have instrumental roles in the nation’s commerce, such as the FDIC, TVA, and the SEC. One of his most important legacies is the Social Security system.”

“The New Deal had three components: direct relief, economic recovery, and financial reform. These goals were also called the ‘Three Rs.’”

  • Relief was the immediate effort to help the one-third of the population most affected by the depression.
  • Recovery was the effort in many programs to restore normal economic health.
  • Reform was based on the idea that the Great Depression was caused by market instability and that government intervention was necessary to balance the interests of farmers, business and labor.”

President Roosevelt was a man of great accomplishment:

  • Domestically—“On the homefront his term saw the vast expansion of industry, the achievement of full employment, restoration of prosperity and new opportunities opened for African-Americans and women.”
  • Internationally, At War—Additionally, during World War II, “Roosevelt…provided decisive leadership against Nazi Germany and made the United States the principal arms supplier and financier of the Allies who later, alongside the United States, defeated Germany, Italy and Japan.”
  • Internationally, At Peace—“Roosevelt played a critical role in shaping the post-war world, particularly through the Yalta Conference and the creation of the United Nations.”
  • Personally—FDR showed amazing courage and was determined to regain use of his legs (that had been laid waste from the disease polio) through swimming.

(adapted from Wikipedia)

Wow, what an amazing President!

FDR was the impedemy of a doer and fighter. When the world was in chaos, whether from the Great Depression, World War II, or on a personal level when he contracted Polio at age 39, he came out with a plan and acted on it—whether the war he was fighting was povery and social ills, fascism and totalitarianism, or personal illness—FDR was a man of action and achievement, and this country was the great beneficiary.

FDR “brought hope as he promised prompt, vigorous action, and asserted in his Inaugural Address, ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.’” (http://www.whitehouse.gov/history/presidents/fr32.html)

FDR is a role model for leadership, but to me, he is also a paradigm for User-centric EA. Why? EA done correctly is not only about having a plan OR about taking action, but rather it is about developing a sound plan AND executing on it the way FDR did over and over again over 4 terms as President. He came up with the plan for the New Deal and successfully executed it, so that 75 years later many elements are still fundamental to our system of social and economic policy and administration. Also, FDR came up with a plan to defeat the Axis in WWII and he with Winston Churchill led us to success. Unfortunately, no amount of planning or execution could successfully fight Polio before the discovery of a vaccine by Jonas Salk.

In summary, EA is not only about planning and governance, but it’s about helping the organization to execute and achieve on its plan. EA does this by developing the transition plan, which logically sequences incremental change for the organization, as well as by working closely with leadership, subject matter experts and stakeholders to actually guide and influence positive change.

All EA practitioners can learn to plan and execute from the master, FDR!

>Master of Paradox and the Enterprise Architect

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As enterprise architects, we need to have clarity of vision to see what is and to chart a way ahead for the organization. Yet, we live amidst polarities and paradoxes, which are challenges for every enterprise architect to see through.

In the book The Empty Raincoat, by Charles Handy, the author identifies nine paradoxes that we need not only be aware of, but also be focused on, so that we can find a better way forward for ourselves, our enterprises, and society.

Here are the top six paradoxes (of nine) of our time:

  1. Intelligence—“brains are replacing brawn…knowledge and know-how is the new source of wealth, [yet] it is impossible to give people intelligence by decree, to redistribute it. It is not even possible to leave it to your children when you die…It is not possible to take this new form of intelligence away from anyone. Intelligence is sticky…nor is it possible to own someone else’s intelligence…It is hard to prevent the brains walking out the door if they want to…intelligence is a leaky form of property. [Finally,] intelligence tends to go where intelligence is. Well educated people give their families good education.”
  2. Work—“some have work and money, but too little time, while others have all he time, but no work and no money…we also use money as the measure of efficiency. Our organizations, therefore want the most work for the least money while individuals typically want the most money for the least work.”
  3. Productivity—“productivity means ever more and ever better work from ever fewer people…as more and more people get pushed out or leave organizations…[they] do for themselves, what they used to pay others to do for them.” In a sense the newly unemployed stifle market demand and further growth.
  4. Time—“we never seem to have enough time, yet there has never been so much time available to us. We live longer and we use less time to make and do things as we get more efficient…[yet] we have created an insidious cycle of work and spend, as people increasing look to consumption to give satisfaction and even meaning to their lives.”
  5. Riches—“economic growth depends, ultimately, on more and more people wanting more and more and more things…If , however, we look only at the rich societies, we see them producing fewer babies every year and living longer. Fewer babies mean fewer customers, eventually, while living longer lives mean, usually poorer and more choosy customers.”
  6. Organizations—“more than ever, they need to be global and local at the same time, to be small in some ways but big in others, to be centralized some of the time and decentralized most of it. They expect their workers to be more autonomous and more of a team, their managers to be more delegating and more controlling…they have to be planned yet flexible, be differentiated and integrated at the same time, be mass-marketers while catering for many niches, they must introduce new technology, but allow workers to be masters of their own destiny; they must find ways to get variety and quality and fashion, and all at low-cost.”

Can we as enterprise architects ever resolve these paradoxes?

While, we cannot resolve the polarities of society, we can find ways to balance them, move between the extremes “intelligently,” as appropriate for the situation, and search for better way to adapt. We do this not only to survive, but to help our organizations and society thrive in spite of the paradoxes. “Life will never be easy, nor perfectible, nor completely predictable. It will be best understood backwards [20-20 hindsight], but we have to live it forwards. To make it livable, at all levels, we have to learn to use paradoxes, to balance the contradictions and the inconsistencies and to use them as an invitation to find a better way.”

So as architects what specifically can we do?

As architects, we are advisors to the Chief Information Officer (from a technology-business alignment perspective), Chief Financial Officer (from an IT investment perspective), and to the Chief Procurement Officer and Line of Business Program Managers (from an IT execution standpoint) and other organizational decision-makers. In this advisory role, we can help point out the polarities and paradoxes that may be driving the organization one way or the other, or actually in a conflicting, bi-directional manner. As advisors, we can highlight gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities and suggest ways to improve or capitalize on this. But most importantly of all, by having a structured way of thinking about IT planning and governance, we can provide a perspective to the organization that may otherwise be neglected or trashed (in favor of operations), and we can provide clarity to the organization in terms of planning and governance processes, when the organization may otherwise just be blowing around in the wind of universal contention.

“There are kings [executives] and there are prophets [architects]…the kings have the power and the prophets have the principles…but every king needs his prophet, to help him, and increasingly her, keep a clear head amidst all the confusions…prophets in spite of their name, do not foretell the future. No one can do that…What prophets can do is tell the truth as they see it.”

>Polarization of User Demands and Enterprise Architecture

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What happens when users want conflicting things from their EA programs?

Recently, as part of a discussion following an EA briefing, I received a number of interesting comments from some users.

While multiple users talked about the EA capturing some terrific EA information that is being used for IT governance and planning, the users wanted the focus of future EA to go in different directions:

  • IT Governance—on one side of the table, one user wanted to see more IT governance and standards and less IT planning (target architecture), “since target architecture should be set by the technical subject matter experts and EA was more of a policy and management function
  • IT planning—across the table, another user wanted to see more IT planning (target architecture) and less IT governance, since “target architecture is the ‘real’ architecture, and the rest was just management.”

This sparked a lot of discussion throughout the room. Someone else asked, “Well, if you could only do one of these things well, which would you choose?” And another asked, “What is your vision for the ultimate direction of the EA program?”

To me, I believe firmly that ultimate answer to these questions is that you really need both IT planning and governance to have a viable EA program.

  • IT planning without governance—is developing and maintaining the baseline, target, and transition plan without using these to influence and drive actual decision-making. The IT plans are shelfware!
  • IT governance without planning—is trying to leverage EA information to support capital planning and investment control (CPIC) and to enhance overall organization-wide decision-making without having the necessary information to support sound decisions.

So at the end of the day, with limited resources, “which would I do?” and “what is my vision?”

You have got to do both IT planning and governance. IT planning is the process and IT governance is the implementation. One without the other would be utterly meaningless.

So with limited resources, we manage expectations and progress in a phased implementation in both areas—continually building and refining the EA information base so it is increasingly relevant (IT planning), and simultaneously, creating effective governance processes to manage IT investments in new projects, products and standards (IT governance). In this way, EA practitioners make the information useful and usable.

>Gestalt Theory and Enterprise Architecture

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“Gestalt theory is a theory…that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts…This is in contrast to the “atomistic” principle of operation of the digital computer, where every computation is broken down into a sequence of simple steps, each of which is computed independently of the problem as a whole.” (Wikipedia)

Gestalt theory and the atomistic principle are important lenses with which to understand User-centric EA. Both gestalt and atomistic views are used to build the enterprise architecture.

  • Modeling—“A model is a pattern, plan, representation, or description designed to show the structure or workings of an object, system, or concept.”(Wikipedia) Enterprise decompose the business and IT of the enterprise to view functions and activities, information and data, and manual and automated solutions for supporting those. In modeling the organization and decomposing it into its foundational elements, we view both the distinct parts as well as the relationship between those; this is the atomistic principle is at work. architects develop business, data, and systems models to show the elements and relationships in the enterprise, identify the business processes, information requirements, and technology solutions. To perform this modeling the architects
  • Planning and Governance—EA develops the baseline, target, and transition plan, and develops or supports the IT strategic and tactical plans. Further, EA facilitates the IT governance process by conducting IT projects, product, and standard reviews and providing finding and recommendations to ensure business and technical alignment and architecture assessment for the organization. Both of these functions of EA require the synthesis of “boat loads” of business and technical information to develop realistic plans and valuable reviews in support of sound investment and portfolio management. In developing the plans and managing the IT governance for the organization, we are synthesizing information to create a holistic view of where we are, where we going, and how we will get there. This involves bringing together the multiple perspectives of the architecture (performance, business, information, service, technology, security, and hopefully soon to be added human capital) to get a view of the organization that is larger than the sum of its parts. The architecture is more than just a federation of these perspectives, and incorporates the analysis of gaps, redundancies, inefficiencies, and opportunities used to drive business process and technical reengineering and improvement in the organization. This is the gestalt theory at work.

Together, the gestalt theory and atomistic principle show us how enterprise architects decompose or break down the organization into its parts and then synthesize or build it back together again, such that the whole is now greater than the sum of its parts. The ability to do this is the marking of a true enterprise architect master!

>Use Cases and Enterprise Architecture

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User-centric EA fulfills many different needs (as portrayed through Use Cases) in the enterprise.

In the Journal of Enterprise Architecture (JEA), August 2007, the authors of the article “Analysis and Application Scenarios of Enterprise Architecture: An Exploratory Study” (Winters, Bucher, Fischer, and Kurpjuweit) provide a variety of these “application scenarios” for EA.

Use Cases can help us understand the importance and benefits of Enterprise Architecture by showing its application to real-world scenarios. Below is a list of key use cases for EA (adapted from JEA):

  1. Adoption of Commercial and Government Off-The-Shelf Software (COTS/GOTS)—informs on enterprise IT products and technical standards for integration, interoperability, and standardization.
  2. Business Continuity Planning—identifying the dependencies between business processes, application systems, and IT infrastructure for continuity of operations.
  3. Business Process Optimization—reengineering or improving business processes based on modeling of the business processes, the information required to perform those, and the technology solutions to support those.
  4. Compliance Management—helps verify compliance with legal requirements such as privacy, FOIA, Section 508, records management, FISMA, and so on.
  5. Investment Management—supports Investment Review Board; determines business and technical alignment and architecture assessment of new IT investments.
  6. IT Business Alignment—aligning IT with “business, strategies, goals, and needs.”
  7. IT Consolidation—“reveals costly multi-platform strategies and wasted IT resources originating from personal preferences of certain IT stakeholders and/or a lack of enterprise-wide coordination.”
  8. IT Planning—develops target architecture and transition plan; develops or supports IT strategic plan and tactical plans.
  9. Performance Management—Management of IT Operations Costs through the development of IT performance measures to manage IT resources.
  10. Portfolio Management—categorizes IT investments into portfolios and prioritizes those based on strategic alignment to the target architecture and transition plan.
  11. Post Merger and Acquisition Integration—identifies gaps, redundancies, and opportunities in business processes, organizational structures, applications systems, and information technologies.
  12. Procurement Management—aids sourcing decisions; specifies standards, provides reviews of new IT investments.
  13. Project (Initialization) Management—specifies projects requirements, looks at the potential for existing systems to meet user needs, and avoids redundant development activities.
  14. Quality Management—document business processes, information requirements, and supporting IT; helps ensure performance.
  15. Risk Management—managing technology risks; understanding which technology platforms support which business processes.
  16. Security Management—documenting business and IT security and defining user roles and access rights.

When done right, EA helps to create “order out of chaos” for the execution of business and IT in the organization.