IRMUK EA and BPM Conference Highlights (London 2012)Posted: June 21, 2012
I’ve just returned from IRM UK Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Management conference in London. There are 3 full days loaded with insights, good practices, advises and collaboration. Some highlights I would like to share here.
John Zachman was describing his framework in details and despite simplicity, there is a lot to learn. The framework (Ontology, like periodic table of chemical elements, not Methodology) is fundamental physics (laws of nature) for organizations. We may follow them, may even try to ignore, but they exist. What’s most important for framework – to create primitive models at intersections of columns and rows, which deal with one variable at the time. And another misconception about framework is to treat rows as deeper levels of details, while they are just different perspectives. Late binding of primitive models create instances of architectures, which are not so easy to modify (optimize, improve) as primitive models. The concept is also mapped to evolution of products and services from custom products to order (special product designed from scratch every time, expensive, huge time to market, unique) to mass products (customer selects what suits him better and buys the product) and then to mass customization of products and services – to have right product at right time customized to user needs.
Professor Michael Rosemann delivered great (one of best during entire event) pitch dedicated to innovation, as only way to survive for organizations. Different sources and methods to innovate, such as problem driven changes (I believe this is part of story, why military is one step ahead in technology), constraints driven changes (an example is mobile payments in one of African countries, driven by lack of banks, or Tesco virtual stores in South Korea, driven by time constraints). The innovations are rarely just spontaneous ideas – they are result of thorough pattern identification and applying work. Brainstorming does not work for ideation. Look around for other people, companies, industries and look for constraints and challenges there. Talking about IT and business in EA context, IT is delivering opportunities to business (enabler), as one more source to innovate (e.g. location based services and mobility).
The best case study for me was from Eamonn Cheverton about Heathrow performance driven process management. Simply values and result speaks for everything. From being worst airport in Europe, now it is one of the best (and definitely one of the biggest). I was flying through Heathrow just today, and my experience confirms it. While not all secrets of success were shared, some of them are simple and reasonable: share information among stakeholders in single place, create strong capabilities model and derive all projects from this model. Performance framework is also great tool for building EA at Heathrow.
There were a lot of other interesting talks around idea of building EA competence, and EA culture in organizations.
Some important messages as take aways for me:
- EA is not about technologies anymore, it is about business and technology alignment and enablement for operations and change (innovations)
- Tools and frameworks are important but they are definitely not first thing to consider. Decision on tools and frameworks should be delayed, until expectations and declared and explicitly stated, and common language is built
- Tools and frameworks for EA and BPM are overrated nowadays. I.e. missing case management in BPMS may be critical limitation, if some core processes rely on knowledge worker decisions which cannot be fully automated (variability issue). To start modeling usually paper or whiteboard are best tools.
- Innovation versus commodity. Look for innovations, work towards innovations, search and apply patterns. Otherwise you do alchemy (as mentioned by John Zachman) or do commodity and soon will be out of the game.
- Business skills are critical for IT architects and leaders. It’s never late going to business schools, trainings, seminars, workshops, and at least learn how business work from life.