Architecture Tool Case Studies
The slide deck is here:
J.J. Du Chateau: Architecture Tools is a recurring topic: should we get one? are they valuable? which tool does my institution need? These are really more than diagramming and documenting tools... they are truly modelling tools with the promise of providing ways of creating and managing real insights. What is the relationship between the cost of these tools and the value they provide? They are so complex! Some of them start with top-level constructs such as "Vision", "Strategic Goals", and "Business Objectives", but do we have common understanding of what those things actually are, and do we have them at our institutions? Is the learning curve steep? How can we get value from the resources and investment we must make in establishing these tools and upkeeping the repositories we create with them?
Henry Pruitt. Overall goals as depicted below (includes the ability to answer application-architecture questions like "where are all the places we are running Java?" and "where are there opportunities to align the use of similar business solutions across the institution?" such as when we find there are fifteen separate instances of Salesforce).
...and sample questions (these are really valuable) to be addresses include:
The journey included the initial capture in a spreadsheet of hundreds of applications (including mappings expressed with pivot tables to key things such as business capability), and part of what needed to be addressed by introducing the ability to find architecture diagrams and architecture documentation. One useful outcome of the TOGAF training was that architects were able to start speaking the same language. Using some of the ServiceNow functionality (around CMDB and the application portfolio), noting that there was a requirement to change some of the labels and functionality (jeff = in the ServiceNow Common Services Data Model?).
Technology planning happening in spreadsheets is disconnected from the architecture context (e.g., Identity & Access Management spanning significant application services such as the future plans for LDAP and the future plans of the university-wide Person Registry). The promise of the EA tool is to help bring this work together and achieve better outcomes for the institution. Also looking for the ability to run basic reports across the architecture (linking applications to business outcomes and strategic objectives and organizational structure), etc.
Some alternatives to traditional/mainstream EA tools were also considered by the NYU team, acknowledging the overlap between the domains of "EA Tools", "IT Portfolio Analysis", and "IT Service Management" (jeff = and also like Strategy Execution Management):
Key considerations for selecting an EA tool include scenario-based planning and:
NYU has an pre-CAUDIT version of their own "front office" business capability model = note the pace-layer color-coding here:
...and the same approach for the "back office" business capablities:
...and the ability to create summary views such as application tree maps (contact Henry if you wish to see an example)
...and NYU is also using Tableau to create reports (in dashboards that were influenced and shaped by engagements with Gartner) that show costs and TIME assessments and resources and health, all able to be sliced and diced by various dimensions of interest). Also, the NYU "Head of Data" has mapped data assets to the business capability model, and that opens up a world of new possibilities for visualization and reporting and insights about the enterprise architecture.
Throughout considering, selecting, and implementing any form of EA Tools there is a bunch of stuff to watch out for — and clarifying key concepts such as "what is an application?":
There are plenty of valuable suggestions here for other teams looking at these tools, these "things you should consider doing" items:
Mahmoud Youssef and IRIS Business Architect — insights and designs from the Business Architecture Guild, and being used at The George Washington University:
IRIS is mainly business-architecture-focused but it does have some ability to be applied in the strategic realm (including support for things like the Business Model Canvas). IRIS has a team/server delivery model so that a group of people can work together on a common repository. APIs are used in the IRIS tool to bring in information from the wider technology and business-planning estate (e.g,. ServiceNow and Jira). Three main perspectives baked into the tool:
Within the tool there is a Model Explorer that facilitates navigation through the architecture assets, mappings to capabilities, definitions of value streams, and transformation-related initiatives such as "strategy". Under the assets you can place applications and machines etc.
When in the configuration perspective the definitions of core concepts such as those required for each business capability can be managed, as in the example shown below for the capability of "Online Giving" — the vendor provides its own metamodel that aggregates features of many established models and frameworks, but the whole thing can be customized with "custom attributes" and extensive use of tagging and labels:
In the value streams it it is possible to undertake mappings, like this example:
...and the higher-level view that shows the connections and gaps between strategy and execution are also easy to create here and are very valuable for planning:
...and here is an example of the Business Model Canvas:
...and there is also rudimentary support for linking customer journey maps with capabilities and value streams:
Alberto Mendoza = using Archimate.
Need to demonstrate to stakeholders the context for upcoming technology changes and to communicate roles and responsibilities. Diagrams are a natural great-fit approach to this! Archimate is based upon the standard, and is a visual notation language, with support for applications and technology in a large scope of enterprise architecture. This provides an environment in which the consequences of small decisions in the wider enterprise context can be explored and understood and communicated.
Archimate has many strengths, which somewhat stem from having top-level common terms/concepts that can be used throughout all of the architecture domains. Providing formal meanings to specific concepts enables us to drill down into the underpinning assets and understand the connections between them (servers and containers included). This enables the creation of meaningful objects that can help to represent day-to-day work in the context of this more enterprise-scoped view.
The abstraction capabilities underpin the visual representation of real-life situations at different levels of the architecture stack, and this helps with the formation of views that satisfy the concerns of stakeholders from the viewpoints they each occupy. Alberto is using the Archi tool (https://www.archimatetool.com/), which is open-source and cross-platform and ready to use:
Although it's not an "official" Archimate tool (jeff = my understanding is that's only because this open-source project has sensibly decided to not pay The Open Group a significant amount to be submitted for formal endorsement) but it has full support for the latest Archimate Version 3.1 and it has a large and active community wrapped around it. In a project context, it's possible to use Archi as a valuable way of describing a common model with common language that illustrates in a detailed way the relationships between all the moving parts of your institution that are involved in a project or other business-change initiative.
For the Boston College community, the models from Archi are published automatically on a daily basis for wider consumption, so they're always up-to-date and kept alive. That they are always current and iterating gives them credence with the stakeholder community.
In modelling systems and knowledge management and looking to create some reusability (acknowledging the support of the Archi community) there are views like these being created, examples here related to ETL feeds:
Using the tools and mechanisms of Archi has been really helpful in improving stakeholder communications, though without needing all of them to becoming experts in Archimate! The example below illustrates the need to undertake projects to effect certain changes to move the indicated domain from the current state to the next state:
13:09:36 From Piet Niederhausen to Everyone:
Today’s deck is here: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1BUY6lbYjsCmDNb11dvJC89vV4VRVg2Ppk6crB5x-ZSM/
13:18:42 From Mary Stevens to Everyone:
We are using BizzDesign if you have any questions, we really love it
13:27:38 From Marc Ulan to Everyone:
Nice job Henry!
13:28:54 From Steve J Devoti to Everyone:
Thanks Henry. Very informative.
13:28:54 From Louis King to Everyone:
Thanks Henry. Very interesting. Did you evaluate the ServiceNow IT Business Management module?
13:29:11 From Henry Pruitt to Everyone:
thanks... I really liked the tool and capabilities.. one of my top choices... may reach out to you separately.
13:31:40 From Henry Pruitt to Everyone:
We do not have a license for that component of service now... we are in the midst of doing a zboot on our servicenow instance and may look at it again later... with the project planning function going to that platform it may help tip the scales...
13:32:02 From Henry Pruitt to Everyone:
one of the item that seems to be missing from that product is doing the diagramming and modeling
13:33:12 From Louis King to Everyone:
Thanks. I have access and hope to look at it in the coming year.
13:34:05 From Henry Pruitt to Everyone:
great louis! Looking forward to hearing your impressions!
13:39:25 From Steve J Devoti to Everyone:
Thanks Mahmoud. Very interesting.
13:39:53 From Mahmoud Youssef to Everyone:
Thank you Steve
13:40:17 From Jim Phelps (UW) to Everyone:
I really liked the Gap analysis and having that mapped out to business outcomes
13:41:35 From Mahmoud Youssef to Everyone:
It has great capabilities in modeling, but limited on the analysis side
13:43:55 From Louis King to Everyone:
Love the one-line synopsis. Thanks for sharing your experience.
13:45:40 From Mahmoud Youssef to Everyone:
Thank you Louis
13:55:24 From Steve J Devoti to Everyone:
Thank you Alberto. Another very informative presentation.
13:55:38 From Curtis Scheer to Everyone:
thanks for the great information everyone
13:55:41 From Lonnie Smetana (U of Manitoba) to Everyone:
Thank you to everyone for sharing their insights today
13:55:59 From Piet Niederhausen to Everyone:
Thank you Henry, Mahmoud, Alberto, and J.J. This was a valuable update on a key recurring topic. Especially appreciate the structure Henry provided for thinking about a range of solutions.
13:56:16 From Louis King to Everyone:
13:56:18 From jeff kennedy to Everyone:
J.J. and Henry and Mahmoud and Alberto = thank you! this has been an excellent discussion, and your case studies have been super valuable.
13:56:32 From James Duncan to Everyone:
Thanks everyone - this is very timely, as we’re just developing an RFP for our EA tool.
13:57:27 From Curtis Scheer to Everyone:
I would be interested in joining the group that is looking at the essential project.
13:58:56 From jeff kennedy to Everyone:
Archi has good capabilities to ingest entities, attributes, and relationships.
13:59:11 From Mary Stevens to Everyone:
+1 to JJ
13:59:22 From Jim Phelps (UW) to Everyone:
I would be interested in a mapping of the capabilities you are using, the detail amount and the TCO of owning and running
14:00:50 From Marc Ulan to Everyone:
Thank you presenters, good information.
14:01:00 From Louis King to Everyone:
Thanks everyone for a really powerful 2021 agenda and program. Yay us!!!
14:01:04 From Alberto Mendoza to Everyone:
Anyone interested in EAS Essentials, I'd be interested, specially as we build a model for EA
14:01:11 From George Kopf to Everyone:
Yes. Nicely done. Very informative.