WHAT WE DO
Reimagine your business with a hands, on thought partner to help you solve industry, defining challenges and solve tomorrows problems – today. Wherever you are on your transformation journey, our real-world approach to enterprise architecture paired with domain knowledge and technical know-how helps your IT organization build the capabilities to drive operational efficiency and provide tangible business outcomes.
Strategy & Roadmaps
A few years ago developing a five/ten-year strategy made sense but what worked then will probably not work today. The uncertainties caused by the pandemic, the rapid pace of digital technologies, and new regulations combined with shifts in the business’s position (to be a leader or follower) are shortening the planning horizon. Although a capability-driven strategy remains the best starting point in providing clarity around what value IT creates and how it delivers, the time horizon for strategy, roadmaps, and operating models has become fluid. All roadmaps start out with the best of intentions but often end up as shelf-ware simply because they fail to realistically represent the organization strategy and are simply not actionable.
Not to be confused with IT Governance (ITG), Enterprise Architecture Governance (EAG) is strategic and enterprise-wide. The focus is on guiding the design of architectures your company needs and maintaining their integrity and usefulness. EAG is integral to the strategic alignment of business and IT, driving the principles of reuse and standardization, and bringing innovation into line with business requirements.
Whereas ITG is restricted and operational, its emphasis is on controlling capability decisions, reducing maverick and superfluous costs, while making the most efficient use of costly IT services to enable business operations.
We know first-hand that a well-designed EAG program will foster best practices and promote standards and asset re-use while accelerating decision-making and delivery. Drawing upon decades of experience in developing sound governance programs our comprehensive frameworks are tailored to support your organizational structure, principles, processes, internal and industry standards, tools, and metrics – all the necessary components to manage the enterprise architecture and enable the architecture team to achieve their objectives.
Strategic and operational change requires leadership backed by the guidance of enterprise-wide analysis and insight. While C-level information needs may differ from those of the Architect, it is safe to say everyone’s trying to make smarter, fact-based decisions.
Enterprise Architects are a primary ‘go-to’ source for data-driven information. They capture and connect context and metadata across the business and technology landscape to support strategic and tactical decision making. Modern-day toolkits enable Architects to store, structure, and analyze information to realize implications and present insights on the investment, development, and delivery of technology solutions. Arguably having a toolkit with the ‘right mix’ of techniques and products is essential to solving problems, deliver value, and provide accurate and timely information.
Distilled from constructing numerous Enterprise Architecture programs across multiple industries, we know that no single “tool” has enough functionality to meet enterprise operations’ diverse needs. We also know that accessibility, integration, and manageability are the principal features for developing a useful toolkit.
Does your toolkit support your Architect’s ability to execute? Is it tech-savvy, and does it provide the level of information needed to enable data-driven decisions? Does it help Architects make a measurable impact on the enterprise? We work with your team and stakeholders to capture toolkit requirements and align them with your business strategy and project initiatives. We consider how your architecture program is measured, what integrations, like MDM or CMDB, are needed, and who will use your toolkit. As tools become more integrated and easy to use, business and technology leaders, project managers, analysts, and others will see the value of leveraging the Architects toolkit to meet their diverse needs and business scenarios – further helping to mature your Enterprise Architecture program.
What can IT do now in preparation for a post-pandemic world? As IT finds new ways to get things done and what can be accomplished, technology leaders are updating their operating models and technology landscape – at the very least, reimagining their future state.
360° Assessments provide a ‘big picture’ view to understanding the current state and objectively pinpoint areas for improvement to design the future state. 360° assessments position IT as an integrator, aggregating sets of needs into a portfolio and focusing on strengths and weaknesses, and weighing numerous elements to determine improved capabilities.
- Identify the technology capabilities critical to products and services and understand what the business impacts when portfolios are disrupted.
- Aggregate your risks and update mitigation and continuity plans.
- Recognize the people, processes, applications, and third-party suppliers your capabilities depend on.
- Classify the business-critical applications making it difficult to access and support remote work – and more.
- Identify applications by the owner, cost, health, and compliance risk to increase their strategic usage and update mitigation and continuity plans.
- Understand the upstream and downstream impacts on the environment when new applications are introduced or will be disrupted.
- Capture potential performance efficiencies through rationalization, consolidation, and renegotiation.
- Identify redundancies and promote reuse to drive efficiencies and more.
- Identify foundational process management and automation capabilities to ensure technology decisions are within an enterprise strategy and governance framework.
- Increase cross-department integration capabilities to streamline and accelerate delivery, improve customer and employee experience, and slow architectural debt creation.
- Mature the business engagement functions into a strategic planning function standardizing IT planning, cost control, and risk and governance mitigation across the enterprise.
Reference Architecture and Frameworks
More than ever, enterprise architects need all the help they can get to deliver reliable, agile, resilient architectures that meet changing business needs. While the practice of enterprise architecture continues to mature, companies should leverage as many best practices as they can and learn from others who have already gone down the architecture path.
Proven reference architectures like BIAN, for banking or ACCORD, for insurance, provide you with a foundational frame of reference for a particular industry in which similar products and services are produced. Inherently rich in domain information they are used to both guide architecting efforts and drive commonality, interoperability, and flexibility. Further, they help to ensure the consistency and applicability of technology use across the enterprise.
Established Architecture frameworks like Zachman or the Open Group are essential architecture tools. They identify, describe, and structure a particular architecture into domains, layers, or views. Frameworks provide guidance – principles and best practices to create and use the architecture.
The difference between reference architectures and frameworks is the degree of domain specificity; reference architectures are highly domain-specific where frameworks capture the best practices on creating and using the architecture. Our experience in leveraging proven reference architectures paired with popular frameworks can be used as a starting point for your own enterprise architecture effort – so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
EA as a Service EaaS
As the world emerges from the COVID-19 lockdown, the demand for Enterprise Architects will only increase – to understand the recovering business ecosystem, translate between business needs and technological innovation, and provide insights into the role IT plays in the new normal. With such demands, IT organizations are facing the challenge of hiring full-time Enterprise Architect professionals – and for many companies, maintaining a large team of seasoned architects is just not feasible.
A new outsourcing model has emerged called Enterprise Architecture-as-a-Service. Following the trend of ‘everything as a service,’ IT organizations can outsource strategic and operational architecture work and access skills and resources on-demand, paying for only the capacity needed.
We offer a catalog of ‘fit for purpose’ services targeted to help you plan, collaborate, develop, and govern your architecture projects and deliver value throughout the building and using your Enterprise Architecture.
- Planning and Evaluation Services: Project Scope and Risk Consults, Architecture Repository and Toolkit Assessments, and Vendor/Contractor Evaluation Service.
- Collaboration and Development Services: Business and Interdisciplinary Engagement Models, Technology and Capability Service Maps, and Technology Roadmaps.
- Governance Services: Project Architecture Governance, Technology PortfolioGovernance, and Technology Compliance and Standards Alignment.
Enterprise Architecture-as-a-Service ensures high-quality work and artifacts but with none of the costs and risks of carrying a permanent architect team. Also, having access to modern, fresh ideas and cross-fertilization of skills results in richer results for your team.
Realistically COVID-19 will change business priorities, accelerate timelines and constrain resources well into 2021 and perhaps beyond. As IT organizations emerge from lockdown, technology leaders will need to begin recalibrating their application, technology, and project portfolios to meet business needs and support tomorrow unknowns.
Traditional Portfolio Management, where portfolios live within isolated silos, lack the agility, transparency, and the information needed for IT to make swift, data-driven decisions on service resiliency, sharing resources, and technology to resolve day-to-day issues and to sustain the business. The challenge to create higher business value portfolios at a
lower cost and risk has arrived. Today’s Portfolio Management practices must be flexible and provide an enterprise lens to better understand the portfolios’ inter-relationships.
We’ve sat in your chair, and we understand the urgency to quickly align your portfolios with changing business needs and have the confidence that each portfolio provides the right value at the right time. Our assessments provide you with an understanding of when, where, how, and why to make changes. We work hand-in-hand with you to develop actionable roadmaps and use the right tools to create portfolios that drive high value, increase investment return, and reduce transformational risks.
- Manage the Application Portfolio – Move from an application inventory to full management of your IT assets. Understand the Application Portfolio’s business capabilities, technology, information, and functional perspectives as they relate to applications. Analyze the portfolio along multiple dimensions such as cost, risk, usage, technology health, and business fit. Integrate governance and agile methods to streamline the application lifecycle – identify, select, fund, build, deploy, operate, and sunset.
- Realize the Technology Portfolio – View your portfolio’s composition to mitigate risks and decrease security risks. Plan accordingly by knowing which Applications are threatened by Technology end of life. Ensure future technology innovations improve business and don’t impact other architectural elements.
- Align the Project Portfolio – Gain insights on the effects of critical and large scale transformation projects on the IT landscape. Apply the fi Architects Group Project Governance process to reduce risks and accelerate the project lifecycle. Experiencing uncertainty or challenges prioritizing your portfolio? Reach out, and we’ll get on a call to talk it through.
Experiencing uncertainty or challenges prioritizing your portfolio? Reach out, and we’ll get on a call to talk it through.
When Experience Matters
Virtually delivered and informed by a network of C-suite and experienced technology practitioners, this innovative service provides IT Leaders with dedicated access to experienced Chief Architects and architect advisors along with the latest industry knowledge. Our advisors have served at the most respected companies and government organizations and all bring at least 20 years of experience to help ensure:
- The business’ reach doesn’t exceed the IT organization’s grasp.
- Technological capabilities are aligned with the scope of business changes.
- Strategies, frameworks, architectures, IT portfolios, and governance, risk, and compliance programs are “right-sized” to support the IT organization’s needs.
Having a go-to advisor providing expert knowledge when you need it is a valuable ally for IT leaders striving to plan and manage their organizations effectively through today’s volatile business environment. Engagement days can be used individually or packaged for ongoing retainer-based services.
Modernization vs. Transformation
What’s the right IT investment?
While the buzzwords of modernization and transformation sound synonymous are often used interchangeably, it is essential to recognize some key differences in deciding which is the right IT fix for your business. Even though your business can realize its goals using the current technology and processes, the focus of modernization is to bring the organization “up to speed’ through new technology, upgrading systems, platforms, and software.
The more extensive and costly transformation effort concentrates on business growth and new markets, competitive threats, evolving customer preferences, performance, or new regulatory laws. Although it is safe to assume that there will be modernizing effects in any IT transformation effort, transformation results in a fundamentally different business model and operating organization – otherwise, it should be considered a modernization effort.