30 September, 2011

What is Business Technology Management and how does it relate to Enterprise Architecture?

Business Technology Management (BTM) is not a methodology but I would say a concept, or eventually the aggregation of several guidelines and techniques. It is also described as a management science which aims to unify business and technology business strategies with the aim of extracting the full potential value of business technology solutions. In a nutshell, it allows you to unify business and technology decision making. Sounds familiar?
Pragmatically it corresponds to a group of various services intended to help businesses communities. BTM can include different methods such as IT planning, Project and Portfolio management (e.g. PMI, Prince 2), Balance Scorecards, Business support, Database services, disaster recovery, network management, security, document service, and frameworks. BTM delivers a set of guiding principles known as capabilities and defines the expected characteristics of an organization according to five levels of a maturity mode like CMMi. While these methods/methodologies have recognized strengths, they represent a piecemeal approach. There is a need to integrate these capabilities to achieve that strategic business technology alignment because most of these methods do not really focus on the goals and objectives of an enterprise. Balance Scorecard is a performance measurement methodology, Six Sigma or Lean are quality improvement methodologies mostly used in manufacturing, and so on...
BTM may sound like an evolved IT governance concept, where business and IT are in tune in an effort to support and realise the enterprise strategy. But does it really differ from an Enterprise Architecture which sometimes may also be considered as being the glue between various methods/methodologies?
Some questions may quickly arise...Is BTM just “better IT Governance” or simply a different way of naming an Enterprise Architecture? And does TOGAF® support BTM? BTM like Enterprise Architecture aligns activities which remain pure business and some pure technology, but most activities intertwine business and technology such that they become indistinguishable. It also guides and supports enterprises to these various states.
The precepts of Business Technology Management have been developed and refined by BTM experts working with such think tanks as the BTM Institute and the International Institute of Business Technologies (IIBT).

Business Technology Management addresses four critical dimensions of enterprise-wide strategy
1. Process
This first dimension refers to the institution of a set of robust, flexible and repeatable processes, broadly defined as:
General quality of Business Practice: Doing the right things
Efficiency: Doing things efficiently, quickly with little redundancy
Effectiveness: Doing things well
The TOGAF® 9 ADM is an example of such processes with its associated governance framework.
2. Organisation
Management processes are more likely to succeed when it refers to the establishment of appropriate organisational structures, establishing a structure in which every member understands the scope and responsibilities of his or her role, and decision rights. Something perfectly addressed during the Phases Preliminary and A of TOGAF®.
Organizational structures may include
· Participative bodies involving senior level business and technology participants on a part-time but routine basis (e.g. Business Technology Investment Board). TOGAF® suggests the creation of an architecture board who participate with the key business stakeholders.
· Centralized bodies requiring specialized dedicated technology staff (e.g. PMO).
· Need-based bodies involving rotational assignments dealing with particular efforts (e.g. PMO, Project Management teams).
Both last bodies would be identified during Phase F: Migration Planning and Phase G: Implementation Governance
3. Information
Valid, effective, timely provision of information is a prerequisite in effective decision making. Information must be delivered in a way that is comprehensible to non specialists as well. Data and metrics must be available. This would be addressed by the Communication Plan defined in the TOGAF® Architecture Vision’s phase taking into account the stakeholders needs, the communication mechanisms and timetable. Measurements and metrics may be included for strategic and operational objectives.
4. Technology
Effective technology can help connect the other three dimensions. The idea is that technology plays a vital role in all processes and can enable timely information sharing, improve co-ordination between members of an organisation and makes processes easier to execute. This covers automation of tasks, reporting, analytics and integration between management systems. In Enterprise Architecture, this would be covered by the interoperability requirements identified by the business and the identification of appropriate solutions in the TOGAF® Phases E and F, such as BPM suites and BI products.

Business Technology Management (BTM) Capabilities
A BTM capability is defined as a competency achieved by combining each of the above dimensions and creating repeatable management processes that are executed with the appropriate organizational structures, using an effective information architecture.
Business Technology Management defines 17 of these specific capabilities, each grouped into one of four functional areas.
Governance and Organisation:  These capabilities are focused on the enterprise’s CIO and business executives concerned with enterprise wide governance of business technology. It ensures that business technology decisions are effectively identified and executed, meet the needs of the business, manages the risk and give proper consideration to regulatory, legal and industry requirements. TOGAF® addresses all of this in the Preliminary Phase and the Architecture Vision, where an enterprise architecture governance framework is created.
Managing Technology Investments : This sits with PMO and business executives who are concerned with the selection and execution of the right business technologies initiatives and fulfil their objectives. The enterprise understands its current IT capabilities, what is currently available and what it is working on for the future. This is equally addressed during the Phase F: Migration Planning.
Strategy & Planning: These capabilities ensure that the CIO and business executives make the most appropriate moves to synchronise technology and business, both reducing complexity and planning for future developments. Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF 9 undoubtedly support these capabilities; you may refer to the previous article “How Strategic Planning relates to Enterprise Architecture”.
Strategic Enterprise Architecture: This capability must be developed to support this functional area, ensure that appropriate information and documentation exists that can describe current and future business technology environment within the enterprise. As we observed, TOGAF® as an Enterprise Architecture framework includes most of the capabilities mentioned above!
The BTM Maturity Model
A maturity model describes how well an enterprise performs a particular set of activities. These capabilities are useless without a method by which to measure their effectiveness. The BTM Maturity model is aligned with the de-facto standard from CMMi and use the five levels of maturity of all the four dimensions. Here again the Architecture Capability Maturity Model from TOGAF® 9 may be used to evaluate these capacities. We would identify the area most in need for improvement.
Level 1: enterprises execute some strategic business technology management processes in ad-hoc way. These enterprises typically manage processes in a simple task-based manner.
Level 2: enterprises attempt to assemble information for major decisions, and refer to IT on decisions for technology implications.

Level 3:
enterprises are ‘functional’ in BTM.

Level 4:
enterprises have achieved full BTM implementation. Their capabilities ensure that there is strong alignment between business and technology decision making.

Level 5:
enterprises have achieved the ‘Holy Grail’ of BTM. They are good enough to know when to change the rules to maintain strategic advantages over competitors.
To implement its business strategy, the enterprise requires particular operational capabilities as described above and clearly it appears that Business Technology Management can be supported by Enterprise Architecture. TOGAF® 9 is in reality addressing all of these 17 BTM capabilities grouped in functional areas, identified by the four dimensions and work as a management framework to clarify required enterprise business needs. Companies having implemented BTM should consider using TOGAF® 9 as the way of rightfully pursuing alignment of technology with the business and support a Business-Agile enterprise.

01 September, 2011

Are Business Process Management and Business Architecture a perfect match?

Whenever I suggest collaboration between these two worlds, I always observe some sort of astonishment from my interlocutors. Many Enterprise Architects or Business Architects do not realise there may be synergies. Business Process Management (BPM) team have not understood what Enterprise Architecture is all about and the other way around.... There is no a single definition of Business Process Management, often it means different things to different people. To keep it very generic, BPM relates to any activities an organization does to support its process efforts.

There are many activities which can be included in such efforts:
· The use of industry Business Reference Model (or Business Process Reference Model), a reference for the operational activities of an organization, a framework facilitating a functional Lines of Business, such as
o The Federal Enterprise Architecture Business Reference Model of the US Federal Government
o The DoD Business Reference Model
o The Open Group Exploration and Mining Business Reference Model (https://www.opengroup.org/emmmv/uploads/40/22706/Getting_started_with_the_EM_Business_Model_v_01.00.pdf)
o Frameworx (eTOM) for Telco companies
o The Supply Chain Operations Reference (SCOR®) model
o The SAP R/3 Reference Model
o The Oracle Business Models : Oracle Industry Reference Model for Banking, (IRM), Oracle Retail Reference Model
o And others...
· The use of organization specific Business Reference models
· The use of Business process improvement methodologies
o Lean, a quantitative data driven methodology based on statistics, process understanding and process control
o Six Sigma, a methodology that mainly focuses on eliminating bad products or services to clients by using statistical evaluation
· Business Process Reengineering, which in reality is a facet of BPM
· The understanding of Business Change Management, the process that empowers staff to accept changes that will improve performance and productivity
· The understanding of Business Transformation, the continuous process, essential to any organization in implementing its business strategy and achieving its vision
· The use of Business Rules Management which enables organizations to manage business rules for decision automation
· The understanding of Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) services to reduce costs and increase efficiency
· The support of Business Process modeling and design, which is illustrated description of business processes, usually created with flow diagrams. The model contains the relationship between activities, processes, sub-processes and information, as well as roles, the organization and resources. This can done with many notations such as flow chart, functional flow block diagram, control flow diagram, Gantt chart, PERT diagram, IDEF, and nowadays with the standard de facto notations such as UML and BPMN
· The support of BPM tools and suites implementation. With the right, process models can be simulated, to drive workflow or BPMS systems, and can be used as the basis for an automated process monitoring system (BAM)
· The support of Business Activity Monitoring (BAM), the ability to have end-to-end visibility and control over all parts of a process or transaction that spans multiple applications and people in one or even more companies.

To combine Business Process Management and Enterprise Architecture for better business outcomes is definitely the way forward, where BPM provides the business context, understanding, and- metrics, and Enterprise Architecture provides the discipline to translate business vision and strategy into architectural changes. Both are needed for sustainable continuous improvement. When referring to Enterprise Architecture, we would mainly refer to Business Architecture. Business Architecture involves more than just the structure of business processes. It also entails the organization of departments, roles, documents, assets, and all other process-related information.

Business Architects may be defining and implementing the Business Process framework and, in parallel, influencing the strategic direction for Business Process Management and improvement methodologies (e.g. Lean, Six Sigma). The business process owners and Business Analysts are working within their guidelines at multiple levels throughout the organizations’ business process. They have roles and responsibilities to manage, monitor and control their processes.
An important tool in developing Business Architecture is a Business Reference Model. These types of models are enormously beneficial. They can be developed in the organization to build and extend the information architecture. The shared vocabulary (verbal and visual) that emerges from these efforts promotes clear and effective communication.

To illustrate the touch points between Enterprise Architecture and Business Process Management, I have illustrated in the table below the synergies between the two approaches using TOGAF® 9.


In this table, we observe that, there is a perfect match between Business Process Management and the use of an Enterprise Architecture framework such as TOGAF. BPM is often project based and the Business Architect (or Enterprise Architect) may be responsible for identifying cross-project and cross-process capabilities. It can be considered as being the backbone of an Enterprise Architecture program. We can also add to this, that Service Oriented Architecture is the core operational or transactional capability while BPM does the coordination and integration into business processes.

When using BPM tools and suites, you should also consider the following functionalities: workflow, enterprise application integration, content management and business activity monitoring. These four components are traditionally provided by vendors as separate applications which are merged through BPM into a single application with high levels of integration. The implementation of a BPM solution should theoretically eliminate the maintenance and support cost of these four applications resulting in reducing the total cost of ownership.

Business Architecture provides the governance, alignment and transformational context for BPM across business units and silos. Enterprise Architects, Business Architects, Business Analysts should work together with BPM teams, when approaching the topic of Business Process Management. BPM efforts need structures and appropriate methodologies. It needs a structure to guide efforts at different levels of abstraction (separating “the what“ (the hierarchical structure of business functions) from “the how” (how the desired results are achieved), a documented approach and structure to navigate among the business processes of the organization, i.e. a Business Architecture. They also need a methodology such as an Enterprise Architecture framework to retain and leverage what they have learned about managing and conducting BPM projects.