Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Dana Gardner, Flint Brenton, Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White

Related Topics: Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, @CloudExpo

Microservices Expo: Article

Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Transformation

Related but distinct concepts that can change the world

For some, if you want enterprise transformation, you really need the organizing benefits of enterprise architecture (EA) to succeed.

For others, the elevation of enterprise architecture as an essential ingredient to enterprise transformation improperly conflates the role of enterprise architecture, and waters down enterprise architecture while risking its powerful contribution.

So how should we view these important roles and functions? How high into the enterprise transformation firmament should enterprise architecture rise? And will rising too high, in effect, melt its wings and cause it to crash back to earth and perhaps become irrelevant?

Or is enterprise transformation nowadays significantly dependent upon enterprise architecture, and therefore, we should make enterprise architecture a critical aspect for any business moving forward?

We posed these and other questions to a panel of business and EA experts at last month's Open Group Conference in San Francisco to deeply examine the fascinating relationship between enterprise architecture (EA) and enterprise transformation. [Disclosure: The Open Group is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

The panel: Len Fehskens, Vice President of Skills and Capabilities at The Open Group; Madhav Naidu, Lead Enterprise Architect at Ciena Corp.; Bill Rouse, Professor in the School of Industrial and Systems Engineering and the College of Computing, as well as Executive Director of the Tennenbaum Institute, all at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Jeanne Ross, Director and Principal Research Scientist at the MIT Center for Information Systems Research.

The discussion was moderated by Dana Gardner, Principal Analyst at Interarbor Solutions. [Disclosure: The Open Group and HP are sponsors of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]

Here are some excerpts:

Gardner: Why is enterprise transformation not significantly dependent upon enterprise architecture, and why would it be a disservice to bring enterprise architecture into the same category?

Fehskens: My biggest concern is the identification of enterprise architecture with enterprise transformation.

First of all, these two disciplines have different names, and there's a reason for that. Architecture is a means to transformation, but it is not the same as transformation. Architecture enables transformation, but by itself is not enough to effect successful transformation. There are a whole bunch of other things that you have to do.

My second concern is that right now, the discipline of enterprise architecture is sort of undergoing -- I wouldn’t call it an identity crisis -- but certainly, it's the case that we still really haven't come to a widespread, universally shared understanding of what enterprise architecture really means.

To make that problem worse by trying to fold enterprise transformation into the function of enterprise architecture is just not a good idea at this point.



My position is that they're two separate disciplines. Enterprise architecture is a valuable contributor to enterprise transformation, but the fact of the matter is that people have been transforming enterprises reasonably successfully for a long time without using enterprise architecture. So it's not necessary, but it certainly helps. ... There are other things that you need to be able to do besides developing architectures in order to successfully transform an enterprise.

Gardner: As a practitioner of enterprise architecture at Ciena Corp., are you finding that your role, the value that you’re bringing to your company as an enterprise architect, is transformative? Do you think that there's really a confluence between these different disciplines at this time?

Means and ends

Naidu: Transformation itself is more like a wedding and EA is more like a wedding planner. I know we have seen many weddings without a wedding planner, but it makes it easier if you have a wedding planner, because they have gone through certain steps (as part of their experience). They walk us through those processes, those methods, and those approaches. It makes it easier.

I agree with what Len said. Enterprise transformation is different. It's a huge task and it is the actual end. Enterprise architecture is a profession that can help lead the transformation successfully.

Almost everybody in the enterprise is engaged in [transformation] one way or another. The enterprise architect plays more like a facilitator role. They are bringing the folks together, aligning them with the transformation, the vision of it, and then driving the transformation and building the capabilities. Those are the roles I will look at EA handling, but definitely, these two are two different aspects.

Gardner: Is there something about the state of affairs right now that makes enterprise architecture specifically important or particularly important for enterprise transformation?

There is a lot of discussion about what really constitutes an EA and where are the boundaries for EA.


Naidu: We know many organizations that have successfully transformed without really calling a function EA and without really using help from a team called EA. But indirectly they are using the same processes, methods, and best practices. They may not be calling those things out, but they are using the best practices.

Rouse: There are two distinctions I’d like to draw. First of all, in the many transformation experiences we've studied, you can simplistically say there are three key issues: people, organizations, and technology, and the technology is the easy part. The people and organizations are the hard part.

The other thing is I think you’re talking about is the enterprise IT architecture. If I draw an enterprise architecture, I actually map out organizations and relationships among organizations and work and how it gets done by people and view that as the architecture of the enterprise.

Important enabler

Sometimes, we think of an enterprise quite broadly, like the architecture of the healthcare enterprise is not synonymous with information technology (IT). In fact, if you were to magically overnight have a wonderful IT architecture throughout our healthcare system in United States, it would be quite helpful but we would still have a problem with our system because the incentives aren’t right. The whole incentive system is messed up.

So I do think that the enterprise IT architecture, is an important enabler, a crucial enabler, to many aspects of enterprise transformation. But I don’t see them as close at all in terms of thinking of them as synonymous.

Gardner: Len Fehskens, are we actually talking about IT architecture or enterprise architecture and what's the key difference?

Fehskens: Well, again that’s this part of the problem, and there's a big debate going on within the enterprise architecture community whether enterprise architecture is really about IT, in which case it probably ought to be called enterprise IT architecture or whether it’s about the enterprise as a whole.

For example, when you look at the commitment of resources to the IT function in most organizations, depending on how you count, whether you count by headcount or dollars invested or whatever, the numbers typically run about 5-10 percent. So there's 90 percent of most organizations that is not about IT, and in the true enterprise transformation, that other 90 percent has to transform itself as well.

There's a big debate going on within the enterprise architecture community whether enterprise architecture is really about IT.



So part of it is just glib naming of the discipline. Certainly, what most people mean when they say enterprise architecture and what is actually practiced under the rubric of enterprise architecture is mostly about IT. That is, the implementation of the architecture, the effects of the architecture occurs primarily in the IT domain.

Gardner: But, Len, don't TOGAF at The Open Group and ArchiMate really step far beyond IT? Isn’t that sort of the trend?

Fehskens: It certainly is a trend, but I think we've still got a long way to go. Just look at the language that’s used in the architecture development method (ADM) for TOGAF, for example, and the model of an enterprise architecture. There's business, information, application, and technology.

Well, three of those concepts are very much related to IT and only one of them is really about business. And mostly, the business part is about that part of the business that IT can provide support for. Yes, we do know organizations that are using TOGAF to do architecture outside of the IT realm, but the way it's described, the way it was originally intended, is largely focused on IT.

Not a lot going on


What is going on is generally not called architecture. It's called organizational design or management or it goes under a whole bunch of other stuff. And it's not referred to as enterprise architecture, but there is a lot of that stuff happening. As I said earlier, it is essential to making enterprise transformation successful.

My personal opinion is that virtually all forms of design involve doing some architectural thinking. Whether you call it that or not, architecture is a particular aspect of the design process, and people do it without recognizing it, and therefore are probably not doing it explicitly.

But Bill made a really important observation, which is that it can't be solely about IT. There's lots of other stuff in the enterprise that needs to transform.

Ross: Go back to the challenge we have here of enterprise architecture being buried in the IT unit. Enterprise architecture is an enterprise effort, initiative, and impact. Because enterprise architecture is so often buried in IT, IT people are trying to do things and accomplish things that cannot be done within IT.

We've got to continue to push that enterprise architecture is about designing the way this company will do it business, and that it's far beyond the scope of IT alone. I take it back to the transformation discussion. What we find is that when a company really understands enterprise architecture and embraces it, it will go through a transformation, because it's not used to thinking that way and it's not used to acting that way.

Disciplined processes


If management says we're going to start using IT strategically, we're going to start designing ourselves so that we have disciplined business processes and that we use data well. The company is embracing enterprise architecture and that will lead to a transformation.

Gardner: You said that someday CIOs are going to report to the enterprise architects, and that’s the way it ought to be. Does that get closer to this notion that IT can't do this alone, that a different level of thinking across disciplines and functions needs to occur?

Ross: I certainly think so. Look at companies that have really embraced and gotten benefits from enterprise architecture like Procter & Gamble, Tetra Pak, and Maersk. At P&G’s, IT is reporting to the CIO but he is also the President of Shared Services. At Maersk and Tetra Pak, it's the Head of Global Business Processes.

Once we get CIOs either in charge with more of a business role and they are in charge of process, and of the technology, or are reporting to a COO or head of business process, head of business transformation, or head of shared services, then we know what it is we’re architecting, and the whole organization is designed so that architecture is a critical element.

But in practice, what we’re seeing is more CIOs reporting to someone who is, in fact, in charge of designing the architecture of the organization.



I don’t think that title-wise, this is ever going to happen. I don’t think we’re ever going to see a CIO report to chief enterprise architect. But in practice, what we’re seeing is more CIOs reporting to someone who is, in fact, in charge of designing the architecture of the organization.

By that, I mean business processes and its use of data. When we get there, first of all, we will transform to get to that point and secondly, we’ll really start seeing some benefits and real strategic impact of enterprise architecture.

Gardner: There's some cynicism and skepticism around architecture, and yet, what we’re hearing is it's not in name only. It is important, and it's increasingly important, even at higher and higher abstractions in the organization.

How to evangelize?


How then do you evangelize or propel architectural thinking into companies? How do you get the thinking around an architectural approach more deeply engrained in these companies?

Fehskens: Dana, I think that’s the $64,000 question. The fundamental way to get architectural thinking accepted is to demonstrate value. I mean to show that it really brings something to the party. That’s part of my concern about the conflation of enterprise transformation with enterprise architecture and making even bigger promises that probably can't be kept.

The reason that in organizations who’ve tried enterprise architecture and decided that it didn’t taste good, it was because the effort didn’t actually deliver any value.

The way to get architectural thinking integrated into an organization is to use it in places where it can deliver obvious, readily apparent value in the short-term and then grow out from that nucleus. Trying to bite off more than you can chew only results in you choking. That's the big problem we’ve had historically.

It’s about making promises that you can actually keep. Once you've done that, and done that consistently and repeatedly, then people will say that there's really something to this. There's some reason why these guys are actually delivering on a big promise.

Trying to bite off more than you can chew only results in you choking. That's the big problem we’ve had historically.



Rouse: We ran a study recently about what competencies you need to transform an organization based on a series of successful case studies and we did a survey with hundreds of top executives in the industry.

The number one and two things you need are the top leader has to have a vision of where you’re going and they have to be committed to making that happen. Without those two things, it seldom happens at all. From that perspective, I'd argue that the CIO probably already does report to the chief architect. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs architected Microsoft and Apple. Carnegie and Rockefeller architected the steel and oil industries.

If you look at the business histories of people with these very successful companies, often they had a really keen architectural sense of what the pieces were and how they needed to fit together. So if we’re going to really be in the transformation business with TOGAF and stuff, we need to be talking to the CEO, not the CIO.

Corporate strategy

Ross: I totally agree. The industries and companies that you cited, Bill, instinctively did what every company is going to need to do in the digital economy, which is think about corporate strategy not just in terms of what products do we offer, what markets are we in, what companies do we acquire, and what things do we sell up.

At the highest level, we have to get our arms around it. Success is dependent on understanding how we are fundamentally going to operate. A lot of CEOs have deferred that responsibility to others and when that mandate is not clear, it gets very murky.

What does happen in a lot of companies, because CEOs have a lot of things to pay attention to, is that once they have stated the very high-level vision, they absolutely can put a head of business process or a head of shared services or a COO type in charge of providing the clarification, providing the day-to-day oversight, establishing the relationships in the organizations so everybody really understands how this vision is going to work. I totally agree that this goes nowhere if the CEO isn’t at least responsible for a very high-level vision.

Gardner: So if what I think I'm hearing is correct, how you do things is just as important as what you do. Because we’re in such a dynamic environment, when it comes to supply chains and communications and the way in which technology influences more and more aspects of business, it needs to be architected, rather than be left to a fiat or a linear or older organizational functioning.

So Bill Rouse, the COO, the chief operating officer, wouldn’t this person be perhaps more aligned with enterprise architecture in the way that we’re discussing?

We can't find a single instance of a major enterprise transformation in a major company happening successfully without total commitment of top leadership.



Rouse: Let's start with the basic data. We can't find a single instance of a major enterprise transformation in a major company happening successfully without total commitment of top leadership. Organizations just don’t spontaneously transform on their own.

A lot of the ideas and a lot of the insights can come from elsewhere in the organization, but, given that the CEO is totally committed to making this happen, certainly the COO can play a crucial role in how it's then pursued, and the COO of course will be keenly aware of a whole notion of processes and the need to understand processes.

One of the companies I work very closely with tried to merge three companies by putting in ERP. After $300 million, they walked away from the investment, because they realized they had no idea of what the processes were. So the COO is a critical function here.

Just to go back to original point, you want total commitment by the CEO. You can't just launch the visionary message and walk away. At the same time, you need people who are actually dealing with the business processes to do a lot of the work.

Gardner: What the is the proper relationship between enterprise architecture and enterprise transformation?

Ross: I'd say the relationship between enterprise architecture and enterprise transformation is two-way. If an organization feels the need for a transformation -- in other words, if it feels it needs to do something -- it will absolutely need enterprise architecture as one of the tools for accomplishing that.

It will provide the clarity the organization needs in a time of mass change. People need to know where they're headed, and that is true in how they do their processes, how they design their data, and then how they implement IT.

It works just as well in reverse. If a company hasn't had a clear vision of how they want to operate, then they might introduce architecture to provide some of that discipline and clarity and it will inevitably lead to a transformation. When you go from just doing what every individual thought was best or every business unit thought was best to an enterprise vision of how a company will operate, you're imposing a transformation. So I think we are going to see these two hand-in-hand.

What's the relationship?


Rouse: I think enterprise transformation often involves a significant fundamental change of the enterprise architecture, broadly defined, which can then be enabled by the enterprise IT architecture.

Naidu: Like I mentioned in the beginning, one is end, another one is means. I look at the enterprise transformation as an end and enterprise architecture providing the kind of means. In one way it's like reaching the destination using some kind of transportation mechanism. That’s how I look at the difference between EA and ET.

Enterprise transformation often involves a significant fundamental change of the enterprise architecture.

Fehskens: One of the fundamental principles of architecture is taking advantage of reuse when it's appropriate. So I'm just going to reuse what everybody just said. I can't say it better. Enterprise architecture is a powerful tool for effecting enterprise transformation.

Jeanne is right. It's a symmetric or bidirectional back-and-forth kind of relationship.


You may also be interested in:

More Stories By Dana Gardner

At Interarbor Solutions, we create the analysis and in-depth podcasts on enterprise software and cloud trends that help fuel the social media revolution. As a veteran IT analyst, Dana Gardner moderates discussions and interviews get to the meat of the hottest technology topics. We define and forecast the business productivity effects of enterprise infrastructure, SOA and cloud advances. Our social media vehicles become conversational platforms, powerfully distributed via the BriefingsDirect Network of online media partners like ZDNet and IT-Director.com. As founder and principal analyst at Interarbor Solutions, Dana Gardner created BriefingsDirect to give online readers and listeners in-depth and direct access to the brightest thought leaders on IT. Our twice-monthly BriefingsDirect Analyst Insights Edition podcasts examine the latest IT news with a panel of analysts and guests. Our sponsored discussions provide a unique, deep-dive focus on specific industry problems and the latest solutions. This podcast equivalent of an analyst briefing session -- made available as a podcast/transcript/blog to any interested viewer and search engine seeker -- breaks the mold on closed knowledge. These informational podcasts jump-start conversational evangelism, drive traffic to lead generation campaigns, and produce strong SEO returns. Interarbor Solutions provides fresh and creative thinking on IT, SOA, cloud and social media strategies based on the power of thoughtful content, made freely and easily available to proactive seekers of insights and information. As a result, marketers and branding professionals can communicate inexpensively with self-qualifiying readers/listeners in discreet market segments. BriefingsDirect podcasts hosted by Dana Gardner: Full turnkey planning, moderatiing, producing, hosting, and distribution via blogs and IT media partners of essential IT knowledge and understanding.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
JetBlue Airways uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-time monitoring of mobile applications. The next BriefingsDirect Voice of the Customer performance engineering case study discussion examines how JetBlue Airways in New York uses virtual environments to reduce software development costs, centralize performance testing, and create a climate for continuous integration and real-tim...
Don’t go chasing waterfall … development, that is. According to a recent post by Madison Moore on Medium featuring insights from several software delivery industry leaders, waterfall is – while still popular – not the best way to win in the marketplace. With methodologies like Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery becoming ever more prominent over the past 15 years or so, waterfall is old news. Or, is it? Moore cites a recent study by Gartner: “According to Gartner’s IT Key Metrics Data report, ...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The purpose of this article is draw attention to key SaaS services that are commonly overlooked during contact signing that are essential to ensuring they meet the expectations and requirements of the organization and provide guidance and recommendations for process and controls necessary for achieving quality SaaS contractual agreements.
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
CloudEXPO New York 2018, colocated with DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City and will bring together Cloud Computing, FinTech and Blockchain, Digital Transformation, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, AI, Machine Learning and WebRTC to one location.
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Archi...
Containers and Kubernetes allow for code portability across on-premise VMs, bare metal, or multiple cloud provider environments. Yet, despite this portability promise, developers may include configuration and application definitions that constrain or even eliminate application portability. In this session we'll describe best practices for "configuration as code" in a Kubernetes environment. We will demonstrate how a properly constructed containerized app can be deployed to both Amazon and Azure ...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...