Greetings and Salutations,
I recently attended The Enterprise Architecture Conference 2005 held by BTELL at Star Casino in Sydney. A lot of information was covered in a short amount of time (no surprise there!) and I decided that I would enter a retrospective set of entries for each of the sessions I attended. Where allowable by copyright, I will enter as much information as possible. Otherwise, I will just provide a brief description of my impressions of the session.
Architecture Modelling Tools for Business Transformation
Presented by Chris Tisseverarsinghe, Enterprise Architecture Manager for Coles Myer IT.
Chris presented a case study on the requirements of the business transformation drivers that created a need for Australia’s largest retailer to implement an Architecture Framework.
The complexities involved were high. CML has over 2000 stores across Australia and New Zealand, over a dozen major brands, over 180,000 staff and 400,000 shareholders. Additionally, there was no overarching CML IT Strategy, IT was owned and focused on individual brands and by its very nature, IT was fragmented, complex and costly.
The new CEO and CIO identified a need for Business & IT transformation and committed to achieving a common technology principle. This included the principles of:
- Leveraging global best practice and CML scale
- Single technology suite across processes
- Move from a “build” to “buy” mentality
- Follow a low execution risk
- Provide rapid delivery
- Provide lower TCO
The first port of call for CML was to move away from their original Architecture Modelling Environment (made up of and end-of-life modelling tool, MS access Forms UI and a basic DB repository) towards a new AME based on the Metis modelling tool, and a yet to be decided upon UI forms and new repository.
The decision to move to Metis (from Troux Technologies) was that it provides Visual modelling, multiple views, sophisticated analysis and has a rich, extensible meta-model. Chris explained that this allowed CML to create architectural models for business strategies, business architectures, application architectures and technology architectures while allowing them to model the evolution of the models over time and map them onto the work programs. The modelling environment is also being integrated with CML’s other IT governance and management tools.
Chris provided the following principle to apply to any architecture tools:
- Start small where you can add value quickly
- Extend models incrementally, on an as needed basis
- Choose projects that will benefit directly from modelling in a tool
- Ensure Information is accurate & current
- Integrate modelling, model maintenance and usage into all core IT management processes
- Involve architects “hands on” across the major transformation projects
- Make models widely available for reference and usage
- Apply standards to enable effective communication and re-use of models
Chris was very quick to highlight that the primary purpose of the tool is to aid and foster communication among the wider audience. His points are below:
- Successful architects don’t stay in the “back-room” – they foster communication:
- Across and between all levels of the business and IT
- Among project teams, suppliers and service providers and operational teams
- Navigable models
- Views and styles targeted to specific needs and audiences
- Visual and quantitative representations using standard modellingnotation, charts and tables
- Immediate update and publication
- Intranet publishing
- Dynamic navigable documents and presentations
In his closing comments, Chris highlighted that Architecture Modelling Tools can provide real benefits to you and your organization by assisting with the management of large and/or complex projects; understanding the complex architectures; providing an accurate, easy and quick impact analysis; providing a consistent, accurate, easy and user friendly communication platform; providing speed and quality of design through re-use; the provision of speed and quality of development through an effective transfer of architectural intent; and finally, enabling a feedback loop across full development, implementation and operational lifecycles.
However, he did warn that Architecture modelling tools require discipline and commitment with buy-in and usage across the SDLC by key players being essential to ensure its success and value.