Data and Architecture: Business Capability Future State How-To, Pt. 2

The Future-State Business Capability Model How-To  is a series to help IT and architecture practitioners think about a few key steps to build a future-state business capability model to influence business and technology senior leaders and executive decision makers. Part 1 ran last week and looked at the first two steps to creating a strategy-defined project planning model: understanding the goals of the organization and determining the architectural scope model to use. This post explores the steps to actually defining and implementing your planning model. 

Step 3: Define the plan to develop your future state capability model

    1. Determine if your organization requires a current state capability model. If your organization does not have a current state capability model, this may be an easier exercise to initiate dialogue and understand the concept.
    2. Identify how the corporate goals and strategy are applicable to the future state lifecycle. If required, translate the corporate goal to the applicable lifecycle. For example, a Corporate Revenue Goal can be translated into order transaction volume, number of newly hired associates, number of marketing campaigns or new product launches.
    3. Determine your standard definitions to categorize your capabilities.  For example, Core vs. Differentiate is a foundational interpretation. Determine what capabilities are “core” (something required to keep our business running) vs “differentiating” (something that has a direct impact on our growth).  This is a helpful reference for modeling: CEB’s Business Architecture Handbook.

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Data and Architecture: Business Capability Future State How-To, Pt. 1

Does your organization need to improve strategic investments and prioritize investments? Do you feel confident in the objectivity of your investment and spend decisions? Are you constrained with annual budget allocations and have to make tough decisions year-over-year with running the business work or “keeping the lights on” versus transformational projects?

Establish a process to integrate an environment of many complex organizational capabilities to simplify and inform specific business outcomes through a future-state business capability model.

Portfolio Planning Prioritization 1.0 (in our blog series) features a way to prioritize investments from a “bottoms-up” perspective, as featured in the figure. The prioritization model identifies current or upcoming projects based on strategic drivers (key elements that align to organizational strategy, key portfolio data, and business value/outcomes) and detractors (elements that reduce value based on longer time periods, cost, and organizational readiness). Although this model is a good way to make data-driven prioritization decisions for the portfolio, it does assume that the organization has identified the critical must-have business capabilities needed to advance the business.

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Five Links: Fun and Games Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

As we kick off spring break season, let’s look at something a little lighter and happier: the gaming side of technology. Consumer design can be a huge driver even for enterprise technology; the simple UX of Apple products is now influencing design and experience expectations for backend systems. From nostalgia games to astronomical artwork, there is a lot of interesting stuff going on in the world. One of my favorite lines from Graceland (seriously, Paul Simon rocks, people): “These are the days of miracles and wonder.”

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Data and Architecture: Data-Driven Portfolio Decision Making

To effectively prioritize an organization’s collection of work, including operational services and projects to support products and innovation, leading organizations develop standard evaluation criteria to make data-driven decisions. These data-driven decisions help leadership make the right investments and ensure the organization is working on the most impactful work to improve competitive advantage. An organization’s decision makers should build simple and clear data requirements to enhance decision making and to better inform leadership and stakeholders.

Portfolio planning is the alignment of an organization’s corporate strategy to data-driven decisions about capabilities and resources to achieve desired business outcomes. Effective portfolio planning and management capabilities should provide the organization with dashboards, reports, and analytics to inform better decision making.

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Five Links: Band of Brothers Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

Red Hat has a lot of corporate blogs (worth reading!), but a huge part of our culture as a company is collaboration and meritocracy. As in … letting our opinions be known. There’s a reason we actually made a t-shirt to commemorate our corporation-wide mailing list.

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From Pinterest

A lot of Red Hatters have personal blogs (or active LinkedIn postings) precisely because of the value that we as a group place on transparency, defending ideas, and innovation.

This week, I want to highlight some of the blogs by Red Hatters that I’ve read recently. I’m not even going to call this a “top 5,” because we have a lot of prolific and interesting writers on a million different topics. These are a random sampling of the blogs that I hit periodically.

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Five Links: Pattern Recognition Edition

Happy Friday, everyone.

When I was a reporter in Livingston, Montana, I wrote a story about a massive infrastructure campaign that was just kicking off — new sewer and water lines across town, changing traffic flows and redesigning streets, new green spaces and public art. I interviewed the primary architect, and he told me that the designs were influenced by A Pattern Language, published in 1977. That book has fascinated me; from the placement of a single window to the layout of an entire central business district, it breaks down the patterns of human behavior and then analyzes design techniques that best reinforce the desired patterns for a given space. It doesn’t say what should be done; it simply uses patterns to say if you want to accomplish Goal A, use Design Technique B.

In a roundabout way, this week’s series of links look at patterns and how they influence behavior.

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Ultra Low Latency API Management for Microservices with Red Hat 3scale

In this article, we provide a solution that enables almost latency free API management for Java-based microservices APIs. We build on Manfred Bortenschlager’s white paper Achieving Enterprise Agility With Microservices And API Management. We provide a practical solution for adding the management layer Manfred outlines to internal microservice-to-microservice API calls.

API Management and Microservices

Figure 1 – a typical microservices architecture with depictions of externally and internally consumable microservices

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In the white paper Manfred describes a typical microservices architecture consisting of:

  • A perimeter service layer that is typically implemented by an API gateway which manages and secures components that follow the backend for frontend (BFF) pattern. The perimeter service exposes APIs to external consumers.
  • Internal microservices that are clustered into functional elements and communicate via APIs.

The most common and most decoupled way to achieve API management is through deployment of API gateways on the API provider’s infrastructure. These gateways act as traffic controllers which authenticate, authorize, and report on API traffic to the 3scale API Management Platform. These extensive management features are achievable with very low latency overhead through our caching and asynchronous architectural features. Additionally the gateways provide excellent routing and security protections such as defense against DDoS attacks and more.

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Data and Architecture: Business Architecture and Capabilities

Does your organization talk about connecting the execution of work to its strategy? Are you building a roadmap on how to get there and achieve desired goals? To help your organization achieve the strategy and goals, model the business architecture by understanding the organization’s strategy, communicating business outcomes, and aligning these outcomes to the appropriate business capabilities.

Business architecture is illustrating what the business does and how the business operates. Gartner defines business capabilities as  “what the business needs to do to achieve the business strategy.” Business architecture uses business capability modeling, to visualize and influence people, processes, and technologies needed to maximize stakeholder value, achieve organizational goals, and execute on the business strategy. This model should map out the future state capabilities needed to support where the business is going over multiple years, as defined by the organization’s strategy.

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APIs Are The New Language of Collaboration

“Survival of the fit,” in Darwinian evolutionary theory, describes the mechanism of natural selection. The biological concept of fitness is defined as reproductive success. But could this also apply to modern business? Sustained growth might be the criterion for fitness in a business context. So why is sustained growth so difficult to achieve? Surprisingly, it is not for the lack of ideas but lack of ability to adapt to change and competition.

The fittest business can quickly innovate and adapt to competition and it can use its core competencies to extend itself in new ways. These organizations are often lean, mean, and learning machines using application programming interfaces (APIs). They are built on a foundation of cloud, mobile, big data analytics and social computing and they are generally connected to the internet of things, to extend and monetize the organization’s core assets for growth and  new value and revenue streams.

Even organizations born in different eras of digital transformation (mobile, internet-based, and client/server) that are successfully using APIs to achieve disruptive growth in their respective industries.

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Architecture, Process, Platform

Digital transformation is a hot topic in enterprises these days, and like any such topic it’s associated with a wide range of use, overuse, and misuse. But the phrase does get at something that we can all sense is really going on, a truly profound change. As different businesses undergo or undertake variants of digital transformation, we see a number of common characteristics of the more digital world:

  • More things happen (or are expected to happen) in real time
  • More different sources and kinds of data are brought together
  • Activities are more decentralized and ad hoc
  • There is a broadening of participation in both the building and the use of I.T.
  • There is a shift from analysis and planning to trial-and-error experimentation

Each of those ideas deserves elaboration–topics for future blogs–but going for the moment with whatever came to mind for those bullets as a rough characterization of digital transformation, let’s explore the interplay of architecture, process, and platform in helping enterprises compete and succeed in this emerging digital world.

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