December 7, 2015

Diversity brings value

Ari Hirvonen

Head of Enterprise Architecture Consulting, Tieto

Many organizations are becoming chaotic as they are trying to cope with increasing speed and complexity required by digital competition. Agile approaches suggest rightly that less heavy weight planning and bureaucracy is needed. But how much can you cut from planning and governance without negative consequences?

In the edge of chaos

I recently met with a chief architect of a global manufacturing company, who said that due to time to business outcome pressures, they do mostly just in time and just enough architecture. They are seeking the edge of chaos. They accept that they cannot control everything, it is too costly and too slow, but on the other hand they are certain that without any control they end up to total chaos and business disaster. Agile enterprise architecture is here to stay.

There are arguments that in reality agile architecture alone is not enough. I agree also with those arguments. There typically is a lot of old legacy, where it is hard and costly to change current practice and in many times it will not even create enough additional value. There are also application domains where try and fail fast kind of thinking just won’t fly. You don’t want to fail fast for example with nuclear plant controlling software.

Dual mode Enterprise Architecture

The key to success is to understand diversity in the architecture landscape, in its requirements and in development practices. In Tieto’s dual mode enterprise architecture approach Transformation Management Office is adopted to customer needs and existing practices.

This office governs both agile and traditional development. By that we secure business transformation outcome. When we are digitalizing, there are always people involved. Typically the same people are using variety of applications and therefore people and process considerations must be looked as a whole, not digitalization in separation.

Applications in the digitalization agenda also integrate to legacy. Legacy application provide data and functionality assets crucial in new digital services. Common governance is needed to synchronize roadmaps progressing in different speeds still dependant to each other. Diversity brings value, but agile dual mode governance is needed to realize it.

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