SOGETI UK BLOG

Which is the better principle: all data exchange must be secure or all electronic messages must be encrypted by P2PE? Principles are a very powerful mechanism to communicate and apply architectural directions. Carefully formulated principles are well-understood by all stakeholders and provide clear direction to decision making and design. It is not easy, however, to arrive at a well-balanced set of principles that sufficiently covers all relevant topics. One of the questions I am asked frequently, is: how many principles do we need and how detailed should they be?

I am a great fan of looking at other disciplines for finding answers to impossible questions. And I was delighted when my colleague, Ton Eusterbrock, pointed out that, within the regulatory world, a debate is going on, discussing the respective merits of  a principle-based approach versus a rule-based approach. The distinction is summarized in an inspiring paper by Burgemeestre et al. [1].

The core distinction is that rules are more specific than principles. Principles express a desired outcome: data exchange must be secure. Rules express a way of achieving a desired outcome: all messages must be encrypted. Thus, a rule can be seen as an operationalization of a principle. Usually, one of various possible operationalizations. Burgemeestre et al. discuss a number of differences between the use of principles and rules. For one thing, principles usually last longer than rules: means change faster than desired outcomes. Also, compliance checking differs between the two. Whether an organization complies with a principle, can only be checked after the organization has translated the principle into measures (rules) that fit the specific context of the organization. This also implies that the organization needs to possess the requisite knowledge to make this translation. In the case of centrally defined rules, the organization applying the rules needs less knowledge and it is clear beforehand how compliance will be achieved.

One of the conclusions in Burgemeestre et al. is that regulatory directives can be positioned on a continuum ranging from abstract principles to detailed rules.

Doing this for each directive, provides us with insight into the nature of the total set of directives.

In my previous blog I argued that architects must start to focus on differentiation instead of uniformation. Translating the ideas of Burgemeestre et al. to architecture and regarding architectural directives as being on a continuum, offers a perspective that supports this need for differentiation. The principle-side of the continuum holds for the organization as a whole. It reflects the desired outcomes of the architecture. It needs a fair amount of interpretation to be applied in specific contexts. The rule-side of the continuum is very specific and needs little interpretation to be applied. This is probably very efficient in predictive and stable environments, but too restrictive in unpredictive and changeable environments. Hence the conclusion that we must differentiate between the areas for which we want to centrally translate principles into rules and the areas for which we want to leave the situation-specific translation to the designers.

 

One limited set of principles, defined at enterprise level, may spawn off a number of different sets of rules, each set applicable to its own subsystem of the organisation. Depending on circumstances, some of these rule sets are defined centrally by the architects, while others are defined locally by the area specialists.

Interesting? Ton and I think it is. That’s why we worked out the idea in a white paper. Of course, we are very much interested to hear what you think of it.

References:

[1] Rule-based versus Principle-based regulatory compliance. Burgemeestre, Brigitte, Hulstijn, Joris en Tan, Yao-Hua. Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, 2009, http://homepage.tudelft.nl/w98h5/Articles/jurix.pdf.

[2] Principle-based approach in Enterprise Architecture practice; finding the sweet spot. Eusterbrock, Ton and Steenbergen, Marlies van, Sogeti, 2016. <scheduled to be published on 4 March>

 

Marlies van Steenbergen AUTHOR:
Marlies van Steenbergen started her career with Sogeti Netherlands in the role of service manager enterprise architecture in 2000. After working as a consultant for a few years, she became Principal Consultant Enterprise Architecture in 2004. In this role, she is responsible for stimulating and guaranteeing the development of the architectural competence of Sogeti Netherlands. Since 2012 she is the main proponent of enterprise architecture and DYA within Sogeti Netherlands.

Posted in: architecture, Business Intelligence, Infrastructure, Innovation, Internet of Things, Research      
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About ten years ago, Sogeti introduced Dynamic Architecture (DYA). DYA was the start of the focus shift from blueprint architecture to just enough, just in time architecture. The main driver for this shift was the awareness that architecture must facilitate the required speed of change. We are now on the threshold of a new focus shift: instead of focusing on internal efficiency and standardization of technology, architecture is to drive innovation by stimulating diversity and focusing on the interplay of enablers with different rhythms.   Organizations are reinventing themselves massively, driven by the rapid succession of technological innovations and their adoption by society. They are experimenting with new kinds of services, new ways of working and new business models. In this way, organizations are building a new us, and they are seeking how to successfully realize this new us.

The existing organization is infused with new initiatives, where old and new are becoming entwined.  Whereas standardization has been the magic word for many years now, this is being replaced by differentiation. Important traits for organizations (according to the contingency theory of organizations) are requisite variety, the existence of sufficient variety to quickly adapt, and equifinality – the awareness that different forms can be equally effective. An organization is built on components, enablers, of different natures, depending on their purposes: functionalities that enable the organization to realize its ambitions, such as types of infrastructure, information services or development practices. Whereas traditionally, driven by cost-efficiency, we sought standardization of these enablers, i.e. only one infrastructure, this does not lead to the much-needed requisite variety. Instead, we need various enablers of the same type, each with their own dynamics. And for each solution we want to be able to utilize the right combination of enablers.

To make this happen, we have to embrace diversity and look for the contact points between diverse enablers.  This is today’s challenge for architecture. The architect becomes the choreographer who makes the organization dance on different rhythms. That is why we are researching how to achieve this requisite variety and how to define and develop the contact points that enable us to connect enablers. I would like to invite anyone who is interested to join this search.   Let’s find these contact points and learn to dance on different rhythms.

 

Marlies van Steenbergen AUTHOR:
Marlies van Steenbergen started her career with Sogeti Netherlands in the role of service manager enterprise architecture in 2000. After working as a consultant for a few years, she became Principal Consultant Enterprise Architecture in 2004. In this role, she is responsible for stimulating and guaranteeing the development of the architectural competence of Sogeti Netherlands. Since 2012 she is the main proponent of enterprise architecture and DYA within Sogeti Netherlands.

Posted in: architecture, Business Intelligence, communication, Digital strategy, Enterprise Architecture, Human Behaviour, Human Interaction Testing, Infrastructure, Innovation, IT strategy, Quality Assurance, Research, Technical Testing, Transformation      
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software PM servicesIn my previous blog post Wanted (or not): new design principles, I referred to the discussions I’ve been engaged in, recently, on whether or not architects need new design principles. In the context of such new design principles, I suggested that we need more and smaller building blocks.

Last month, I had a highly inspiring conversation with a fellow researcher at the Utrecht University of Applied Sciences. He had just returned from a study trip, during which he had met with executives from the big players of Silicon Valley such as Amazon, Netflix and Facebook. These companies are completely organised around business services. Each business service is owned by a small multi-disciplinary team and are updated continuously. Here, we are talking of hundreds of updated services each day! Flexibility is achieved, because business services are built from other, very small services. Services are published and you can find the one that best fits your needs by searching for relevant data. The team is very much the owner of the technology that they want to use. Standardisation is restricted to communication between services. To me, this is how services should be.

An additional advantage of taking to the idea of business services, is the fact that this stimulates designing from the customer perspective. In one of my earlier blogs, I discussed that the customer perspective is becoming increasingly important for architects, but the focus of many architects is mostly on efficiency of internal processes. If architects shift their focus to business services as a starting point for architecture, the customer may finally come into the picture.

All of this fits the shift (please refer to the table below) that we identified in one of our recent architecture discussion sessions:

Focus is on … Instead of …
Designing services for use (to achieve flexibility and speed) Reuse
Points of contact Shielding
Realizing value for the customer Internal efficiency
Architecting trust into the interaction Transaction, production and delivery, which are separated
Digital value (use) Digital asset (possession)

 

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: The service is dead, long live the service!

Related Posts:

  1. Projects are dead!
  2. At your service…
  3. Testing is dead, long live the Tester.
  4. Wanted (or not): new design principles

Marlies van Steenbergen AUTHOR:
Marlies van Steenbergen started her career with Sogeti Netherlands in the role of service manager enterprise architecture in 2000. After working as a consultant for a few years, she became Principal Consultant Enterprise Architecture in 2004. In this role, she is responsible for stimulating and guaranteeing the development of the architectural competence of Sogeti Netherlands. Since 2012 she is the main proponent of enterprise architecture and DYA within Sogeti Netherlands.

Posted in: architecture, communication, Innovation, Opinion      
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ValueThe Technical University of Delft offers its curriculum not only on campus, but also as a MOOC (a massive open online course) and therefore thousands of students all over the world are able to attend lectures.

To me, the MOOC is one of the many examples of how technology is changing the way which organisations, or for that matter, consumers conduct their business. Another example of how technology has evolved is crowdfunding, which according to a recent news bulletin enables consumers to buy their dream house without involvement of any bank; the familiar examples being Airbnb and Uber. As a result of this constant evolving technology is that at last the customer is becoming a key factor in conducting business referring to the quote  “the personal is political.”

In commerce, it is becoming a truth that ”the personal is commercial”. PR is no longer controlled by the marketing department – any interaction between employees and clients or among clients is a PR action. If we do not like what we see or hear we can turn elsewhere. Businesses face the challenge to make and keep their customers happy, this time for real and without flaws.

New ways of engaging with customers originate at the borders of the organisation and the business architecture has a role in integrating this into existing or new organisational processes. For an airline employee to be able to react to an angry tweet from a customer who missed his flight with advice about the next flight out, the employee must have access to the relevant information. If he/she wants to offer the client to rebook the flight for him, he must then also have access to the booking application.

So, we might expect architects to focus on what architecture is needed to not only support customer interaction but also conduct a flawless follow up. But is this happening? Well, not according to the results of a survey that we conducted at the University of Applied Sciences in Utrecht under professionals and managers who in any capacity are involved with enterprise architecture.

In this survey we asked what kind of benefits they experienced from having enterprise architecture in their organisation and classified these benefits into the four perspectives of the Balanced Scorecard. For which perspective do you think the respondents reported least benefits? Yep, the customer perspective.

To read the original post and add comments, please visit the SogetiLabs blog: DON’T BE AFRAID OF THE CUSTOMER

Related Posts:

  1. Taking the “Service” out of Customer Service
  2. Turning insight into impact
  3. Customer Satisfaction as the new Marketing
  4. Thinking in terms of “Internal Customers” calcifies IT organizations

 

Marlies van Steenbergen AUTHOR:
Marlies van Steenbergen started her career with Sogeti Netherlands in the role of service manager enterprise architecture in 2000. After working as a consultant for a few years, she became Principal Consultant Enterprise Architecture in 2004. In this role, she is responsible for stimulating and guaranteeing the development of the architectural competence of Sogeti Netherlands. Since 2012 she is the main proponent of enterprise architecture and DYA within Sogeti Netherlands.

Posted in: Behaviour Driven Development, Business Intelligence, communication, Quality Assurance, Technology Outlook      
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 app processAt one of our half-yearly SogetiLabs workshops a blog contest was held. In about 30 minutes I was required to write a blog, with the support of three co-participants. Which is a challenge in its own right, to write a blog with four persons. But lo and behold, our group won. Our blog was titled as above and the text was:

With 1 million apps in the store it sounds like a really good idea to create your own app. Taking a closer look at the enormous amount of apps, quickly demonstrates the fact that many organizations are technically able to create an app, but it also demonstrates that many organizations are unable to create a perfect seamless customer experience. Although the intention was to impress, the result is an annoyed customer. Enterprise architecture offers the governance process to align technical capability with bringing about the required change in operational processes. This need is further strengthened by organizations having to become completely multichannel. It all becomes even worse if we also take into account big data, cloud, agile and mobile. In that context you could regard enterprise architecture as a technological manifestation of an organizations vision to put the customer front and center and to make all operational processes and considerations subservient to that vision.

Reading back the blog I think it sends an important message. New technological developments always create a lot of stir and excitement because of the seemingly endless possibilities. But how come that after so many years we still keep forgetting the simple fact that unless we lay a sound foundation of operational processes and data administration all these possibilities will prove to be out of our reach again and again? With this in mind, let me finish the blog and post it.

There is a huge drive to launch your cool new app. And maybe you are lucky. But most things are not decided by luck. If your processes are ready for the future, so is your app.

Marlies van Steenbergen AUTHOR:
Marlies van Steenbergen started her career with Sogeti Netherlands in the role of service manager enterprise architecture in 2000. After working as a consultant for a few years, she became Principal Consultant Enterprise Architecture in 2004. In this role, she is responsible for stimulating and guaranteeing the development of the architectural competence of Sogeti Netherlands. Since 2012 she is the main proponent of enterprise architecture and DYA within Sogeti Netherlands.

Posted in: Innovation, IT strategy, mobile applications, mobile testing, Mobility, Omnichannel, Opinion, SogetiLabs      
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