Integration is as Integration Does… What’s Your Plan?
According to Conway’s Law, organizations that design systems will inevitably create concepts that reflect the flow of communication across the organization. So, what happens when that communication (or lack thereof) isn’t clear?
Poor communication and information exchanges between an organization’s downstream and upstream participants can make or break any business transformation initiative. Whether it’s not setting the right goals at the outset, or misalignment on process or strategy, cross-functional team disconnect can throw everything in the organization off. For utilities in this state, it means the introduction of Enterprise Information Management Models (EIM) to support data management is at higher risk of not being executed properly.
Integration of EIM is one thing—orderly, efficient and well-aligned integration is another—and there’s no better proof of that than when a particular client approached us with the stringent task of developing an EIM implementation plan to support their enterprise analytics initiatives. The catch? The coordinated efforts between their decision-makers and executors was almost nonexistent and after a careful assessment of their planned approach, we discovered that enterprise information objects would likely be introduced into the enterprise with disjointed topology. Had our client moved forward with the existing roadmap, the risk of technical debt and reduced value in not only our services, but also their internal efforts, could have been severe.
To facilitate an orderly introduction of enterprise information objects and analytics, we proposed the Xtensible Planning Methodology. When utilities have tens or hundreds of objectives, prioritizing across business units is essential. XPM creates a way to do this effectively with:
- Integration of disparate plans. If people aren’t integrated, silos are reinforced, and likely data won’t be easily integrated—otherwise known as Conway’s Law.
- Identification of which enterprise analytics and information objects need to be brought online and in which order, based on the plan—AKA, doing the right things in the right order.
- Identification of aligned, integrated and properly sequenced initiatives designed to achieve the organization’s goals in the order they intend to achieve them—or, doing things right.
In facilitating the identification of each party’s objectives and inter/intra-business area dependencies, we were then able to develop a holistically integrated story for the program. We constructed and delivered the plan in the form of a model and performed analytics to help sequence, prioritize and identify both the criticality and influence of each objective. Key communities of priority, influence and criticality in the model revolved around four key topics: network model management, smart meters, distributed energy resources (DER) and a 360-degree view of customer and asset information.
Using this methodology, our client was not only able to better understand the work requirements across teams and divisions—but do so in a collaborative way through harmoniously-aligned objectives and timelines. Since then, we’ve been working with them to employ the same methodology throughout the enterprise, working from the executive level down to the department to align on decision plans, strategies, and roadmaps and become an integrated enterprise inclusive of people, process and technology.
At Xtensible, we believe enterprise architecture should be at the heart of strategy and implementation. Otherwise, attempts to implement a new strategy will likely result in false starts – or even failure to get off the ground at all. Without a clear structure, essential considerations tend to be overlooked, plans can be rushed, and the various organizational siloes all get pulled in different directions.
If you’d like consultation on your strategic plan or a partner in enterprise analytics implementation, check out how Xtensible Solutions can help.
- Additional Reading:
- Case Study: EPSA