Why is change so fundamental

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The heartbeat of our business model is that the largest generational change in history is occurring right now. A bit dramatic, but consider the following cultural, business, and technological factors happening globally.

Cultural – 6.8 Billion people pressuring boundaries, resources, and relationships impacting policy, environment, and security and locally mass retirements causing brain drain. The U.S.’s largest generation, which has led the world for the past 50 years, is retiring creating a vacuum on workforce replacement; during the same period the world population has gone from 2 Billion to 6 Billion. This large population has created immense pressures on boundaries, resources, and relationships impacting policy, environment, and security.

plus

Business – Efficiency needs pushing quality, finite resources breaking financial models, globalization pushing costs, fast-automated transactions, all causing bad eactive policy. To deal with this change, the new speed of automated transactions or dying conception of “infinite” resources, for example, are forcing new radical and early version policies into Law creating immaturity in governance and financial models, no analysis or paralysis. This is forcing leadership to consider new models and controls such as globalization, service organizations, new collaborative partnerships on product management, and massive supply chain workflow changes.

has resulted in

Technology – technology performance, management, and safety controls to be non-existent and logarithmic growth of IT capital. Either way, technology outpaces culture and business, or vice versa. New technologies are moving faster than can be absorbed or catalogued, introducing new Consequences via rapid deployment to keep up replace depleted U.S. labor forces , but challenges the “perishable value” of your technology capital portfolio causing inefficient controls, work, and impacts the quality of your products and services. Do I invest? Do I leapfrog?

This time is exciting, yet massive change causes massive confusion. These level of changes, describe from hot, flat, and crowded to too much information to many other are driving the need for change. We believe transformational activities start with the executive understanding the culture, policy, and environment first and foremost prior to engaging in major business transformation. We understand change is nebulous, inevitable, but less jaded – powerful. Whether the business change is enhancing, correcting, or repairing, Xentity’s transformation services are designed knowing your people are the heartbeat of your organization.

The ever-changing technologies provide new windows to enable more efficient and effective ways of doing business. Xentity has skilled, trained, and certified consultants in the areas of technology unique to lines of business or general to enterprises to properly institute technology change. Xentity promotes Technology change operationally, tactically, or strategically, but ultimately guided by the true business service, process, or management needs for such.

Xentity brings its knowledge of technology innovation trends to help take advantage of the correct acceleration points that the culture can absorb to support its community. 

Why we exist?

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Business flux has not been so fluid – for good and bad – since the Industrial Revolution or the Great Depression – this is especially true in science, engineering, and information technology. So, we sought to plan, design, discover for and with executives seeking to take on business as usual in these fields.

Our blended services take on cultural, business and technology transformation in an integrated fashion.  We seek to design transformation – for the next generation.

Our Niche is change

We are a niche consultancy – boutique firm if you will. We seek out and take on projects that typically align with our concepts. This is an advantage for the clients as we can bring truly unique subject knowhow and innovation in these areas creating actionable plans and designs.

Generations

In a world that is changing more than ever in history, we analyze the cultural of organizations with you to help truly enable our collaboratively developed plans to be executed. We cooperatively look and design for fundamental core changes in your business, with a solid background in leveraging new advances in technology and management models.

Transformation

All services, work, concepts, studies are thematic on designing executive-level change. Our approaches are published, open, and glue together industry-standard change processes. For example, the U.S. President’s Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Department of Interior’s Methdologies are both directly infused with Xentity approaches.

Xentity can help your company with executive level change to transform for the long-run with a combination of short-term operational improvements and longer term tactical and strategic direction changes. This puts the executive at large organizations back in a model that can manage the change.

Science and Engineering

Like in the premise of science and engineering research, all Xentity research outputs are open. Client-Privacy is maintained, but many assets developed during Gov’t efforts become citizen-property. With open-assets, Xentity certifies, trains and partners and clients on these methods, tools, and concepts.

Earth Change

Our Consulting focuses on business areas that positively impact earth change. As a consulting organization, we choose to support organizations that have a similar goals – whether that be sustainability, responsibility, and quality of life. Xentity is committed to bringing on top talent that has unique science, engineering, or research background to add to their strong consulting skills.

Founded in 2001, incorporated in 2004, 8(a) status in 2010, Xentity has guided clients beyond surviving the dot-bomb, but rebrand and reposition, avoid costs and improve efficiencies all to increase their relevance. Xentity role in helping clients create this true value has been in enterprise design, planning, communications and execution support. 

Developing a Transformation Approach

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In 2004, when developing out an approach for business transformation, our primary goal of transformation has been to mature the investment through addressing transformation core architecture concepts discussed such as Paving Cowpaths, improving bad data lifecycles, avoiding redundant buying, balancing compliance with aligning programs, aligning products and services directly to performance drivers, and addressing inefficiencies. Our Team was under a Northrop-Grumman Contract at the Department of the Interior. Department of the Interior had multiple representatives across the CIO and Management and Budget office functions guiding and approving the enhancements.  There were three team members from Xentity, one from Phase One Consulting Group, and One from IBM and the project included management oversight by Northrop-Grumman. 

The method would provide a collaborative way to bring cross-functional business representation with the architecture analysts and consulting service to walk through major analysis steps:

  • Initiating the project 
  • Scoping the segment
  • Business analysis
  • Technical analysis
  • Author recommendation set as blueprint
  • Incorporate into Enterprise Plan and Portfolio

We knew we wanted to use architecture techniques to help, but wanted to assure architecture did not follow the path that appeared for the last fifteen years which resulted in completing the information needed to assess portfolio then serially address change.

That approach would and has not engage executive interest, and likely, give the time it takes to collect the information and map to taxonomies (which needed to be developed and fostered), the information, which is time-sensitive, thus perishable, would be stale. 

 The result was the Methodology for Business Transformation version 1.0.

Lessons Learned

We used the method and applied against four major mission area blueprints, but this was a version 1.0 and we ran into several major issues – actually, we logged around 100 improvements and 8 minor and sub-minor revisions resulting in MBT 1.5. We found issues in: Enterprise Governance, OMB Functions, Change Management, Performance, CIO Office, Scoring, Solution, Governance, Cost Benefit, and General. But the largest issues were not in the analysis, but the wrappers around the method. Here are the top two lessons plus general notes summary of the over 100 improvements discovered

#1 Lesson Learned – Tick, Tock, Tick, Tock

Instead, for large organizations ($100 million to $1 billion), we knew we wanted to take a segment approach to building out the information while moving through the phases of transformation. In our first draft of the resulting segment analysis method, the transformation phases resulted in starting with Phase 3.

The clock would start ticking for the architecture as soon as a team was formed, funding for the team assigned, and the project was kicked off.

This was a major issue after the first four blueprints, as we missed the key executive steps for assigning a sponsorship concept. Meaning, the definiition for success was in the eye of the beholder – the executive. We skipped the critical step of defining the sponsor and their executive level needs – were they interested in savings, product expansion? What Architecture Concepts?


#2 Provide precedence-based guidance on how far to mature

We knew we didnt want to re-invent how we develop service level maturity

In 2005, as part of looking at our transformation approach, we examined the GAO INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY INVESTMENT MANAGEMENT A Framework for Assessing and Improving Process Maturity – (ITIM) – detailing “Select, Control, Evaluate” phases of management, background on proposed processes to improve IT Investment Management. 

And for guiding the maturity for the actual capabilties, we relied heavily on IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL v3) Management Best Practices (ITIL) to help in guiding how to move from reactive service to proactive and not reach to far while gaining improvements and efficiency


 

#3 Showing the line of sight

We needed to show clearly how the analysis and resulting work products supporting across the business drivers, and the full business value chain.

Some Enterprise Architecture experts may argue the existing Frameworks such as Zachman accomplishes that, and it does in a library function, but not in a journalism function which tells it in story mode and backpockets the work products as due diligence. 

#4 Change is the message, EA is just a set of tools – Get over ourselves

This moved Enterprise Architecture out of being front and center and moved the mission of the segment analysis first. EA became a supporting role, and we would attempt to actually remove EA from the vernacular. The obvious reaction is this was done because of the brand beating it has taken since 1996 when the intentions of Clinger-Cohen reduced EA into an IT compliance reporting role. It was actually moreso of EA`s own culture to put EA at the center of the universe when analyzing, ideating, managing change is at the center.

 

 

In our over 100 other improvements, other areas highlighted are

  • Not enough clarity on the varying roles of Enterprise Governance
  • Most transformations have strong ties to annual Budget formulation and execution activities for example, but we didnt align that enough
  • Aligning Calendars and timing OMB and Agency Management and Budget Functions such as Planning and Performance Management, Workforce Strategy, Acquisition, etc.
  • Change Management truly missed for guiding how to implement, assess and manage risk, developing transition management capability (i.e. a PMO)
  • Performance
  • Find ways to integrate other CIO Information Management requirements to synchronize data calls across privacy, records, security, CPIC further
  • Scoring for organizational readiness as well as including Scoring framework requirements from OMB, GAO, and the like to help improve the architecture maturty scoring
  • Improved linkage to work products and guidance that Solution architecture could use
  • Govenrnance
  • Cost Benefit missing in guiding alternative analysis
  • General iterations on language consistency (i.e. its work product not artifact), updating templates, improving checklists, improving training and creating hands-on exercises, helping customize to audiences

The result ended up not being a full major release, as we had yet to address cultural transformation issues and still had additional concepts to consider for linking other ways to path through the method more as an approach.

The supporting toolkit for MBT is a large difference maker from whitepaper procedures or sample templates:

(2008: Later note, the MBT 1.5 ended up becoming the core method and set of templates for the Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM) which continues in aspects as a basis to the Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture). Two team members from Phase One Consulting Group, one of which on the original MBT team, supported this effort.

MBT has since been validated by the following organizations:

Layering Cultural and Business Transformation (Part 5)

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Taking the Agency “X” example, what would they do. They need to integrate the need for integrated reaction between soft and hard science driven organizations. A way to do this is introduce Integrated Change Management as a way to begin to build into the culture simply working together more, appreciating each others drivers, SWOT factors, and critical success factors. Essentially, they need to get to know each other first, before a fancy 13-step process can cure their anonymity.

Action 1: Introduce Integrated Change Management Between Business and Technology

Many groups see this, and start off from a domain-centric approach. Integrated Change management could focus on a few aspects first – together

  • Program and CIO Service Management Efforts
  • Enterprise Risk Management
  • Enterprise Portfolio Management
  • Capital Planning

All each though only addressing parts of the reaction, at least it begins to blend the varying cultures and beings to show demonstration to the other cultures that burying the hard science in Cost Center models and Nerd funded research areas will only limit their understanding of true business service needs. And vice-versa, by not seeing past the technology and engineering service providers lack of communication skills, and helping them share what it is they need to be successful for them as a service center, they will never achieve, nor understand the business. 

Action 2: Help CIO Shop understand the imprint of history more

So, if the CIO shop is to initiate this relations, as many initiatives are being initiated as such, will required integrated change management efforts to be more sensitive to the  historical imprint of Agency “X”s long history and varying set of challenges than in hard science’s own short history.

Help paint the picture how the softer science leaders think and what they appreciate and will understand. One technique is to use the D.I.S.C model. which can be used to demonstrate the different personalities of executive entities. 

The politicals select their value framework based on long-term institutional battles that cross multi-generations of political leaning, and have little appreciation for the programmatic institutional needs to run the organizations core missions business.

The institutional leaders respond to that with a long time history of showing evaluations of past failures and looking forward they are generally risk adverse to selecting new products or services.

Those that have crossed the line between supporting politicals can typically been seen as lightly challenging recent policy evaluations, usually of the predecessor, but limt challenging the selection or advisory of new policies as that is limited to the politicals selected executive trusted advisor. Those that try to enter that space get squashed easily, so instead the challengers try hard to help the business find ways to react to the politicals 3-year emerging critical policy and put aside other past 3-year high priorities. This means business operation internal initiatives need to be seeded very early to gain any sort of adoption.

Finally, the Innovators, who in one positive light until the last few years, have been isolated in cost center land and have been seen as a budget line item, to cut and add at will. But, when Agency “X” and rest of government entered into technology-based self-service for cost and ease of access reasons, this cost center view to service center view of technology as what they unknowingly signed onto – bringing the Nerds to the C-level big table and letting be taught and integrate in resolution ideation. To do this, Agency “X” would need to be expanding and absorbing interaction with other domains to result in the desired outcomes. A logical order alone will not successfully achieve integrating. Based on sphere of influence within the culture, the processes will merge.

Action 3: Eat some dogfood

How Agency “X” will mature into this structure will depend on adoption. Currently Agency “X” is exploring eating their own dogfood and integrating CIO functions in sharing how they mange the information portfolio across all information assurance functions (CPIC, Records, Privacy, Security, Enterprise Architecture, etc.).

These early adopters are nice, but where integrating the softer science management and budget functions of Strategic Planning, Workforce/Policy Planning, and establishing functional PMOs will be challenges. CIO shops have drank the kool aid of hard science management needed, and can be taught softer science techniques, but the softer science organizations, trained for 20, 30 years of government service obfuscated from technology modernizations and only visibility are the 80% of IT implementation failures will be an uphill battle. Softer Science taught managers, who have expectations in strong communication, and less strong technology interests and appetites, have little patience for technical mumbo-jumbo, process, or even 3 boxes and a couple arrows.

Action 4: If general adoption, the first transformation blueprint that should be done is a management planning one – or at least each blueprint needs to have a component addressing the program and resource management slice of bread around the core mission blueprint

Before going to far, assure the management is prepared to evaluate itself while modernizing or ideating mission improvements. As the Porter Value Chain Suggests, as you look at the value of the primary activities, you need to understand how the supporting activities can coalesce and plan, communicate, budget, invest, procure, and govern together. Especially as those support functions get more and more shared as services (which is another talk in and of itself).

Conclusion

Culture is generations of history of successes and failures. EA needs to realize when introducing change these factors at the organization EA is supporting change within. Cookie-cutter approaches will not work without flexibility in understanding high-level cultural, policy, and innovation successes and failures over time.

Agency “X” is using this knowledge of its culture to effect change, and begin to create an integrated change management that is sensitive to change adoption and support.

NOTE:

This information was produced with information research from Xentity. Intellectual Property is protected.