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Every company that wants to maintain the marketshare and grow will continally adapt / change. This was true in the past and it still is true. I mentioned the growth strategy of AT&T Network Systems in an earlier article. Implementing such a strategy requires flexibility and a quick response of the IT function.

The continous schange comes in two area's:

IA focus 011. Managing IT is challenged by 'Continous  Business Change’.

An example from the 90's:






This continuous requires a different approach to adapting IT:










IA focus 022. At the same time there is a continous evolution in Information Technology itself, which offers new options to the business.


The same example from the 90's:















The example is a bit outdated, but the required focus that is mentioned is still accurate.

How do we get the required flexibility?
The answer is: implementing a set of simple principles consistently:
  • first simplify, then standardize and only then automate.
  • choose manageable components in the IT architecture, based on 'Information Ownership' in the business processes
  • disconnect the IT components using (Industry specific) standard messages.

These principles help you work towards a 'Plug and Play' architecture concept, in which the design and implementation of an 'Information Exchange Bus' is crucial to the success.

Some examples from my practice:
The implementation of this 'Plug and Play' architecture concept at AT&T Networks Systems was based on the 'architecture grid' as described in the first article of this series:

Target architecture: Realization of the growth path by:
  • isolation of the Legacy Architectures
  • introduction of the 'company wide repositories for Common Data
  • gradual introduction of the new standard architecture components

IA PnP 01
Deployment principles: The data definitions and Information Ownership in the various components of the target architecture are the basis for choosing the disconnection points. Every Information Model of any organization contains 'transactional / Business Event data' and  'Corporate standard common data' :

IA PnP 02

The architecture realisation circle: Changes in the business lead to changes in IT. Following the architecture grid clockwise as described in the first article of this series we can see a continuous circle:
 
IA PnP 03
  1. Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) / Business Initiatives lead to changes in the Business Architecture
  2. Process Decoupling / Information ownership lead to changes in the Business Information Model
  3. Implementation of these changes are based on the distinction between 'transactional / Business Event data' and 'Corporate Common Data in the IT architecture.
  4. Implementation of these changes lead to the availability of new functionality to the Business by means of 'IT services'.

Every new 'Business Initiative' needs to be evaluated on the impact it has on the Key Performance Indicators and the required resources. At AT&T Networks Systems in the 90's this became the growth path to a strongly simplified and standardized IT architecture:

IA PnP 04


In the Essent organization this concept was used for the realization of the merger of the various provincial energy companies. In this case the isolation of Legacy Architectures and the gradual replacement by new standard Architecture component were the dominant decision criteria.

IA PnP 05