Managing current (AS-IS) and target (To-Be) models in LeanIX
One of the key need for Enterprise Architect is to be able to describe the current Information System, to define scenario for the target with impacts analysis and to select and execute one scenario at the end to (create the target and modify automatically the landscape).
Until recently few tools were able to provide an effective and easy to use solution. LeanIX is one of them, and this blog post will explore what is offered.
LeanIX Enterprise Architecture Solution (EAS) supports many common Enterprise Architecture use cases with built-in functionality proposed in three modules:
- Application Portfolio Mgt.
- Technology Risk Mgt.
- Business Transformation Mgt.
Business Transformation Module
The LeanIX Enterprise Architecture Suite’s Business Transformation Management (BTM) module was released in 2020. It provides a sound solution to describe and plan architectural roadmaps scenario for business strategy execution and IT landscapes evolutions.
LeanIX did extend its APM product by introducing new features such as Impact modeling and execution, timeline sequencing, and scenario planning.
Five new concepts (named fact sheets in LeanIX world) were created to support As-Is and To-Be modeling:
- Objectives serve as high-level architectural links to model the relationships between organizational goals and business capabilities
- Transformation Items can take the shape of one of four distinct elements inherent in any modern IT innovation project — each of which arranged in the following hierarchical order: Plan, Building Block, Epic, and Project.
in BTM the real innovation and “magic” comes with the notion of “impact modelling”.
Impacts are embedded into Transformation Item and describe the expected results of an architectural transformation plan. Impacts allow Architects to describe how IT entities will be affected by an architectural change, preview these outcomes in the landscape, select the preferred scenario and modify the documented architecture.
Business Transformation Example
Let’s look at an example using LeanIX standard demo data. The business transformation process recommended by LeanIX is split in four phases (see article here):
- Describe the business strategy through objectives
- Define Scenarios
- Create Roadmap
- Impact analysis and execution
1. Describe the business strategy through objectives
Every strategic goal is documented via has configurable fields :
- Objective’s lifecycle status: from Planned to Active to Done to Obsolete
- Objective description completion in percentage
- Dependencies: split via parent-child hierarchies
- What it is both improving (i.e., Business Capability) or being supported by (i.e., Transformation Item)
Imagine we want to create an objective named “build out intelligent cloud platform”.
The “Objective Landscape” report proposes an exhaustive view of the list of objectives and let you create “heatmaps” on the fly (status, lifecycle, etc.)
Objective can be linked to business capabilities and could be seen in LeanIX ad’hoc report.
If you look carefully at each report you will see a timeline on top. Since we are working on business transformation, As-Is and To-Be are related to timelines. Since everything will evolve over time, each LeanIX report will let you navigate across time and see changes through heatmap and if needed information deep-dive.
2. Define Scenario
In general, the first two hierarchical levels of Transformation Items, Plan and Building Block, are used to describe business objectives into manageable IT scenarios.
A Plan functions as a container for all objectives and planning items related to an architectural change, its budget and anticipated timeline, and is the basis for modeling future events (or scenarios) against potential roadmap conflicts.
A Building Block stores all inputs related to whatever technology or functionality is necessary to complete a transformation. Building Block serves as the main gateway for accessing and configuring Impacts in BTM.
Let’s imagine that we need to evolve our Legal IT and we defined two scenario:
- Move legal apps and processes to the cloud as they are
- Refactor existing legal apps
Let’s create the two plans fact sheets.
The cloud transformation 2 Plan will last 8 months and can be associated to business capability and objective.
Then create the building block and link it to the previously created plan.
LeanIX Relations Explorer can be used to interactively navigate between all dependencies or relations
Now it’s time to define the landscape impacts for each scenario.
With impacts you can transfer or create relations, add or remove tags, and set technical and functional fit ratings plus business criticality scores
Let’s imagine we want to deprecate “Lex Actual” and replace it by “Digilex”, but only at one point in time (when the target will be attained). We can “program” the evolution of the landscape using basic but efficient set of pre-defined LeanIX integrated rules.
So we will position Lex Actual lifecycle as end of life and put its business criticality to “empty”. Then we will make Digilex appear in the landscape, position its key attributes and tags and gather all existing user groups from replaced application.
3. Create Roadmap
The roadmap is built by using two new LeanIX objects: Epic and Project (if you do agile, you should understand why they were named like that).
Epic and Project Fact Sheets are intended to better equate architectural activities to iterative approaches to business delivery, and by offering specific fields to track resource consumption and store project-related attributes, each can be included within Impact models to aid solution-finding for IT and business stakeholders working together.
Users are able to manually structure these two items in LeanIX or import their contents through integrations to third-party solutions like JIRA or MS Project whereupon links can be set to update both platforms synchronously.
It is now time to see the transformation roadmap through a dedicated report outlining the progress of IT initiatives via time-based swim lanes and based on Objectives, Business Capabilities, and Transformation Items.
4. Impact analysis and execution
It is now possible to see the ‘to-be’ states of the IT landscape: choose the Transformation Item Plan(s) to include in a report, pick a date in the future, and then review tasks based on how IT entities are scheduled to be changed.
Let’s see the as-is …
change the timeline and see the to-be…
Not having BTM as a separate module and offering a fully integrated EAS suite is a fantastic idea. Now, LeanIX offers with EAS a fully integrated solution for managing as-is and to-be model. The kept the same user experience and only added two new objects, so the learning curve is pretty low.
I really enjoyed how “impacts” were implemented, enabling to describe exhaustively what will happen. As usual with LeanIX, it seems to be a good compromise between ease of use and features offered. I just wonder if LeanIX will offer at some point in time low code solution (instead of a no code one) to describe and apply impacts. We can already use the APIs, but a low code option, why not.
What I found complex was Transformation Item timelines. Enterprise architect are not always involved in project mgt. details. Anyway, the solution proposed by LeanIX is quite simple and you can start small (a project duration and a relative start date). Or you can import the project description from Jira or MS Project and be fully aligned with the PMO.
In order to avoid making LeanIX full of unused transformation Item, I suppose that some cleansing will be needed regularly, to avoid having too many scenario not needed anymore.
LeanIX is full of resources on the subject: