Building an Enterprise Architecture

The Term Project provides the largest contribution to the overall grade for this course. There is substantial freedom given to the student in selecting his or her project.

Your initial Term Project deliverable will be to propose what your project will be, followed by a schedule that will map out incremental deliverables leading up to the submission of the Term Project written report and the presentation. These are two separate, distinct deliverables. The Term Project Report will be your comprehensive treatment of your solution.

Include an ERP software package as part of your solution, it will be easier to navigate your project by starting with (1) your company’s operating model, (2) create some initial high-level workflows, then (3) select your ERP system for your EA. The ERP system will be purchased software and therefore will be less negotiable as to functionality and interfaces. By looking at the high-level requirements of your EA first, you will be able to select the modules from the ERP that are critical to integrate in order to support your business flows.
Content for Term Project Report
Section 1 – Required Content
In order to develop your enterprise architecture for the Term Project, you need to define the problem you are trying to solve. Moreover, your Instructor and Facilitators may not be familiar with the business domain of your project, so you need to lay down that context. That is the purpose of #1 below. The Core Diagram
1. Analysis of the Problem – create Use Cases and Workflows
The first step is to define the problem to solve. Create the following artifacts:
• Overview of business goals the EA (Enterprise Architecture) must satisfy – this should be a bulleted list (3 to 7 items) with justifications, for example:
o Goal: Handle any customer inquiry or problem immediately, within four hours at the outside
o Justification: Achieving goal will yield major competitive advantage and will counter our main competitive threat
• Use Case Overview diagram (or equivalent model to capture requirements and system scope, for example a comprehensive swimlanes workflow diagram), showing the use cases the EA needs to satisfy:
o Include a paragraph description for each use case and each actor identified in the Use Case Overview
o Accompany the Use Case overview and description with a thorough description of the main business flows your EA must support, for example, Order Fulfillment for a retail business. (User Does/System Does matrix is a fine way to deal with this.)

2. Core diagram
Create a core diagram for the new system. If you are suggesting a major transition in order to achieve the business goals outlined in #1 above, you could do a “before” and “after” core diagram to clarify how you intend to satisfy those goals, and to clearly show the value of the new EA.

You must choose some “linking technology” to integrate your business modules and applications if you incorporate an ERP system or other similar package software (see ERP question below). Consider a compare/contrast of at least three different products or services you could use for linking technology. Justify why your choice works for both the ERP system you select (or other 3rd party package) and for the needs of your EA.

3. Presentation to CEO
As the final deliverable, pull together your “talking points” for presenting your recommendation to the CEO. Make sure you align your proposal with the strategic business objectives. Your talking points should be bullet points on three to four slides; one of your slides will be your Core Diagram. Your talking points will be presented to the class during one of the final classes of the term. So, to summarize, your presentation should show:
• Introductory slide playing back to the Exec Committee/CEO the business objectives;
• Your analysis of the business’s Operating Model
• The EA Core Diagram you developed per the Operating Model
• Your “pitch” for why your EA should be funded; you should include things like cost savings, how the EA propels the company strategy forward, and so forth. Presentation of your financial analysis is HIGHLY encouraged.

You may select questions that make sense for the type of business for your target company. For example, if your business does not have a strong fulfillment or logistics component, it probably wouldn’t work to choose the SCM (Supply Chain Management) question.
Questions 5 and 6 are from the realm of system architecture. The learning opportunity with these questions can be significant. They enable you to drill through into the technical and physical architecture of your system in order to experience moving through the conceptual EA layers into the technical layers (see our multimedia object in Module 2).

ERP System for Your Business
Choose a commercial ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system for your company. Explain how the ERP system will interface with other system modules and services in your EA. Identify at least four typical use cases (or business workflows) for the business and explain how they will be implemented with the ERP system.

Model the Subsystem Layer Architecture
Using the layer diagram modeling technique (ask instructor if you need examples), create a subsystem layer diagram showing the layers of the system, including modules that identify reusable services, e.g., Rules Engine. Express the services as SOA architecture. The overview Use Case Diagram should help to think through the functionality required so that you can create the logical architecture. Each module or service identified needs to have – at a minimum — a name and a description that states its purpose. Include the modules of your ERP system in the diagram, and label them to show they are part of the ERP application.

If you want to provision some or all of your EA as a hosted or cloud solution, you must be detailed in terms of exactly what the system specifications are – look, for example, at AWS or Azure service offerings, or at a cloud vendor like Rackspace. There are different price points for different hardware and capacity requirements.

Analytics, BI
Expand your EA to include a significant BI (Business Intelligence/Big Data) solution. Again, your target company must clearly gain from including such services as part of your architecture. Usually, this would be shown as a data warehouse or data lake, and either data marts or analysis services/reports output on a regular basis. Choose a product or products that would enhance your offering – for example, a data mining product, or a visualization product like Spotfire, or look at emerging products like Tamr.

You must supply at least three scenarios that show how a problem will be solved with analytics using your solution. These should be equivalent in detail to the Case Study examples in the Module narratives.

Supply Chain Management (SCM)
If your target company has significant logistics as part of its operations, you can earn up to 10 additional points by selecting a commercial product to handle SCM activities. You need to show the modules you are going to use as added to your Core Diagram (viz., make a copy of your Core Diagram and show the additional SCM modules), and you must choose the linking technologies that will integrate your SCM modules into your overall EA. Identify at least two major workflows such as Procurement or Order Fulfillment that are typical workflows handled by SCM, and show the integration with a User Does/System Does matrix.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
If your target company has high touch customer service as part of its mission, you could include due diligence on a commercial product to handle CRM activity. As with the ERP question, you should identify the modules you will use or the functions the CRM system will supply to your EA. Show how you will integrate the information through a linking technology or approach. Show at least lightweight due diligence to justify your choice of vendor for your particular EA.

You must supply at least three scenarios that show how a problem in your architecture will be solved with the CRM solution you choose. These should be equivalent in detail to the Case Study examples in the Module narratives.

Overall Guidance & Things To Bear in Mind
It is critical that you always link your choice of a technology or a solution back to the specific business problem it solves. Alignment between the business need and the architecture solution is a key theme of our course. This specific business problem must be a problem that your target company is seeking to solve or that benefits your target company in a measurable way. Lots of things are appealing, but the point is to make sure you have selected the “best fit” solution for the problem at hand.

Recall from our class lectures that EA is expensive and risky to implement, and you want it to last a long time and to be extensible and malleable over the long haul. Therefore, keeping the overall solution space as simple as you can, and ensuring that things are “pluggable” are important characteristics of successful EA.

By simple, I mean that the technology solutions you choose must be compatible. Selecting “one of everything” is usually a recipe for failure – but you also need to be careful about vendor lock-in. How are you going to handle those competing requirements?

By pluggable, I mean that you need to ensure your EA can accommodate a change in third party products or technologies you use. For example, if you create an interface to SCM modules and you then need to change your SCM vendor, it would be far easier to do that if you have middleware or an API or services between your business applications and the SCM vendor functionality.

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