architecture data executive

Executive Summary: Data Strategy 2.0

#architecture #clarity #velocity #direction 

In my last post Executive Summary: Strategic Data Science, I have summarized what Data Science is and what it consist of. Moreover, you need to deploy a strategy that helps you manage transformation to a data-driven business.

Today, you will see that a strategy for data science can be handled just like any data strategy. And if you already have a data strategy deployed, e.g. as part of your governance or architecture initiative, then you will see why and where it is affected.

As written in Executive Summary on EA Maturity, having a map knowing where you are and where you want to go to helps a lot in finding a way.


If you are working with maturity models, you typically do this on a yearly basis. For chosen capabilities you identify current vs target maturity e.g. ranked from level 1 to 5.

The first thing you need to understand is that introducing data science for the first time reduces your overall maturity at once. Why is that?

Maturity is measured in terms of capabilities. And if you take a look into those capabilities you will find that you need to adapt them. There typically are a dozen or so like vision, objectives, people, processes, policies, master data management, business intelligence, big data analytics, data quality, data modeling, data asset planning, data integration, and metadata management.

I will pick only a few as examples to make things clear. Let’s pick vision, people, and technology.

Selected Capabilities for Explaining Maturity of Data Strategy


Say you have a vision like: “Providing customer care that is so satisfying, that every customer comes back to us with a smile”. That’s a very strong statement, but how about: “Keeping every customer satisfied by solving all problems before complaining”. Wow, even stronger. It is possible because Data Science allows you to predict what others can’t.


Probably, you already have a data architect. But, the classic data architect focuses on architecture, technology, and governance issues. This is OK, but you also need some data advisor focusing on unseen solutions for the business. Someone telling you to combine customer data with product usage data increasing your sales. And perhaps even telling you from which of your precious data you can create completely new data-driven products you can sell.


Probably, you also have an inventory telling you which data sources are used in your applications. Adding Data Science as rapidly growing discipline to the equation, you may find that you will have to revise your technology portfolio. It is rapidly growing and changing and, therefore, needs to be governed to a certain amount (freedom vs standardization).

Following list shows selected technologies that are most often used in Data Science (ranked from left to right).

  • Programming Languages: SQL, Python, R
  • Relational Databases: MySQL, MS SQL Server, PostgreSQL
  • Big data platforms: Spark, Hive, MongoDB
  • Spreadsheets, BI, Reporting: Excel, Power BI, QlikView

Moreover, there is a shift in who is actually using these technologies like Leadership, Finance, Sales, and Marketing. And more often without dedicated enterprise applications because data analysis is very dynamic and has a lot of try and error to it.


From these view capabilities out of a dozen+ it has become clear that Data Science Strategy easily fits into an overall Data Strategy. There is no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, adapt your existing or favorite Data Strategy to incorparate Data Science.

architecture data executive

Executive Summary: Strategic Data Science

#architecture #clarity #velocity #direction #data

If you as C-level are already using or plan to use data science you probably pursue the goal to increase your market share by making predictions that others can’t. You might think that there is no need for strategic management of data science. Actually, that’s as far from the truth as it can get. But, why is that? It is because there may be a lot of complexity indicated by the figure below and discussed in the following.

The Flower of Complexity


First, let’s take a look into the definition

Data science is an inter-disciplinary field that uses scientific methods, processes, algorithms and systems to extract knowledge and insights from many structural and unstructured data.

source: wikipedia

There are a lot of keywords in this rather short definition that should raise your eyebrows: inter-disciplinary, methods, processes, algorithms, systems, many.

Basic Method

Now, let’s pick a keyword from above and dig deeper e.g. recall the basic scientific method:

  1. Find a question
  2. Collect data
  3. Prepare data for analysis
  4. Create model
  5. Evaluate model
  6. Deploy model

Doesn’t sound overly complex, but let’s finally deep dive. Which of those phases do you think is responsible for most of the effort spent? It is the step that roughly amounts to 80% of the overall process! There are even several synonyms for it like data munging, data wrangling, and data cleaning or cleansing. You guessed right, it is phase three. Its complexity is mainly driven by the number of different data sources, the number and complexity of involved data structures, and sometimes also mixed with unstructured data.


We can go on like this for a while, but I do not want to bore you with the details. So, let’s summarize first and I will deliver a compressed list of further aspects afterward which you may take note of or skip altogether.

If you do not strategically manage data science in your enterprise you may expect another area of proliferation which you should urgently avoid!

I can help you with that. My approach is to combine data science with an architecture development cycle. Proven methods and tools will help you to master the inherent complexity and get the most out of data science for your business. You can leave the details to me.

The Details

Data science as a discipline delivers methods like the one we have discussed above. Yet, it also

  • combines subjects like
    • computer science
    • math & statistics
    • business domain knowledge
  • involves interdisciplinary roles like
    • Data Engineer
    • Data Scientist
    • Business Analyst
    • Product Owner / Project Manager
    • Developer
    • User Interface Specialist
  • implies many skills like
    • programming
    • working with data
    • descriptive statistics
    • data visualization
    • statistical modeling
    • handling Big Data
    • machine learning
    • deploying to production
  • is done with many tools like
    (only top 3-4 in each category named here)
    • programming languages
      • SQL
      • Python
      • R
    • databases
      • MySQL
      • MS SQL Server
      • PostgreSQL
      • Oracle
    • Big data platforms
      • Spark
      • Hive
      • MongoDB
      • Amazon Redshift
    • Spreadsheets, BI, Reporting
      • Excel
      • Power BI
      • QlikView

And the list is growing steadily. A little exhausting, isn’t it? At this point latest you should be convinced that data science needs strategic attention.

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Executive Summary on the Ivory Tower Syndrome

#architecture #clarity #velocity #direction

This is the executive summary of last week’s post, Oh please, get down from the ivory tower and get something done!

EA Ivory Tower Syndrome

When does it happen?

The Ivory Tower Syndrome describes an often seen drift of EA initiatives dealing mostly with themselves focusing solely on strategic management while already having lost traction and therefore acceptance by the ground force.

Why does it happen?

Some EA initiatives tend to focus more on strategic reporting to upper levels and try to govern by code of law only. But, the ground force in terms of actual projects and product development, needs support for their huge amount of concise work that has to be done with granted budget and milestones. In a law-only approach they feel like not being supported but only punished (missing the carrot in “carrot and stick”).

A common misconception of EA initiatives of companies is that they can work like political government and urban planning. But, as analogy of how e.g. power grids are managed (or water grids, gas grids, metro systems, and so on), companies often only provide a fraction of needed services.

How to avoid and improve?

  • An adequate EA authority shall be balanced with a compact code of law.
  • The EA authority shall collaborate with other authorities like revision and portfolio manager.
  • Do not be jurisdictional because companies have no jurisdiction compared to politics and urban planning.
  • Align objectives of managers with your EA strategy or vice versa.
  • Implement cost saving services for each of your laws (get the tiger some teeth).
  • Include projects and product development in a community. Communicate outstanding achievements. Recognized employees drive acceptance for you!

Oh please, get down from the ivory tower and get something done!

#architecture #clarity #velocity #direction

The Ivory Tower of Enterprise Architecture

If you have the impression that your enterprise architecture is viewed as an ivory tower from the viewpoints of various stakeholders then read on.

In this post, we first try to understand why and identify the causes of the ivory tower syndrome. Then, we will address how to tear that ivory tower down or ideally not even build one. These findings will be picked up again in follow-up posts. Stay informed.

Carrot and Stick

Bonus and fear drive many things, in other words, reward and penalty, carrot and stick. Bonus systems are e.g. used in target agreements promising some factor of a defined bonus when achieving defined targets to certain degrees or percentages. Fear works the other way round, also psychologically, like “promising” a penalty when breaking defined rules, or warning you on risks if not complying to security rules.

Now, in practice, both approaches are typically combined and may vary in terms of weight or focus. Let’s take a look into some examples. The third example might look like being out of line, but I promise you will get the connection and probably also draw some conclusions on your own without further explanation.


Scenario 1:
Lisa is CIO of passend AG and Jonas is the Enterprise Architect reporting to Lisa. They have a rather small concise set of rules and a community for sharing the transition of strategic thoughts into budgeted initiatives. A lot of projects do already stick to the rules which is mainly driven by sharing services and cutting costs.

Karl is CIO of AusPrinzip GmbH and Julia is the Enterprise Architect reporting to Karl. While they had some quick wins with a target architecture and road map to get there everyday, live has become tedious. Many of the defined rules are broken by a significant number of products (e.g. applications). Jutta can only deal with a few projects at the same time. A lot of executive force is missing not to talk about jurisdicative.

Scenario 3:
Elena is major of some city in Germany and Johannes is head of urban planning reporting to Elena. There are plenty of building laws and a building authority which employees inspect all building plans as well as construction and finished buildings on site with respect to those laws. Non-compliance gets fined or even brought to jurisdicative.

Urban Planning

The first two examples are typical scenarios you may find in any industry while scenario 3 stems from urban planning – constructing cities, streets, and other infrastructure that we are so used to. While some concepts from urban planning cannot simply be transferred to enterprise architecture, we can understand and learn a lot by comparison from this more mature discipline. Roughly, enterprise architecture is to software architecture what urban planning is to construction planning.

Analysis of Scenarios

While scenario 1 rather reflects a sunny day, scenario 2 comes with a lot of dark clouds, metaphorically speaking. But, why is this?

Well, rather than focusing on more wins after the quick wins, Julia gave in to the grand idea of having an architecture law from §1 to §999. So beautiful, but unfortunately doomed from the beginning to be only a paper tiger. If you are neither providing for an adequately equipped “building authority” nor a jurisdiction, you’ll end up toothless.
Without adequate authority you do not have sufficient control.
Without jurisdiction you can neither dispence justice nor punishment.


What are the options for improvement?

  • Create an adequate authority.
  • Cut down architecture laws to a few.
  • Balance authority with architecture laws.
  • Combine authority with other disciplines like revision, portfolio, security, quality management.
  • Mostly forget about jurisdiction.
    • An enterprise has no internal jurisdiction.
    • You might integrate with revision, but revision only recommends actions to executives which in the end can cut budgets as interpretation of punishment.

What else can you do besides authority and jurisdiction?

  • Align with objectives of managers.
    • If you succeed in implanting architectural objectives as personal objectives for managers then you create a win-win situation.
  • Implement cost saving services for architecture laws
    • E.g., you would like to enforce some software like CRM as standard to use for a defined context like customer care.
    • Ensure a good contract with the vendor.
    • Set up scalable infrastructure.
    • Provide licenses that make projects happy (cutting costs).
    • Build up know-how.
  • Include employees feelings.
    • Learn from good management principles.
    • Things in a company mostly work well because of well motivated employees.
    • Make the doers feeling great about their work by making their work visible and showing their relevance.
    • Easy example nowadays: your cloud gurus.
    • Make one or few architecture laws with them together.
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Executive Summary on EA Maturity

#architecture #clarity #velocity #direction 

EA Maturity Model

Imagine that you as CIO are in need or want to establish or improve Enterprise Architecture in the company.

No matter where you start and go, it’s necessary to know where you start and go – just like in Google Maps routing e.g. from your home to a client. You know exactly where your home is and so does Google Maps. And you had better know where your client is too – again, so does Google Maps. Moreover, you or Google Maps know possible paths from your home to your client. This is the foundation for being able to do the routing.

Of course, your situation is more complexe since you need to move in time from the present situation to a target situation in the future. On the other hand, it gives you a lot of options. You can construct new efficient paths getting rid of old, slow, costly ones.

From Home to Target

So when starting this Enterprise Architecture initiative of yours, you should start building or updating your EA map. In consequence, you capture what you know about your starting point, your strategy, your target, and which paths there are or could be.

(This summary is an extract of my earlier post Hello Mr EA what you should expect when starting a new project establishing or improving your Enterprise Architecture.
Both posts together are also a very good example to present an aspect to different stakeholders – CIO expecting decision-oriented information, Head IT Governance or Enterprise Architect zooming in expecting deliverables, methods, and tools)