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Outsourcing IT - why involve IT Architecture Firm?
Architecture Governance for outsourced IT Projects
Defining ROI on architecture
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Architecture ConsultingAs the complexities of Business & Systems are increasing (in terms of structural systems, services, and technologies), architecture is becoming very critical for enterprise survival as well as growth. Our consulting services can help you to manage enterprise IT systems ensuring better functionality & sustainability

Team Enhancement

Today companies and their IT department have to respond to the continuous changes in the stipulated time frame otherwise there is a risk being loosing their current competitive edge. In addition to the changes in the economy and the constantly changing technology needs, initiatives using only internal staff often fall short of meeting the aggressive goals set by the company. iCMG can help.

Architecture Governance for Offshored Projects
Architecture Governance is especially important in distributed projects due to increased opportunities for miscommunication. Not having Architecture governance structure is analogous to system development plan without a testing phase. The Enterprise Architecture governance should apply consistent compliance guidelines for both onsite and offshore activities. Use of techniques such as the US Department of Veteran Affairs' Technical Architecture Analysis and Project Alignment Metrics can help ensure that IT systems are in sync with the enterprise architecture and vision.
Risk of Ignoring Architecture Governance

Since today's businesses are wholly dependent upon IT and with business processes changing faster than IT, there will be a continuing need for frequent onsite interaction with enterprise customers of IT. The combination of low-cost outsourcing plus onshore EA consulting can make for an efficient combination, and one that moves some jobs back onsite. Within the past few years, the IT industry has fully recognized the role of architects in the workforce, in some cases replacing the designation: senior member of technical staff.

Key concerns

IT Contractors (priority)

Enterprise Architecture Firm (priority)

Methodology for Architecture Governance

For distributed teams, many of the same best practices apply as for centralized Enterprise Architecture. For example, it is important to have a formal, dedicated Enterprise Architecture team directly reporting to an executive sponsor, even if the team is physically distributed. To ensure efficiency, certain roles should be independent of the outsourcing contractor, such as Process architects, Solution Architects etc.. The enterprise should have knowledgeable professionals on its staff to provide essential checks and balances on outsourcedwork.

Achieving clear communications is a fundamental challenge in distributed teams. Use of modeling languages such as the Object Management Group's UML and BPMN, should be the basis for communicating Enterprise Architecture as well as technical designs. New standards such as the Business Motivation Model (BMM), Semantics of Business Vocabulary and Business Rules (SVBR) and the UML 2.0 extensions are available to formalize additional elements of architecture views and specifications. Enterprise Architecture artifacts should be available via a secure, version controlled, distributed repository. The repository helps assure that the global team has a common view of the project's specifications and is working from the appropriate artifact versions.

Choose a common Enterprise Architecture framework for the distributed team that is matched to the enterprise needs. It may be necessary to have multiple framework profiles to address the needs of complex enterprises, e.g. diverse conglomerate corporations. The Enterprise Architecture team should identify specific types of artifacts for the framework, and maintain documented modeling conventions. The artifacts should particularly address communications across distributed team boundaries. For example, a richer set of specification types for communicating requirements from onsite business analysts and user interface designers, than for communications within a co-located offshore team.


Figure Translating Models Between Levels of Elaboration

It is recommended that the Enterprise Architecture team review, approve, and standardize the methodology for translating specifications to designs and implementations to avoid loss of information. The OMG Model Driven Architecture (MDA) is a guideline defining explicit stages of model translation. MDA defines four stages of elaboration, the Computation Independent Model, Platform Independent Model, Platform Specific Model and code. MDA also defines standards for transforming the models and defining the linkages between the translated forms.

For example, figure (above) shows a distributed Enterprise Architecture and implementation project with onsite and offshore model transformations and linkages in an architecture-centric development methodology. There is a need to establish well defined transformations between views of the enterprise architecture, the solution architecture and the technical architecture of the system ensuring traceability of architecture constraints and requirements to implementations. Enterprise Architecture processes should ensure that each project aligns with the IT vision of the enterprise, adhering to architecture governance guidelines and metrics.

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