Month: September 2008

Enterprise Architecture: ‘New’ to MWT

The MWT/TEBT Collaboration Architecture recognises that when technologies successfully transform businesses they often do so through sharing and/or standardisation of business processes and data.  It is this standardisation which allows greater transparency of operations (and operational risk) as well as ultimately enabling the implementation of the market-based approach at the heart of the MWT Model.

However, when it comes to defining and selecting which technology-enabled business transformation (TEBT) initiatives to perform, there is an overlap between the MWT Model and the most useful parts of what is called Enterprise Architecture.

Where enterprise architecture relates is in developing the collaboration architecture (to use the MWT term) to enable the senior executive team to have discussions on organisational value – and ultimately what processes and data should be standardised and/or shared via technology implementations.

Many enterprise architecture treatments focus only on optimising the platform architecture of the enterprise.  This makes many enterprise architecture discussions far too technical.  Also, from an implementation perspective, standardisation on platforms may actually be too expensive to ever implement; while at the same time it may provide less value to the enterprise than other initiatives could have.  Discussions on enterprise architecture that fall into this category may in fact reduce IT spend while losing focus on the knowledge and related IT capabilities which could increase the value of IT.

One book that doesn’t fall into this trap is Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution.  I strongly recommend it as an introduction to this topic.  I have also added an Enterprise Architecture blog category to tag future posts on this topic.

Bailout reader has released an interesting Bailout Reader of articles and other literature relating to the current ‘financial crisis’ in the US.  It basically says ‘Ha!  Look how clever we were predicting this; and look at the theory that we refer to when we predicted this because it has some interesting things to say about the proposed solution too’.  

I’m paraphrasing – but it sounds about as arrogant as that.  But you can sound arrogant irrespective of whether you are right or wrong.  I recommend reading a few of the articles and core literature because I think they are right.

What I don’t really understand is why it’s the corporations that need to be bailed out.  If you look at the bill itself its purpose is to save home values, collage funds, etc.  But these things can be saved more directly.  I don’t see why, in the scenario where somebody can’t afford to pay their mortgage, we give money not to the person who doesn’t have the money but to the bank that gets the house but can’t sell it for the full value!?!?

Multisourcing disipline: ‘New’ to MWT

There is no avoiding it.  There is an overlap between some aspects of the MWT Model and what is increasingly called Multisourcing. 

The Multisourcing dicipline really is beyond procurement, outsourcing, and supplier management.  Multisourcing is both a strategy and a strategic capability of the client organisation.  It is the end-to-end process of service definition and management, selection of who will perform services, decisions on where services will be performed, and the related governance and performance management.  

Though in truth, the diciplines relating to Multisourcing can be relivant even to organisations which deliver services using predominately on-shore, in-house capabilities.   This is where it relates most interestingly with the MWT Model and service-based management in general.  

I have created a new blog category for posts relating to Multisourcing.  This is such an important disicpline I would expect these would be of interest to anybody with an interest in the MWT Model.

If you’re already keen to learn I recommend Multisourcing: Moving Beyond Outsourcing to Achieve Growth And Agility.

More on Michael Costa, or Moron Michael Costa?

After my last post on Michael Costa, my wife accused me of having ‘a little man crush’ on Mr Costa.  To be honest I hadn’t yet decided what I thought of him due to lack of information.  This in turn being due to my generally underdeveloped interest in politics.  But I admitted to my wife that he had sparked my interest.  I wouldn’t say ‘man crush’, as such – it’s an intellectual, platonic thing.  Really it is.

In fact, up until last week – except for some vague notion that he had done something with the railway, and of course, that he was the NSW treasurer – all I really knew was that other politicians don’t like him.  I decided I needed to do a little research so that I could form my own opinion about him.  Because one thing I do know is that I’m not going to form my opinion of a politician based on what other politicians think about him!

I should note that I think trying to choose your favorite politician – or even one that you like – might well be like trying to choose your favorite episode of Friends.  In both cases they are essentially all the same.  In both cases, even if you do choose a favorite and decide to by the DVD, they come with a bunch of other episodes that you don’t like.

(I’m paraphrasing and otherwise bastardising a quote from a friend of mine in the above paragraph –  he said trying to remember your dreams was like trying to remember last weeks Friends episode)

I also know, or at least believe, the following:

  • being right doesn’t always make you popular
  • government might well be ineffective by design
  • it’s the person who is actually trying to fix the problem who gets the blame
  • sometimes everything is exactly the same as it always was but suddenly it’s your fault
  • some jobs are hard or damn near impossible and it takes balls just to try them
  • some of the way people behave can be explained by their context

Now, what I’ve learned about Michael Costa in my recent research is:

To be continued…

‘Fit to govern’ in Australian politics

Readers in Australia will know that the NSW treasurer Michael Costa was recently sacked – just before he became eligible for a pension from what I understand, and not long before the premier himself resigned.

Skip ahead a few scandals and Michael Costa has now written an essay for The Daily Telegraph with all sorts of anti-government (anti-state government, at least) statements.  Some say sour grapes; I would say it’s more likely PR for Costa’s private sector career.  But either way I hope it’s also able to cause a debate about politics and government.

According to Costa’s manifesto, most of the states politicians are ‘spin merchants’ and ‘machine politicians’ who are unqualified to govern.  Now I might be cynical but I expect politicians who are actually in politics – as opposed to wanting to be in politics but not being able to gain entry to the club – are precisely qualified… to be politicians.  Nothing else is guaranteed.

That is surely true by definition.  People who are successfully in politics know what it takes to be successfully in politics.  Whether they are qualified to govern is a totally separate question and may even have a negative correlation with their qualifications as politicians.  I’m certainly not the first person to suggest this.

In the MWT Model there is a process above and beyond the process of management which allows you to tell the difference between a good manager and a successful manager.  Most organisations don’t have this process and politics certainly doesn’t have it almost by definition.  Costa talks of people being ‘qualified to govern’ but I’m sure this is the last thing on a politician’s mind.

Take for example this morning’s announcement that in Western Australia the National and Liberal parties have entered into a ‘power sharing’ agreement – not a coalition mind you, because I assume that not only doesn’t suit the parties; but also simply that the word itself has some ‘branding’ issues.  So when political parties combine it is to ‘share power’.  It’s not to ‘share responsibilities’, not to ‘combine capabilities’ like an organisational merger.  It’s to ‘share power’.

I really don’t think political parties should be running around talking about ‘power sharing’.  It misses the point while it lets the cat out of the bag.  In contrast, premier Nathan Rees with his talk that ‘the people of NSW expect us to engage in one thing and that is simply the improvement of service delivery and infrastructure and that’s what we will go about doing’ is playing the government-as-service-provider card.

But if the argument stops being about who is more qualified and starts being about what the right way to govern actually is, politicians are likely to find themselves all out of a job.  While the specifics of how to govern are left out of the debate their will always be positions of power to scramble for – or share.

Even when they are attempting to convince us who deserves the power, they are often agreeing with each other.  Michael Costa got there first on the government-as-service-provider thing as he argues in his manifesto that the ‘strongest argument for abolishing state governments is that it would remove a layer of political interference in service delivery.’

Michael Costa’s manifesto and Nathan Rees’ improvement of service delivery and infrastructure are two sides of the same coin.  But they are both simply PR so all it shows is that as memes: government as service provider is in – and limited government is rallying.

My wife has already said she likes what Mr Ree is saying in his first days as premier.  This usually means that eventually I’ll start to like him too.  This is just a process of empathising with my wife; but who knows whether that is the underlying force behind all politics.  Problem is my wife loved Kevin’07 too until he actually started talking as PM; so support or otherwise is fickle.

It’s that fickle opinion that politics manages.  Michael Costa’s essay says this like others before him.  If there wasn’t fickle opinion to manage there wouldn’t be any point to government.  That’s were a lot of the political effort goes.  But you can’t tell your boss that – because they will tell you that you have to be in government to govern.  This is true; but again it says nothing about your ability to govern.

Michael Costa’s essay doesn’t actually say anything new.  The reason I don’t need to read, for example, the Mises Daily Article, anymore is that it is pretty predictable.  The same few core ideological ideas over and over again.  But the fact that I don’t need to read the same ideas over and over again isn’t a failing of the ideas.  It’s simply that they stand the test of time.

Once we work this out there will be no talk of power sharing.  The only thing a politician will be able to do is inspire and motivate.  And quickly after that people will recognise that there are plenty of opportunities to be inspired and motivated in our daily lives and no particular need to decide up to four years in advance who should inspire you on a given day.

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Architecture as Strategy

Review of Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution to follow…

Link to the book’s companion web site

Buy the book from

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ROI Challenge for Operationalising Brands

This is a category test. (updated)

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Structure of the MWT Model

In the last post, we looked at the Context of the MWT Model.  In this post we will look at the structure of the MWT Model.  The diagram below shows the major components of the MWT Model; with the exception of the management transformation required to implement the model.

The components of the model are introduced on the main site here.  Blog entries relating to each of the components can be accessed via the Categories list on the right-hand side of the blog.

An alternative view of the model can be seen in the figure on the right.  This view begins to show the flavor of each component via the symbols that are used to identify each component.

The MWT Model is a management model.  Therefore, like the management model it replaces, it must scale to any level within the organisation.  While the model is presented here within the context of the entire organisation, the organisation actual contains multiple levels of the model operating in a fractal.

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Context of the MWT Model

The MWT Model is a replacement for the standard management practices of an organisation.  It is based on the same premises that recognise that market-based economies create value more effectively than planned economies.

In this sense, the MWT Model is the natural conclusion of applying the forces that drive globalisation, such as ICT (information and communication technology) advances and market liberalisation, inwardly.  Rather than looking at how these effect and enhance the market outside the firm, the model provides opportunies to expliot them inside the firm (and across supply chains, of course). 

MWT is also the natural extension of how more sophisticated, value-driven, collaboration  and ownership is enabled by technology advancement.  This is the same force that gave rise to national (and increasingly, competitive) stock exchange systems when information processing technology improved sufficiently to support such exchanges.

However, the MWT Model is not simply a vague regurgitation of the wonder of self-organising systems.  At the level of the firm, globalisation and the relative freeing up of markets already provides a mechanism of self-organisation.  Firms grow or decline through an increasingly effective (and sometimes harsh) market of self-organisation.

Instead, the MWT Model provides practical mechanisms for managing organisations – and for taking advantage of the very technologies which could otherwise threaten the organisation through increased and more nimble competition.

So while the MWT Model is a market-based management model, it is not a laissez-faire management model.  Such a model would ignore the important structural elements of the economy which are already the result of the effective self-management of the boundaries between the market (the outside of the firm) and the organisation (the inside of the firm).

Rather than take the approach that their is no effective way to add value to firms via intervention, the MWT Model recognises that organisations must manage and maintain a specifically constructed competitive position, an effective relationship with targeted customers and partners, and deliver targeted value.

These elements represent the context of the organisation, and the context of the MWT Model.  Because the context of the firm and the context of the model can be defined in the same way, MWT Model exists within a familiar context.  This can be shown by the accompanying figure which shows the scope of the MWT Model in the context of the organisation:

  • Competitive Position
  • Competitive Value
  • Customers
  • Partners
  • Customer Value
  • Customer Life-Cycle
  • Customer Groups
  • Capabilities

This list represents areas of enterprise strategic analysis which are not part of the MWT Model, but rather they provide the context under which the model operates.  The exception is ‘Capabilities’ which is significantly effected by the MWT Model’s capability engineering processes and focus on service-based management.

Now it’s time to drill down into what the MWT Model actually is.  The following blog post, on the Structure of the MWT Model, will decompose the model into its main components: Operationalised Brands, Technology-enabled Markets, Collaboration Architectures, The New MWT Hierarchy, and The MWT Management Transformation.

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