During an interesting discussion online on Mergers & Acquisitions, a basic question arose — if we consolidate technologies & tools used across the two merging companies, would it suffice most of the Architecture needs for the new company ?
Maybe; but in most cases, No.
A more formal approach is required to make sure we do not end up with a half cooked chowder served in a platinum goblet. We need means to formalize a recipe that takes care of most the business & stakeholder concerns while making sure we have added essential quantities of innovation and budget to the recipe.
What if we could exploit learning from TOGAF and its 4 domain pillars (BDAT) as the base line?
As the first essential requirement, management, stakeholders and technology leaders must define and agree upon an Architecture vision. The vision must represent the desired state of Architecture that cuts across the BDAT (Business, Data, Application and Technology) pillars. Furthermore, vision must act as the means to communicate with other partner leaders on where the new company is headed in the next 3–5 years.
Think of vision as a simple but appealing menu at the Michelin starred restaurant — — just enough to interest the diner. For typical small to medium enterprises going through a merge, think of at least 2–3 months to define this, as this would essentially become the guiding star for the rest of the architecture detailing exercise in the coming days.
Once we have defined the vision, it’s critical to have the current state of architectures ranked against the vision (think of maturity models). This could be as simple as 1,2,3,4,5 with the vision ranked at 5, while current architectures at rank 1; especially if we just adopt everything from both companies as-is before going through the below exercise.
Each cycle of the TOGAF ADM in the coming months should help us get to rank 5 as we reassess our rank periodically — every quarter/year. This is similar to Michelin Star 1 going until 3.
Following the TOGAF ADM is quite perfect for our need while detailing each of the BDAT pillars.
Business (Common processes which are procurement, operations …), Data (kind, tools, policies …), Application (Toolsets, policies) , Technology (Service Registry, SOA, micro services, neural networks…) pillars require many viewpoints to be created as required.
In addition, typical cross cutting viewpoints like Devops, Infra, HR, too must be assessed and detailed during the ADM.
Carrying ahead with the BDAT definition, ADM does provide means to define the governance model (who, how, what) and when/who can change/refine the governance model itself.
Now is the perfect opportunity to define the road map for the next couple of years for the merged company that also helps better the targeted architecture rank.
As we observe, ADM does force us into absorbing a formal mechanism to identify the perfect recipe for our new architecture. ADM compels us to look into opportunities (even across innovation programs active in the two companies) that could pop up during the merger that could further lead to defining new business processes/tools/use cases/products too.
Once the first cycle of the ADM is complete, we could have reference enterprise architectures that partner businesses can consider. All documentation including the reference models, process changes, view points, governance models, recipes�, principles could now be captured in the TOGAF enterprise continuum.
Soup is now being served. This time it was well cooked and served in a proper china soup bowl.