Architecture and analysis08/02/17
Advanced Systems Understanding Limited (AsystsU Ltd) is a UK-based company that specialises in organisational optimisation and ensuring process flows and resources best support business objectives. The depth of this type of analysis allows you to quickly understand the complexity of your organisation’s processes in a compartmented and organised manner, which enables evidence-based decisions regarding the allocation of future finance to address capability gaps. Through a process of operational analysis we glean an impartial, objective and structured representation of your organisation, how it fulfils its goals, and what supporting activities are required to ensure maximum value is added. Common issues we’ve highlighted previously include a misalignment of IT assets or personnel training to business practices, representing an inefficient allocation of resources.
A key client is the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), with which we continue to have considerable success. AsystsU has also been a leading player in the recent NATO Enterprise Architecture ‘Hackathon’ in Poland, where we are shaping the future of governance and guidance for conducting effective and amalgamated enterprise architecture (EA) analysis across the NATO community. Additionally, we’ve recently attracted interest from other government departments and a number of private commercial organisations. Our processes and methodologies are delaminated from vendor solutions or work environments but construct an accurate map of the benefits realised via the addition of new capabilities.
‘EA is the process of translating business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating and improving the key requirements, principles and models that describe the enterprise’s future state and enable its evolution.’ (Gartner, inc).
An enterprise needs to understand the processes that deliver its primary outcomes. AsystsU has sophisticated, proven methods and conventions for conducting modelling and business analysis that integrates with the EA and provides clarity of purpose for your business.
Modern enterprises depend critically on understanding their information. In addition to understanding how information flows around the enterprise and underpins success, it is essential that a modern enterprise can ensure that evolving solutions and applications do not throw your business off track. AsystsU specialises in integrating information flow analysis into a comprehensive enterprise architecture that can reach from ideas and concepts all the way down to bits and bytes in complex, interdependent computer systems.
All too often, the selection of effective information system solutions for your business is not really connected to your business needs but is driven by the plethora of brand new ways of managing your information that present themselves almost daily. AsystsU has developed structured enterprise architectural methods and conventions that provide a stable thinking platform on which to make evidence-based decisions on choosing the best solution for your needs.
Case study of specialist technical support contract to the UK MoD
AsystsU is contracted to provide specialist technical support to carry out MODAF Modelling on the Defence Strategic Direction 2016 (DSD16) joint expeditionary force (JEF) full operating capability (FOC) missions in order to create and design the DSD16 operational design model. The DSD16 ODM is an information model that ensures the suite of IT services to support operations are driven by the needs of the end user. The technical support uses rigorous documented architectural methods and conventions in order to provide sufficient detailed evidence in a well-understood structure to generate the operational business need. The OBN is generated as a requirement for information services for a new style of IT programme, which forms the client’s endorsed requirement. This OBN, once ratified, will enable future Joint Force Command (JFC) Information Systems and Services (ISS) customers to purchase services from ISS in a way that allows it to be provided out of a catalogue structure.
The architectural methods and conventions must be refined and documented throughout delivery of the task. Control of the evolution of methods and conventions will require structured design reviews. However, due to the nature of our approach, the work is now being reused to inform an abundance of additional functions within the UK MoD: steady state and op-specific training needs analysis, capability assessment, management information, reversionary systems, systems interoperability, international and cross-agency interoperability, dynamic support to operational planning and cyber defence, network bandwidth predictions, assessment of Big Data, tactical aide memoire production (‘how to’ guides), and doctrinal assessment.
The core of AsystsU’s work will be driven by the established process shown in Fig. 3.
Our flow of activity can be seen in this diagram as having high interdependency between resource types. The underlying processes are as follows:
- Model analysts develop understanding of the JEF scenarios against DSD16 in conjunction with the ISS team and front line commands (FLC) delegates and break them down into vignettes. The end to end processes are identified by our military process analysts and compared with available doctrine and concepts to start the process of constructing the ODM by production of an OV-5b, which is a DODAF nomenclature used to describe the MODAF OV-5 behavioural model;
- Military process and information architects analyse each step in the OV-5b to identify the force elements (FE) and conduct information flow analysis (IFA) between these nodes using the OV-6c model;
- Model analysts develop understanding of the likely military services and the analysis required at each stage can focus this process to reduce effort later in the procedure. These models are checked for completeness and technical content by specialist modellers;
- The OV-6c models are used by the military process analysts to ratify the information flow with the FLCs and analysis is added to identify the characteristics of the exchanged information and military services. Any changes are documented for quality assurance purposes;
- The ratified OV-6c models are engineered to the level necessary in Sparx Systems Enterprise Architect (SparX EA©) and a report is generated to enable quick importation to the MooD© 15 model. This is governed by a comprehensive system engneering management plan;
- The MooD 15 representations are available to the FLCs through the ISS MooD Cloud Repository and they may comment on them further by using a structured feedback capability in the MooD 15 model;
- Further analysis is conducted in the MooD 15 environment that is complimentary to the analysis conducted in SparX EA;
- The model analyst and enterprise architect work with OpIS to identify and model the military services, which are put back into the process by the military process and information architect; and
- Similar analysis and entry to the ODM is conducted for the information communication systems service catalogue to generate the DSD16 operational business need.
Enhanced copies of the images enclosed in this article can be found on the AsystsU website at www.asystsu.com
“The obvious is that which is never seen until someone expresses it clearly.” Kahlil Gibran (philosopher).