Delivery Documentaries are a behind the scenes look at how our Enterprise Architects (EAs) in the field perform Value Realization activities for customers. The documentaries are raw and real, and the purpose is to share what actually happens on the ground. They are always a learning opportunity, and we hope that over time we can help bridge the state of the art with the state of the practice, and continue to move the ball forward.
What happens when a Microsoft Architect and team help a bank explore ways to improve business operations, and to provide better service to an expanded number of customers? Let’s see…
This is a Delivery Documentary of an engagement led by the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy Program (ESP), which provides services to help customers realize the most value from their technology investments. In this engagement, an Enterprise Architect helped a large bank envision, articulate, and prioritize strategic initiatives supporting business transformation.
To maintain the reputation the bank has for innovation, the bank needed to address many challenges in streamlining architectures involving multiple IT shops, the complexity of a federated group organization, IT services that often did not scale well, and database resources needing consolidation.
The engagement began with discussions about the nature of enterprise services, continued as the Enterprise Architect made personal connections with stakeholders and sponsors, and culminated with the creation of the service delivery plan based on input from sponsors, together with guidance from a network of experienced and knowledgeable people around the world.
How It Started
Contoso Bank chose Enterprise Strategy to help understand the business aspirations of the bank and the technology that can enable them. This relationship started with the cooperation of the Sales Executive, Account Manager and Enterprise Strategy Program Lead.
The Sales Executive pulled me in for a meeting with the head of architecture to discuss what Enterprise Services is, and how it could benefit the bank.
Next, I joined the major account manager for a meeting with the executive sponsor for the bank’s engagement, the managing architect, and the engagement manager, to discuss the topics of interest to the bank, and how Microsoft can help.
The bank had identified these topics as the priorities to address from a technology perspective as well as from the business, people, and process perspectives:
- Analytics and Insight
- End-point management
- Database convergence
Preparing for a Kickoff Workshop
To learn the primary concerns of the bank prior to the kickoff workshop, I…
- Reviewed and understood the Statement of Work in order to properly set expectations based on limits and latitudes such as the allocated resource hours.
- Read about Contoso Bank in the press, researched the company structure, and identified the profit centers.
- Researched the aspirations of the directors, investor communications, and annual reports.
- Viewed the bank web site and press releases.
- Began collaborating with the experienced Account Technology Specialist for the bank, who focused on technology, while I focused on the business side. Gathered information from the engagement manager, the sales executive, and others assigned to the account.
Participants represented security, network, end-user computing, retail, and other areas of the bank.
I led them through our thinking about what we do:
- What Enterprise Strategy Program is about and the features it includes
- Our network of subject matter experts (SMEs) around the world
- Our ability to share learnings through many avenues, including the Customer Connect program
I focused on outputs and deliverables we’ve used before, and the results we’ve seen.
I spent time sharing my personal stories and experience with innovation in the banking industry.
I then validated the thinking of the participants about the themes they had identified. Since this is a very technical-oriented engagement, it was helpful to have the Account Technology Specialist at the meeting to conduct the technical dive required for each theme.
This activity helped me define the problem statements and the pain in order to prioritize and compile the service delivery plan. I identified the people feeling these pains, because these were the people who would be the champions of the initiatives.
Met with Sponsors
Then I sat with the sponsors and asked “What does success for the program look like to you?”
I emphasized that the value we would deliver was not just about delivering documents, but helping them achieve their goals and get what they need faster. We may provide a POV, a strategic plan, an architecture plan, a business case, and so on.
The sponsors said it would be great to get help with:
- Creating business cases for Office 365 and cloud migration.
- Highlighting the benefits of rationalizing, optimizing, and consolidating database resources, including reduced cost and increased data security.
- Transforming end-point management.
This information helped me to identify the best ways to allocate resources to the project.
Met with Office 365 Stakeholder Lead
The lead asked to learn more about the capabilities that Office 365 offers, and to have us help him articulate the value of new capabilities. I reviewed the tradeoffs between flexibility and cost in private and public cloud deployments, explaining that private clouds still have service management issues, but you have flexibility and control. A public cloud is has the least amount of flexibility, but it is the most available, enables work from anywhere, and is the most cost effective. A hybrid approach offers middle ground.
Preparing the Service Delivery Plan
I reviewed my findings with the executive sponsor and together we developed a delivery approach that expedited the highest priority work.
Using feedback from the workshop, meetings with sponsors, and consultations with Microsoft colleagues, I prepared a service delivery plan.
Further Exploring Initiatives for the Bank
Currently, I’m taking deep dives into each of the initiatives to determine current state, capabilities, and context.
- I’ll review many sources for industry information.
- I’ll research more about the priorities of the executive board of the bank.
- I’ll review our learnings and IP, and team up with other enterprise architects.
- I’ll reach out to MSIT at the global level for insights and lessons learned.
- I’ll reach out to the worldwide banking community for lessons learned.