The Term Project provides a large contribution to the overall grade for this course. There is substantial freedom given to the student in selecting his or her project.
Your initial Term Project deliverable will be to propose what your project will be, followed by a schedule that will map out incremental deliverables leading up to the submission of the Term Project written report and the presentation. These are two separate, distinct deliverables. The Term Project Report will be your comprehensive treatment of your solution. The goal of the Term Project Presentation is to present your proposal to your CEO/CFO/Exec Team for approval.
Student presentations are scheduled for the last week of the course and are listed on the course calendar. Students are highly encouraged to attend as many student presentations as possible â€“ they are an integral part of the courseâ€™s value and wonderful learning opportunities.
Selecting Your Target Company
There are at least 4 approaches to choosing the company or business that will be the subject of your Term Project. Your choice must be approved by your facilitator and instructor to ensure it is of sufficient scope and breadth to qualify as Enterprise Architecture (EA).
Options for your target company:
- Use the current company you are working at; to make the project substantial enough, you should chart a course to greatly improve the current architecture;
- Use a company you worked at in the past, as in #1, ensure that the subject is substantial enough. Check with your instructor if youâ€™re unsure.
- Use some well-known public company, like our Johnson & Johnson workshop case study; research the companyâ€™s website to ensure that there will be enough information about the business units and the company goals that you can determine the companyâ€™s Operating Model
- As a last resort, create a fictional company modeled on real world examples. (Not recommended, as there tend to be a lot of loose ends)
To enhance your learning experience in the course, challenge yourself! Consider choosing a company in a domain space (examples: utilities conglomerate, logistics company like FedEx, complex manufacturing, or a social network) that is not what you do day-to-day on the job. Or, use your current company, but introduce a twist â€“ such as a transformational change that you can express as â€œtodayâ€ and â€œfutureâ€ enterprise architecture solutions.
HINT: If you decide to include an ERP software package as part of your solution, it will be easier to navigate your project by starting with (1) your companyâ€™s operating model, (2) create some initial high-level workflows, then (3) select your ERP system for your EA. The ERP system will be purchased software and therefore will be less negotiable as to functionality and interfaces. Typically, there are multiple company-specific customizations created as part of the ERP implementation project. By looking at the high-level requirements of your EA first, you will be able to select the modules from the ERP that are critical to integrate in order to support your business flows. Try it J
Suggested Content for Term Project Report
Note that this outline is suggested content. The first three items are highly recommended. See your facilitator and instructor if you want to pursue a substantially different outline/content for your project than items 1 through 3 in Section 1 below.
Section 1 â€“ Required Content (can be negotiated with Instructor)
In order to develop your enterprise architecture for the Term Project, you need to define the problem you are trying to solve. Moreover, your Instructor and Facilitators may not be familiar with the business domain of your project, so you need to lay down that context. That is the purpose of #1 below. The Core Diagram
- Analysis of the Problem â€“ create Use Cases and Workflows
The first step is to define the problem to solve. Create the following artifacts:
- Overview of business goals the EA (Enterprise Architecture) must satisfy â€“ this should be a bulleted list (3 to 7 items) with justifications, for example:
- Goal: Handle any customer inquiry or problem immediately, within four hours at the outside
- Justification: Achieving goal will yield major competitive advantage and will counter our main competitive threat
- Use Case Overview diagram (or equivalent model to capture requirements and system scope, for example a comprehensive swimlanes workflow diagram), showing the use cases the EA needs to satisfy:
- Include a paragraph description for each use case and each actor identified in the Use Case Overview
- Accompany the Use Case overview and description with a thorough description of the main business flows your EA must support, for example, Order Fulfillment for a retail business. (User Does/System Does matrix is a fine way to deal with this.)
- Core diagram
Create a core diagram for the new system. Refer to the examples in pages 50 â€“ 64 of our textbook for ideas on representation and the Core Diagram lecture (typically given during Module 2). If you are suggesting a major transition in order to achieve the business goals outlined in #1 above, you could do a â€œbeforeâ€ and â€œafterâ€ core diagram to clarify how you intend to satisfy those goals, and to clearly show the value of the new EA.
You must choose some â€œlinking technologyâ€ to integrate your business modules and applications, if you incorporate an ERP system or other similar package software (see ERP question below). Consider a compare/contrast of at least three different products or services you could use for linking technology. Identify the key features you need, based on your business requirements and workflows. Justify why your choice works for both the ERP system you select (or other 3rd party package) and for the needs of your EA.
- Presentation to CEO
As the final deliverable, pull together your â€œtalking pointsâ€ for presenting your recommendation to the CEO. Make sure you align your proposal with the strategic business objectives. Your talking points should be bullet points on three to four slides; one of your slides will be your Core Diagram. Your talking points will be presented to the class during one of the final classes of the term. So, to summarize, your presentation should show:
- Introductory slide playing back to the Exec Committee/CEO the business objectives;
- Your analysis of the businessâ€™s Operating Model
- The EA Core Diagram you developed per the Operating Model
- Possibly some further artifacts that show your command of the problem to solve, such as workflow diagrams
- Estimates and costs (whether this is possible depends on your project)
- Your â€œpitchâ€ for why your EA should be funded; you should include things like cost savings, how the EA propels the company strategy forward, and so forth. Presentation of your financial analysis is HIGHLY encouraged.
Optional Content Ideas
These questions may be selected and added on to your base project. Only select questions that make sense for the type of business your target company exemplifies. For example, if your business does not have a strong fulfillment or logistics component, it probably wouldnâ€™t work to choose the SCM (Supply Chain Management) question.
The Deployment question is from the realm of system architecture. The learning opportunity with these questions can be significant. They enable you to drill through into the technical and physical architecture of your system in order to experience moving through the conceptual EA layers into the technical layers (see our multimedia object in Module 1, Section 2.4). You could even use the Deployment question to identify job descriptions for DevOps personnel in your company.
ERP System for Your Business
Choose a commercial ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system for your company. Explain how the ERP system will interface with other system modules and services in your EA. Identify at least four typical use cases (or business workflows) for the business and explain how they will be implemented with the ERP system. An example of such a use case might be â€œGenerate Accounts Receivable Reportâ€.
Model the Subsystem Layer Architecture
Using the layer diagram modeling technique (ask instructor if you need examples), create a subsystem layer diagram showing the layers of the system, including modules that identify reusable services, e.g., Rules Engine. Show the services as SOA architecture. An overview Use Case Diagram or workflows should help to think through the functionality required so that you can create the logical architecture. Each module or service identified needs to have â€“ at a minimum — a name and a description that states its purpose. Include the modules of your ERP system in the diagram, and label them to show they are part of the ERP application.
If you want to provision some or all of your EA as a hosted or cloud solution, you must be detailed in terms of exactly what the system specifications are â€“ look, for example, at AWS or Azure service offerings, or at a hosted cloud vendor like Rackspace. There are different price points for different hardware and capacity requirements.
Expand your EA to include a significant BI (Business Intelligence/Big Data) solution. Again, your target company must clearly gain from including such services as part of your architecture. Usually, this would be shown as a data warehouse or data lake, and either data marts or analysis services/reports output on a regular basis. Choose a product or products that would enhance your offering â€“ for example, a data mining product, or a visualization product like Spotfire, or look at emerging products like Tamr.
You must supply at least three scenarios that show how a problem will be solved with analytics using your solution. These should be equivalent in detail to the Case Study examples in the Module narratives.
Supply Chain Management (SCM)
If your target company has significant logistics as part of its operations, you could optionally select a commercial product to handle SCM activities. Show the modules you are going to use by adding them to your Core Diagram (viz., make a copy of your Core Diagram and show the additional SCM modules), and you must choose the linking technologies that will integrate your SCM modules into your overall EA. Identify at least two major workflows such as Procurement or Order Fulfillment that are typical workflows handled by SCM, and show the integration with a User Does/System Does matrix.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system
If your target company has high touch customer service as part of its mission, you could include due diligence on a commercial product to handle CRM activity. As with the ERP question, you should identify the modules you will use or the functions the CRM system will supply to your EA. Show how you will integrate the information through a linking technology or approach. Show at least lightweight due diligence to justify your choice of vendor for your particular EA.
You must supply at least three scenarios that show how a problem in your architecture will be solved with the CRM solution you choose. These should be equivalent in detail to the Case Study examples in the Module narratives.
Overall Guidance & Things To Bear in Mind
It is critical that you always link your choice of a technology or a solution back to the specific business problem it solves. Alignment between the business need and the architecture solution is a key theme of our course. This specific business problem must be a problem that your target company is seeking to solve or that benefits your target company in a measurable way. Lots of things are appealing, but the point is to make sure you have selected the â€œbest fitâ€ solution for the problem at hand.
Recall from our class lectures that EA is expensive and risky to implement, and you want it to last a long time and to be extensible and malleable over the long haul. Therefore, keeping the overall solution space as simple as you can, and ensuring that things are â€œpluggableâ€ are important characteristics of successful EA.
By simple, I mean that the technology solutions you choose must be compatible. Selecting â€œone of everythingâ€ is usually a recipe for failure â€“ but, on the other hand, you also need to be careful about vendor lock-in. How are you going to handle those competing requirements?
By pluggable, I mean that you need to ensure your EA can accommodate a change in third party products or technologies you use. For example, if you create an interface to SCM modules and you then need to change your SCM vendor, it would be far easier to do that if you have middleware or an API or services between your business applications and the SCM vendor functionality.
Make sure grade more than 80%