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Integrated EA: Customer Solution Architecture Methodology (CSAM)

a book by Steve Else, Ph.D., PMP

Over the past several decades, a number of symptoms have been identified in organizational performance. These symptoms, and others, are particularly evident in the Information Technology (IT) industry and the IT architecture discipline.

Various solutions to these symptoms have been posited – Total Quality Management, Business Process Reengineering, Enterprise Architecture, to name a few. But these approaches – albeit useful in many organizations and many situations – only address symptoms, not the underlying causes of the disorder.

In his upcoming book Integrated Enterprise Architecture: Customer Solution Architecture Methodology (CSAM), Steve Else tackles these gaps. He envisions an overarching methodology grand enough to apply across architectures yet specific enough to establish practical meaning.

CSAM defines principles that provide top-level guidance on the beliefs, values, and concepts that are important to how the processes are planned and carried out.

Customer Solution Architecture Methodology (CSAM) addresses an approach that focuses on understanding and responding to a fundamental paradigm shift in the business (especially the IT business) environment.

Above all, CSAM states that it is important for the customer to see the provider as a partner, and to be positioned so that the customer can see the provider as the most highly valued kind of partner. That means that customer-vendor relationships need to cease being vendor-driven, and be customer-driven.

The purpose of Customer Solution Architecture Methodology (CSAM) is to develop solutions for the specific business problems of the customer. Remembering the definition of architecture, which includes understanding the relationship with the environment of the architecture, CSAM has to consider the environment by addressing all relevant business, operational, and technology aspects. The detail and depth that needs to be used in these domains is dependent on the type of problem being addressed.

CSAM provides a complete business environment for all phases of the solution development lifecycle. It is aimed primarily not at the creation of generic solutions, but rather at the processes and methods needed for engaging a particular customer, understanding the customer’s specific problems, and then developing and delivering unique fit-for-purpose solutions that solve those specific customer requirements.

CSAM provides structure and standardization for a number of activities and other factors that are important to approaching solution development in a consistent and predictable way. Chief among these is a common vocabulary, or glossary, that allows everyone involved on the teams to have a shared understanding of key terms and concepts.

To that end, CSAM provides a set of principles associated with each of five main concepts:

From Business Value to System Design reminds us that the methodology must always start with understanding the business value that the customer is seeking from our solutions, and that we then work to develop solutions and systems that are fit for the purpose of solving the problems that will bring that value. As you will recall, this is very much in line with the top-down nature of the value pyramid in the Outside-In selling approach.

Targeted Stakeholder Management with Dedicated Architectural Views involves the important methods of identifying, engaging, and capturing the concerns of key customer stakeholders, and providing them the types of views into the architecture work that allows them to easily see that their concerns are being addressed.

 

Customer Requirements Development underscores the importance of a structured and integrated approach to requirements management, where requirements are linked at all levels to ensure compliance of the delivered solution with customer needs.

Agile Development through Iteration Cycles focuses on the agile development style, which uses iteration cycles as an effective means of rapidly developing value for the customer while keeping the customer engaged throughout the solution development process. The project and program managers must understand this concept to ensure that project plans accommodate the iterative nature and interactions required in agile development.

 

Solution Architecture Repository (SAR): Knowledge and Assets Management focuses on the Solution Architecture Repository and the vital role it plays in knowledge and assets management, and in achieving the benefits of reuse and repeatable results.

 

 

 

Customer Solution Architecture Methodology (CSAM) explores each of these concepts and builds an effective and systematic approach to effectively addressing the customer-vendor relationship. The book presents the complete implementation of the CSAM model, including

  • Discussion of CSAM concepts and a CSAM overview
  • The solution governance cycle
  • Problem definition cycle
  • Requirements definition cycle
  • Architecture definition cycle
  • Solution design cycle
  • Solution architecture repository, tools, and reference architecture.

More than 200 diagrams are provided to aid in understanding the concepts presented.

 

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