Book Image

Open Text Metastorm ProVision 6.2 Strategy Implementation

By : Bill Aronson
Book Image

Open Text Metastorm ProVision 6.2 Strategy Implementation

By: Bill Aronson

Overview of this book

Open Text ProVision® (formerly known as Metastorm ProVision®) is an Enterprise Architecture (EA) solution allowing for effective planning and decision making throughout the enterprise. It enables an organization to have a central repository of information about the business, reducing organizational risks and better optimizing business resources. Implemented well, it enables better and more actionable decisions exactly when you need them.This book combines theory and practice to provide a step- by- step guide to building a successful customer- centric model of your business. The approach is simple and down to earth, and along the way, with various real-world examples, you will learn how to make a business case, use a framework, and adopt a methodology with Open Text ProVision®. This book draws on the experience of ProVision® experts around the world. By combining theory with practice from the field you can avoid common mistakes and develop a successful customer centric strategy for implementing ProVision®. Each chapter builds on the previous one to give you the confidence to implement a central repository, dealing with both the technical and human issues that you might face.
Table of Contents (16 chapters)
Open Text Metastorm ProVision® 6.2 Strategy Implementation
About the Author
About the Reviewers


I had a conversation the other day with the head of IT in a globally known organization. He was trying to justify the expense of buying ProVision®. He told me that the IT department really understood the point of it, but people in the business side were lukewarm. He asked me whether he should hold off buying the software until the business was supportive, or get started and wait for them to catch up. I told him that if he started without their support they would never catch up. If he waited for them to catch up he would be waiting for ever.

Then there was a third option.

I asked him, "What's the biggest issue in the business right now?" He said, "We never have enough time."

So then I asked him, "How long does it take to make a major decision?" He paused for a moment. "I suppose it takes at least six months, sometimes longer."

So then I said, "If there was a way to make the same decision in six weeks, perhaps even a better decision, how would that feel." His eyes lit up. "Oh, that would be fantastic. People get so frustrated by how long it takes to get decisions made. It would be wonderful."

So then I said, "What would you get if all the decisions you made took less than six weeks, rather than more than six months?" He thought about it awhile. I could see he was struggling. "I'm not sure what you mean", he said eventually.

"Well", I said, "You just told me that the biggest issue around here is the lack of time. What do you get more of if decisions take six weeks or less?" He smiled. "We would get more time."

We grinned at each other, "Exactly", I said. "The reason you don't have any time is that the decision-making process is sucking all the oxygen. So, how can you accelerate the decision-making process? First you have to give up the belief that a slow decision is a good decision and a fast decision is necessarily a bad one. It has nothing to do with speed. So let's examine why the decision making process is so slow."

"We are very concerned about our reputation. We want to do everything of the highest quality. We usually take years to plan some of the things that we do. There are a lot of people to consult."

"I am guessing. So you arrange a meeting and then it gets cancelled because a key person can't be there?"

"Oh yes, that happens all the time. And when a meeting gets cancelled it can take a month or two before everyone's diaries are free."

"When you make a decision, you need to have a shared understanding of what it is that you want to do. That is what all those meetings are about, trying to ensure that everyone is on the same page. To do this you construct models. The thing is that the models that you make are inside your head.

There are a few problems with this. Nobody can see your models. They are invisible to the world and as you get new information you change the models at a moment's notice and nobody will know.

When you are examining the models you may forget details or you may be distracted. As a result your models are incomplete and distorted.

In a large and complex organization you can't understand everything. You have your own unique perspective. So, even if you are operating at your best, your models are incomplete and inaccurate.

If you go on leave, or are away for some reason, then nobody has access to your models. If you quit the organization, the models walk out the door inside your head. Your successor has to start all over again constructing their models. While they may be able to recover the information they may never get the same insights. The process takes months, sometimes years. You don't have a choice about whether to make models or not. You have to use models to make decisions. There is no other way. Your only choice is whether you make those models visible or invisible, shared or individual.

What you call a meeting is a group of people sitting around trying to synchronize their mental models. Until this is done you can't begin to make a decision. What happens is that politics and psychology come into play. It is human nature. I try and persuade you that my mental model is better than yours. You get offended. You then try and coerce me to accept your model. And so it goes on. The whole human soap opera continues and in the meanwhile the decision gets delayed.

Now if you take all the key information and put it into a centrally-managed model, the game changes. Vital information that was scattered now becomes accessible. It doesn't replace mental models. However, everyone is responsible for synchronizing their mental models to the common shared model. When a decision needs to be made you print out the relevant models for everyone to see and discuss. If someone can't be there then it doesn't matter because their knowledge is embedded in the central model. If they want to attend the meeting but are away then they can participate remotely.

The trick is not to overload the central model. You need to put just enough information in to enable a better decision to be made than would have happened otherwise. The more information you add, the more you have to maintain. Too little, and the information is insufficient. Too much, and the information is too hard to manage and interpret."

He paused for a moment. This was a lot to take in.

Eventually he said, "So what you are saying is that I need to demonstrate that ProVision® can be used to save time. We need to treat the decision-making process like any other. We make a model of how it runs right now and then show how we can simplify and improve it."


"If the business sees the tool as some kind of technical thing then they will never show any interest. If they see it as part of a strategy to make better decisions now then they will see the point."

"That's about the size of it."

"So, how do you build the model?"

"That's up to you. If you use the Enterprise Designer framework, it can be done in two weeks."

"Are you serious?"


"Only two weeks?"

"Yes. After that you add detail one project at a time. When you do a project you have to spend time thinking up front anyway. It doesn't take any more effort to put it into the central repository. In fact it takes less."


This conversation is reprinted from Turning up for Life—the lost manuscript by Bill Aronson.

About this book

This book is a practical guide for architects and CIOs working in large organizations, who want to get the most from ProVision®. It covers all the relevant broad areas—designing a strategy, creating a business case, using a framework, adopting a methodology, implementing effective governance, understanding the toolset, and obtaining buy-in. Taken together, these areas provide a comprehensive strategy to deploy ProVision® successfully.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, Designing a Strategy, will show you a five-layer strategy framework. This framework has been developed by global business coaching company Shirlaws It can be applied to any business issue that you want to understand in greater detail.

Chapter 2, Making a Business Case, explains some general principles of modeling, and the key benefits of using the ProVision® modeling solution specifically.

This chapter explains the limitations of drawing, and why modeling is not only a best practice and essential to support a sustainable strategy, but also has a lower TCO (total cost of ownership). The reader can use this information to make their business case compelling and get the funds that they need to do the job properly.

Chapter 3, Using a Framework, explains what a business framework is. A business framework is not an enterprise architecture framework. The original idea of enterprise architecture was exactly that—to capture all of the information about the whole enterprise. However this has proven to be too hard for most businesses. A business framework is the highest level framework that provides a context for all other frameworks. It describes the organization's primary goals, who are the customers, what are the products and services, what are the key processes and major elements. ProVision® is designed to support industry standard enterprise architecture and business frameworks. The user can modify a framework or create their own. To do this they need to understand the key components of any framework and why it has been developed.

Chapter 4, Adopting a Methodology, shows you how to build a business framework. What parts of the organization must be modeled. What is the correct sequence? To what level of detail should the modeler go? There has to be a trade-off between too much detail and too little. This chapter proposes a sequence in which to build models and helps you define to what level of detail you need to go.

Chapter 5, Implementing Effective Governance, describes how to design a governance structure that will support the creation and maintenance of modeling. Too often modeling is seen as a technical function and is conducted in a vacuum. Getting the governance right is a key to successful strategy. By ensuring that all key stakeholders are involved, the models will reflect the higher needs of the business.

Chapter 6, Understanding the Toolset, provides a high-level view of the features and functionality of ProVision®. The purpose is to provide information that can be used to introduce the tool to modelers and explain what it can be used for. As this is not a technical book, this chapter is designed to explain to the people developing the strategy what the tool is capable of so that they have realistic expectations.

Chapter 7, Obtaining Buy-in, reminds us that business is emotional. The purpose of this chapter is to reinforce the message that a successful strategy depends on the buy-in of people across the whole organization. We will explore techniques that win hearts and minds, and ensure alignment between the commercial and cultural aspects of the business.

The appendix, References, contains website references where you may find more information.


So often an organization invests in a modeling tool for a specific project and then, when the project is complete, the team disperses and the tool gets forgotten. When a new project starts the team may favor another tool. Very quickly the work done on the previous project becomes out of date and impossible to integrate into the current initiative.

This is not because of any technical reason, as most tools have comprehensive import and export features. It is because the organization does not have a common strategy, a common framework for managing information, a consistent methodology for gathering information, and a governance structure that manages and motivates users.

By the end of this book you will have a simple and effective way to do things differently.

What you need for this book

Much of this book is intended to help you with your strategy. So, if you just wish to get a high-level understanding, a copy of the software is not strictly essential. If you intend to delve a little deeper, you will need a current Microsoft Windows platform with ProVision® Enterprise Edition 6.2 or later. Most modern computers will have sufficient memory and speed to run the application. If your organization has Knowledge Exchange® 6.2, that is a bonus but not essential to get value from the book. It is also useful to have Microsoft Excel.

Who this book is for

If you are a business architect or CIO in a large organization who wants to implement a successful strategy using ProVision®, then this book is for you. It will also be of interest if you are an enterprise designer or architect. It might be that you already have working knowledge of ProVision®, but do not yet have the skill to implement it in the right context; this book will help you get there.


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