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Wondering about updating to Meta Model v4? Here is our experience...

  • 20 February 2024
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(I originally shared this on LinkedIn and the CSM team thought it would be valuable to re-post here…)

Here are some quick thoughts about our experience moving to Meta Model v4.

An enterprise architecture metamodel is important – it’s how we represent and describe the world around us. EA modelling must be increasingly expressed in business terms, consumed by a business audience, and shown to have immediate business value.

LeanIX has done an excellent job in updating their model to align more closely with business-driven EA. (Meta Model Overview). I was able to update our metamodel in an afternoon, with no issues. Why was it easy for us?

We keep things simple. From the first day of our LeanIX implementation, we decided to not perform low-level customization of the LeanIX schema. Customization brings technical debt, slows updates, and decreases flexibility. It also second-guesses best practices that bubble up into the metamodel from the broader practitioner base.

We use tag groups for flexible overlays. Rather than customize the underlying architectural schema and fact sheets, we apply fast, flexible overlays in the form of tags. We found assurance we had been headed in the right direction, as two of our tagging overlays are now covered by the v4 model.

Example 1: Collaboration Fragmentation

We use LeanIX to model collaboration platform overlap and help guard against collaboration fragmentation across teams and functions. In the modern enterprise, if we aren’t careful, a team member might need to interact with others in Teams, Slack, Salesforce Connect, Webex, Zoom, etc. For this exercise, we created an “Ecosystem” tag group to apply to collaboration services. This lets us visually illustrate for business leaders, live in LeanIX, which parts of the organization were faced with multiple collaboration tools.

Some of the collaboration services in our “Ecosystem” tag group:

The new v4 “Platform” entity now easily handles this need:

“Platforms are groupings of strategically relevant capabilities, applications, or technologies that drive simplification and help IT focus on business benefits.”

Here is a portion of the v4 Meta Model from the LeanIX "Platform" documentation:

 

Example 2: Business Capability Maturity

I use a tag group to provide a visual, macro measure of business capability maturity. This is based on a Gartner model I adapted to our needs. It lets us quickly tag capabilities during workshops with business stakeholders, giving them an immediate sense of insight and business value.

Our “Maturity” tag group, for business capabilities:

 

That tag group is now covered by the v4 model’s business capability “Current Maturity” and “Target Maturity” fields. I applied our custom colors and am merging descriptions onto the new maturity measures. As a bonus, the v4 Business Capability fact sheet also includes “Strategic Importance”!

In Conclusion

This migration was far easier than I thought it would be. The coverage of two of our tag groups by the updated model confirms we are focusing on the right business questions in our EA practice.


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@jalon zimmerman great article and it prompted me to re-look at the V4 delta, as we missed the some of the detail in the Business Capability relationship definition first time round.

Not all the changes we decided to go with but as maturity and usage evolves this will be considered first before any “custom” changes.

Did you go the whole hog and delete the tag groups and values that have now been superseded or is dual-maintenance required?

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@Justin Swift, I’m in the process of retiring the superseded tag groups in favor of the fact sheets. While we lose some of the fun colors for collaboration ecosystems, it looks like some of the complex reporting will be easier when using fact sheet based data versus tags.

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@jalon zimmerman Thank you so much for sharing your insights with our community.

In case you are planning follow ups, you might want to consider extending your audience by posting it in the Best Practices category of this community instead of only the Americas User Group.

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