Wisedesign: 21st Century Enterprise Architecture

Sharon G Jones, Founder & CEO and Dr. Jack Jones, President Scratch the surface, and there will be a plethora of stories around software projects that went off the rails and resulted in piles of wasted money and unfavorable recriminations. Take, for instance, the case of Nike; when, after investing $400 million in a software package, a single failed roll-out left the sports giant with $100 million in lost sales and a collection of class-action lawsuits. The tales of woe and warning that accompany software failures raise the valid question as to why so many technology projects fail miserably. For over two decades the Standish Group, a research advisory firm, has produced the ‘Chaos Report’ identifying the primary reasons behind software failures. It turns out that lack of engagement with stakeholders and ambiguity around business requirements has always been the root cause for software failures throughout the time span, and it continues to be so.

If only good software were the problem! The software issues are only a symptom of a larger issue for business today. To keep pace in a changing world, organizations are trying to enable the digital business; to develop best practices; to meet new demands from their customers; to train new personnel more effectively; and to become high-performance organizations. In the self-perpetuating swirl of today’s world, knowledge workers don’t have time to think, understand and create the changes that are needed to recreate the business. Creating a way to understand the purpose and methods of the work is the key to success in today’s world.

The WiseDesign approach to business outcome focused enterprise architecture creates an architecture and implementation approach to move the business forward. Their results are evidence of their leadership in the emerging field of Vanguard Architecture. WiseDesign’s team of senior practitioners uses a well-organized methodology for clarifying a sound structure for the domain of discourse. This innovative approach combines the broad vision of the leadership with the deep knowledge of the individual to provide the basis for a high-performance organization (see Figure 2). The visual models and artifacts produced with the methodology can then be used to bring operational clarity to strategic plans, to support new business initiatives, and to create business requirements that everyone understands and endorses.

The combination of our methodology, our people, and our software enables project success by achieving buy-in of the stakeholders, removing ambiguity, and breaking complicated issues into smaller, more manageable elements

“The combination of our methodology, our people, and our software enables project success by achieving buy-in of the stakeholders, building consensus across a diverse group of people by removing ambiguity and breaking complicated issues into smaller, more manageable elements. It is this new understanding that catapults these organizations to new levels of performance,” says Sharon Jones, WiseDesign’s founder and CEO.

WiseDesign achieves their powerful results by focusing stakeholders on specific business issues, one issue at a time. As Figure 1 depicts, the work begins by establishing the purpose of the overall process. Next, at every level the practitioners help the subject matter experts decompose the business into component parts and check for completeness. There is an unwavering focus on the purpose of the activity rather than the name. This expands the range of options that can be considered about how to achieve the results. After the elements have been established, the roles, information, location, and time constraints of each element are identified. Finally, also in Figure 1, flows are developed to capture the order of each process. From these models they create “signature ready” documentation for IT leadership, process models for Lean for Six Sigma, or input to one of many process automation tools.

Sharon’s partner in the business is also her life partner, Dr. Jack Jones, who is a knowledge leader in understanding complex data and is an expert in information technology management. As the Chief Information Officer of a large federal organization, Jack used this methodology to respond to a new federal identity management initiative. The organization had 30,000 employees and contractors working across multiple sites and onboarding time was stretching to 3-4 weeks.
Dr. Jones wanted to create a unified end-to-end process for onboarding, rather than adding just another band-aid to an already overburdened process. His staff worked with all involved groups to model their processes and data and were able to pivot perceptions of modeling from “time consuming” to “instrumental.” They captured the corporate knowledge of each individual group’s onboarding process, identified the duplications of effort, and developed an agreed-upon enterprise-wide onboarding process including sound requirements for revised software. This knowledge enabled process transformation and there was a reduction in onboarding time from several weeks to a few days. “This approach created the best environment for collaboration possible and its success led directly to the formation of WiseDesign to bring it to others,” Dr. Jones said.

With no signs of slowing down, WiseDesign leverages its own methodology to drive innovation in its services and solution offerings. To accelerate innovation, WiseDesign created a sister company, WiseWorks, to create state-of-the-art modeling solutions to enable adoption and successful execution of its methodology. Top priority for WiseWorks is the release of its revolutionary cloud-based business modeling software platform. The modeling platform will embody the WiseDesign methodology while facilitating efficient collaboration and knowledge sharing between stakeholders and modelers. The WiseWorks platform further enhances the methodology by capturing model information that supports both data analytics and reporting. WiseDesign is leveraging its success and new products to expand adoption of their methodologies and best practices into industries where market or regulatory forces are driving transformation initiatives and magnifying the importance of comprehensive business requirements. “Our larger aim is to help companies execute on a purposeful vision,” ends Sharon.


McLean, VA

Sharon G Jones, Founder & CEO and Dr. Jack Jones, President

An informatics company specializing in next-generation enterprise architecture