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How to use the TOGAF framework to structurally improve the Finance & Risk function

Aron Kalsbleek

Associate Director - Finance & Risk Transformation Practice , The Netherlands

Data

Every transformation program involves 3 key steps prior to execution: defining the target state vision, assessing the current state and drawing the solution roadmap to achieve the target state. The solution roadmap is required to cover all aspects of the problems identified in the current state assessment exercise. While many solutions have been broadly tried with their own merits and demerits, TOGAF has proven itself to be holistic especially for the banking domain, with a possibility of tailoring and adapting to the specific needs and areas of improvement for each organization. On that note, we would like to further dive into the various TOGAF pillars, key best practices with maximum impact from our experience, and how they address the key challenges faced within the F&R domain.

 

Why use the TOGAF framework?

Why use the TOGAF framework

The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is an overarching approach to design, plan, implement, and govern an enterprise information architecture. TOGAF is the global standard for developing an enterprise information architecture and, therefore, it provides an extensive outline of all the aspects to consider to structurally improve the Finance & Risk function. TOGAF ensures that the Finance & Risk transformation starts with agreeing on the strategic objectives and that, subsequently, all relevant dimensions are considered during development and realization. At many banks, the Finance & Risk strategic objectives come down to being more effectively in control (over data) and, preferably, at a lower cost.

Synechron advocates using the TOGAF framework for the following main reasons (non-exhaustive list):

  • TOGAF is a holistic framework that brings the different parts together.
  • TOGAF drives and facilitates management decisions and ensures full alignment of all stakeholders (business, IT, architecture).
  • TOGAF creates common ground to meet all the parties in the end-to-end chain.
  • TOGAF translates business strategy & objectives into a tangible design and demonstrates how the department will operate.
  • TOGAF guarantees efficient and coherent choices in the design and changes of functionalities, processes, data and applications.
  • TOGAF provides an essential tool for syndicating and communicating the targeted (business) changes throughout the organization.
  • TOGAF ultimately derives its value by being an agreed ‘contract’ between the stakeholders involved.

 

TOGAF framework used in practice

At the center of the TOGAF framework lies the Architecture Development Method (ADM). The ADM is a structured iterative process of nine phases describing the development cycle of an enterprise information architecture. From experience and best practices, the ADM can be best broken down into four categories.

Category: ‘Strategy & Motivation’--Defining the strategic drivers that specify your ambitions:

  • Preliminary Phase: Defining and understanding the organization context surrounding the enterprise information architecture to ensure effective and informed decision making.
  • Phase A. Architecture Vision: The business drivers – derived from the business strategy and goals – and design principles set the direction of the Target design and the Transformation roadmap. 

 

Category: ‘Baseline vs. Target Design’-- Designing the target state consistently across multiple dimensions (also known as a Target Operating Model) and describing the differences with the baseline (as-is) state. The design is created in the following phases:

  • Phase B. Business Architecture: Describe the organization and business needs. To develop the design consistently, it is necessary to obtain and validate definitions that describe the business and will be used in articulation of the blueprints. These definitions are typically based on available relevant information (e.g., policy documents). Set-up a business process model (a.k.a. capability model) - by combining the business processes with relevant management dimensions – to provide a common reference for all deliverables. The business process model will be used for taking strategic business/IT decisions. The business process model is always situational and bank-specific and is as detailed and specific as needed.
  • Phase C. Information Systems Architecture: Create a blueprint of the data and applications architecture relevant to the business process model. The Target and as-is data and application architectures are plotted on the business process model. The blueprint describes the individual applications to be deployed, their (data) interactions and other relevant viewpoints & relationships.
  • Phase D. The Technology Architecture: Describe the IT infrastructure, processing, standards, etc. required to support the deployment defined in Phases B and Phase C.

 

Category: ‘Transformation roadmap’-- Defining an integrated roadmap bringing together all the needed parts in the chain needed to successfully transform the Finance & Risk function. 

  • Phase E. Opportunities and Solutions Phase: Assess implementation options and define the logical order of change by always keeping the strategic priority setting defined in Phase A in mind. Additionally,  changesAdditionally, changes required to comply with new regulations must be absorbed. Therefore, an overview of the expected regulations affecting the Finance & Risk transformation is created. An overall end-to-end transformation strategy is created.
  • Phase F. Migration Planning: Setting up and finalizing the integrated roadmap and translating it into a concrete implementation plan. This implementation plan describes all the parts, parties and products needed across the chain for successfully realizing the structural change. 

 

Category: ‘Transformation Governance’-- Set-up a proper transformation governance involving all parties in the chain required to realize the change: 

  • Phase G Implementation Governance: Set up implementation governance tailored to the governance framework already in place.
  • Phase E. Architecture Change Management: Set up a change management framework to ensure the enterprise information architecture (i.e., all steps above) are properly maintained during the entire transformation.

 

Achieve control over finance and risk data.

 

Typical challenges for the Finance & Risk Transformation (across all TOGAF phases)

From experience, we’ve found a wide range of challenges can typically arise during the execution of the TOGAF phases to structurally improve the Finance & Risk function. Here’s an overview of the challenges Synechron sees at many clients and how TOGAF can help addressing these challenges:

Table listing the challenges and risks faced by enterprises when managing financial data.

Conclusion: 
Use the TOGAF framework tailored to your needs

Synechron advocates using the TOGAF framework tailored to your needs to structurally improve the Finance & Risk function and be more effectively in control. TOGAF is a holistic framework that guarantees all aspects are covered. Combining TOGAF with best practices to tackle the wide range of challenges, makes it possible to support and advance the Finance & Risk transformation. Each Finance & Risk transformation is unique and, therefore, each Finance & Risk information architecture Synechron helps create differs in the level of detail and complexity. Ultimately, Finance & Risk information architecture derives its value by being an agreed ‘contract’ between all the stakeholders in the chain involved. It gives overall direction, insight, and control to successfully improve the Finance & Risk function. 
 

Sparked your interest?  

At Synechron we are more than happy to explain how your organization can benefit from our experience in (re)designing processes. Over the years from our Finance & Risk, and Enterprise Architecture practices, we have helped numerous clients with the change to more resilient reporting processes and tighter data control.

 

The Author

Rachel Anderson, Digital Lead at Synechron UK

Aron Kalsbleek
Expert - Finance & Risk Transformation Practice
Associate Director
Aron.Kalsbleek@synechron.com

Monique Jager Smeets
Associate Director – Enterprise Strategy, Architecture & Transformation practice
Monique.JagerSmeets@synechron.com

Rachel Anderson, Digital Lead at Synechron UK

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