A quick summary: it’s an interesting attempt to unify various other business-motivation models, but with some gaping holes that will cripple it in practice, and a really nasty little ‘gotcha’ hidden away in its ‘purports to be open source but isn’t’ licensing.
Slightly less quick summary: Malik has attempted to link together three different motivation models – the OMG / Business Rules Group’s Business Motivation Model, the ‘business architecture’ parts of the TOGAF 9 Content Metamodel, and the work of someone I’d not heard of before, a certain Dr. Osterwalder – and meld them into a unified model and metamodel of business motivation, linked back to enterprise architecture.
The good part is that “for the first time”, as he puts it, the model includes the concept of ‘business model’ – the operating-model against which value-achieved should be measured. That’s definitely useful, especially as it’s then linked into a solid and consistent underlying metamodel.
But in terms of improvement on what’s gone on before, that’s the end of the good part. The bad part is, well, just about everything else ‘new’, really. A bit unkind to say that, I know, but… ouch…
As far as enterprise architecture is concerned, he falls over at the first hurdle: literally so, because in the very first words of the ‘Introduction’ he asserts, “Enterprise Architecture is an area of IT” – which it isn’t. (If anything, IT is a minor subset of enterprise architecture – the other way round entirely.) Not helpful – and every subsequent EA-related remark goes further and further downhill from there, as he remains trapped in the IT-centric box whilst trying to describe a world far outside of those narrow confines. Which kind of invalidates it as having much use for enterprise architecture. Oh well.
The main structural flaws, though, are a bit more subtle, because they concern what isn’t in the model.
One is that he assumes that the only possible business value is finance, which makes the model usable only for a mainstream profit-only business – which shuts out government, not-for-profit, cooperatives and a whole swathe of other more sophisticated business-models. (Just how many decades is it since Balanced Scorecard was first published? – because that’s how long it is since profit-only models were formally demonstrated to be incomplete even for for-profit businesses…)
Another is that, like the OMG/BRG Business Motivation Model, it’s organisation-centric: it barely acknowledges a world outside of the organisation, hence has no real grasp of the enterprise in which the organisation exists. He acknowledges just three kinds of external ‘Influencers’:
- Business Trend
The second of those would (nominally, at least) be irrelevant to a government or non-profit, and in any case one of the skills of enterprise design and motivation is to identify a niche where there is no ‘competition’ – a concept which is seemingly outside the ken of this almost archaic view of ‘business’. And other than possibly by burying them rather inadequately within ‘Business Trend’, there’s nowhere to include a wide range of other key influencers such as social context, reputation, geography or environment. (Amusingly, his one example of an ‘Influencer’ is a story about kids selling lemonade because the weather was warm – namely environment as Influencer, for which there’s no means to describe within the model.) Other than one almost throwaway reference to ‘Alliances’ in the ‘Business Model’ section of the model, there’s no way to describe shared values and commitments in a value-web such as a consortium or supply-chain. There’s also no real concept of values, or of aspirational-layer assets such as brands or morale – which are fairly fatal omissions in themselves in terms of modelling motivation within and with an organisation.
Overall, the model is probably an improvement on the TOGAF model (though that’s not hard, frankly) and on the Business Motivation Model (though he retains the latter’s fatal flaw in its definition and use of ‘Vision’), and hence could probably be useful as-is for business-architecture (especially for the IT-centric bad-joke that TOGAF calls ‘business architecture’). But as it stands, it is unusable for anything than a very narrow class of for-profit organisations; and it gives no indication at all of the broader enterprise, whilst purporting to describe all Influencers and the like – and hence would be dangerously incomplete as a tool for true enterprise architecture.
So yes, it’s a good try, but it doesn’t actually take us much further along the road than the (inadequate) tools we already have. A pity, really.
In addition to the MSDN article, Malik has presented it on its own domain – www.motivationmodel.com – with a plain-vanilla WordPress blog behind it, at http://motivationmodel.com/wp/index.php/home/, describing the model in slightly more detail, and asking for comments to enhance it. It all looks very open-source, and no doubt that’s the impression it’s meant to give. So before you do join in, take note of the subtle sting in the tail tucked away in the ‘Licence to use the Model‘ page: it’s not open-source at all. From the wording, it seems fairly clear that in reality it’s entirely Microsoft owned, and any comments will become the intellectual property of the company. In other words, a neat way of getting the enterprise architecture community to work unpaid to correct Microsoft’s own fundamental failings in this field, which Microsoft can then legally sell on as their own exclusive proprietary model… A very neat scam…
Not impressed, frankly. It’s also the reason why I haven’t posted any comments to that site, and won’t. No matter how honourable Malik’s own intentions may have been – and I have no doubt they were – I definitely feel cheated and abused by this one. It’s been bad enough having the Open Group repeatedly ask me to pay them several thousand dollars a year for the ‘privilege’ of being allowed to correct the fundamental flaws in TOGAF; now here’s Microsoft playing what looks like an even dirtier game. I’ve been working flat-out on this for several years now, trying to find ways resolve the huge structural problems in most current attempts at ‘enterprise architecture’, without earning a damn cent from all that work; and now that it’s finally starting to get somewhere, the ‘big boys’ are all beginning to line up to claim that work as their own exclusive property. I know someone has to do the work of starting the wave, out there on the all too appropriately named ‘bleeding edge’ of development: but rather than yet again all but stealing from people like me in this so goddamn blatant way, I just wish that at least one of these damn groups and companies would actually have enough respect to pay for it, and enough foresight to recognise that without it they have no future.
The un-joys and dysfunctionalities of the ‘possession economy’ again, I guess. Hey ho…