At least 87 percent of companies fail to execute their corporate strategy each year, according to Dan Prosser, author of “Thirteeners.” Traditionally, the responsibility of the Enterprise Architect was to define an IT systems architecture to support business strategy. In today’s landscape, however, the role of Enterprise Architect must evolve to that of Business Architect and focus on establishing successful business and departmental partnerships that drive organizational growth.
This article outlines a way to transform your Enterprise Architecture Framework from reactionary to visionary and offers the tools for clearing the path to innovation and greater business value.
Reactionary: Common EA Obstacles
Focus on Technology
Too much focus is still placed on how technology can be used to solve business problems rather than widening the sight to the overall business architecture.
Putting out Fires
The majority of time is spent putting out fires and dealing with the crisis du jour rather than creating a shared enterprise architecture framework that will put the Enterprise Architect in the position of smoke detector rather than fire-fighter.
No Healthy Infrastructure
Without a platform for shared understanding, the EA team will have difficulty supporting the BEST interests of the organization. Each business unit may achieve its goals, but these goals may be in direct conflict with each other.
Visionary: Steps to Drive EA Business Value
Start with your own team
It is critical to start in your own little microcosm. Success begets success. Once your team is healthy and high functioning, others will take notice.
As Patrick Lencioni suggests in his book, “The Advantage,” teams must commit to the same answers to six key questions:
- Why do we exist?
- How do we behave?
- What do we do?
- How will we succeed?
- What is most important right now?
- Who must do what?
Another behavior that a healthy team must adopt in order to free up time to innovate is getting disciplined. According to Lencioni, this includes:
- Building a cohesive leadership team
- Creating clarity
- Over-communicating clarity
- Reinforcing clarity
Expand to other business units
Once your team has established a successful enterprise architecture framework, it is possible to start educating other teams without being dogmatic. You can now work with business partners to:
- Educate their teams to understand how their business unit generates revenue and retains cash
- Get clear about target market
- Identify key success metrics and create a scorecard
- Document and share
Too often, EA teams are stuck in reactionary roles that support conflicting goals. The path to innovation is full of obstacles until individual business units and organizations overall get healthy and aligned. This means creating and documenting a shared vision and system for communication. The Enterprise Architect has the power to transform the process by eliminating silos and entangling teams to clear the path for innovation.