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Enterprise Architecture Capability, Where is the Value?

Daniel Nicotra

Beverage Break #1

The role of an enterprise architecture capability is to help an organisation devise and clarify a portfolio of value driven transformational change initiatives.  The primary accountability for overall design of an organisation rests with business leaders.  Responsibility for helping shape the design must be everyone involved and/or impacted by changes to the organisation’s architecture.  The reality is transformation impacts everyone and everything that interacts with an organisation.  With these thoughts in mind, an enterprise architecture capability can provide organisational change stewardship, to balance the needs of the organisational entity and its people.  

Furthermore, the aim is to transform the current business and technology landscape into a viable, profitable and efficient operating engine. Where an enterprise architecture capability can add further benefit is by promoting and embedding changes with key themes of agility, flexibility and adaptability into the delivery of a competitive business, data and technology platform.  Moreover, in the quest to achieve effective transformation an enterprise architecture capability can help navigate complexities, guide course corrections if required and provide a check-in reference point for re-balancing, whilst continuously focused on the organisation’s unique vision for success.

At the end of the day, what I have described above is only as good as the people involved in shaping positive change.  From an enterprise architecture perspective my research and experience informs some key characteristics, which go a long way to cultivating a beneficial capability, they include;

  • Build and nurture relationships with business and technology stakeholders
  • Promote open channels of communication and collaboration with business and technology employees
  • Endorse an attitude of flexibility to accommodate change in business priorities 

The above three statements are a start point for further development.  What I will add further commentary on, is the infinite debate around frameworks.  Let me say this, people who care to truly solve business problems and capitalise on opportunities do not care about a framework.  Different frameworks have merit just like methods, tools and techniques, however, to be beneficial they need to serve a purpose, based on different situations and if appropriate used as a guidance mechanism, not a fixed all in non-negotiable.  Don’t fall into the trap of being drawn into hype and reliance on a framework being the nirvana state to solve all your problems.  I would much rather see an enterprise architecture capability built fundamentally on a culture of learning and development.  Additionally, with a focus on maturing its knowledge, based on what is in the hearts and minds of business and technology stakeholders. 

In closing, with reference to navigating transformation complexities, I liken it to the tune made famous by Sheldon Allman, “George, George, George of the jungle watch out for that tree”.  With that yes, I believe transformation can be like a jungle, but with people collaborating and helping each other, it need not be a jungle but more a tropical oasis.