Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Street Smart on EA: How to Master Five “Things” for Business


Enterprise architects live at an intellectual smart world, from taxonomy to modeling, from framework to process,from analysis to synthesis,  however, in order not just being perceived as geeks from ivory tower, EA may need add drops of “street smart” to highlight what need be focused on:

 1.  The Vision Thing

Growth is in our vision  -Mike Barnes

Vision is about to perceive the future of business, help business see the “remote” thing as if it were closer; and highlight a vivid picture to motivate business in pursuit of growth.

Such vision is not linear or mono-color, for example, “making profit” is one of business goals, but it’s not a circular vision & 360 degree viewpoint about business, more broader and multi-dimensional vision is needed to not only improve shareholder’s value, but also delight customer, engage employee and benefit society as well.

There is a connection between the vision and either increased profitability (most of the time), or survival (there are times, rightly or wrongly), when decreased profitability is considered the best available outcome by a company's leaders.

A clear vision will help craft a good strategy—make the right set of choices, follow through guideline, and take a series of action to lead to the future. 

Vision need be inspiring, but what is fundamental?


2. The Value Thing

 “The purpose of business (any kind) is to create a customer.” Peter Drucker

The fundamental purpose of an organization is to produce 'value' for its customers.Depending on the type of organization,  the value it produces may, or may not, be monetary. As the concept of "Value" is multidimensional: Monetary Value; Utility Value; Quality Value; Perceptual Value. The value of any Product or Service, or business as a whole, need be always a combination of these 4 types of value.

Business strategy defines the ways and means by which the organization intends to produce value in order to meet the goals, objectives and visions it has set for itself. A Value Proposition can be visualized as a 2x4 matrix; where the 2 columns show the Customer Perspective and Organization Perspective of each of the 4 (Monetary, Utility, Quality, Perceptual) value types. furthermore, it may be necessary to use a 3x4 matrix and include a Consumer (final user) perspective, or even 4x4 include social perspective.

Value analysis and value streams, chains, and systems are important because they show, on an end-to-end basis, how the organization actually produces value, they are also important elements for strategic analysis and design of an enterprise as a whole

(a)   What do we mean by value, 
(b)  How value is created & delivered, and 
(c)   The ways & means by which the organization intends to create value, any exercise in 'design of the      enterprise' is an exercise in futility. 

Both vision and value things are complex balance is key.

3. The Balance Thing

Wisdom is your perspective on life, your sense of balance, your understanding of how the various parts and priciples apply and relate to each other. It embraces judgment, discernment, comprehension. It is a gestalt or oneness, and integraated wholeness. --Stephhen R Covey

 The purpose of EA is to discover business wisdom: to balance the multitude of view: long term vision and short term sight; strategic planning and. tactical approach; to balance the multiple perspectives: finance’s crunching numbers and IT’s bit & byte; marketing’s rocket speed and risk management’s control; to balance resources and priority; to balance business’s gray area and technology’s “black & white”; to balance effectiveness and efficiency, productivity and  innovation; to balance Ying & Yang of business life cycle.

From value perspective, more often than not, EA finds itself in the position of having to "harmonize" the differences between the customer and organization perspectives of value; or to balance business gain and social value.

The goal of EA is how to make balance on strategic planning, decision making and governance, in order to keep enterprise ship balanced, and lead toward the right direction.

4. The Culture Thing

Unfortunately, Those companies grew up, and part of that entrepreneurial culture was lost for some period. But it has clearly come back pretty strongly in the past 10 years.  --Jay Katarincic
Culture is defined as "the collective programming of the mind which distinguishes the members of one group or category of people from another.", it is invisible, but crucial for business in any stage, any sector and anywhere.

Although most of  EA frameworks may not include culture as formal component yet, via many collective thought and valuable debates, the “culture thing” should continueto  be retooled by EA and business leaders;

Architects can play significant role in assessing, analyzing, and redesigning culture, their task is not to completely "design a complex structure like a culture"; but to REDESIGN some aspects in an existing organizational culture. Start with the existing culture, analyze it, assess its effectiveness, and then redesign some aspects.

The emerging cultures at the age of digitalization include analytics culture, entrepreneurial culture, learning agile culture, risk-awareness culture. etc. .

5. The Capability Thing

Leaders create an environment which everyone has the opportunity to do work which matches his potential capability and for which an equitable differential reward is provided. --Eliott Jaques

Business success do need both hard value and soft culture, clear vision and hand-on capabilities. Business capability underpins business strategy, EA may craft two types of capability for business: Competitive Necessities, and Competitive Uniqueness, with both, business can survive and thrive to out beat competitors. 

In detail, EA blueprints multitude of capability for enterprise, the “hard” capabilities include such as functional capability, strategic business capability, analytics capability, and digital transformation capability, as well as “soft” capabilities such as: change capability, learning capability and innovation capability., etc.

By mastering such five “things”, EA can truly become the bridge between strategy and execution, a blueprint than a stovepipe, both as guru & glue to be intellectual smart & street smart at the same time.

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