Saturday, August 10, 2013

EA as "Trusted Advisors" for Business Executives

The EA must be a Babel fish between the world of Architecture and the world of Business Executives, as the main role of the EA function is to help the stakeholders, especially business executives arrive at a consensus on what capabilities need to be enabled at enterprise wide. The executives care about what it means, when they can have it, who is going to make it happen, how much and when it will deliver. Therefore, EAs play as trusted advisors for business executives in strategic matters and quality concerns.

1. Interference between Enterprise Architects and Executives

One of the most important skills of an EA is empathy. Empathy allows an EA to "wear the shoes" of his/her business stakeholders, and to see the world from their position, their measures, their management, and their internal goals for success. One of symptoms about failed EA is to get lost in translation. The challenge of addressing resistance to EA is not easily overcome, empathy helps. So does a calm, steady, trustworthy, approach to building momentum so that the most resistant stakeholders can see value in collaboration, and peril in confrontation.
  • EAs need to broaden mind and think from the top "enterprise" perspective, instead of a specific departmental division perspective if you want to communicate well with top executive(s). Think about how you may be able to solve the critical top executive issues such as:
- Return on investment/capital expenditure
- Reduce overall project risks
- Focusing limited funds on projects best suited to serve the enterprise in the long term
- Long-term support costs (projects more closely aligned to EA generally benefit more from financial factors such as economies of scale)
- Reduction in IT "footprint," complexity, costs 
  • From an executive's perspective, they see EA as a knowledge tool to deploy:  
Business Strategy/Goals; Business Processes, Technology Architecture; Change Management. How can EA make contribution and demonstrate clearly upon its value proposition from architectural perspective? What are those EA principles the C-level can really appreciate and in consistence with their own? Quantified measure and delightful visualization needs to go beyond the style, to retool EA image out of ivory tower.
  • EA as practical tool to bring business value:
1) Replace the word framework with program, it tells that EA will be around for benefit realization.
2) If you have the data try and bring out the capability, utility & value aspect. You are quantifying the outcome which is not hard to sell  
3) EA makes a material contribution to scaling learning and make intellectual capital tangible and more valuable.  

2.  EA Helps Executives to Solve their Problems

Even if EA is a long term strategic activity, talking about short term tactical issues could be more persuasive and gets better response. Work with the executive audience or their direct reports digging out what are the pain points "right now" may be very useful! - but don't try and promise silver bullets
1).What pains are you going to remove from Executive portfolio. Understand the problem that the sponsors are grappling to solve.
2) What impact will it have on the Enterprise? Scope, culture, expected duration, etc.
3). How much is it going to cost.
4) Map the problem to various components of EA that can address it
5) Present the mapping on the why EA slide
6) Convert the problem-component mapping to programs and present a implementation road map 
7) Works it forward and then backwards to make sure there are no errors or gaps. Review it will middle managers before presenting to Executives to identify all the issues and start build support and momentum that you will need to achieve these goals.
8) Seek sponsorship for this implementation road map which will solve the problems

3. EA as Quality Advisor to Business Agility and Coherency

EA is not just process engineering, it’s about managing change within the Enterprise, but from the viewpoint of a Quality Manager. What has worked before? What hasn't worked? Where are new opportunities emerging? How do we get there? EA is trusted advisor for transformational leaders who advocate and lead changes for their organizations.

  • EA contributes to organizational maturity. The lack of information is a lack of capability, the architect must a) know what is agile and what isn't; b) understand the current capabilities of platforms to understand how they relate to the current environment, c) be willing to advocate for the solution that matches his or her vision, and d) be politically astute enough to influence in that direction. If the architect fails in any of these areas, the architect will not see the vision come to reality. 
  • EA manages coherency: Without an architecture and modeling paradigm that links everything together, how does EA manage coherency? How much of the resistance to EA is from stakeholders trying to cling to coherency within their own domain? The key to successful EA - and in part what EA gets paid for - is to ensure that you maintain semantic connectivity up and down through that hierarchy. EA would also identify: how capabilities are currently enabled, how they should be enabled in the future and the plan for putting things in place to move the desired state.
  • Strategic Agility is achieved as a result of EA maturity. A lot of people have defined EA maturity and identified benchmarks for the purpose. It can be broken down into four stages.             1) Application Silo 2) Standardized Technology   3) Optimized Core; 4) Business Modularity. This forth stage is what provides you with Strategic choices and agility. By ensuring the predictability of core processes, they leverage the firm’s distinctivenes
EA needs to become a trusted advisor for business executives, otherwise, enterprise architecture's value is compromised and it hasn't reach high maturity.


For most it is inevitable.
business advisers It’s overcoming these obstacles that matters most.For most it is inevitable. It’s overcoming these obstacles that matters most.I've learned something new coming from you and I agree with that in your details mentioned. Big thanks!

Thanks for Sharing! I've learned something new coming from you and I agree with that in your details mentioned. Big thanks!

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