Wednesday, September 11, 2013

EA as Enterprise Maturity Driver

Enterprise Architecture plays many roles in organizations, from strategy facilitator to capability producer; from decision influencer to governance champion, more broadly speaking, if maturity is business agility and focus on continuous improvement, then EA shall play as enterprise maturity driver, not just about EA maturity, but rather of the maturity of the enterprise itself or of the industry.

Design Point: The overall design of an organization that matures itself requires very deliberate thought and action, much like all stages of business life cycle, especially for well-established enterprise, there are many factors need to be articulated such as company culture, sustainable leadership, specific shifting strategies that support a longer term vision and a boatful of other dynamics. This is a challenge for all organizations; EA as enterprise designer can weave these key elements into a vivid business picture.

Inflection Point: The maturity of enterprises that happens at a certain point where the culture changes. In economics this is characterized as the first maturity step, almost like a human getting in adulthood, and the organization reaches the "inflection point" where it goes from being able to hold the EA in the mind of the key business leaders, and where a greater shared understanding will lead to greater commonality of purpose, less duplication of effort and less capability gap critical to enterprise success. 

Decision Point: EA provides knowledge management framework and architectural perspectives to enable decision making with transparency and coherency. So EA is the knowledge repository which enhances and enables the executives and stakeholders to make decisions and then measure their success based on some quantifiable outputs/metrics. The more effective decisions being made, the more mature organization grows to be.

Change Point: Organizations these days need to proactively adapt to the changes, like GPS, EA encompasses such change activities. From cultural perspective, there are definitely certain change points at certain numbers of people. The nature of the organization and culture changes at those threshold numbers of people in discontinuous and significant ways. Thought around the value of "touching base" with the original vision of the company and potentially re-evaluate the plans (goals, strategies, objectives and tactics) to take them there.

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Crisis Point: Organizations need to be dynamic. A static organization is on its way out. Maturity is the agility and focus on continuous improvement. The Greiner curve models described there are several crisis points in the life of an organization. Crises should not be avoided or feared but work to overcome. At crisis points, this is when change becomes inevitable - deal with it positively. Equally, this means that EA will need to be low cost and high speed - responsive to the situation. Those who cannot respond in timeframes will not be able to make an effective contribution. 

Touch Point: Processes underpin digital capabilities, which optimize touch point in customer experience. EA is the mapping tool in integrating digital platform in order to optimize customer experience, make digital influence on every touch point, a process-driven, responsive digital platform will improve customer life-cycle experience.

Indeed, higher maturity EA can bring an ecosystem perspective rather than an architectural perspective on organizations. This leads to keeping abreast of developments in thinking about Complex Adaptive Systems, with higher success rate of well designing high maturity organizations.


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