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AT#56: Enterprise Architects – Broaden Your Field of Vision!

AT#56: Enterprise Architects – Broaden Your Field of Vision!

The typical career of enterprise architects (EAs) starts with IT-related studies. EAs then move from software engineering to software architecture and finally to EA. As a logical consequence, EA is still driven by an engineering mindset even if some EAs have moved to the field of business architecture. You can feel the rational, analytical approach to design enterprises in almost any diagram or map created by EAs – quite often ugly but precise. Read More

Is Enterprise Architecture Dead?

Is Enterprise Architecture Dead?

Today I want to discuss a blog post that originally appeared on Jon McLeod’s blog who argues that enterprise architecture is dead.

My point of view?

Yes. And No.

Yes, the old-school enterprise architecture, focusing on IT architecture only, not being curious for the fascinating things that happen at the business side is dead.

No, enterprise architecture as

  • a collaborative effort of business & IT people
  • who want to design sustainably adaptive enterprises together
  • that have a shared purpose

is about to emerge out of various disciplines like enterprise design, enterprise architecture, strategic management, agile,… Cool things are about to happen!

Enjoy! And… please share your thoughts on this provocative statement as a comment or per ->email. Read More

AT#54: How to open the Negotiation Space

AT#54: How to open the Negotiation Space

Viewpoints of many different disciplines need to be considered in order to implement a holistically designed enterprise. Interests of disciplines closer to purpose and customer value (like service- or UX designers) must be negotiated with disciplines closer to feasibility (like business- or software architects). Designs of those groups can be conflicting, drafts of UX designers, for example, might not be feasible with proper software design or due to limited budgets.

Today those disciplines are having hard times with each other. Designers are often frustrated because their designs are never implemented in the way they envisioned. IT-Architects are frustrated because everybody perceives them as not willing to implement a certain design. Executives are feeling that the money they invest hardly ever leads to the intended outcomes. A lot of misconceptions and conflicts between designers, architects and executives arise that are usually resolved by corporate politics, not the best way to optimize overall enterprise design. Read More

AT#51: Love Yourself! (Not Only Your Customer)

AT#51: Love Yourself! (Not Only Your Customer)

“You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself“:

Holy Bible, Leviticus 19:18

Today, in the era of digital transformation, customer focus is the mantra of all companies. This consequent focus on customer needs means concentrating on how every interaction helps the customer, rather than how it helps your business. Putting customers at the heart of everything you do as a business places you in a better position to build relationships and increase customer satisfaction (and your revenues, of course!).

But can you focus on your customers too much? Yes, if you live in our reality of limited resources!

Read More

AT#50: Eleven Collaboration Principles For Your Digital Transformation

AT#50: Eleven Collaboration Principles For Your Digital Transformation

 

Architectural Thinking is very much about thinking in elements and relations and becoming aware that “your” sphere of design is only one part of the overall enterprise design. As this enterprise design can only be created together, people need to collaborate. Today’s blog post was written by Hans van Bommel and has originally appeared on his Cycle to Accelerate blog. It discusses collaboration principles for your digital transformation. Enjoy!

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Agile primarily is an intangible phenomenon. The most powerful impulse the agile manifesto gave us, is the power to imagine that we can be agile by responding swiftly and adequately to the ever-appearing change. When you start to cycle, you’ll feel this need to be agile more keenly than ever.

 

When we enter a digital transformation, we need this agile behavior. We cannot do without. Our network, our board, our IT governance, our team and therefore our enterprise will probably not survive without this behavior.

 

At the same time, if we want to become high performers, knowledge and the way we organize our IT production activities and overcome constraints are even of greater importance. Agile behavior within an organization is therefore also needed to attend to production activities in different roles at different moments in time.

 

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AT#49: Digital Transformation: What Companies should learn from ‘Christkindlmarkt’ Vienna

AT#49: Digital Transformation: What Companies should learn from ‘Christkindlmarkt’ Vienna

A recent article by an Austrian newspaper stated that the growth in sales of the ‘Christkindlmarkt’ (Christmas Market) Vienna exceeds the turnover growth of online shops by 30%. At the first instant, I was quite surprised by this fact. Why are traditional business models like of the Christkindlmarkt still competitive? Why are companies of the old economy like large banks still around even if not having radically transformed to innovative business models?

In my opinion, the best answer to these questions is given by the German philosopher Odo Marquard . His famous essay “Zukunft braucht Herkunft” (“Future needs Ancestry”) discusses why every innovation must be based on the capabilities that have evolved over centuries. In other words – if you are an elephant even years of training cannot make you a zebra. If you are the Vienna Opera even hundreds of Agile coaches cannot make you Spotify. If you are a big bank even thousands of consultants cannot make you a fintec.

After some contemplation, I asked myself questions like:

  • Could it be that we admire companies like Amazon too much?
  • Do we live in an age that believes too much in technology and progress?
  • Are companies of the old economy aware of their tremendous strengths that still keep them in front of innovative startups like fintechs?
  • Is the hype of digital transformation slowing down because of the reality of real, tangible assets that can not be disrupted by internet companies?

After answering these questions from my point of view I would give the following recommendations: Read More

AT#48: How to Ride an Elephant in Digital Times?

AT#48: How to Ride an Elephant in Digital Times?

Let’s look back four years and remember what consultants predicted for the digitally transformed future of companies. Expectations were high, a bright, technology optimistic future was drawn in vivid colors – self-driving cars, disrupted businesses, AI automates all backoffice processes, etc. etc. And now – let’s compare this to the reality of enterprises of the old economy – yes, companies have run punctual innovation initiatives, banks have modernized their mobile payment apps . But substantially? Nothing has “transformed”! Digital transformation of the old economy is happening at a much slower pace than expected. So, the question is: why? Why are big companies still around without having changed their business models substantially? Read More

AT#47: How to Make EAM a Management Instrument Part 3 – Connect with Multi Project Management

AT#47: How to Make EAM a Management Instrument Part 3 – Connect with Multi Project Management

In nine out of ten companies I worked as an EA, IT implementation projects were used as the key element used in strategic planning. Boards were used to budget and prioritize goals based on project status reports. They had to decide whether to invest in project ‘ABZ’ or ‘Leo New’ (both quite cryptic names for them) – not the best way to keep oversight over their strategic goals.

The Architectural Thinking Framework includes the concept of “Strategic Fields of Action” (SFAs) (introduced in our last blog post) that addresses this problem. SFAs connect the strategic goals of the company with the implementation projects. Thus, they are the link between the operational planning of projects and the architectural skeleton of the company.   Read More

AT#46: How to Make EAM a Management Instrument Part 2 – Connect with Strategic Goals

AT#46: How to Make EAM a Management Instrument Part 2 – Connect with Strategic Goals

Defining a compelling vision should usually be the first step to start a digital transformation journey. Your executives craft a vision of your transformed company: what your company will stand for, how it will operate, which technology it will use to improve customer value. That vision highlighted some of the major landmarks on your transformation journey.

Derived from this vision, companies should define strategic goals that bring the vision to a more operational level. Read More