4 years, 1 day ago

FromHereOn, the Future of Enterprise Architecture

Link: http://enterprisearchitects.com/fromhereon-brand-transition/

It’s still EA, just not as you know it.

Of all the things you can voluntarily choose to do in life – there are three things that you would never do without serious justification. One is to move house – as in buy and sell and move your world and your family, another is to divorce your long-term partner – implications obvious, and the third is walk away from a fabulous brand (Enterprise Architects) that you’ve spent 14 years building into a globally recognised marque that stands for thought leadership and service excellence in your field.
But we are doing just that and like a recently separated couple explaining reasons for their separation to friends and relatives I feel the need to share the rationale and the motivation. It’s a sordid story of wanton need changing needs personal growth and maturation it has an element of unfilled potential and flirtation with greener pastures and a general need to find oneself.

 

Enterprise Architects’ consulting division has united with our international consulting brand FromHereOn.

So, what happened?! Why abandon a fabulous brand a faithful partner that has stood by you through years of growth and evolution. With near a thousand engagements conducted, hundreds of great clients across industry and government, and many thousands of people trained by our learning division, the phone rings and our methods are adopted and emulated. Why change surely the relationship with our brand cannot be that bad!  
 
We agonised over the decision. As we adapted our methods to support our clients in the evolution of information technology strategy, business architecture evolved to business strategy, business model design extended to service model definition, service model definition necessitated organisation and operating model design; and CEO’s would be heard to ask why would I have a bunch of guys who colour in boxes for a living tell me what my business strategy will be?”. And boom in that moment I knew the relationship with our brand was doomed.
 
Looked at through a purist lens perhaps all that we do today should still be considered enterprise architecture.  I remember ten years ago when Craig Martin joined us as Chief Architect and we talked of the enterprise architecture mandate curve, and that at its zenith, it was inherently about business strategy planning helping the ExCo and the board to decide what its future business and service model should be. I remember saying nice dream but we sure can’t sell that as a belief system”. At the time we were flat out trying to convince many CIO’s that enterprise architecture was fundamental to the IT planning process and that unpacking the business motivation, value chain and business capabilities was a critical necessity to build alignment to the business.
 
The irony is that today we seem to have fulfilled that early aspiration that enterprise architecture would evolve to assist business to understand its future,  to design new purpose and stance, new business models and to unpack innovative service models that will support the business to the future; but the problem is its seemingly not for us to call that enterprise architecture. Which is frustrating because who defines what enterprise architecture is anyway? It’s not John Zachman’s right and neither is it the right of the Open Group enterprise architecture should be what it says on the box the architecture or the design of the enterprise what it says on the tin right?  By any definition, it shouldn’t be something that is owned by the CIO or seen as the domain of the technology side of the organisation. 
 
But we struggle even today. For every enlightened CIO that understands that enterprise architecture is a plank for creating cohesion between the business strategy, and technology agenda in the context of business capability improvement, and the role of technology and information in supporting that there are many others that have yet to progress past the perspective that enterprise architecture is about documenting application and technology portfolios. So we should not have been surprised when even good clients would question in surprise why a company called Enterprise Architects would be talking to them about customer and employee experience and future business service design. 
 
So while we transition from the Enterprise Architects* brand I might still argue that what we do in Business Design is still enterprise architecture and what the definition of enterprise architecture should become. But it’s not for us to try and drag the industry into a heightened state of realisation. For now, enterprise architecture can remain a function of the IT organisation and from here on we will work in the interests of business transformation and the intersection of technology and business evolution through our Business Design Method.

*Our training and recruitment arms continue to trade under the Enterprise Architects brand as EA Learning and EA People respectively. For all three teams this a great moment that demonstrates just how far we’ve come and offers an opportunity for each business to develop in its own unique way.

 

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