EA – How to identify an organization’s vision and direction

Enterprise Architecture is about creating orchestrated change.  Understanding the vision and then designing a plan for how to move the organization from the current state to the future is one of the main objectives of an Enterprise Architect.

 The only way to do this is to understand the senior executive teams’ visions, priorities, and appetite for change.  Senior executives are the ones accountable and liable for the organization and for this “change” to be successful there must be one clear vision and direction endorsed by the FULL senior executive team. 

Time and time again I am asked… How do you get the senior executive team to land on one clear direction and more importantly how and what do you get them to prioritize?  My response to questions like those is… How much time do you have?

Every organization is different, and the answers depend on the environment and the people within it, there is no way to just give one answer to those questions.  What I can do is walk you through the process that I take to come up with the answers and along the way explain some of the hurdles I have run into.

I land on the vision by focussing on:

  • what the business of the organization is and what it should be,
  • the systems, both processes and applications within the organization and are they following industry best practices,
  • the strategic areas of change and what they mean to operations and
  • each of the individual senior executives’ thoughts and goals. 

I bring the full senior executive team together and challenge them on aspects of the four focus areas mentioned above, we explore status quo versus eutopia type scenarios.  Taking this approach will get discussions going and will lead to the best decision for the full organization with the one leader typically the CEO making the final decision.

I land on a prioritization by focussing on:

  • business capabilities or the functionality it takes to perform the business activities and
  • potential risks which includes such things as manual errors, inefficiencies, data integrity, safety, reputational and litigation to name just some.

Knowing that priorities must be driven from a risk, liability, compliance, value add and modernization perspective I apply potential risks to business capabilities. I then present them to the full senior executive team during a prioritization exercise where we explore what was observed during job shadowing sessions.

For a step by step guide demonstrating my approach using a fictitious organization – How to “DO” Enterprise Architecture – Part I – Creating the Consolidated Roadmap.

Enterprise Architecture What Everyone Needs to Know

Well, my goal was to put out a post each week, then I thought maybe writing a book would be easier, and as you can tell I accomplished neither. I have now started a YouTube Series on Enterprise Architecture.

I have outlined a series that includes three chapters:

. Chapter 1 contains 5 videos geared to the senior executives. Here I talk about what enterprise architecture is and why every organization needs it.

. Chapter 2, yet to be recorded contains information geared to an enterprise architect and their direct report. Here I talk about the approaches I have used to begin an enterprise architecture practise within an organization. Time and time again I hear enterprise architecture doesn’t work. My first thought is you haven’t seen my approach have you?

.Chapter 3, yet to be designed is going to contain a number of videos geared to various positions within an organization. My thinking is I want to share how every position in the organization is important to the success of enterprise architecture and no only that but how every position can benefit from a mature enterprise architecture practise.

Please have a look at the videos and let me know what you think. Give me ideas of what you would like to see, and how I could improve on what I am doing .

My YouTube Series