Episode 32 - 5 Reasons why Leadership is required for successful EA
EA is just the first step in a long journey or perhaps a means to achieve autonomous enterprises. Today we introduce the concept of autonomous enterprises and how we can begin a journey to reach there.
Hey, what's up everybody, you're listening to the enterprise architecture radio, if you're thinking about organizational complexity and agility, if you're concerned about operational efficiencies and thinking of taking it to the next level, if managing innovation is one of your priorities, you've come to the right place. On this podcast, we talk about all of that and more. It's a jungle out there. And we'll attempt to navigate this jungle of frameworks, methods, and most importantly, Enterprise Architecture in practice.
Today, let's talk about leadership. Leadership in the context of Enterprise Architecture, EA is not possible without leadership involvement. By definition, Enterprise Architecture is Enterprise Architecture, it is the architecture of the entire enterprise. It's a big picture view of the organization. It's collecting, analyzing, reporting, and using information about the entire organization to build strategies to go to the next transformation to get competitive advantage for the organization. It's about the whole organization and definitely not localized to any particular technology, function, platform, business service or project. What that means is, you can't really do Enterprise Architecture without involving the leadership who has a bigger picture view. There are five specific reasons why effective leadership is essential for anybody to succeed in EA, to be able to leverage the benefits of EA.
The first reason is vision and strategy. Leaders in enterprise architecture should have a clear vision and strategy for the organization's initiatives, which should align with the business goals and objectives, they should be able to communicate this vision and strategy effectively to the stakeholders across the organization.
Now, I've talked about this, in some of my previous episodes of this podcast, there are two ways that you can really do EA. The first one is classical EA, as I call it, in classical EA, there is an enterprise architecture team that essentially works with the leaders of the organization trying to understand how they would like to shape the organization. Of course, there are two strategies there as well. One is baseline first architecture where they do an analysis of the organization, they try to understand where the holes in the gaps are, where the efficiency of the organization can be improved, where there are unnecessary redundancies, where economies of scale can be leveraged, where technologies can be leveraged across the organization, etc, etc. And then they build a report of all these gaps. And then they take it to the leadership team. And they say, this is our current state. And these are the areas of improvement. And you know, and we can do this across the organization, and then they come up with the future straight architecture, which either builds new capabilities or removes or eliminates existing gaps and holes and what have you. And this is called baseline first architecture, we first tried to understand what our current state is. And then, based on that, we come up with a target state. The second approach for EDA is we have a target first architecture where we already know what we want to do. We want to go through a transformation, it could be a large transformation, it could be a future state that we have already envisioned. And then we try to understand where we are today and come up with programs and projects that will essentially take us from where we are today to where we want to go.
And this is the classical enterprise architecture. The other way of doing enterprise architecture is the modern way of doing enterprise architecture, we all know that times have changed. There used to be a time when we used to have one large transformation or two large transformations in an organization in its entire lifetime. But if you really think about if you look around if you look at the organizations today, we go through transformation after transformation after transformation with brief periods of rest in between. This also builds organizational fatigue. But the truth is that we no longer can afford the luxury of doing the same business the same way for years together. Every transformation eventually leads to another. Either we first decentralize and then from decentralization, we go back to centralization or it is one digital transformation to the other. First we focus on a particular business function area and then move on to the next one and so on and so forth. There are constant mergers and acquisitions happening year after year after year. But this also presents a opportunity for the EA team to map the organization transformation to transformation instead of having a classic
approach of mapping the entire organization has one goal, whether it is baseline first to target first, it is better to continue to map the organization transformation transformation. Because when we do classical EA, we assume that the organization is going to more or less remained the same for a longest period of time. But that doesn't happen in the modern context. And these two terms classical EA and modern EA, are not really terms, this is just something that I call them probably, it'll catch up and someday people will call it modern EA but, and that should be interesting to watch. But what I'm trying to say is modern EDA essentially means that we don't try to map the entire organization at one go.
Or try to analyze the entire organization at one go, we do it piece by piece. Let's say that an organization does not have a majority of organizations do not have a but but they do have digital transformation. Now, if there is an EA capability, and if they are engaged with every digital transformation, if they start mapping all the business functions that are involved in each EA, all the technology platforms that are that are involved in the digital transformation, all the data assets, which are involved in the digital transformation, all the applications that are involved in the digital transformation. And they have a unified Enterprise Architecture repository, which stores all this information and connects everything together. You have a partial EA done for the organization. And then in the next digital transformation, there'll be some areas that will overlap, but there will be again, new areas which will be unique and, and as the organization transforms one transformation after the other, it also gets mapped as an EA. And this is only possible if there is leadership engagement if there is a leadership vision that this is what we want to do.
The second reason is collaboration, to do any EA, endeavor to be successful in EA, require collaboration across multiple departments and stakeholders. Leaders should be able to foster a culture of collaboration and communication and facilitate the involvement of all stakeholders in an EA process. And that's why we build what you call the Architecture Board.
The Architecture Board facilitates all the stakeholders of the organization to come together and talk about what their priorities are and what their vision is. And this is not possible without leadership involvement. The third reason, among the five reasons that I'm talking about today,
for the requirement of leadership for EA is change management.
If you really ask John Zachman, which organization should be accountable for EA within the enterprise, he would say the organization that is responsible for change should be responsible for EA. And this is one of the things that is vastly different in EA from, let's say construction architecture, if you look at the core principles of architecture, most of them remain the same when it comes to construction architecture in any form of architecture really, right. The one thing that is different between EA and construction architecture is construction architecture is about stability, we try to build a building that lasts for years and years and years. But when it comes to EA, it's about change management, we try to understand how potentially the enterprise can change and how we can manage that change most effectively and efficiently. If the organization would not change for years together, we would not need EA we need EA because change does happen whether you like it or not. Transformations do happen. They industry changes the technology changes the business model changes. There is constant innovation happening in the industry. And there's a tremendous amount of competition and the need to be able to adapt to to large transformational changes to be agile as an organization is what pushes us to have a systematic EA capability within the organization. It is this large transformation, this organizational agility that EA facilitates and that's why we need it. EA involves large significant changes within the organization, whether it's processes or systems and technologies or what have you. And leaders should be able to manage these changes effectively with minimum resistance and ensure that everyone is on board with the changes and that's why we need leadership engagement the leader needs to create a culture where we accept the transformation as an ongoing thing we we manage our organization or fatigue one transformation to the next we provide brief periods of rest, but we continuously improve move and change. The fourth reason is resource allocation. Now, this is an important one, if you think that you're going to be able to do enterprise architecture from the bottom up, right? If you're not engaging the leadership, if you are an architect, probably a software architect or a technology architect, who has recently done some kind of enterprise architecture certification and and you think that you will start practicing enterprise architecture from the bottom up, you will fail, because enterprise architecture is not about that enterprise architecture requires a tremendous amount of resources, whether you consider the people because you need talent and skills from from database skills, you need program management skills, you need people management skills, you need project management skills, you need technology, architecture skills, like data centers, and servers and public cloud and what have you, you need business analysis and business architecture scales, you need strategy, skills, and so on and so forth. So it's not a small endeavor. And then it's not just the skills you have need the appropriate technology platform, you need an architecture repository that connects all the different architectural building blocks within your organization together. And as the capability to create dashboards and reports, and, and impact analysis statements, and what have you, you need to be able to build an architecture board, so that all the different stakeholders within the organization, whether it's senior leadership, or business function, leadership, or what have you can come together, sit across the table and discuss, discuss the strategy of the organization, talk about their own business function priorities, and be able to come up with a singular Enterprise Architecture strategy. So this kind of resource allocation is required for an EA to be successful. And that's only possible. If you have leadership involvement, you can't do EAA from the bottom up. And then of course, there's the thing about continuous improvement. And I did talk about change management. But continuous improvement is again, another thing, that's not possible without the leadership engagement.
Enterprise Architecture, like I said, is ongoing, it's an ongoing process, things keep on changing, we don't do EA once and forget about it, because we know that the business changes the landscape changes the industry changes, and what have you. And we need a mindset of continuous improvement. And it's not just the EA team that needs to have this mindset, the entire organization needs to have the continuous improvement mindset so that they can accept ongoing changes so that they can meet the changing business needs the the new technology trends or what have you, it is not possible to do EAA without leadership engagement. And that's why from time to time, I am going to talk about leadership capabilities. I'm going to talk about leadership development in this podcast and, and I have lined up a few guests who are who are leaders in the industry today. And very soon, I'm going to start calling the guests and I'm going to end they're going to talk about leadership. And they're going to talk about impact to the organization as a whole, which is technically an aspect of Enterprise Architecture.
That's all I have for you today. Folks, I hope you enjoyed the show. More about organizational agility, innovation and enterprise architecture in the practical world, in the business right here on the show. But before I end the show, I want you to help me out with this one little thing. Pause the show, and share this podcast via WhatsApp, or text message with at least one person who might be interested in the show. It could be anyone, your colleague, your boss, or someone in your team. That's all I ask just one share with one message via text or WhatsApp or any social media of your choice. And it would go a long way in supporting this podcast and growing this listener base. Also, please don't forget to follow the podcast that way. You'll get notified when we publish a new episode. If you want to find out more about us. You can find us at Enterprise Architecture radio.com. If you have ideas, thoughts, disagreements, please feel free to write to me directly. We also have a telegram group if you would like to contribute to the ear discussions or what have you. Just search for Enterprise Architecture radio on telegram or the URL to join the group is https colon slash slash t.me/enterprise architecture radio.
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai