Changes In Enterprise Architecture (EA)

We’ve been subscribed to Google Groups “The Enterprise Architecture Network” group for several years now. Over that time, we definitely have been able to gain a great understanding of Enterprise Architecture (EA). As a result our methods and work products have become more streamlined. Also our services are improving with more training and information availability. But in that time, our U.S. policies on EA haven’t changed since the Clinger-Cohen Act. All the way back to 1996, the pre-internet days. Neither has our EA communication mediums. Consequently, we find ourselves facing the reality that transformation cannot hope to survive without some serious intervention.

I’d argue we as a country are looking in the wrong place. Yes the U.S. has methods, frameworks, and tools that could improve. However, it is how we present EA and what we present to which audience. This leads to killing enterprise, segment, portfolio, or any large EA transformation efforts.

We’d Offer An Initial Focus Change For EA And Transformation In And Of Itself: Change Our Communication Mediums

Corporations and governments are in love with slideware (Such as Powerpoint), so we use such. Unfortunately it has reached the point where Powerpoint is actually killing transformation analysis. Also, EA and other complex topics along with our core architecture concepts. Powerpoint is too sequential and too outline oriented. Consequently, organizations used and abused it in mostly in knee-jerk fashion. Which now begs the question: how do we get communicators of EA off the proverbial slideware-addiction? 

Getting People To Care About Transformation And Architecture

If we want people to care about the use of slideware, we need to make people care how EA is branded.  EA is in desperate need of a proper marketing and branding effort. The efforts of the EA Google Group community across the spectrum provide a good basis of content. However, finding an audience to engage is in our best interest. We need a way to focus on storytelling the output to multiple audiences. Anyone interested in some new mediums for presenting EA or transformation concepts?

To be fair, we at Xentity are a big offender as well. We write too much and go too far down the path ahead of our client.  All the while balancing challenges for the client, helping them challenge themselves, simplifying complexity, and seeking what most people fear: change.

So, As a Start…

We have beta’d some variant approaches on some clients –

  • Early phases of powerpoint exit strategy
  • Weaning off powerpoint with 1-pager and a graphic and more discussion time, no presentation (maybe some highlights).
  • Increasing communication role over work products
  • Treating Communication products as near and dear as our architecture work products when organizing by audience level and focus area (choose your favorite framework when considering that).
  • Agile Management and its communication mediums/tools. Notification tracking with plans as they are implemented in Program Management Offices
  • Minor little things like allowing users to reply to the notification and not to have to log in.
  • Storytell with the goals, outcomes, impacts, and other high-points and denouement
  • Can be done using a low-cost high-quality mini-documentary (TLC/History Cable Channel quality) style that tells about programs, the changes, from customer and investor point of views (rather than self-serving).

But, we would like to take a step further.  For instance, here is an example of a mini-documentary, one in a series of four that helps tell the story of the client’s program.

Utilizing this example, we’d like to do a video series for transformation and EA not unlike what Penn State did as part of their Geospatial Revolution Series – A video series is barely any different from power points, just with a lot more production involved. It would be interesting to pool partners, efforts, gather up funding, and put together a series of videos (process disclaimers aside) using mediums that connect EA and transformation in this new light. And hopefully, our “video intervention” can be just as helpful as the “powerpoint intervention” we’ve spent this blog discussing. Anyone interested, can keep themselves posted on threads in Google Groups “The Enterprise Architecture Network” group.