The long-eared owl is quite different. It chases only at night, its diet is almost exclusively mice and small birds, and unlike the tawny owl, it hunts even in flight. Its tolerance range with respect to temperature and other parameters is considerably more limited than the tawny owl, which makes it unable to adjust to as many different habitats as the tawny owl. Its ecological niche is relatively small, and most importantly, it does not have the potential to extend this.
The long-eared owl is a specialist, the tawny owl is a generalist. At first sight, they look very similar and one could confuse them. The long-eared owl, however, has evolved to be extremely efficient. But in times of shrinking habitats and a rapidly changing environments, that is a weak strategy: it is currently very good at what it does, but soon the landscape and associated opportunities may no longer be there, and new opportunities may also be difficult to reach. The tawny owl, on the other hand, adapts to changes much better and is already in a larger ecological niche.
But why write about this for an IT blog?
Specialists and generalists are found in every environment, both in nature and at the office. There are also specialized tools and more universal ones. An example would be the difference between a scalpel and a Swiss army knife (in a figurative sense): a scalpel is very good but it has only one purpose, while a Swiss Army knife can do much more, but you cannot perform surgery with it. I would take a Swiss army knife on a long trip because I can use it in many different situations. Similar to changing ecological niches, I will certainly encounter unknown risks, and I must be able to adjust myself to different situations, be able to assess unexpected changes and weigh multiple strategies. Just like the tawny owl: I will be able to adapt much better.
Digital transformation is a journey with many parameters to be taken into account and with many risks in an unknown ecosystem of technological changes and customer expectations. As a business, we should be able to respond to external events as quickly and effectively as possible from the very beginning of the journey. This requires generalists rather than specialists: people and tools to accomplish goals, ways and means to identify and weigh alternatives as necessary, and the ability to consider costs and risks appropriately.
Our enterprise architecture (EA) solutions has been evaluated in a recent study from Syracom: Syracom Architecture Management Tool Survey 2015. It recognizes the value of enterprise architecture tools from the perspective of a generalist. This endorses the strategic positioning of the product, which aims to help businesses to best manage their digital transformation.