Growing up in New England, shoveling the driveway was a dreadful family affair that took place every winter (or whenever the snow decided to stop coming). Bright and early we’d strap on the layers, grab a shovel, and be gone for the remainder of the day helping family and neighbors dig out. Any work that needed to get done was put on hold until the groundhog decided he wasn’t afraid of his shadow, and spring could melt our problems away.
Then one magical day, Dad bought a snow blower. It no longer took the entire family, and the whole day, to dig our way to freedom! One person could man the machine and be done by lunchtime. In the meantime, the rest of the family could contribute to improving the house and other daily chores. Take that, Old Man Winter.
You’re organization has seen the light! Finally, IT has a seat at the table of business innovation! Now you don’t just have the mundane task of clearing snow, you have a say in ways to improve your beautiful home.
CIO: “Great! Do I get more resources and budget?
CEO: “No. Same budget, same resources, and increased expectations.”
You’re going to need a snow blower - you need enterprise architecture.
“The way organizations engage with and understand their customers leads the list of areas that will be changed the most by IT-enabled innovation” - The Enterprisers Project Business Transformation and the CIO Role
In a recent survey done by Harvard Business Review, nearly 70% of the organizations polled claimed IT – enabled innovation will change the way employees do their work, transform products they deliver, and restructure their current business models.
A successful EA practice gives CIOs the visibility needed to streamline their current resources and operations, and enable their team to realize, and achieve, game changing business innovations. Here are some ways CIOs have used enterprise architecture to rationalize resources (time, people, costs) to execute on more current, and evolutionary, business outcomes:
Streamline internal operations by having full visibility into the data flows and information exchanges throughout the organization so you can streamline internal operations.
Prioritize projects and investments by correlating architectural projects and initiatives to current business goals.
Reduce the amount of resources needed for customer service departments to support multiple offerings by leveraging a successful business architecture practice.
Recognize opportunities to cut IT costs and still deliver the same capabilities to the business by utilizing IT architecture to identify redundancy in process and architecture.
Depending on where you live, snow is a part of life. Bringing in the right tool to help us quickly navigate past the cleanup and allow us to open opportunities for fun and adventure was a game changer at my house. With enterprise architecture, you can execute on the above (and many other opportunities) to change your IT department from a support center to a workforce that is able to execute on business strategies and realize opportunities for your organization to evolve in ways that are currently invisible to the business. Once you’re able to manage complexity, let it snow!
... View more
Because of the big-picture, long-term vision that enterprise architects can provide, those that think like seasoned enterprise architects will be the real threat this year in the company Fantasy pool. Sure, it’s great to pick up the players that you know will deliver immediate value and score high in week one and two, but often, by week three the defense has figured them out, their value has run its course, and you’re back to the waiver wire, duct taping a roster together - desperate for points. Business is a lot like fantasy football in that you have to prepare and manage the things you can control, but also be aware that changes and disruptions will occur. You’ll want to have an infrastructure in place to be able to react with agility and stay competitive  week after week. When you are designing your EA model, it’s fantastic to be able to deliver value right away, just be careful you don’t architect your model exclusively for a specific deliverable. This narrow thinking can get your department into trouble when you are asked to support the next change within your organization. It’s time to start thinking long term; it’s time to practice enterprise architecture that can support the agile business world we live in.
As a consultant working with customers to achieve short-term goals and long-term success, I like to recommend that they consider the following questions:
1. Are your architecture initiatives supporting the current business goals  ?
2. Does it limit the company’s flexibility and ability to be agile in the future?
3. What value will this provide to the business?
If we get too fixated on a single report or change, without considering the points above, the purpose can get lost. A narrow focus can be good for making sure we’re hitting all the details, big and small. But if we lose sight of the big picture, it can tremendously decrease the long term value of architecture initiatives, which will make supporting digital transformation, strategy, and road mapping very difficult for your organization.
It is impossible to predict every potential obstacle, like player injuries, trades, etc. Having a Fantasy Football roster that can adjust to any week’s matchup is what will win you the season, and having an EA practice that can deliver value to stakeholders by staying competitive both today AND tomorrow will get you your season victory.
 Architecting for change, Mark Richards, Posted on 25.03.14 on NDC Magazine  What CIOs Need to Know About Business Alignment, by Dennis Mc Cafferty, Posted on 02.11.2014 on CIO Insights
... View more