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Why don't organizations make better use of Architecture ?

Updated: Apr 11, 2019

A college of mine recently sent me an article that John Zachman recently wrote about unfounded reasons people can't do enterprise architecture.


While I agree there are many reasons why Enterprise Architects (EAs) are not properly used, I think it may be as simple the following:

The reason that most organizations don't use Enterprise Architecture properly is because they do not measure the right stuff.

  • Most organizations focus on financial metrics to run the organization.  Why...because it's easy.  Unfortunately, this does not address the other key metrics which allow an organization to achieve and sustain success.

  • Ask any organization how they measure'll get some pretty interesting answers.  Most have no clue...which is why they dismiss organic growth (which requires investing time and money) and attempt to buy growth (M&A) without understanding the unintended consequences.  Organic growth comes from a deep understanding of how value is measured, created, and delivered.  It's not about chasing a "funnel" of wonder 85% of most products fail.  Enterprise Architects can be a key asset in helping organizations plan and implement successful organic growth models.

  • Ask any organization how well they can measure quality across a given lifecycle (products, systems, even services) and very few even attempt to measure the quality of their requirements, let alone the decisions behind the products/services and systems they build or buy.

  • Ask how many organizations truly understand how much an acquisition costs...most underestimate by a factor of 10 (if they really knew, we would see more focus on organic growth).

  • Ask how many organizations understand how to assess (measure) the impact of change on people (their own and their customers), on technology (we know they can't since they don't model their systems), and processes (ditto).  Measuring the impact of change is hard (too much time and/or too many resources) they don't do it.

  • Ask how many organizations understand how to measure agility ('s not like pornography).  Most equate this with speed or in some cases cycle time.  But, there are important subtleties in measuring agility that are not well understood.  If it were, then the concept of platforming value and technology would be more universal.

  • Ask how many organizations understand how to manifest cultural change (w/o hiring a consultant) ?  How many organizations would consider asking their Enterprise Architect to help model the business, the behaviors, and the decision making processes ?  How many would understand the need to examine the organization structure, the compensation models and the processes used to effect prioritization ?  How many would want to examine their multiple management structures which create confusion instead of clarity ?  How many are willing to track the debt (financial, architectural, quality, and cultural) created by poor decision making and hold decision makers accountable ?

Folks can rant all they want about why EAs don't get engaged, but nothing is going to change until we can change the way management and leadership measure AND are measured.  Enterprise Architects require data (and a lot of it in some cases) in order to impact a decision or a business case.  If we (EAs) are to be successful, we need to have tremendous skills in persuasion -or- we need case history based on sound measurement demonstrating why Enterprise Architecture did (or could have) led to a better set of outcomes.  I can imagine that a set of Research folks might be interested to help explore the value of measuring "The Right Stuff" and thus enable a better set of business cases for investing in change and architecting it properly.


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