The figure below attempts a first time order. The upper level represents the overall considerations applying to the entire company. It is, increasingly, a business federation, composed of many companies related by capital ties, legal, business or partnership. On this level, a pivotal concept is the extended value chain.
Strategy and Architecture: A Necessary Collaboration
At this level, business coexists with the development of corporate strategy architecture: not only it takes the strategic directions to deduce the implications in all aspects of the business, but it informs the strategy the opportunities or constraints on the company or its environment. One thinks, of course, technological innovations to domesticate to put the company’s service. Other opportunities may arise: organizational innovation, management style, redesigning supply, extension of the value chain, etc. The strategist is not necessarily sensitive to these issues. His gaze is mainly outward, the market, competition … His horizon is medium term (say three years) or short-term (with the “slippery strategies”). Instead, the architect knows the business, he models the and treats it as a system with its aims, emergent properties, constraints and opportunities for adaptation; he is very aware of the inertia of this ship and sensitive to the long duration in which the transformation must unfold. The dialogue must always be between these two skills highly complementary:
- Quarterback gives direction;deduces architectural sketch the Enterprise System to build.
- The architecture identifies the potential for transformation;the strategist seeks to use it in the context of the market.
Strategic Management: Directional Speech
Still at the enterprise level, the architecture of neighboring company with management. Naturally, the relationship should be established with the strategic management (say CEO), only able to affirm the vision of strengthening the will and drive the transformation.
The architect brings knowledge, accurate vision and provides plans; but will remain in management.
There is something a little pathetic (in the first sense: that inspires pity), to consider the boss reiterating its injunctions to innovate, incantations on convergence or customer focus (or administrative simplification) without showing himself capable of filling the concept. Soon, in the spirit of all the formulas are empty of substance and there are only empty slogans. One cannot blame the leader for this: the “fulfillment of the concept” (to use a Heideggerian formula) is not within its jurisdiction. Better to see in this a failure of the transmission belt to the skills is the role precisely those of architectural design in all its specialties. But since is enterprise architecture merges with computer architecture  , it comes to the idea of person she can intervene to relay the directional speech – specifically: the discourse of management and the speech that gives direction. Yet when this discipline proves able to realize its potential through proper exercise, it supports speech and precise vision concretely describing the target to achieve, future business to build.
Operational Management: The Culture of the Company
In this diagram, management is positioned straddling the transformation and operations. It is here operational management. Indeed, the idea goes beyond the classic role play between the DG – driving operations – and the CEO – dealing with the future vision of the company (i.e., processing). In modern business, a new balance must be achieved between transformation and operations. These activities must mingle more intimately in the company so that it constantly adapts quickly to a changing environment. This new alloy can only make the company truly agile.
So even line managers and all the middle management must have one foot in the transformation. Together detect malfunctions and opportunities for improvement. This implies a cultural conversion and education that contradict the natural tendencies.
The hierarchy needs to rethink its role and practices, get rid of his courtesan’s manners and think like the channel ensuring the accelerated diffusion of innovative ideas and transformation initiatives, in both directions.
Today, the fact that everyone shares, each expressing in his own words, is that of a blocked system, misguided:
- downstairs in the bunker, operational convinced that they will not be listened to and who lost, thus, the ability to recognize good ideas when they arise;
- Summit, leaders who do the rain dance, which ensure the representation, but feel powerless to actually influence the course of things.
This state is observed, both in society and in organizations. We could see a state of civilization. One accuses the power play, another short-termism, a third the influence of the capital or the size of empires created by globalization, etc. The factors are many; awareness, surprisingly widespread. We should not omit another element, more psychological nature: the individual, stuck in his box, finally found comfortable, he gave up easily to its action tendencies, and asks only to escape responsibility. For this, the locking system provides him with a convenient alibi well.
This pernicious logic that blocks the company, we will escape by relying on the operational management and the strong involvement in the transformation. This calls for a culture shock – electroshock on a sleeping monster.
Business Architecture: The First Moment of the Enterprise Architecture
In the figure, the next level is always about the company taken as a whole, but it introduces a separation between, on the one hand, the “business” and on the other, the technique. This specialization meets taking realistic account of human limitations: you cannot put all the skills in the same brain. The architecture profession, like any architecture, adopts a global perspective on the system and takes the concerns over the long term. She does it on only part of the Enterprise System aspects:
- the intentional aspect (values, objectives, requirements, indicators, rules, terminology);
- the semantic aspect (knowledge, the fundamentals of the business);
- The pragmatic aspect (activities and organization).
The technical aspects are left to other disciplines, such as computer architecture. We distinguish:
- the logical architecture, developing the desired structure for the technical system (including computers);
- technical architecture, exploring the technological possibilities and combining them to translate the logic specification in a system that works;
- The physical architecture that is interested in infrastructure, deployment and execution of technical means.
Architecture and Design
The third level of the figure corresponds to the local scope of disciplines, that is to say, almost always, those who invest in project mode. The architecture is there to channel that energy in order to move forward more efficiently and faster in building the system. At this level, the side of the trade, is the Business Analysis, well constituted discipline that has its representative bodies and its repository. Always by naive loyalty to the language, one may wonder why there is not a discipline Business Design, creative for the Business Analysis. This absence has consequences: the low capacity to innovate in the business.
On the technical side, the disciplines of tree branches more, because of the complexity of issues and the variety of expertise.
Enterprise Architecture: Consequently
After this little test ordering of disciplines, enterprise architecture appears in a new light. We discover it as the place where everything converges. Rather than a sharp specialty investing some aspect, it is the ability to reconcile the different points of view and to guarantee the unity of vision. It shall keep the same hand, the reins of the Enterprise System design disciplines. It must guide the hitch in the direction set by the strategist. Its responsibility is to ensure the consistency of the transformation project.
Without this feature, a lot of energy and talent will be wasted; many missed opportunities.
The enterprise architecture must ensure the flow of ideas by implementing a holistic approach to business.
Obviously – experience shows enough – the central position of overhang, presents risks, including that of the ivory tower. It is important that the enterprise architecture work does not stop with a few generalities, assorted patterns or waves’ simplistic and demagogic presentations. The word “architecture” should be taken as a strong sense: work begins with a sketch, of course, but in the end, the building should stand up and be suitable for all intended uses. We can achieve this with the help of modeling techniques, as they provide the level of accuracy required and the formal rules by which the architect can check the validity of its design. Before that, the first instrument is the representation of context: it gives the company’s topology necessary to order the topics and to distribute the responsibilities of all disciplines.
This Article is Written by Aashish Sharma is an Internet Research Analyst and an aspiring social media marketer. He possesses hands-on experience in optimizing and promoting websites on leading search engines and web media. His passion is to keep updated with what masters of the internet such as Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook etc. are up to to innovate & deliver. At EntrepreneurYork, he aims to be a part of most active online community and most widely-read blogs on the web, covering the insights of disciplined entrepreneurship that will help in preparing the leaders of tomorrow.