Elevator pitch for Enterprise Architecture

5 June 2008

I have been reading Andy Winskill’s blog on his suggested Elevator pitch for Enterprise Architecture – ‘Enterprise Architecture is about the identification and realisation of Competitive Advantage‘.

I think this is an excellent pitch that has the benefit of being concise and focused on the business language  of senior executives.

My own elevator pitch is ‘Enterprise Architecture is the bridge between strategy and execution‘.

To expand on this pitch, I usually point people towards the excellent ‘Enterprise Architecture as Strategy‘ book by Jeanne W Ross et al.

I also sometimes describe EA as a realisation of the System 4 (focusing on strategy/future/intelligence) in Stafford Beer’s Viable System Model.  Or as a combination of System 4 and System 3 (focusing on audit/control/governance).  This doesn’t work so well as an elevator pitch unfortunately as most people are not familiar with Stafford Beer’s work and will just give you a blank pitying look…


5 Responses to “Elevator pitch for Enterprise Architecture”

  1. Fascinating suggestion. But how many organizations have a viable EA function in VSM terms? And where is System 5?

  2. System 5 is the overall policy making organisational unit within an organization. These are the C level executives, CIO, CTO etc. They set the business strategy and overall target operating model, policies.
    The EA function as System 4, analyses these business decisions in further detail with regard to the current and future state environments.

    My military analogy is that System 5 are the Politicians and Generals setting direction, and System 4 are the Army Intelligence Corp, System 3 are the General staff, and the other systems are the operational divisions etc. that do the actual fighting.

  3. Nashreen Hofmeester Says:

    You are right, Andy Winskill’s elevator pitch will resonate with senior executives in a corporate environment. In the public sector, competitive advantage sadly does not count for much and as such Adrian, your elevator pitch is a better option.

    I normally also add that it provides a structured environment for the business transformation that might be required to execute the strategy.

  4. Hi!

    Indeed it is an interesting point of view; but Ross & Weill’s view of Enterprise Architecture is in my opinion to focused on technology and how technology can gain or enable an organization to achieve a sustaining competitive advantage.

    In my opinion Bernard’s definition of Enterprise Architecture “EA = Strategy, Business and Technology” could be re-written to an excellent elevator pitch e.g.,”Enterprise Architecture is a valid path to coherent decision making”.

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