Enterprise Architecture as the Office of the CEO
30 December 2010
We are used to the idea of a Programme/Project Management Office (PMO) but often organisations fail to understand (or perhaps deliberately misunderstand) what the Enterprise Architecture function does. I propose that the Enterprise Architecture function is, in effect, an Office of the CEO, or an Office of the CEO and Strategic Change Management.
The book ‘Enterprise Architect as Strategy’ (http://www.architectureasstrategy.com/book/eas/ ) gives us the right way of thinking and talking about what enterprise architecture is for – creating a foundation for the execution of the Business Strategy.
This book is an essential read for senior executives, business leaders and enterprise architects.
Many people within an organisation will understand the big picture view of the business strategy, such as the CEO of course, but perhaps only at a shallow level of detail.
Would the C-level executives understand all the potential nuances and wrinkles that come with that business strategy? Perhaps not unless they were a ‘details’ person.
What does the CEO do? They will spend time in evaluating ideas, formulating the mission and vision of their orgnaisation, innovating the business model to ensure the company remains competive in their market, looks for future opportunities for expansion and carving out a niche market.
It is the Enterprise Architect who has the job of maintaining the big picture on the behalf of the CEO, in sufficient detail to ensure that it becomes a knowledge base to support the executive’s decision making and help them to realise the business strategy and govern the implementation of that strategy.
In this way the Enterprise Architecture function is effectively the Office of the CEO, providing strategic support to the CEO and the other C-level executives. It’s also worth stating here that effective companies focus on enterprise architecture and don’t jump straight into IT architecture. Enterprise Architecture is not the same discipline as IT Architecture.
We can look at the the Enterprise Architecture function in terms of Deming’s Plan-Act-Do-Check process improvement process:
The CEO and other C-level executives will stablish the mission, vision, goals, objectives, principles and metrics to identify the main outcomes of the business strategy.
The Enterprise Architect will help executives, business leaders and strategic planners to develop the business model, operating model, and other enterprise architecture models supporting business model innovation
The CEO and other C-level executives will evolve and innovate the Business Model.
The Enterprise Architect will take the business strategy and business model and support the development of the target operating model, communicate the business strategy, model the target and interim enterprise architecture models, plan an EA roadmap of strategic initiatives, identify and define the required capabilities, define the mandates for the investment programmes and key projects, define standards and process improvements. They will usually define the IT strategy to ensure that it fits with the business strategy rather than being developed in isolation (as unfortunately often happens).
The Enterprise Architect will perform EA governance, compliance and design assurance against those programes & projects implementing the strategic changes and new capabilities. They will perform gap analysis and impact analysis, measuring the performance and compare the results against the expected outcomes.
All the while the Enterprise Architect will report to the CEO and act as their trusted advisor. They will analyze the gaps, risks, costs, issues, assumptions and dynamics to determine their cause and determine where to apply further strategic changes in the next iteration of the cycle and improve the overall maturity level of the enterprise.
The mission of Enterprise Architecture is to improve the implementation and excecution of the business strategy, ensuring that the enterprise will survive, continue to develop and remain profitable in the future.
An interesting example to look at is the US Department of Health and Human Services which has established an Office of Enterprise Architecture as part of the Office of the CIO. http://www.hhs.gov/ocio/ea/index.html
As the the book ‘Enterprise Architect as Strategy’ says – ‘When it comes to executing your Business Strategy your Enterprise Architecture may matter more than your strategy itself… ’