EA is Strategic Planning

20 January 2013

Enterprise Architecture quite simply is all about Strategic Planning. It helps enterprises shape their future structure and dynamics in the face of the changing environment in which they do business. Its purpose is to understand the ends and means that form the strategies needed.

How does an enterprise react to events that do and will potentially occur and arrive at the strategies needed to remain robust, efficient and viable, to continue to deliver value and make profits for themselves?

Enterprise Architecture is the corporate discipline that helps us to understand the questions that need to be asked and get better at strategic thinking. The approach is based on asking the usual Why, What, How, When, Who and Where questions:

  • Why does the enterprise need to change?
  • What are the drivers for change?
  • Are the drivers fully understood?
  • What is the mission and purpose of the enterprise?
  • What do enterprises need to do and need to understand? What do their customers and stakeholders want?
  • What is possible to do?
  • What are the strategies, goals and objectives?
  • How will these be achieved?
  • What business capabilities are needed?
  • When should the enterprise react to new opportunities? What are the potential business scenarios that might occur? How will the enterprise react when they do occur? And how should it react?
  • Who should be involved?
  • Where is the enterprise?
  • What environment or markets is it located in?
  • How many different environments are there?
  • What would success look like for strategic planning?

These should all be open questions. You should take care that the questions don’t upset those executives that are responsible for the current answers and are asked in an ego-less fashion.

All of these answers can be modelled and analysed with your favourite enterprise architecture tool.  I like to add a Strategy domain to the usual Business Architecture, Information Architecture, Application Architecture and Infrastructure Architecture domains.

Enterprise Architects should start to think like a strategist instead of just like a technologist.

In real life the answers from our questions are usually complex and enterprise architects will typically develop a number of different target enterprise architecture scenarios to explore all the options. These can be analysed and

What I find curious though is that I have never seen any mention of Enterprise Architecture approaches and techniques in any Strategic Planner job specifications. These job specifications may include requirements such as :

  • Maintaining a clear picture of the external environment
  • Development of vision, strategies, goals and objectives
  • Identifying and assessing merger and acquisition opportunities
  • Facilitating the on-going development of strategic and associated implementation plans (i.e. Roadmaps)
  • Providing an ad hoc research and analysis capability
  • Conducting market and competitor analysis
  • Interacting with the board executives, and other senior internal and external  stakeholders
  • Business and commercial awareness

TOGAF9 and ArchiMate already both include Motivation concepts, so now more and more Enterprise Architects are modelling Drivers, Goals, objectives, Measures, Values as well as Products and Business Services.

EA domains

Isn’t it about time that Strategic Planning starts to make use of the value and benefits of the enterprise architecture capability?

The same point also applies to Enterprise Architecture and Business Transformation. In my view Enterprise Architecture is the glue that joins these approaches together.



8 Responses to “EA is Strategic Planning”

  1. cristian PicoGamboa Says:

    Hi Adrian!I was reading , this lines and i found it interesting !!.As well as I personal thinking that a enterprise is more ,or should be more a little of course about that merely word meaning enterprise.In fact enterprise since is it a conjunction about factors that aims to get achievement on one determined ways.(catching specific goal) Before ,when society was more standart and people get that too ,enterprise was a form to get a determined goal .Actually enterprise is becoming to be as well as yet a one kind of partner with the sociaty with the people with the human could say.Life is becoming getting several ways ,moods,likes,…and enterprise should be,must be know undestand peoples`s and society`s likes and necessities in everything in al aspects of the life.Therefore ,more specially, architecture enterprise should be get all those aspects mentionated above lines, but now in this times is necessary understand better that would be so good with the enviroment ,is very important this case!,is important that architecture enterprise becoming get friendship with enviroment in this time is that really way for to get well being,lets say really confort for us for the earth ,in fact for the humans being.As weel As in others ways I working on this ideas and others too .Is so fast thinking that i would to contribute with your ideas and thinkings,wich those seems to me yet very importants!regards!Date: Sun, 20 Jan 2013 18:32:58 +0000 To: mensajesahora@hotmail.com

  2. […] recent blog entitled: “EA is Strategic Planning” highlights a sentiment by many enterprise architects (a widely abused moniker) that what […]

  3. Simon Seow Says:

    Just one observation about articles on EA. mostly seem to start for the basis that TOGAF is the definitive word EA. don’t get me wrong, I think TOGAF did a lot of good work. But it is very much implementation centric, and that’s fantastic if what you want is to do implantation with some architectural ideas thrown in.
    Sadly, the article takes the same flawed approach to architecture as the mainstream thinking. It doesn’t separate “architecture” from current corporate objectives and issues of the day. “Architecture” is expressed using a noun. To architect an implementation, is what an approach or a methodology for implementation is about. Strategy is how we get from point A to point B. whether that is to have an improved architecture foundation, or to reengineer our enterprise to a “wished for” future state. TOGAF talks about building blocks, but falls short of what are useful, reusable building blocks. I don’t have an exact answer, but I know that if we do not have some agreed definition of what to call the elementary building blocks and how to recognise them, whatever methodology we use, there is no “architecture”. The articles who, what, where, why, when, how, set of questions is a good starting basis, but the article seems to just have a bunch of questions with these aspects. And we can have a hundred other questions with these six words. Nothing wrong in the questions per se, in that they ought to be asked, among other questions. But that does not help us in getting anywhere near a useful framework. The Zachman Framework, despite its “ancientness” and despite the fact that a lot more research/thinking/publication/sharing needs to be done in different scenarios to give it wide acceptance, is the only sound basis for architecture to be based on. It is not a methodology, and it never was intended as such, but it is the only way we are ever going to derive diverse methodologies ( and the thought of only one single methodly, not withstanding the good work of the TOGAF folks, is not realistic) from a common, sound, architectal foundation, is via the Zachman Framework ontology. (It’s really more than just ontology. Somewhere between an Othology and an analytical framework, but that’s another story). I do not mean to be disrespectful, and I do thank the author and publisher for continuing the discussion on EA.. It’s a very new area with lots of opinions and its only by open discussion that we can advance this area of knowledge.

  4. nick malik Says:

    Adrian, why separate strategy from business architecture?

    • Strategy is usually the responsibility of the CxOs and strategic planners in an organisation. Enterprise Architects should work closely with them and be recording the details of the strategies and ensuring that all elements of the Enterprise Architecture are traced back to the Business Strategy, Goals, Objectives, Mission, Vision etc. to facilitate subsequent gap analysis, impact analysis, support strategic decision and investments in change and subsequent business transformation activities.

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