Taking Immediate Action with Enterprise Architecture initiatives


Enterprise Architecture will enable Business Agility, increase flexibility and the long-term viability of an organisation.

However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that Business Agility is the same as Agile software development. Business Agility doesn’t come from using Agile for software development. They are two different concepts.

Business Agility is a mindset about business, not about software development or IT-Specific.

It is about the capability to deal with volatility and uncertainty and to react to unexpected business events that can occur at any time.

Business Strategy and Business Agility

Organisations need to Think about Business Agility in terms of the dynamics of Business Strategy.

Mapping their strategies, tactics and business capabilities.


  • Where to defend
  • Where to attack

Tactics for Business Agility

What are the tactical manoeuvres that an organisations will need to think about? 

  • Ability to do something different
  • Preparing for various Business scenarios
  • Consequences of alternatives
  • Business Trends
  • Strategies for gaining a competitive advantage
  • Organisations have traditionally responded to change with strategic planning
  • Change today can be fast
  • Many strategies are 3 to 5 years
  • Aim to be active and prepared to make quick decisions and not just reactive
  • Gain fluidity to be able to adapt to new business models quickly

Business Agility with Enterprise Architecture

How does Enterprise Architecture (and Business Architecture) help? Firstly we can defined some principles.

Enterprise Architecture Principles for Business Agility

  • Reducing bureaucracy
  • Reduce constraints
  • Avoiding blinkered approaches
  • Freeing up power structures
  • Put the customer first
  • Keep up with the customers journey
  • Lean Management
  • Use EA for modelling people, process, policy, applications and technology
  • EA provides a portfolio of initiatives and investments
  • Avoid the pitfalls of automation
  • Ad-hoc Business Processes
  • Data Driven processes
  • Faster decision making
  • Deliver experiences instead of just products
  • Better communications
  • Omni channel communication

Purpose of Business Agility

What is the purpose of Business Agility?

Business Agility will increase the overall agility of an organisation to react to a changing market and customers environment.

This will:

  • Enable more innovation
  • Improve value propositions
  • Reduce systemic risks
  • Business Agility is the new key to success
  • Is your organisation stuck in a rut?

The value of Business Agility

Greater Business Agility will give an organisation:

  • Greater freedom of choice
  • Knowledge of where to change
  • Freedom of manoeuvre
  • The capability of taking Immediate action
  • Re-deployable capabilities
  • Tailored value realisation
  • Increased Business Value
  • Faster responsiveness
  • Increasing foresight
  • Faster reacting to social media
  • Reacting to customers journeys
  • Moving fast in response to customers’ needs
  • Gaining a critical advantage (Blue Ocean)
  • Increased responsiveness to consumer needs is now more important to successful organizations than industrial efficiency and lower costs
  • Better positioned to deal with ongoing and constant change
  • Increased Responsiveness
  • The capability to switch resources quickly and faster than competitors
  • Being able to switch external partners quickly
  • Capability to quickly react to external changes

 Definition of Business Agility

Business Agility means having sufficient spare unallocated resources available in order to react to change quickly enough to be beneficial.

  • Business Agility is the capability to quickly sense and respond to new events
  • Ratio of available resources to uncommitted resources – planned redundancy
  • Less constraints for implementing strategic change
  • Increased Requisite variety

The law of requisite variety governs the capacity of a system to respond to changes in its environment.


  • Business Agility requires a different philosophy for taking immediate action
  • Balance between efficiency and flexibility

100% Standardisation does not provide required agility.

Automated versus manual processes.

  • Business Agility is the capability to make rapid changes when required and not be constrained by static designs
  • Having the capacity to deal with unexpected business events

Providing some slack or unexploited capacity.

 A new Business Capability is needed.

This new Business Capability is called Business Agility Management.

 This is not simply another name for:

  • Risk Management
  • Change management

Change management is a systematic approach to dealing with change both from the perspective of an organization and the individual.

Change management has at least three different aspects, including: adapting to change, controlling change, and effecting change.

It is a new and specialised Business Capability that is Business Event driven and continuous.

  • It will continually adapt to business events
  • It will require capable individuals from the relevant business, with supplier and customer collaboration

For an analogy think of a Cheetah.

  • Cheetahs are perfectly adapted to rapidly accelerating to a great speed for capturing prey
  • Chasing after prey that is dodging about and constantly changing direction
  • A Cheetah is a stealthy high speed agile running machine

Process Models for Business Agility Management

What processes should be used for realising an Business Agility Management capability?

The two that I recommend are the Kotter’s 8 Step change process for developing a strategic overview process, and John Boyd’s OODA Loop for the continuous operational Business Agility process.

John Kotter’s 8-Step Process for Leading Change


These 8 steps are the best approach for developing the strategic Business Agility Management capability:

  1. Establish a Sense of Urgency
  2. Create the Guiding Coalition
  3. Develop a Vision and Strategy
  4. Communicate the Change Vision
  5. Empower Employees for Broad-Based Action
  6. Generate Short-Term Wins
  7. Consolidate Gains and Produce More Change
  8. Anchor New Approaches in the Culture

Run these previous 8 steps continuously and concurrently.


The OODA Loop (ObserveOrientDecideAction) process has been defined by John Boyd.


OODA is the best approach to use for the operational aspects of Business Agility Management.

Observation (current enterprise architecture)

  1. Assess current business events
  2. Expect and watch out for the unexpected events and scenarios
  3. Determine how the current enterprise architecture model will support the new ad emerging events

Orientation (Analysis and insights)

  1. Analyse Business Events and current outcomes
  2. Identify what EA initiatives will be needed to fill the gaps
  3. Identify change and transformation opportunities decisively
  4. Focus on a clear future vision of customer value

Decision (Target Enterprise Architecture and alternatives)

  1. Identify alternative target enterprise architectures and different business scenarios
  2. Identify the target enterprise architecture
  3. Identify EA initiatives
  4. Evaluate investments in change that are needed (play or pass)
  5. Make decisions quickly
  6. Define the EA roadmap in terms of EA Initiatives and Investments on Change

Action (Execution of Target Enterprise Architecture)

  1. Take immediate action on investments in change
  2. Ensure resources and funding are already pre-allocated to immediate actions
  3. Start an immediate action task force to accomplish the changes without delay
  4. (for IT only teams this can be an Agile IT development team that is on hot standby, but don’t forget Immediate business changes needed)
  5. Respond flexibly to emerging circumstances
  6. designed to provide swift and positive reactions
  7. Quickly pivot on changes
  8. Execute the roadmap
  9. Implement the changes

Factors of successful Business Agility Management

How do we determine success for the Business Agility Management capability?

  • Define measurable stakeholder aims and create a business case for their achievement (which should be continuously updated)
  • Monitor assumptions, risks, dependencies, costs, return on investment, dis-benefits and cultural issues
  • Effective communication that informs various stakeholders of the reasons for the change (why?), the benefits of successful implementation (what is in it for us, and you) as well as the details of the change (when? where? who is involved? how much will it cost? etc.)
  • Devise an effective education, training and/or skills upgrading scheme for the organization
  • Counter resistance from the employees of companies and align them to overall strategic direction of the organization
  • Provide personal counselling (if required) to alleviate any change-related fears
  • Monitoring of the implementation and fine-tuning as required

What will the Challenges be?

Business Agility Management will have plenty of challenges:

  • Business Agility requires continuous adaptation
  • Constantly changing context and variable Risks
  • Understanding that people and business processes are resistant to change
  • Avoiding fear, uncertainty, doubt, uncomfortable
  • Designing a Business Model for Business Agility
  • Creating the foundation for a viable business model which maximises opportunities for Business Agility in the enterprise architecture
  • Determining the Readiness for Business Agility
  • Encouraging the likelihood and support for business agility in existing business and IT systems
  • Overcoming organisational inertia
  • Planning and realising a new Business Agility Capability
  • Requires a balance between decision making between speed and efficiency
  • Requires high speed of decision making
  • Requires enterprise architecture to ensure the alignment, integration and collaboration between strategic, social, business and technical components
  • EA-enabled business investments
  • Culture of Business Agility
  • Create a culture that promotes fast decision making
  • Make decisions and taking immediate actions using a rapid decision model
  • Continual scanning of the market and customer environment
  • CxOs understanding Business Agility

Some quotes to use

‘Sometimes I feel the need … the need for speed’ – Top Gun.

Ready, Fire, Aim!

More dreams die because we fail to seize the moment.

Immediate action means seizing the moment!

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