In the current economic context, although the IMF announces that recovery have started, the companies should not weaken and continue the effort of adaptation. As I had shown in the posts “Is it time to revise his strategic planning?” and (currently in French) “Qui croit qu’après la crise, il y aura un retour à la normale ?”, giving the objective to belong to the group of survivors is not enough, it is necessary that the companies are prepared with the resumption of their activity and being able to provide the capacity in accordance. That still required and requires, with each one of them, a great effort of transformation, more especially as the recovery will be done in a context of business renovated, because customers and suppliers are changing their behavior. A new place will have to be found, an example is the automotive industry which evolves with forced march to electric vehicles, for being poised to answer the challenges of the international regulation and customers requests of respectful industrial products for environment.
In this context, it is astonishing of reading, in the analyzes of Gartner on Architecture Enterprise (AE), that the quality of the work of the architects was not sufficient to show and articulate the value of the AE with other levers of change. It is even worrying because the value of AE is precisely to successful in changing. How did it happen ?
Companies change before architecture frameworks exist. Previously, attention was related on the cultural change and motivation of employes who, adopting a positive attitude, are deemed to have all competences to conceive and implement the change, each one on his level. In a context of business integrated, based more and more on collaboration of networked organizations, this approach led to difficulties, and sometimes to failures: the problem of EADS which led to delay A380 Airbus program, was due to lack of process, men and technologies integration. By supplementing this approach by a flexible but structured process, enterprise architecture is a critical factor of success for transformations. It is then worrying to note that enterprise architects do not manage to show its value, and consequently, do not allow companies to benefit from it in one moment when they need it most.
Once this said, Gartner bases his analysis on a survey carried out near architects. If this step is intuitive, it can have introduced a bias. Indeed, it may be that enterprise architecture was spread out like practice of management, and that it touched other targets than architects, for example of organisation top management, or Business and corporate executives, or enterprise strategists. Architects would be then the kingpins of a process which they would not control. The few great architects, leaders of opinion, who made emerge the concept of AE, would ultimately have work for companies managers, more than architects community.
This is indeed only an assumption. However, Open Group architecture forum identified that, within its enterprise architecture framework, architects competences need to include management competence, which is not widely the case, because massively architects were recruited mainly on the basis of expert competence. To be really enterprise architecture vectors and to play fully their part of the game, architects also must change and acquire new competences in management allowing them to create needed empathy with all targets of enterprise architecture, to be able to undertake the whole responsability of the process.