Markets and Drifting
Most organizations operates within an environment that develops constant changes, that enforce the need for innovation and change within the enterprise. The market usually ensures that the enterprise has to re-structure, re-organize and adapt to the situation at hand.
Drifting is the industry paradigm, and there is nothing to do about it if the enterprise wants to develop and keep innovating.
The organization has to adapt, and that leads to the situation where the organization should have to be able to adjust to its enterprise architecture and its information systems in order to ensure that the problems at hand are solved. Since globalization has increased the degree of competition from easy to intense from competitors that can mobilize resources from various countries (markets) and transfer the resources to the markets that they want to gain a market share in.
Many small and medium sized enterprises would have to “hack” their enterprise in order to find processes, technology and organizational structures that can lead to synergies that in turn can lead to a competitive advantage. By acknowledging this the chief architect has to recognize that the Enterprise Architect program can’t be designed for a stabile environment or for idealistic conditions. The Enterprise Architecture program has to be designed upon an idea that the entire model and process has to be easy to change in order to achieve the crystallization of short term wins.
In order to gain competitive advantages the enterprise has to organize and enable as many processes as possible to empower the organization to do something that it can provide better, cheaper or faster than any of its competitors.
These processes would have to be enabled through planning, skills and the ability adapt to the situation at hand. Drifting within the enterprise is in other words an imperative that the executives, the chief architect and the enterprise architects would have to deal with in their establishment of the enterprise architecture program.
The competitive advantages are realized through the members of the enterprise are able to identify solutions that can overcome the problems that they face in their own segment of the enterprise and this first hand knowledge can lead to a greater understanding of how they can optimize their ability to produce. However the ad hoc solutions that Ciborra’s idea of bricolage and hacking can lead to sub-optimization of the enterprise and eventually it would lead to silos.
In order to cope with the problems of the drifting and in the same time enabling the benefits of drifting for the enterprise.
The Enterprise Architecture Program
I define the concept of Enterprise Architecture as a process of adapting the standards, principles and objectives for the enterprise. This process is also a form of blue printing for how the enterprise’s architecture should develop and that enables a form of enterprise engineering as well.
Enterprise Architecture is both a form of enterprise engineering and a project-governance process. Enterprise Architecture is a program since EA is a continuous process that consist of a portfolio of projects that step by step alters and develops the enterprise from its current situation (AS-IS) to a future desired state. This is known as the to-be situation.
The principal idea with the program is that the change will take place over time in small steps and that would in principle ensure that the big bang changes wouldn’t allocate too many resources and it would in the same time ensure that the changes would alter too much at the same time and thereby make the changes manageable. The manageable size minimizes the risks for the enormous project will fail to realize the benefits promised before the project was initiated.
Drifting leads to a need to deal with the problem of inconsistent technologies and solutions, that in turn would make it very expensive and difficult to manage. In order to deal with the negative impact of the tendencies of bricolage and hacking, it becomes clear that the enforcement of certain principles, standards, methodologies and approaches should be enforced and that the concept of Enterprise Architecture is capable to deal with. Enterprise Architecture has to be enforced through the culture of the various segments of the enterprise. However a too tough enforcement of the principles dealt with in the Enterprise Architecture program will eventually lead to a problem with enablement of innovation (process innovation and product innovation) for the enterprise.
The chief architect has to try to deal with informing the various creative elements within the enterprise in order to make them understand how they can apply the various applications and solutions to deal with the problems that their segment faces, but they would have to deal with the standards and principles defined in the Enterprise Architecture program in order to ensure alignment, agility and assurance.
The chief architect has to deal with this delicate issue, and it can only be dealt with in a continuous process from the day that the Enterprise Architecture program is initiated until the end of the enterprise.