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Setting up an Enterprise Architecture (EA) function in an organisation requires a structured approach which delivers results. In this series we give practical tips and guidelines in implementing EA in different types of organisations. In the previous posting we investigated success factors for implementing EA in governmental organisations.
In the final posting of this series we focus on implementing EA in commercial organisations. What are key elements to implement EA successfully in a highly commercial environment?
The main objective of commercial organisations is to sell their products and services, make profit, and beat their competitors. Commercial organisations typically have to deal with a competitive market environment, which can be very dynamic. In commercial organisations there tend to be a action-oriented approach, which means that new developments are triggered by events that happen in the market environment. This results in a dynamic organization, where lot of initiatives are running, and it is a challenge keep all these developments in line with the long-term business goals.
Implementing EA in commercial organisations is challenging, but when done properly, it will give the organisation a useful mechanism to steer changes and developments in the organisation. We give here three success factors which are crucial for realising a successful EA implementation in a highly commercial organisation.
Connect to business strategy: To really deliver value with EA in a commercial organisation, it is necessary to link EA to business strategy developments. EA can be a useful steering mechanism, but therefore a link with strategy development is needed. Otherwise, EA will not be able to guide changes, but only react to changes.
Stakeholder management: Especially in commercial organisations, there are a lot of different stakeholders, with different concerns. It is important to get a view on these stakeholders, their position, and how they should be communicated with. A good approach here is to identify the power and level of interest of each stakeholder in a stakeholder power grid (see Figure 1, source TOGAF)
In this grid the stakeholders can be placed in one of the four boxes (based on level of interest and power level) and this determines whether a stakeholder is a key player, needs to be kept satisfied, needs only to be kept informed, or need not much attention at all. In this way you can focus only on the main stakeholders in the organisation, and this will make the EA function more effective.
Become a partner of Project Management: Besides the connection to strategy development, and good stakeholder management, the third success factor is about positioning EA as advisory role to project managers. Changes in organisations are practically implemented by projects. As EA function you want to guide these changes, and therefore should be a sparring partner in projects, preferably in the early stages when project plans and high-level designs are developed. There you can influence the direction of projects, and this is crucial for the success of the EA function in a commercial organisation.
In this series we looked at implementing an EA function in different organisations. We started with identifying the aspects of organisations that are important to look at when implementing EA. In the next postings we focused on large multinationals, small local organisations, governmental organisations, and commercial organisations. For each type, the three main success factors for implementing EA are discussed. A summary table is presented here:
Use the guidelines in this blog series to implement EA in your organisation, or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if we can help you set up your EA strategy.
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