Chief Architect’s Big Three Secrets for Enterprise Architecture Planning

In a previous article, the spotlight fell on three biggest risks the Chief Architect needs to manage before moving onto something less tactical.  Consider now the area of strategic planning and opportunities in your future state landscape.  Three key sources that the chief architect needs to explore are:

  1. CEO’s Top Strategic Drivers
  2. CIO’s Primary Concerns
  3. Enterprise Portfolio Management

In fact, the CEO owns, knows, eats and breathes their top three strategic drivers.  At a time in the economy that we are facing now pure survival may likely be their number one focus.  Such drivers might include the area cost savings, as well company stock prices.  The chief architect needs to fully understand how these drivers impact or are impacted by the Enterprise Architecture Plan.

Figuring our which way to go
Figure out plan of attack

Choices made in the areas of infrastructure and solutions will most likely be efficiency based, and risk averse.  Creatively considering ways in which the architecture can contribute in the area of competitive tactics is another way in which we can provide value.  If the CEO is really focused on their competition’s moves, it might be a looming takeover or collapse.  How can the strategic plan allow for agility in these types of circumstances?  What would it take to expend with a line? A division?  Or purchase either?

An additional area of CEO concern is major projects.  The CEO realistically needs to keep aware of the biggest corporate expenditures and these may be IT projects.  Characteristically these are very high profile projects or large replacement projects.  The chief architect should be fully aware of what the CEO’s concerns are, and what it is troubling them about the projects.  It may be the board’s opinion of the project, or where else the money could be better spent.

The second area the chief architect needs to focus on is the concerns of the CIO.  It is crucial to have a list of things that keeps this soul up at night as well.  Some risky hardware component or some recent security lapse could be top of the list. It might be an employee or staffing issue.  Where they are privy, the chief architect needs to explore what can be done in upcoming plans.

Ultimately there is the major issue of job retention as a CIO.  Budget cuts and less than stellar IT performance can be used as stimulus to look within the large resource pool available.  What can be done to ensure IT performance is not a factor.

A major area of concern to the chief architect should always be enterprise portfolio management.  This is the prime source of where strategic future directives will be exposed.  The architect needs to comprehend and be fully aware at all times of the biggest opportunities.  What was the biggest project or investment identified?  What is on that list or that requires the biggest investment AS WELL as the biggest return on investment.

I would suggest that the chief architect to quickly scan that portfolio management list on a monthly basis and retain a list of the quick wins and low hanging fruit.  Each of these should be incorporated into whatever future planning is being pursued as the opportunities are available.

You’ve got to keep the pulse on these critical elements – and keep this in on your laser focus.  Continually update your enterprise architecture plan where you can whenever these strategic drivers change.

Happy Architecting


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