January 13, 2009

Transforming the organization


A while ago I have read the new book by Martin Op't Land et al., titled "Enterprise Architecture - creating value by informed governance" (see e.g., here). One of my favorit aspects of this book is the fact that it combines theory and practical results. For example, on p.23 it lists 7 key applications of enterprise architecture:
  1. investigate problems/shortcomings in a preexisting situation
  2. express the future direction of an enterprise
  3. identify key problems, challenges, issues, etc. as well as make well-motivated design decisions that enable a move from the existing situation into a desired strategic direction
  4. provide boundaries and identify pleateaus for the transformation of the enterprise twoard the articulated strategic direction
  5. give a clear context and direction for a portfolio of projects working toward the realization of the next plateau
  6. select one or more standard solutions and/or packages that are to b ecome part of the solution
  7. create the high level design of an actual step in the enterprise transformation as it will be realized in the context of a specific project
With reference to the work of de Leeuw, archtiecture is positioned as a governance instrument in transforming the organization. Interestingly, a lot has been written on business transformation, organizational transformation and so on. Roel Meijers suggested that the work of Gouillart and Kelly called "transforming the organization" would be a good starting point. I must say that the core approach (illustrated by the figure below) seems promising from a transformation point of view. I'm not yet convinced that it makes sense from the point of view of strategic management, though.

The analogy between a business system and a biological system is interesting and works well in an educational setting. One of my concerns with the proposed approach is the linear nature of the phases reframe, restructure, revitalize, and renew as I believe that these 'phases' are more iterative in nature. All in all, the book is highly recommended.

I still haven't figured out what 'business transformation' is, though. It seems to me that strategists and architects have a different opinion on this. I am preparing a more elaborate posting on this, so stay tuned.
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