This year I was there to present a session called Viable System Model meets Enterprise Architecture that you can find the script here and this is my takeaway from the event co-chaired by Chris Potts and Roger Burlton that make an effort to keep the event out of the conferencenext big thing “hype cycle”.
Roger Burtlon opened the event with a key note about how difficult is to sell BPM and Enterprise Architecture to decision makers. According to his point of view, professionals make it to difficult, because BPM / EA is perceived like a worn out approach. It’s the same old story of creating process oriented organization, centers of excellence, defining process owners, maps, kpi’s and alike. Believe it or not BPM is still understood as the movement that started during Business Process Re-engineering heyday and stopped in time, as also, those old management approaches that mature and crystallized inside of amber and ultimately become fossilized. On top of that, new management generation is not identified with the backbone of BPM (a very fine exploration was given by Paulo de Carvalho at BPM Conference Portugal) – and as such, it fails to get traction.
To overcome the barriers of adopting BPM / EA it is necessary to position the disciplines more strategic oriented. For example: if an utility company want to increase customer intimacy, how that should shape the things to come in order help the consumer to keep energy consumption low, even if is at the expense of increasing the rates during winter but at the same time helping the customer with practical help to cut the energy bill and extending collaboration with regulators, government agencies and construction companies to build intelligent buildings.
The rise of a new role
During a session I learned about a new role in enterprise architecture that was apparently coined by CISCO: the Culture Architect. It have among other responsibilities to shape the culture of the humans resources and make humans aligned with the values the company want to achieve. I could not disagree more with the loom of this concepts. It appeared to me the resurgence of a discussion during Business Analysis Conference 2012. As I pointed out:
I’m tempted to say that like in other profession and in life Analysts are what they want to be. The trick is how you become a linchpin during your path on earth. Finding new ways to think, to structure. Thus stand up a make a difference. Every day of your life.
Hence, the same applies to “whatever” architect. I tend to think the more roles are created, more difficult to make change happens and contradicts the spirit of the so called Culture Architect. This position was also defended at the panel managed by Chris Potts by part of the audience. Arguments like, “why Architects don’t concentrate in Architecture and help organizations change, rather than creating a network of specialists that block change happen” erupted. As a matter of fact, I remember once upon a time, I attended a meeting to present an analysis that was done to a process. During that meeting, some important causes were presented regarding the lack of knowledge diffusion, putting the process on it’s knees. Every time a solution that was necessary to be built to solve a customer problem, it was designed from from a scratch. At the end of the debate, I wanted to talk about the possibilities of making some changes in the way operations were executed and the customer’s team manager replied that changing the process was the responsibility of the process designer team, once the team I was having the meeting with were process analysts. If you want to shape the culture of the organization, let the human resources to their work, like in SONAE that act as role modelers in this kind of field expertise.
Why sometimes predefined frameworks don’t work
I always had the opinion that using best practice, predefined frameworks can (sometimes) bring more hurt, noise and a hike in the effort to comply with the framework when you are thinking in your business and make transformation occurs, that it is more smart if you construct your own framework that talks your business language. For that purpose it is possible to build it on top of an existing one without offending purists.
I loved the presentation called European Air Traffic Management Architecture – Using EA techniques in the SESAR Program, part of the Eurocontrol’s Single European Sky. It involves regulators, service providers, airports managers, space organizations, military and civil aviation . They created a custom enterprise architecture approach called European ATM Architecture (EATMA) to create a pragmatic and common language for communication purposes. The method and language was built using NATO frameworks and TOGAF and covers time elements, core elements, behavior elements, interaction elements and information / data elements, spread across the custom layers like: capability, operations, programme, service and system. This is the living prof that not everything must be modeled using Archimate and TOGAF oriented.