A compass for sustainable change

By Svend Jacobson

“Innovate or perish” “Standing still means falling behind” “Survival of the fittest”

Companies are created, grow, are divided up, merge, contract and eventually stop their activities completely. As a result, the entire economy constantly revolves around a cycle of creative destruction. Today, the need for change and innovation seems to be acute, but this has probably driven every generation of managers to howl in quiet frustration. What’s more, there are numerous expressions in management jargon that warn of the inevitable end of the life cycle of companies. This glossary is today headed by the term ‘digital transformation’.

In exceptional cases, the need for transformation can be met by the successful implementation of a programme that is mainly rolled out independent of and alongside the line organization. But usually the transformation focuses directly and substantially on the internal workings of the line organization. In such cases, embedding the change in the company is essential for continued success.

Enterprise Architecture as a catalyst for transformation

The discipline of Enterprise Architecture (EA) has a catalysing effect on transformations like the digital one. In addition, it can also have a vital role in keeping the project portfolio aligned with the business strategy, even if this changes direction. As a change compass indicating what is necessary and feasible, EA plays a key role in the adaptability of companies. It complements the management team and line organization in accordance with the corporate culture.

Not all organizations see the value of EA

Despite the obvious orientation benefits of such a change compass, deploying an EA team still seems to be a stumbling block for many organizations. With a change at management level, it is often the case that a young EA team is split up, decentralized or even completely disbanded. When this happens, one can only conclude that either the people at board level are not aware of the need for and benefit of the EA role, the A in the ADKAR change model, or that they look at KPI measurements and see that the role does not ‘stick’, the R in ADKAR. The latter is no surprise as an EA team is, after all, not always the right answer to a specific challenge faced by an organization in a given context.

Enterprise Architecture according to inno.com

At inno.com we define EA as ‘the ability to make sensible choices’. This ability can only be realized at company level. So by definition, it can never be the exclusive privilege of a team in an ivory tower. The real challenge in developing this ability is actually ensuring that the EA operation is closely integrated into the management decision process, with the involvement of the right stakeholders. That is why we at inno.com attach so much importance to the EA team’s growth path fitting into the context of the organization. This ensures that the embedding of EA has the maximum chance of success, and so gives the organization its compass for sustainable change.

A compass for sustainable change