The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Enterprise architecture now more than ever…

Reach.pngI saw this post by Tim DeGennaro about Enterprise Architecture in 2014 it made me think about a discussion I had with a large analyst firms Enterprise Architecture specialist. I mentioned to him that HP’s EAs are not focused on “selling” HP products. They are not part of central organization but instead tied directly to client organizations. Naturally, they have some interest in the product’s being used appropriately, but their main interest is in generating value for the company, within their business, meeting their goals.

 

During our discussion, we kept going back to this topic over and over. It was clear there was a contextual mismatch, since my view is that that there is no way an EA can push product off the back of the wagon and fulfill their role as a trusted advisor. His view was that HP is a product company and therefore the EA must sell product – even though I don’t think he agreed that perspective was best. It was just an assumption he made.

 

The EA needs to be focused on the long term value generation – and the analyst just couldn’t understand that this was our approach. HP Enterprise Services wants to have long-term strategic relationships with organizations (most of the EAs are in HP ES). We view that Enterprise Architecture is at the center of these relationships, whether it is based on infrastructure, applications maintenance and development or business process outsourcing, to truly generate strategic value an enterprise architecture is needed. Often HP personnel perform this function, sometimes the customer’s team carry the load - in any case, we see Enterprise Architecture as foundational to what we do.

 

Transformation journey.png

We look at enterprise transformation as a journey, starting with assessing the current state of IT and its alignment to and support for the business, along a path to a defined “new state”. A state based on the business goals of the organization, not on some product list.

 

One of the important functions of Enterprise Architecture is to communicate the destination as well as the steps and the governance needed along the way. This allows for fact-based expectations, discussions and actions -- reducing confusion and rework. Organizational change management and communication skills are crucial to make this happen.

 

Since the EA deliverables need to be business driven – enterprise architect should strive to always tie back initiatives to business direction and metrics. Sometimes we all can lose sight of why we are here and this traceability helps keep everyone grounded in the needs of the business.

 

Once I was working at a large food manufacturing organization interacting directly with their Chief Technology office. We’d get into deep, esoteric discussions and I’d ask the question “How does this make more cheese?” to focus us back on the business goals.

 

Even though it may seem simple, the connections between the enterprise architecture and business goals allow EA’s try and maintain a practical approach. The architectural work products and the architects themselves need to be used effectively to deliver solutions and not be ivory tower shelf ware.

Comments
Ravi Ram(anon) | ‎09-11-2013 04:38 AM

HP’s EAs are not focused on “selling” HP products - is certainly a problem.

 

You certainly dont have to be agnostic to your portfolio to become a trusted advisor. Just look at your counterparts at IBM or at Accenture [who have often gone into joint EA discussions with HP]

 

Legacy EDS always pushed for Dell, SUN and Cisco infrastructure and they were comfortable with that.  Truth be told - there is a general lack of competence around HP infrastructure amongst HPES.

 

By the time you get to the physical view of EA, you have to pull the might of your portfolio. CTOs on an HPES account are expected do just that. And dont you dare argue that they became CTOs without fulfilling the requirements of an EA.

 

I look to the right side of this screen and I see everyone has a "CTO" or a "Fellow" added to their name. I hope they dont share the same sentiment about EA as you do.

| ‎09-11-2013 10:11 PM

I am not saying that you don't understand your portfolio... and know when it is applied for maximum effect. I am saying that if an EA comes across as having "an axe to grind" and not listening to the clients needs and standards, they will never be a trusted advisor. They will just be a vendor.

 

The key word in EA is enterprise and it is the customer's enteprise that is paramount in that discussion.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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