CIO, CXOs and middle managers that face major challenges – like: going digital; implementing a ‘customer experience’ program; planning a major new business technology platform; wanting to beef up innovation; or reducing unit costs. They know what must be done, but are looking for ways to increase the probability of success. They are fully aware that there are more failure examples than success stories. We all have doubts about past recipes. What are we missing? How can we break away from the past? How can we avoid falling into the trap of doing the same things, over and over, and hoping for different results? How do we balance this when everyone is time starved and must generate results fast?
In my last post, I used the blueprint analogy to explain what a business architecture is – a visual business model used to facilitate or accelerate coherent decision-making. Another way to look at it is to view it as an insurance policy against siloed thinking and management. In this post, I thought it would be important to explain how build a valid process-based business architecture. First things first – from KYC (know your customer) to KYS (know your stakeholders) Your business architecture has to be valid from a business-strategy perspective. Your model must be anchored on a good and shared knowledge of your key stakeholders’ needs, and from which you derived your core strategic intents. This is the first, and one of the biggest by far, traps that management or executive teams fall in to. We are often tempted to race through this, either because we think this is day-dreaming and not about real life, or because we think we know all about our strategic priorities, our stakeholders and our stakeholders’ needs. More often than not, this is not quite true. As CEO, you may think that your organisation’s strategic plan is known and understood, and that it means the same thing to everyone. Well, surprise, it does not! Your business architecture is a key governance tool, and ought to be purpose-outcomes driven, not just a pretty picture of what your organisation does.
Have you ever tried to build a house without blueprints, or even hoped to get the costs right without any plans? There is a single master blueprint for the general contractor, and different views for the electrician, the plumber, the foundation specialist, etc. The architect works with you trying to capture your needs, dreams, big projects, intents – in short, to really understand your overall context. They suggest that you look at different ‘dream house/cottage’ reviews and bring them some examples of what best captures your vision. The idea is simple – to help you make your vision concrete and actionable with reduced construction risks, while also helping you to make optimal choices and accelerating your decision process. Process-based process architectures are essentially the same: critical business blueprints.