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Enterprise Architects: Mastering Digital Investment Management


We asked the audience attending a recent UMT360 webinar – comprised mostly of Enterprise Architects (EAs) – a few questions. I learn the most when I hear directly from the professionals in our industry, so I thought I’d share a few of the results that I found particularly illuminating.

“There is one prerequisite for managing the second half of your life: You must begin doing so long before you enter it.” – Peter Drucker

Gartner sees a trend that more and more points to a distinction between the foundational and vanguard Enterprise Architect roles. Foundational enterprise architects are concerned with systems of record while vanguard enterprise architects are primarily concerned with driving innovation through disruptive technologies. If you’re interested in being in the vanguard, then a shift of skills from artifacts to business outcomes is required to remain relevant. There’s no question that the Enterprise Architects role is poised to see dramatic change. So how will today’s Enterprise Architects adapt to these forces?

The first question we asked was how wide the perceived gap is between planning and execution within their organization. Overall, 79% of the respondents said they were aware of a gap between planning and execution at their organization. That’s significant. We know that companies underperform at key strategic activities due to poor execution. Yet most companies are still struggling. So while it’s good to see the Enterprise Architects in our audience acknowledge this is an issue, I’m still left with this question: Why is executing strategy still a major challenge for today’s Enterprise Architect?

How wide is the gap between planning and execution?

We then asked whether attendees agreed or disagreed that “The Financial Aspects of Planning Are Important”, and 80% agreed. Yet Gartner reports that many companies still have a low level of maturity relative to the process of managing financial investments. So how does the low maturity level of investment financial management impact investment selection and tracking? And do the current project and portfolio management tools being used provide the right level of proficiency required?

The Financial Aspects of Planning Are Important


When asked about roadmaps, 80% agreed that total investment roadmaps are important. Yet many companies are still only using relatively simple Gantt charts to manage their investments. Many business leaders today are unhappy with how quickly (or slowly in most cases) their company responds to opportunities. The pressure is on these organizations to speed up the clock. But are simple Gantt charts sufficient to the task? Everything is moving so much faster – opportunities and threats are emerging far more quickly than IT can keep with. And the world is so much more complex than it was even a few short years ago. This points to the importance of enterprise-wide roadmaps as a key success factor in managing the strategy execution.

Total Investment Roadmaps Are Important to My Business


Finally, 65% of the Enterprise Architects told us that they are involved at some level in the strategy execution. And this is a good thing, because without a doubt, today’s Enterprise Architect possess many of the key strengths, skills and talents – like Creativity, Pragmatism, and Consensus building – that help differentiate this role from others within the organization. This positions the EA well to play a major role in all phases of investment management and address some of the shortcomings revealed by the questions we asked. And if you’re an Enterprise Architect, that’s cause for optimism. Because there are more opportunities than ever before for the Enterprise Architect to have an impact and transform the way organizations manage their investments.