Respect as an architectural issue (IRM-EAC 2011)

I had an excellent time at the IRM-EAC 2011 conference in London this past week. Part of that was because Sally Bean and Roger Burlton had had the courage to bring their previously-separate EA (architecture) and BPM (process) conferences together, creating an immensely valuable mix across the whole business-change space. For me, the conference started with an excellent all-day workshop by Chris Potts, on ‘Driving Business Performance With Enterprise Architecture’, based on his rightly-acclaimed book recrEAtion. There were many great presentations, too: for me, Alec Sharp on ‘the soft stuff’, Milan Guenther on crosslinks to design-disciplines [slidedeck here] and Jane Chang on applying EA beyond the enterprise were some of the real stand-out examples. And, of course, many great conversations, both with established ‘names’ and – perhaps even more important – the next generation of architects and designers, with some really exciting new ideas and experiences.

Each of these conferences brings their own special brew to the enterprise-architecture party. Open Group has its solid emphasis on the detail of IT-architectures; Integrated EA focusses on real complexity in the real world; AE Rio brings its own unique Latin flavour, with a stronger emphasis on business; yet IRM-EAC’s combination of EA and BPM was a heady brew indeed – definitely looking forward to next year on this one! 🙂

My own presentation was on ‘Respect as an architectural issue’, based on a real consultancy engagement some while back for a bank in Latin America – I won’t say exactly where or who, for obvious reasons The session went very well: some nice Tweets about it, at the least – though one of them said “@tetradian is light-years ahead of us …”, which is flattering yet also somewhat scary…! Anyway, here’s the slidedeck itself:

Description: The client: a large bank in Latin America. The business problem: loss of respect of the company in the market and the broader community, plummeting from highest to lowest in the region in a matter of months, with impacts throughout all aspects of the business. This real-life case study explores, step-by-step, the actual practices and underlying architecture principles that were used to tackle a major strategic issue with enterprise-wide scope, and set the groundwork for subsequent process development.

Key takeaways:

  • How architecture concepts and principles may be usefully applied far beyond IT alone
  • How enterprise architecture supports business strategy and business process management
  • How enterprise architecture facilitates communication between disparate stakeholders from every area of the business

Hope you find it useful: Share And Enjoy, perhaps?

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2 comments on “Respect as an architectural issue (IRM-EAC 2011)
  1. Sally Bean says:

    Tom, thanks very much for the kind remarks about the IRM EA and BPM conferences, and good to hear that you think the chemistry of bringing them together worked. I’m pleased to see that you’ve picked as your highlights an EA talk, a BPM talk and a talk from the Business Architecture stream that Roger Burlton and I crafted together.

    I too think it worked well. One thing I would like to comment on is to be careful to not let our ‘universes’ be defined by the scope of IRM’s conferences, or indeed more generally, by a way of structuring the world that happens to suit suppliers in general. For example, Data also has a very close relationship to EA.

    I see EA as the framework that ties together strategy, organisation, process, information, data, technology, and all the other elements of an enterprise and informs the process of change. But it’s all too clear that many people still see EA as being part of the technical universe, despite our conference championing a more business-oriented view for many years.

  2. Tom G says:

    Hi Sally – Thanks! I’ll admit that I hadn’t noticed that my examples were one each from the EA, BPM and BA strands – nice! 🙂

    I take your point about the role of data in this – not least because I came into enterprise-architecture this time via the data/information-architecture route. Security is another important cross-cutting theme, of course; yet so is environment (seen by many IT folks as ‘Green IT’, though it’s much broader than that), health & safety (often ignored completely by the IT folks), knowledge-management and so on.

    “I see EA as the framework that ties together strategy, organisation, process, information, data, technology, and all the other elements of an enterprise and informs the process of change” – strongly agree. And yes, as you suggest, I do see a key part of my current task is to help people break out of the myopia that restricts EA to “part of the technical universe”, and instead grasp that view of EA as a complete bridge between vision, strategy, implementation and execution.

    Thanks again for a great conference, anyway: it’s been a real highlight for me – and I’m well aware of how much work you and Roger and the IRM crew put into making it all happen, and making it work so well.

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