Growing Impact is Key to Business Architecture Success

by Jeff Scott, on Oct 28, 2015 11:55:07 AM

Success_Curve.pngHow does your company know they are succeeding? For the most part they measure growth not operational efficiency. They measure market share within a product space, new markets captured by new products, revenue and profitability growth. To get a good handle on your business architecture’s success you should do the same – grow your market as well as your importance to that market.

Grow your impact – How large is your overall impact compared to your company’s organization? You can certainly be successful with a narrow focus but it is difficult to sustain that success over time. Senior managers and executives, including the CEO, make frequent career moves. What happens when the executive you rely on for support moves on? The more stakeholders you have, the more support you can garner when times are difficult. To increase your impact and your sustainability:
Grow horizontally – Many business architecture practices begin within a single line of business or business organization, often IT. They leverage their success there to enter new organizations and replicate their success. This often requires tweaking the model to work in the new context but the basic approach will be applicable. Look across your enterprise and identify the organizations that could benefit from your involvement. Start with them and then move on to organizations that might require a different approach or set of services.

Grow downwards - The natural tendency is to try to move up the organization but often there is more opportunity working lower. Helping lower level managers understand how to support leadership’s goals and be successful in their manager’s eyes is a big win for everyone. Also, having had success with senior and middle managers opens the door to move downward much more readily than moving upward. Moving downward usually requires developing additional products and services that resonate with this group.

Grow upwards – Working with the CEO and senior executives is the Holy Grail for most business architects. I think executive level support is over rated but it is good work if you can get it. Moving up the organization though is more challenging than moving across or down. It requires a clear understanding of how executives think and what is important to them. It certainly requires more interpersonal and consultative skills as well as executive presence. Success here often requires new approaches to the work you do.

Grow strategic impact – Many business architects start out picking the low hanging fruit of operational efficiency to drive cost savings and reduce complexity. This is a sound approach but to be sustainable and make the horizontal and vertical moves above, business architects must develop products and services that have broad, long-term strategic impact. 

The bottom line:_________________________________________________________________

Having broad, deep, and meaningful impact will ensure your business architecture practice’s future. You might have to branch into areas technically outside of business architecture to create this level of support but that is OK. Many successful companies do the same. Apple used to be a computer company. Now they are a consumer electronics company. Who knows? In the future they might become an auto manufacturer. 


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