The recent release of the annual Gartner MQ Report for Enterprise Architecture Tools provided all of us here at Bizzdesign with a very pleasant piece of news. For the fourth year in a row we were acknowledged as a Leader, and for the second time the vendor with the highest Ability to Execute score.
That’s basically a company’s ability to deliver on the promised outcomes – in other words, to guarantee clients’ success both now and in the future. Naturally, we’re very proud of this achievement. Staying ahead of the pack is something that we conscientiously strive to achieve anyway, but having that outside recognition tells us we’re going about it in a way that is recognizable to others.
It’s also noteworthy because – and we’re not sure how many people realize this – the MQ report is not an assessment of an organization’s product offering; or rather, that’s only a small piece of it. The Magic Quadrant takes into account the entire organization – its way of doing business, its relations with customers, research and development, the ability to provide adequate levels of customer support etc. All these other competencies that come into play if your business change initiative is to be successful. This second aspect triggered an interesting thought in our minds, which is that an enterprise architecture initiative’s success depends on more than how capable the EA management suite is.
Sure, that’s the most visible variable, but it too exists within a landscape of factors, each of which contribute significantly towards the desired outcome. Just think of your vehicle. It may seem like all it needs to run is gasoline but try and drive your family’s car around without changing the coolant, engine oil, or the windshield washer fluid and you’re probably not going to get very far.
Therefore, should you find yourself in a situation to procure an EA tool for your organization in the future, remember that while having a mature and competent EA platform is vital, there are other aspects which you should not ignore lest you place a very low ceiling on your transformation initiative. These are the extras that a great EA tool comes with.
Some of the things you ought to inquire about and get clarification on during the procurement process include:
Expertise is the slowly accrued proficiency that comes from performing at the very top of a certain field for a long time. How many organizations in the marketplace do you think are providing expert advice? Deliver expert consultancy services – especially if you consider domain expertise? Common sense dictates that only a minority, which means that yet again this is a topic that ought to be openly investigated during the scouting and procurement process.
In order to understand what you are dealing with and make a fact-based decision, you and your team ought to inquire about the sort of approach that the vendor responding to your RFP has for long-term customer success. Moreover, credentials should be made available and possibly proof presented of the experience and impact created during past engagements. Everyone may be working in the same
field but it’s one thing to follow the latest developments in the industry and another thing altogether to lead the way forward. To maximize your probability of success, engage with people that stand out in the marketplace, they’re the ones who will be providing outstanding service and navigate you safely through the most complex transformations.
Ask yourself – what kind of security practice is this potential business partner of ours running? Do they have rules and guidelines in place in order to ensure the utmost security of our information, and if they say they do can they bring any proof of this? These are pertinent questions and if a vendor is trying to get your business then they should be ready to answer these questions without hesitation.
After all, it seems quite clear that the oil of the 21st century will be information – well, already is if you go by companies’ valuations. When you consider that and especially when you look at the increase in the frequency and severity of corporate cyberattacks, having high standards of information security makes a lot of sense.
Innovation is another area where vendors can vary wildly. In order to maintain a competitive advantage and support customers achieving their goals far into the future, EA vendors need to have a commitment to innovating their product. They must have the capabilities and processes – and desire, to begin with – to advance their offering so that it not only responds to requirements this year, but also the year after and so on.
Scoring high on innovation means taking your clients’ success seriously and it also places a fair amount of pressure on the organization to ‘build’ towards that future every day. Hallmarks of an innovative culture are the amount of resources dedicated to improving the platform; or an organizational structure that is conducive to brainstorming and bringing to market forward-looking features, functionality, methods etc.; or technology/standards bodies agreements. These can all make a legitimate topic in initial conversations with an EA vendor, which is why organizations scanning the market for the right tool should engage with prospects on the subject.
Hopefully this post brought to attention an interesting point about successful business and IT transformation, which is that having a good supporting cast of capabilities around the EA platform enables your team to deliver more value as well as better future-proof the business. If you’d like to learn more about a market-leading tool, get in touch today and we’ll tell you all about HoriZZon as well as BiZZdesign’s commitment to customer success.