Business architecture is a challenging capability. Designing the business, optimizing its processes and streamlining the way information is collected and used is very interesting, but most of all very difficult. I read a very interesting blog post by KLM’s SVP e-commerce Mr. Martijn van der Zee: “I Have a Lack of Strategic Vision” in which he points out that strategic visions in PowerPoint won’t cut-it for Air France-KLM in the digital era we are in today.
He gives a number of reasons why long-term strategic plans are not working for him:
“In this new digital world, nobody knows where we’re going. The only way to get a glimpse of what’s happening is by trying to understand what our customer wants, build a working prototype and test it in the real world. Fail fast and often. PowerPoints won’t help you do that; building, testing and tweaking will.”
Projects and experiments are all part of a learning cycle in organizations. John Boyd introduced the OODA-loop to express a decision cycle of observe, orient, decide, and act. Since the speed of opportunities passing by is increasing, your organization need to speed up its OODA-cycle. How do you contribute to the OODA-loop of your organization?
John Boyd’s OODA Loop
The classic Architects view
Architects typically will argue that the temporary websites and databases behind the suggested prototypes tend to stay a little longer than innovators and project managers promise when deploying them. Architects know all about legacy, organic growth of organizations and their application landscapes, as well as the enormous efforts it will take to rationalize these landscapes. Architects prefer to craft a plan up-front, discuss the underlying principles (hoping to get them approved by senior management), design an integral picture of the preferred future, analyze the impact of the proposed changes and then start projects.
The internal focus and lack of speed in this approach are brought to the table by KLM’s Martijn van der Zee mentioned above. MIT’s Joi Ito goes even further in his TED-talk on innovation in the era of the Internet, by stating that the Internet is fundamentally changing the way we innovate. The old-school “MBA-way of innovation” is way to slow and does not benefit from the connected world we are in today.
Okay, right… but what does that mean for the way we are architecting (in) organizations?
The alternative: Contribute to flexibility and scalability
With growth, distractions and complications multiply
Business architecture techniques help you in this process. BiZZdesign applies these techniques in the tools, training and consultancy we provide. We strongly believe Business architecture capabilities should be focussing on the creation of business value from rationalization and optimization as well as from growth and innovation.