At Bizzdesign, we’ve had many engagements throughout the years where we were brought in to breathe new life into failing enterprise architecture initiatives. A common denominator across many projects was replacing Microsoft Office with enterprise architecture tools — specifically, a trinity comprising Visio, Excel, and PowerPoint.
In our experience, many organizations find it appropriate to start an enterprise architecture practice with a cheap, homemade solution. The thinking is that once some value has been achieved, they may (maybe) graduate to a professional tool – that’s usually how the story goes. We believe it’s the wrong approach if you want to do real, meaningful work that makes an organization more competitive in the marketplace.
Nonetheless, this thinking is ubiquitous in business and responsible for many failed transformation initiatives. To debunk the notion once and for all, we decided to explain in the clearest terms possible why office tools cannot support a value-producing enterprise architecture practice.
Here’s why office tools won’t work. While office tools are invaluable for many tasks, they are not specifically designed to manage intricate enterprise architectures. Many organizations that initially opted for these tools encountered challenges that led them to seek specialized solutions later.
Additionally, an organization might opt for office tools because of the perceived cost-saving. However, this viewpoint often neglects the long-term implications. While there is an upfront cost to adopting specialized enterprise architecture tools, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial investment in efficiency, value-driven results, and alignment with business goals. The value-driven results that specialized tools can deliver make them an investment worth considering.
Specialized enterprise architecture tools like Bizzdesign Horizzon bring far more than advanced features.
In conclusion, don’t leave your organization’s long-term success to chance. If you want to do a job right, especially if it is complex, use the right tool. Just like any other professional, enterprise architects and related roles require specialized tools to deliver results if you are to deliver on the promise of enterprise architecture.
Consider this: Does your Sales department use Microsoft Word to keep tabs and leads? Does Finance use the Word Windows calculator app for their work? Probably not.
The business reality is changing, and the ability to plan effectively for the future, make sound strategic decisions, and adopt and foster an agile enterprise is becoming more valuable by the day. The sooner you act on it, the more advantage you have over your competition.
Marc Lankhorst is managing consultant and chief technology evangelist at Bizzdesign. He contributes to Bizzdesign’s vision, market development, consulting, and coaching on digital business design and enterprise architecture. He also spreads the word on the ArchiMate® language for enterprise architecture modeling, the Open Group standard of which he has managed the development.