In the early days of enterprise architecture, the focus was merely on frameworks and methodologies. To have real impact, I believe the focus of modern enterprise architecture should move to creating business value.

How do we as enterprise architects contribute to the value creation of our enterprise? Here are some important mind-shifts that need to happen if we want to improve impact on value creation.

(Also see my book on value creation for more information)

1. Business driven enterprise architecture

I still see a lot of enterprise architecture that is IT focused. How on earth can we influence value creation if we don’t start from the business perspective when shaping enterprises? Making the link between our internal architecture and the external ecosystem is a prerequisite to think about business value.

Even when your focus is on technology, you need to have an in-depth understanding of the business to know how to create real value from technology.

2. The investor perspective of enterprise architecture

In a lot of enterprise architecture efforts, I see a focus on realizing “new” solutions starting from promises made by tool vendors or technology to enable new functionality. Implementing new solutions is nice, but the more difficult question is how these solutions will generate real business value. Maybe the same value can be generated from already existing solutions; by collaborating with external partners or by rearranging business processes. Just to mention only a few other solution alternatives.

If it would be your own money, would you be ready to invest in it?

3. Actionable enterprise architecture

Also enterprise architecture is typically still associated with long lasting efforts coupled with heavy investments, defining ideal TO BE situations, building global city maps and multi-year roadmaps. But I think there is a different way of doing Enterprise Architecture.

Focusing on actionable advice, delivering concrete recommendations resulting in immediate value.

4. Enterprise architecture to transform for better value creation

Too often enterprise architecture is only driven by the need to standardize solutions for optimal efficieny and productivity. While this still remains a very valuable objective, there is another possible goal for modern enterprise architecture. What structures and processes do we need to create value for today’s fast changing world?

The goal of enterprise architecture is not only to standardize structures, but also to transform structures for better value creation; focusing more on agility and resilience.

5. Outside in enterprise architecture

A lot of energy of EA is focused on what I call here for simplicity an inside out approach to EA. What internal structures do we need to run our company? Today, a company does not stand on its own anymore, things are connected. Every modern company looks at the broader ecosystem in which it participates. Understanding customers, understanding market trends and reflecting on how to remain relevant becomes an important focus of enterprise leaders.

The challenge for enterprise architects is not only to design internal structures but also to influence the external shape of the company in the broader ecosystem environment. And to engage in these discussions with mutliple stakeholders.

Take al look at my book on value creation for more insights and cases from friends and colleagues. Join the journey of transformation!