What an Enterprise Architect should do in hard times. Part 2
Published 00:10, 16 February 09
So what should an architect do to help their organization navigate the structural break? Here are my recommendations for an architect corresponding to Rumelt's lists 5-9 "Strategy in a ‘structural break’".
5. What to do in hard times? Use hard times to concentrate on and strengthen your competitive advantage. If you are confused about this concept, hard times will clarify it. Competitive advantage has two branches, both growing from the same root. You have a competitive advantage when you can take business away from another company at a profit and when your cash costs of doing business are low enough that you can survive in hard times.
What an EA should do? Time to focus on strategy! Read my post on “Elaborating Strategy - a primary role of an Enterprise Architect”.
6. What to do in hard times? Take advantage of hard times to buy the assets of distressed competitors at bargain basement prices. The best assets are competitive advantages unwisely encumbered with debt and clutter.
What an EA should do? Use operating model analysis to identify processes that must be the same, those that must be integrated and the information that flows between them. These critical elements will help identify where your applications replace theirs, where their applications replace yours, and the information that needs to be brought together.
7. What to do in hard times? In hard times, many suppliers are willing to renegotiate terms. Don’t be shy.
What an EA should do? Identify the suppliers you want to keep first. For instance, infrastructure complexity reduction should be a priority. Identify the overlapping functionality and the products you want to keep will result in a shortlist of vendors for renegotiation.
8. What to do in hard times? In hard times, your buyers will want better terms. They might settle for rapid, reliable payments.
What an EA should do? It might be basic blocking and tackling, but look to assist data provisioning to support new procurement and negotiation insights required in tough times. It might provide an inroad to drive master data management and information stewardship.
9. What to do in hard times? Focus on the employees and communities you will keep through the hard times. Good relations with people you have retained and helped will be repaid many times over when the good times return.
What an EA should do? Streamline governance structures and reduce the burden on those that remain. Do so along with clear communications about their role in making this new streamlined governance process work. In a word – accountability.