I spent the last two days in Weston, FL. attending various BPM and SOA related lectures. One session I enjoyed was George Paras's "Connecting the Dots: Establishing THE Enterprise Perspective". George is the editor-in-chief for the Architecture and Governance Magazine.
George reminded us that as architects we should think, act, and behave as business people. Everything we do as architects should be geared around value creation by affecting change in the name of product innovation, process transformation, technology transformation, and business transformation. In other words, we need to enable the business to be better, faster, more efficient, better informed, etc.
He then went on to point out that one of the reasons that it is so hard to create business value these days is because our technology and our business processes have become so complex. He showed us one slide that states, "Complexity INHIBITS Change....Complexity consequently INHIBITS Business Value". In my opinion, as we begin to model both our operational and technical architectures, we must make it a goal to minimize the complexity and subscribe to the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid!) methodology.
The last golden nugget that I took away from George's presentation was about maintaining balance. George talked about how companies struggle to make progress towards establishing an enterprise architecture because the business demands so many tactical projects yielding only short term gains. The chief architect or architecture group must figure out how to get the company to start thinking strategically which yields long term gains. But be careful, you need to strike a balance between tactical and strategic. The business cannot stop while you go off for 6-12 months to create an enterprise architecture.
George's answer to the "Balancing Act" is the Managed Portfolio. The Managed Portfolio combines :
- Enterprise Strategy & Planning
- Project Portfolio Management
- Enterprise Architecture
During a break, I had a chance to speak to George (us Greeks need to stick together). I discussed my project and our approach to implement SOA only for the services required to support our BPM initiative, as opposed to creating a full blown SOA implementation. He agreed that we were on the right path which will make me sleep a little better tonight. I then handed him my last business card which was crumpled and stained with spaghetti sauce. Talk about great first impressions!
There were many other meaningful lectures at the show, but this was the best one to blog about.