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Bridging the Gap – Creating Appreciation for EA and Its Strategic Value Among ALL Employees

Published By Holt Hackney
Bridging the Gap – Creating Appreciation for EA and Its Strategic Value Among ALL Employees

In a recent poll conducted by IDG Research Services, it became very clear that there was a lack of understanding in some corners of the enterprise about the Enterprise Architecture team and its important role in influencing the corporation or governmental entity’s strategic direction.

“From the perspective of the IT professionals answering the survey, higher level IT functional areas view the EA team as critical to strategy development, while LOB areas like Sales and Marketing seem to be more disconnected regarding the purpose of the EA team,” IDG found.

While the CIO or Head of IT viewed the EA “as critical to strategy development” at a high rate (56 percent), that number dropped precipitously when sales and marketing professionals were polled (11 percent). The sales and marketing professionals were also found at the bottom when the following was posed: Do you “view the EA team as functional/necessary to strategy execution”?

Big deal, you might say. After all, enterprise architects don’t report to sales and marketing executives. This is where it is important to consider the role of the sales and/or marketing team and what they can do for the EA professional.

Yes, they are charged with creating and communicating the messaging to the outside world and then ultimately generating revenue. But they also have an inward-facing responsibility to effectively communicate to all employees, whether directly or indirectly. And by virtue of their skill set, they are typically good at this.

The challenge for enterprise architects is to bridge the gap that was highlighted in the IDG poll and raise awareness about their vital and strategic function within the enterprise. Here are three ways to accomplish this.

Lost in Translation: Why Enterprise Architechture Teams Needs to Speak the Language of the Business

Thought Leadership

Be willing to write about some of your team’s initiatives and how they are having a positive impact on enterprise. This will have the dual benefit of educating the market team, which will review your content. You might also consider writing for outside publications, such as Architecture & Governance Magazine. Such articles endear yourself to the marketing team, whose primary objective is to make the enterprise, as well as its products and services, look good to the outside world. A last note here: Writer’s block is not a good excuse. Put your thoughts on paper and find someone on the team with communications skills to review and improve it.

Volunteer Outside Your Department

Most enterprises encourage cross-departmental participation. Perhaps there is a social committee or a benchmarking committee, where you will have the opportunity to interact with your sales and marketing coworkers. Bring the perspective of your EA or IT team to the committee meeting. Use this as a platform to highlight the importance of EA to the enterprise’s overall strategic plan.

Be a Newsmaker

Did you just get certified in TOGAF? Did your article just appear in Architecture & Governance Magazine? Were you invited to participate on a panel an EA conference? All of these are press release opportunities, which will afford you the opportunity of interacting with your internal sales and marketing professionals. This is a golden opportunity to educate them about the function of EA and the value of the team.

The bottom line is the statistic highlighted at the beginning of this article can be reversed. And when that happens, you’ll be the better for it and, more importantly, so will the enterprise.

Read the full study: Lost in Translation Why Enterprise Architecture Teams Need to Speak the Language of the Business.

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Written by Holt Hackney

Holt Hackney is the long-time managing editor of Architecture & Governance Magazine. Involved since its inception more than a decade ago, Hackney oversees the procurement of bylined articles, the editing of those articles and the production of the magazine. Trained as a journalist, Hackney wrote his first technology-related article, “Too Manny Choices,” in a 1999 issue of Treasury and Rick Management Magazine, which discussed “the incorporation of enterprise resource planning capability in financial accounting software products.” Hackney is also a creative director at Grapevine (TX)-based Ascend Marketing