Orbus Software had its first Transform Day in London last December, and it was an amazing success (we’re modest here at Orbus). So, as you can imagine we couldn’t wait to host our next one, which took place in New York City on 24th February. And, with a day full of intense discussion and networking, followed by a few post-event drinks…we can safely say that it didn’t disappoint!
Our Transform Days are about two things. Firstly, sharing our own insights into enterprise architecture (EA) and the challenges of digital transformation. Secondly, and more importantly, providing a space to talk with our customers and learn more about their digital transformation journeys. Ultimately, this customer feedback helps inform our development decisions. So it was great to catch up with our North American customers and hear first-hand accounts of their experiences over the past year.
These conversations took the form of roundtable discussions where attendees debated a wide range of different topics – often leaving Orbus leaders unable to get a word in…but don’t worry, that’s the way we like it! This time around, conversations focused on the position of EA within organizations and the ability to influence long-term strategic goals. In addition to wider discussions around the topics of Governance and Data Management.
We’ve taken a deep dive into the event below, discussing the main topics and key insights from the day.
EA Still Needs to Find the Right Place
EA is here to stay – but it still needs to find the right place. Of the challenges discussed amongst attendees, the issue of how to position the EA practice effectively within an organization and ensure that data is relevant and up to date, was ever-present.
We found that few currently see themselves as being in a position to influence strategy or even decision-making. Customers acknowledged the trend but don’t yet view themselves as having that seat at the table. So why is this? Issues with EA maturity for one. Many attendees were under the belief that their EA practices are not yet fully mature enough to achieve this.
There were also some contrasting viewpoints, with one customer (who has a more established EA practice) pushing back against the status quo, arguing that EA should not be directly involved in decision making – stating that they’ve positioned themselves as advisors, not leaders. Albeit raising eyebrows, these are the kinds of conversations that make Transform Days great. Opening dialogue and sparking debate between Orbus and our customers, discussing the things that matter and helping us all stay ahead of the game.
Governance is Increasingly Relevant
What are you trying to do and what value do you provide? This was the underlying question that cropped up amongst some of our more mature customers – who discussed the importance of determining the value of the EA practice.
So how is this achieved? Well to put it bluntly, keep it simple. This might sound rudimentary but choosing one objective and making it black and white for all was the overwhelming response from customers. Following on from this, customers also put together a semi-automated governance process to help accelerate it and process more demands.
For most, governance meant an Architecture Review Board (ARB) - running regularly with business and technology representatives involved in decisions for change.
With that in mind, here’s a few suggestions on how to support effective governance (courtesy of our customers of course):
Easily give context and impact analysis of a change across the organization
Help EAs define clear controls and rules new designs must comply with
Think of Design/ EA as a self-service: give solution teams the ability to create new designs with clear rules and automatic steps when possible
Architects Call for Aid
Learning and sharing ideas at a roundtable event, who’d have thought? Jokes aside, one aspect that received unanimous approval from attendees was the desire to learn and share with other architects.
Everyone was keen to share their issues and help out their fellow architects – generally trying to advance the cause of EA, no matter the organization. More than anything else, this illustrates why Transform Days are so important and why we’ll have more events coming up in other regions over the next 12 months.
For all the subtleties and intricacies of digital transformation, there is a core community that wants to help organizations thrive and deliver better digital experiences for everyone. And that’s what we’re all about here at Orbus Software.