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Editorial: BiZZdesign State of EA Survey

By May 19, 2021Articles

A note from the Editor: Regular visitors to the EAPJ will have noticed that, over the past few weeks, we’ve been featuring a banner advertisement on the home page for the new BiZZdesign State of Enterprise Architecture survey report. I was forwarded a copy recently from the report authors, and having had a read through, I thought I’d summarised just a few thoughts on the wealth of information it shares. I hope you enjoy the review.

Constantly changing business environments

It comes as no surprise to Enterprise Architecture practitioners when we say that business environments are undergoing significant change. It’s also unsurprising to note the accelerating rate of that change, fuelled by advances in technology that have a compounding effect on one another, and on how businesses operate. When you add the past 12 months into the equation, it’s easy to believe we’re contending with challenges from an organisational change perspective that make past business fads pale in comparison.

Of course, we often speak about the fact that EA is much more than a technology discipline, but in having those conversations, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that senior business stakeholders need a trusted advisor that understand how these advancing technologies can, and should, be used to enable their organisations to adapt and thrive.

EA’s need to constantly adapt their service offerings

Most practitioners will agree that there is significant strategic value available through the effective use of Enterprise Architecture. More specifically, EA can help the business to make better decisions, and achieve better outcomes. This enables the Enterprise Architect to take a seat at the management table, and have recognition as a driver of business change.

To do this, it’s essential Enterprise Architects build and maintain as sense of relevance to key business stakeholders, along with improving their visibility and accessibility. Beyond the standard EA skills, this may require staying abreast of changes in a number of areas, including but not limited to:

  • Current and evolving business trends
  • Regulatory environments
  • Market changes within their business’s market, and adjacent ones
  • Developments within the practice of Enterprise Architecture

Surveys are a useful tool

We’re all familiar with surveys. Sometimes they can seem like an unnecessary chore, but when used effectively, they can provide great insight into the subject matter at hand. In 2018, the EAPJ published a State of Enterprise Architecture Survey, which gave some interesting perspectives on subjects such as organisational positioning, tool and framework usage, and geographical spread. Unfortunately, that was 3 years ago. With the abovementioned rate of change, EA practitioners must be able to source more up-to-date information on how the discipline is faring, and how their work and their teams are perceived with the broader business community.

The BiZZdesign survey: The State of Enterprise Architecture 2021

Bearing in mind my comments above for up-to-date information, the EAPJ welcomes the recent report released by EA tool vendor BiZZdesign. The team at BiZZdesign have run a global survey of over 250 practitioners, and asked questions such as:

  • How mature are EA practices today?
  • Are they making a difference to IT and business change activity?
  • Is there a correlation between EA maturity and an organisation’s ability to adapt to changing expectations?
  • What are EA’s top priorities to improve their impact in today’s organisations?

Executive Summary and Key Findings

The report is full of interesting information and insights from the survey respondents. Here are some of the outcomes that I feel are highly relevant to practitioners:

  • Around 1 in 7 organisations said they fighting for survival after a difficult 2020.
  • Conversely, almost have of companies reported optimism about the future, citing new opportunities and the ability to gain market share.
  • Those organisations that rate themselves more highly on the EA Maturity scale believe they have an increased ability to adapt to changing needs.
  • When looking across the range of organisational sizes, there appears to be a “squeeze” on those companies that fit into the “mid-sized” category, who feel that they are under threat from both larger and smaller competitors.
  • EA Maturity was not dependent on the size of the organisation, with many small organisations rating their maturity higher than large conglomerates.
  • There appears to be an inverse correlation between the age of an organisation and their EA Maturity level (i.e. the older the company, the lower the score).
  • When asked about barriers to the agility they need to change, the most prevalent answer was related to organisational culture, with suggestions that people are suffering from change fatigue.
  • Embedding innovation in the DNA of the organisation remains a challenge, particularly for those companies that lack EA Maturity.
  • Making organisational changes to improve CX outcomes is a focus for most organisations, but moving from strategy to effective execution is proving difficult.
  • Getting more support from senior management, and delivering greater organisational insight, continues to be top-of-mind for most EA practitioners.

Here’s where you can find out more

There is so much more in the BiZZdesign State of Enterprise Architecture report for 2021. If you’d like to get your own copy, and see what your peers are focusing their efforts on, you can find the full report here.

What are your thoughts?

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on issues related to the EA discipline. Are you experiencing the same concerns as BiZZdesign discovered through their survey? Leave your comments below, and we can continue developing as a discipline, together.

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