From Strategy to Execution and Beyond - Part 4

Beyond strategy – Using enterprise architecture as a strategic navigator

Blog QualiWare From Strategy to Execution and Beyond - Part 4

In this four-part blog series, I will, based on a business-outcome-driven enterprise architecture view, guide you through what you need to do to transform your business. Starting at the beginning of the enterprise architecture efforts, this series will go through what you need to do to form a strategic direction, choose the right enterprise architecture tool to support your efforts, create a roadmap and execute it, and finally how you can use enterprise architecture as a strategic navigator.

The blog series is structured in the following four parts, where each part presents relevant knowledge, timely actions and real results for your enterprise architecture program:

In the past three posts, we have gone through how to create a value proposition, choose a tool that will enable collaboration which will maximize the effect of your efforts, and what to consider when executing your strategy. An organization could, in theory, go through those phases as an iterative process, continually improving the business’ operating model and underlying processes.

This final part of the blog series will touch upon how you can go beyond your initial strategy and optimization efforts, and use the information from your new knowledge repository to initiate business transformation initiatives.

Beyond strategy – Using Enterprise Architecture as a Strategic Navigator

To go beyond optimizing the value chain and truly step into the future, you must have an ambidextrous approach. Being ambidextrous, or Bi Modal as Gartner would put it, allows you to both exploit your current resources and position while also exploring future possibilities, enabling the organization to remain successful long into the future.

To continually transform your business and react rapidly to changes in the external environment, require analytical capabilities from your enterprise architecture unit, that can be enabled by using the right tools.

What you need to know


Ambidexterity is perhaps a term best known for describing people who are just as good at using their left hand as they are using their right one. When describing an organization, ambidexterity means having the ability to explore as well as exploit; making long term transformation plans as well as short term optimization or utilization plans. Where the one hand focuses on stability, the other searches for the next innovation or transformation. It is also here the possibility for disruption should be explored or anticipated.

The case of exploring and exploiting is not an ‘either/or’ scenario. You should consider how to include both aspects in your business strategy.

Enterprise Business Process Analysis

Enterprise business process analysis aims at transforming and improving business performance. It is based on collaboration and cross-organizational views. The two sides of ambidexterity are applicable to the utilization of enterprise business process analysis. You can use the information to make small meaningful improvements and make larger strategic decisions to transform your business when a radical opportunity presents itself.

You need good information to base your enterprise business process analysis on. Luckily, you should be well on your way to develop your knowledge repository and make it accessible to the entire organization through a collaboration platform. Remember to model your information in a coherent and consistent manner and to get consensus on its accuracy.

Please look under ‘further readings’ to see where you can find more information on enterprise business process analysis and how you can support it.

Enterprise Architecture as a Value Creating Practice through Enterprise Investment

Using enterprise architecture as an information structuring practice, based on which management can make informed decisions, is similar to Chris Potts’ definition of enterprise architecture in what he calls Enterprise Investment.

Potts’ defines Enterprise Investment as being enterprise architecture merged with Investment portfolio management. Enterprise Investment, according to Potts, is what successfully integrates the Business’ strategy into the sourcing – and vice versa:

Figure 1 Enterprise Investment value chain, as conceptualized by Chris Potts

In the absence of enterprise investment, Pott’s say, it is difficult to articulate the value of enterprise architecture. In valuing enterprise architecture, which is the structural element in Enterprise Investment, you must provide the context in which it exists. You should keep track of this ever-shifting context as the organization’s culture, processes and disciplines evolve over time along with the external environment. This view complies with business-outcome-driven enterprise architectures focus on including models of the environment to obtain a holistic view of the enterprise and its role.

To learn more about Enterprise Investment look for the link to Chris Potts’ article collection under ‘further readings’.

Enterprise architecture as a strategic navigator

Using enterprise architecture as a strategic navigator essentially means that you take the knowledge from your models, extract it and analyze it to get actionable intel about your internal processes, external environment, customer journey and more. Separately, these models can give some valuable insights on how to handle certain scenarios. Collectively they are a strong strategic asset that the top management at your organization can use to steer your organization to the desired outcome or rapidly react to an unforeseen challenge.

Business transformation

What do we mean by ‘business transformation’ and is it relevant to your organization? The answer to the latter question is maybe not now, but certainly at some point. Business transformation implies a fundamental change in your value chain. It is a radical change to how you do business, with whom you do business or with what you do business. As such, process improvement initiatives would not be considered a business transformation, as they typically don’t entail radical changes but minor improvements – exceptions may occur.

To commence on an endeavor to transform an organization you must have situational awareness of both your external and internal environment – as well as the environment you aim to situate yourself in. Some of the relevant models to analyze for this purpose are:

Business Capability Model – a quick overview of the state and health of the enterprise in the form of business capabilities.

Customer Journey Map – a view of how your customer interacts with your organization that also can be connected to internal business processes.

Business Ecosystem – a view of how your organization is connected to its partners, customer groups, customers and other stakeholders.

Business Process Network – an overview of your organization’s processes.

Business Process Diagram – a detailed view of your organization’s processes.

Balanced Scorecard Diagram – a view of your goal structure

What you need to do

Step 1: Ensure that your knowledge repository is continuously updated with good information.

Garbage in means garbage out: foster a collaborative effort to keep the knowledge repository updated. Enforce governance, where the ones responsible are held accountable for the information content from their respective areas.

You should collect ideas from across the organization to seize business moments that can lead to disruption. The employees in the organization are an incredible resource for knowledge which should be utilized.

Make sure that there are models of your organization’s interaction with its external environment, such as customer journey maps and business ecosystem maps.

Step 2: Use tool support to predict and analyze for explorative as well as exploitative opportunities

Utilize your good information with the right tools: Take advantage of your ability to make multiple future scenarios and provide your management with actionable intelligence. Make use of the multiple stakeholder views available in the newest technology and create valuable knowledge for your management to consider.

Step 3: The rest is up to the decision-makers

You have done what you can – now do it again: Step one and two are iterative processes, updated information and analysis is needed as the environments change rapidly over time.

The goal for the decision-makers should be to have a successful enterprise investment portfolio that is continuously updated based on the knowledge enterprise architecture provide.

If it is decided to commence with a larger business transformation, you must again look to what new business capabilities are needed, break the transformation program into smaller projects and continue with the architecture process as described in this series, having a focus on both exploiting the present situation and exploring future eventualities.

Real Results from going beyond your strategy

Using Enterprise Architecture as a strategic navigator ensures your enterprise the best chance of long-term viability. But we must accept that not all projects will be successful, so the investment portfolio must cover the failures with the successes. Not all projects will be successful, but using enterprise architecture as a strategic navigator should increase the chances of finding the viable opportunities and capitalize on them.

If you would like to know more about how QualiWare can take you from strategy to execution and beyond please don’t hesitate to contact us, as we would love the opportunity to assist you in your enterprise architecture journey.

Sources & further readings

BPTrends. 2017.

Guenther, Milan. Intersection: how Enterprise Design Bridges the Gap between Business, Technology, and People. London: Elsevier Science & Technology, 2012.

Hill, Janelle B. Business Transformation: Keys to Success (webinar)., September 22, 2016.

Kerremans, Marc. "How a Business Operating System can Guide CIOs to Digital Business Success." Gartner, 2017: (G00303777).

Kerremans, Marc, and Samantha Searle. "Market Guide for Enterprise Business Process Analysis." Gartner, 2017: (G00308341).

O'Reilly III, Charles A., and Michael L. Tushman. "Ambidexterity as a dynamic capability: Resolving the innovators dilemma." Research in Organizational Behavior 28 (2008): 185-206.

O'Reilly III, Charles A., and Michael L. Tushman. "Organizational Ambidexterity in Action: How Managers Explore and Exploit." California Management Review 53, no. 4 (Summer 2011).

O'Reilly III, Charles A., and Michael L. Tushman. "Organizational Ambidexterity: Past Present and Future." Academy of Management Perspectives, 2013. Potts, Chris. 2017.

Qualiware Centre of Excellence. 2017. (registration needed).

Potts, Chris. "Where does EA fit in the Value Chain?" , 2013.