Enterprise Architecture Professional Development Program - Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects
Ian Cole, CTO, Architecting the Enterprise
Constant transformation is a business imperative as globalisation, innovation and economic conditions drive the pace of change in markets worldwide. Moreover, IT is now central to business success and provides the central nervous system which supports effective decision making, as well as streamlining and automating business processes to achieve more with less resource. However, the track record of failure in business transformation programmes and complex IT projects is well documented.
Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a structured, systematic and integrated approach to aligning business and IT transformation, which optimises costs, maximises business value and manages associated risks (e.g. TOGAF, Zachman).
Figure 1 – Kotter’s 8 step framework for leading organisation change
However, the successful use of an Enterprise Architecture framework is dependent not just on the logic of the approach but also requires motivation of appropriate human behaviour in using it to accomplishing necessary organisation change.
JP Kotter in his book, ‘Leading Change’ (1995), identifies 8 steps to successful organisation change based on observations of where companies repeatedly fail to meet their aspirations.
These 8 steps are described in figure 1 alongside some of key recommendations from EA best practice (e.g. TOGAF). Both of these frameworks highlight the need for soft skills around:
- Leadership – understanding the motivations of stakeholders in order to create a vision that inspires change
- Communication – making sure that stakeholders are properly informed, understand the need for change and what they must do
- Empowerment – introducing formal models and best practices to ensure that change is managed effectively
Each of these areas are interrelated but focus on different aspects of soft skills in relation to Enterprise Architecture and business transformation (Figure 2).
Figure 2 – Enterprise Architecture, change management and soft skills are interlinked
Architecting the Enterprise offers a training course and optional workshops to develop and apply soft skills for enterprise architects. Customers can choose from the following formats:
- Executive overview – a half day presentation to senior leaders to explain the benefits of Enterprise Architecture and the role of soft skills
- 2 day core soft skills training for EA practitioners
- 4 day applied course for a specific organisation – includes the 2 day core soft skills training plus 2 days of workshops around vision and strategy, and the use of soft skills with the TOGAF Enterprise Architecture framework to create a transformation plan
Architecting the Enterprise's SSFEA course is designed for a range of professionals wishing to develop their business soft skills in order to function at a higher enterprise level within their chosen Industry. It is designed with the EA/IT professional in-mind, so that they may understand business thought processes in order to communicate effectively with and influence key stakeholders when making recommendations for change or implementation.
To find out more please visit the Soft Skills for Enterprise Architects training page or call +44 (0) 2081 229 150.
As recognised subject matter experts, Architecting the Enterprise is committed to sharing our knowledge with the Enterprise Architecture community.