The past couple of days, I’ve been very lucky to have attended the Microsoft-hosted UK Architects Council, which brings together a number of quite senior architects and CTOs from a broad range of companies, public bodies and software and service providers. IT was my first opportunity to present the 6 principles in their entirety, so I was ever so slightly nervous as I took to the podium. However, I was reasonably comfortable that the audience were exactly the kind of “we get it” people with whom the core messages would resonate. Or at least should, unless I messed up!

As things turned out, the reception was warm, the feedback highly useful, and a number of interesting debates were sparked off. Following the run-through of the principles themselves, I hosted a workshop session in which the attendees divided into three groups to consider Enterprise Architecture (EA) in the context of the Technology Garden. I wanted to know the answers to three questions:

– What were the potential ways that EA could help deliver IT-Business alignment, and how should these be articulated?
– What are the challenges faced by organisations trying to deliver EA?
– What actions need to be undertaken to maximise the chances of EA success?

The results are shown in the mind map below. One of the key take-away messages for me was how important EA is seen to be, when trying to enable IT people to understand what the business actually does. Equally, however, this will inevitably involve treading on toes, on both the IT and business sides of the house. If organisations want to reap the benefits of an improved dialogue between the two sides, they will have to consider how they counter the inertia of past practices and behaviours.

By the way I meant what I said by ‘lucky’, as this really was a top-class forum. Day 2 was spent discussing how to raise the level of IT skills in the UK. More on this – and another mind map – soon!