Playscripting your strategy

As part of my interest in doing an Executive MBA – I came across the following article which really caught my attention. Read on if you dare!

Michael G. Jacobides feels that strategy might best be cast as a dramatic playscript that can help cope with a shifting landscape, and motivate employees far better than traditional strategic plans.

My recent academic research suggests that companies should develop strategy by describing the underlying logic, story lines, decisions and motives of the players who create and capture value in a business. Instead of drawing and analysing a map or plotting numbers on a chart, executives should create what I call a “playscript”: a narrative that sets out the cast of characters in a business as well as the way in which they are connected, the rules they observe and the plots and subplots in which they play a part, and how companies create and retain value as the business and the cast change.

The playscript isn’t just a metaphor; it’s a tool to help companies manage the complexity of the competitive landscape and facilitate analysis and action. Playscripts force companies to focus on the causes of change as opposed to the symptoms; they explicate the logic of success and the assumptions behind it. By providing a sense of how long the good and bad times will last and how value is migrating, playscripts allow companies continually to assess the relevance of their strategies.

A dramatic change

Over the past five years, I have studied businesses such as financial services, textiles, construction, and technology and have helped some 20 companies cope with change. Based on my experience, I believe executives should develop strategy by writing a playscript that captures the motives, decisions and actions of the company (the protagonist) as well as those of all other organisations connected to it. A playscript also describes roles — how companies add and capture value — and how organisations are linked. It must be continually updated as companies take on new roles or the environment changes, which keeps executives focused on the dynamics of the business. In my experience, playscripts shape boardroom sessions effectively, facilitate discussions in top management teams and allow companies to develop sophisticated strategies.

Organisations must develop playscripts at two levels:

A corporate playscript describes the logic by which value is generated and appropriated by the corporate headquarters. It consists of two subplots: the synergies subplot and the financial subplot.

The synergies subplot sets out how the business units of a corporation (as well as other ventures it has invested in) reinforce one another and how the centre adds value by managing those relationships. Developing the synergies subplot enables executives at headquarters to articulate the ways in which they can add value. This is particularly helpful when companies navigate a landscape that is changing quickly and therefore need additional capabilities to survive.

The financial subplot describes how the company uses its assets and capital to generate returns. For instance, a company could sell or buy assets or strip them for sale. It could focus on growth and create value by offering equity to executives and other employees.

The financial subplot determines how much leeway the synergies subplot has. For example, if a company’s focus is on growth, it will prefer to strike alliances with other companies rather than make equity investments. It could use stock options to induce employees to take risks and grow the company.

The financial subplot affects the business playscript. A financial subplot that focuses on selling assets will prevent the company from investing in more assets, for instance, whereas one that allows increases in the equity base will help motivate people through grants of stock options. Managing the finance plot too cleverly may hurt synergies, and focusing only on growth will hit the bottom line. But, by considering the financial subplot at the same time as the business playscript, executives can bridge the chasm between strategy execution and corporate finance.

The business playscript is the more important of the two because it results in more value generation by the company. It contains three main elements:

(1) dramatis personae and roles: the main actors in a sector, their motives and their roles,

(2) links and rules: the links between companies and the operating rules of the business and

(3) present and future plots and subplots: the story lines of how players in a sector generate and capture value.


I have developed a three-step process that companies can follow to reinvent their strategies by using playscripts.

First, write your current corporate and business playscripts. Begin by describing the wider setting in which your company operates by concentrating on three building blocks. Identify the other characters in the sector. What roles do they play? What are their motivations? What roles does your company play? How do other players perceive it? You can start with your own opinions, but it’s important to perceive every role through the eyes of others, such as consumers and regulators.

Next, identify the links among actors and the rules that govern interactions. For example, the links between a company desirous of going public, the lead merchant bank, underwriters, the stock exchange and credit rating agencies as well as the fees they earn are well established and easily understood. Companies must grasp the relationships between participants as well as government and non-profit bodies in order to predict how those links might change. They must also decipher the sector’s operating rules — some ensconced in regulation, others steeped in tradition.

Then, articulate the logic by which your company currently adds and captures value. Understanding that is essential to revisiting your company’s strategy. Think of your value proposition, in which tools such as the value curve come in handy. What can your company do that others can’t? What allows you to capture the value you create instead of haemorrhaging it to employees or suppliers?

Second, rewrite your playscript. Now you must rethink your company’s playscript and, if possible, reinvent the playscript for the entire sector. Reconsider all of the actors and roles. Can you attract fresh players to the sector? Selective alliances help a company transform itself into a central character — one that is well positioned in a web of relationships or controls a vital link in the value chain. Companies often waste opportunities to reframe sectors or to enhance the value they can grab because they have outdated conceptions of other actors’ roles. Instead, imagine how your company can change the roles of existing or would-be participants. Reordering “who does what” usually decides “who takes what”.

Next, determine whether your company can change the rules of engagement with the other players. Is there a new product or service that your company can offer that would be, in essence, a game changer? Companies can also change the way they monetise their offerings, changing how they charge customers. Finally, revisit how your company adds and captures value. Think about what the sector’s other players value and whether you can use that knowledge to increase revenues, profitability or asset value. Third, future-proof your playscript.

The third step is to make sure your playscript can cope with the foreseeable changes in your business. Consider how changes in customer needs may affect your company. There’s always a correlation between who customers are, their needs, how they meet them — and who has the power. Executives sometimes think that control of a particular part of the value chain guarantees success, yet history is littered with dominant companies that collapsed or were forced to change as their playscripts fell apart. Companies can anticipate possible counteractions by considering the incentives and motivations of other players. By developing capabilities centred around other actors, companies can embed themselves in networks of mutually reinforcing relationships.

Everyone’s on stage

If you want drama, business is the right place. And those planning the strategy for a business by using playscripts should never forget that those who will act out the strategy are the employees. The good news is that using a dramatic approach is good for the leaders of the business and all who follow them.

Playscripts mobilise and motivate employees better than other strategy frameworks. People understand words better than value curves, since a love of stories, intrigue and relationships is hard-wired in the human brain. Basing the creation of strategy on playscripts can not only improve the level of buy-in within the organisation — increasing alignment and effectiveness — but also start a feedback loop, ensuring that the organisation continually updates and modifies the playscript (by means of an internal blog, for example).

Playscripts allow employees at every level to express opinions about how and why the organisation should change. People can be asked to adopt the playscript as actors, yet they can propose changes as playwrights. In addition, playscripts offer an opportunity to structure the conversation between the corporate world and society.

To learn more

Michael G. Jacobides, “Strategy Tools for a Shifting Landscape”, Harvard Business Review, January–February 2010.

Michael G. Jacobides ( is Associate Professor of Strategic and International Management at London Business School, where he holds the Sir Donald Gordon Chair of Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

He teaches on the executive education programme Developing Strategy for Value Creation.

Magic Quadrant for Integrated SOA Governance Technology Sets, 2009


The recession and the need for cost optimization, combined with the market’s need of service-oriented architecture in 2008 and the “cover your back” mentality, have caused many companies to rethink the importance they give to SOA governance and related technologies.

Service-oriented architecture (SOA) governance technologies, much like any other set of technologies, are striving to address needs beyond the SOA realm. Process governance, governing cloud interactions and interactions with business partners (brokerages) are on the radar for most technology providers. Getting the basics correct is a necessity, but these technologies will likely be used to govern peripheral activities.

Market Overview

The market for SOA governance technologies is still in turmoil, with acquisitions, mergers, new players, and (most importantly) the dramatic maturation of companies procuring and deploying SOA infrastructure and SOA governance technologies. In creating the 2009 Magic Quadrant for Integrated SOA Governance Technology Sets, we immediately noticed a dramatic shift of all the participants toward the median of the quadrant. When assigning vendor weightings for this Magic Quadrant, we detected, via our analysis, client interactions and vendor briefings, maturity of the market. A few key data points became very apparent:

  • Customers are no longer looking for just a registry; instead, they were looking for a suite of projects.
  • A growing percentage of customers are including SOA governance technologies in their initial SOA projects.
  • Customers and technology providers are putting more emphasis on SOA validation and monitoring; the latter is seen as critical to monitoring metrics and measuring success.
  • Customers are deploying SOA centers of excellence, supported by the architecture group and empowered by the CIO.
  • Customers are looking for solutions to easily integrate with their SOA and integration platforms.
  • Customers are looking to govern their interactions with business partners and services provided via the cloud.

However, it’s not just the market shifting. A few new players have entered the market that represent various niches of customer wants and needs, focused on life cycle management, monitoring and policy enforcement. Vendors that offer some or most of this functionality include:

  • Alcatel-Lucent
  • Intel
  • MuleSource
  • Nastel
  • Oracle
  • Sensedia
  • Sonoa Systems

In addition, some vendors from the 2008 Magic Quadrant were acquired, and, as a result, the acquiring company has entered this market. Oracle, which acquired BEA Systems in 2008, is now a player in this space. An impressive number of acquisitions have taken place, with vendors in this market acquiring vendors in markets peripheral to the SOA governance technology market. Examples include:

  • Oracle acquiring ClearApp
  • SOA Software acquiring LogicLibrary
  • Progress Software acquiring Mindreef

These acquisitions highlight the vendors’ acknowledgement that monitoring, validation and life cycle management are core to SOA governance.

The job of integrating SOA governance among disparate domains remains complex, because, although obtaining SOA governance technologies from your installed middleware vendor may be less expensive than from a third-party vendor (in many cases, new technology licenses can be combined with existing ones), ensuring that the technology supports heterogeneous environments is essential. Interoperability can sometimes be difficult, and SOA governance standards and specifications are immature in some areas, such as WS-Federation (WS-FED), and nonexistent in others (governance interoperability). Ensuring that your vendor participates in some governance interoperability specification can help ease deployments, especially in best-of-breed situations, where appropriateness can no longer be ignored.

Market Definition/Description

As the SOA governance market matured in 2008, organizations that had been new to the market began to gain a new level of sophistication in the understanding of organizational requirements and vision for SOA deployments. Still, the market for SOA governance is a varied one, with many different types of products providing support for governing the behavior of an SOA. SOA governance is about ensuring and validating that assets and artifacts within the architecture are operating as expected and maintaining a certain level of quality. Now in its second year, this Magic Quadrant reduces the market to one set of technologies with strong architectural cohesion (integration), promoting ease of use and the interoperability of products. This integration includes the idea that multiple personas will be involved in governing an SOA. Each of these personas will bring a different perspective to the process of performing different kinds of tasks. However, all these tasks must be part of a unified governance effort, instead of a different, but related, effort.

To read and download the full report – click here.

Infostructure Transformation Services: Bringing Cloud Computing and Services into Reality

In the wake of a global recession, companies are looking for innovative ways to cut costs and differentiate themselves from the competition. However, with the multitude of new technology and service offers on the market, investment decisions are becoming increasingly difficult.

The intent of Capgemini’s Infostructure Transformation Services is to help you to transform your infostructure while making the most of new computing business models and cloud services. Capgemini has teamed with Sogeti to address these challenges by targeting the fundamental design, build and running of your informational structure, or infostructure. Our suite of Infostructure Transformation Services (ITS) helps you fully understand your options and tap into the power of cloud computing. Key offers include Data Centre Optimization, Virtualization, Cloud Computing and Services and Unified Communications.

Click here to view video.

Infostructure Transformation Services

e-Skills release UK IT manifesto

Major IT employers have partnered with skills council e-skills UK to launch the ‘e-skills Manifesto’, which calls for more investment in technology skills.

The manifesto hopes to improve productivity in the UK by increasing the ability of organisations in all sectors to use technology. e-skills UK released research to show that 110,000 new people a year will be needed to enter IT careers.

Twenty-three companies from a range of industry sectors are supporting the manifesto, including Cisco, Logica, HP, IBM, Accenture, Cable & Wireless, BA, National Grid, UBS, Sainsbury’s and Whitbread.

Four recommendations were made in the manifesto, including reforming IT-related education, helping companies innovate and increase productivity, ensuring government policy reflects the strategic importance of technology and incentivising all individuals to increase their e-skills.

The manifesto pledges to support sector-backed work to transform the attitudes of young people towards IT. There is a particular focus on girls in this respect, to address the gender imbalance in the industry, where just 17 percent of IT professionals are female.

Changes are also needed to the IT-related school curriculum, to make it more exciting and relevant for students, to encourage them to pursue IT in academia and industry. The manifesto recommends that industry gets involved in this, and in providing access to industry expertise and resources for IT teaching.

It also encourages industry to get more involved in higher education, by extending the delivery of work-based programmes, and co-investing with government in higher level technology skills through the National Skills Academy for IT.

Another suggestion made by the manifesto is the creation of a system to nationally and internationally recognize organisations and individuals that use technology to innovate and increase productivity in the UK.

In addition to this, it recommends the provision of incentives for small companies to invest in IT for their business, and also providing practical help for smaller companies.

Larry Hirst, chairman of IBM Europe, Middle East and Africa and chair of e-skills UK, said:

“Partnership between employers and government is the key to making sure the UK has the technology skills it needs.

“We also need to make employer-backed IT degrees central to the STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths] agenda, and help more smaller companies to exploit and innovate through IT.”

Meanwhile, the manifesto said that 92 percent of new recruits in any industry are required to have skills in the use of IT.

It therefore wants to address the problem of people potentially becoming socially excluded if they do not have these basic skills by supporting development of e-skills amongst groups including older workers and lower skilled individuals.

How to Migrate Your Data in 7 Steps

How can you prevent failure when migrating your data? How can you minimise balance cost while ensuring rapid delivery? 

Follow this seven-step process. 

Step1: Source system exploration

The first phase of a data migration project is to identify and explore
the source data. The most appropriate route for identification is to
group data, customer names, addresses and product descriptions
based on the target model.

Although the source systems may contain thousands of fields, some might be duplicates or not be applicable to the target system. In this  stage, it is critical to identify which data is required and where it is, as well as what data is redundant and not required for the migration.

Conversely, if the initially identified sources do not contain all of the data required for the target model, a gap is identified. In this case, you may have to consolidate data from multiple sources to create a record with the correct set of data to fulfill the requirements of the target.

Using multiple data sources allows you to add another element of data validation and a level of confidence in your data.

At the end of this phase, you will have identified the source data that will populate the target model. You will also have identified any gaps in the data and, if possible, included extra sources to compensate. Optimally, you will have broken down the data into categories that enable you to work on manageable and possible parallel tasks.

Step 2: Data assessment

The next logical phase is to assess the quality of this source data. If the new system fails due to data inconsistencies, incorrect or duplicate data, there is very limited value in migrating data to the target system.

To assess the data, I recommend profiling the data.

Data profiling is the process of systematically scanning and analyzing the contents of all the columns in tables of interest. Profiling identifies data defects at the table and column level. Data profiling is integral to the process of evaluating the conformity of the data and ensuring compliance to the requirements of the target system.

The profiling functions include examining the actual record value and its metadata information. Too many data migration initiatives begin without first examining the quality levels of the source data. By including data profiling early in the migration process, the risks of project overruns, delays and potentially complete failures are reduced.Through the use of data profiling, you can:

  • Immediately identify whether the data will fit the business purpose.
  • Accurately plan the integration strategy by identifying data anomalies up front.
  • Successfully integrate the source data using an automated data quality process.

The output of this phase of the project is a thorough understanding of the data quality in the source systems, identification of data issues and a list of defined rules to be built to correct them. You will have identified and defined your data quality rules and mappings from the sources to the target model.

At this point you will also have a good idea, at a high level, of the design of the integration processes.

Steps 3-7 to follow.

The 5 R’s of Data Migration

A migration solution must have the following characteristics:

Robust and resilient

Manage all aspects of the data extraction, transformation, cleansing, validation and loading into the target — and manage high volumes of data, errors in source and target connections, and disk space and memory problems.


Execute efficiently and take advantage of existing source or target facilities to enable rapid processing.


Provide progress indicators during migration and reconcile the completed process.


Recover from the point of failure when necessary.


Ability to reuse components of the migration in other projects, including transformation functions, error handling and data cleansing routines.

Tips to Jump-start Your Data Quality Initiative

It’s clear that nobody wants bad data, yet it is a costly reality that is often ignored.

Here are some tips to help you jump-start your own initiatives.

Understand the bus iness context

Successful data quality initiatives are driven by the requirements of business initiatives.
By starting the IT-business conversation, you can confirm the business context and learn which data is needed.

Discover and profile data

Data discovery provides insight into whether you have the data you need, and data profiling examines the structure, relationship and content of existing data sources to create an accurate picture of the state of the data. This helps in planning the best ways to correct or reconcile information assets to answer the business questions at hand. Data discovery and profiling technology can be deployed in-house, or provided by a professional services organization.

Monitor data qua lity

You need oversight to ensure that data quality efforts aren’t degraded by the creeping return of errors, such as the introduction of incorrect or nonstandard data. Active data monitoring in profiling reports and scorecards, for example, could generate email or system alerts when certain conditions are met, such as a high percentage of exceptions or nonstandard data. Another, more dynamic, approach entails applying methods used to cleanse and enhance data in real time as it enters and moves through the enterprise.

Implement a data qua lity methodology

The methodology should include the processes and technologies used to create and maintain the quality standards specified by the business rules. It should include discovery/profiling and monitoring as mentioned above, as well as processes for accessing and modifying data from diverse sources; correcting, standardizing and validating data;  and enhancing existing data by incorporating external information.

Former NSA CIO won’t back cloud

The former National Security Agency technical director told the RSA Conference he doesn’t trust cloud services and bluntly admonished vendors for leaving software vulnerabilities unpatched sometimes for years.

Speaking for himself and not the agency, Brian Snow says that cloud infrastructure can deliver services that customers can access securely, but the shared nature of the cloud leaves doubts about attack channels through other users in the cloud. “You don’t know what else is cuddling up next to it,” he says.

Snow was speaking as a member of the annual cryptographers panel at RSA Conference. Another panelist said he doesn’t trust clouds either, but his reluctance was based upon worry about what NSA might be up to.

Adi Shamir a computer science professor at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and also the “S” in the RSA encryption algorithm, warned against trusting cloud computing services for the same reason he suspects the confidentiality of transmissions over telecom networks and the Internet. He says the phone systems are secure, but that major crossroads in their networks are tapped by the NSA. “There’s a pipe out of the back of an office at AT&T in San Francisco to NSA,” he said.

Government access to assets entrusted to public cloud providers will be similar, he says. He suspects in some cases cloud providers will be companies influenced by government spy agencies, similar to the way Crypto AG security gear gave the NSA backdoor access to encrypted messages sent by foreign governments that had bought the gear. “Please don’t use Cloud AG,” he said.

On another topic, Snow said many commercial applications and security products contain known flaws or shortcomings that users accept without understanding them or analysing them thoroughly. That trust is similar to the trust investors had in unsound Wall Street derivative investment products, he said. Just as the country’s financial markets melted down last year, he said network security could face a “trust-bubble meltdown”.

He alluded to a 17-year-old Microsoft vulnerability that went unpatched. Fixing such problems before they are exploited gives vendors a commercial advantage, so they should do so. “Fix vulnerabilities before you first smell an attack,” he said. “End of message.”

Also during the panel, Snow acknowledged that cryptographers for the NSA have been losing ground to their counterparts in universities and commercial security vendors for 20 years but still maintain the upper hand in the sophistication of their crypto schemes and in their ability to decrypt.

“I do believe NSA is still ahead, but not by much – a handful of years,” said Snow, the former technical director for the agency. “I think we’ve got the edge still.”

He said that in the 1980s there was a huge gap between what the NSA could do and what commercial encryption technology was capable of. “Now we are very close together and moving very slowly forward in a mature field,” Snow said.

The NSA has a deep staff of Ph.D. mathematicians and other cryptographic experts to work on securing traffic and breaking codes, and also has another key advantage. “We cheat. We get to read what [academics] publish. We do not publish what we research,” he said.

Whitfield Diffie – the Diffie in Diffie-Hellman key exchange – said the NSA lead might have to do with the fact that some cryptography problems are out of bounds for academics, such as nuclear command and control platforms.

“It would be illegal, expensive and frustrating to do,” said Diffie, who sat on the cryptographers’ panel. Any work done privately would be immediately be classified and the researchers would be unable to discuss it publicly or claim credit, he said.

Plus the demands of commercial cryptography don’t allow for the thoroughness of refinement that is the hallmark of NSA work, he said. There are practical issues – such as developing products quickly that can be sold to business as valuable assets – that NSA doesn’t face.

Snow’s claim of NSA superiority seemed to rankle. He noted that when the titles of papers in NSA technical journals were declassified up to 1983, there were none that included public key encryption. “That demonstrates that NSA was behind,” Shamir said.

But Snow said that perhaps the topic was written about, only under another name. When technologies are developed separately in parallel, the developers don’t necessarily use the same terms for them, he said.

Cloud security – How to balance cost vs loss of control over data

There’s a definite buzz of concern about cloud computing security as companies try to figure out when, how and whether they’re going to use public (as opposed to private or internal) cloud services. Companies want to know that cloud service providers will protect their information, and service-level agreements and SaS 70 audits may not offer them enough reassurance.

Not surprisingly, companies want to reduce risks and offset loss of control. And how best to do that was a hot topic at this week’s RSA Security Conference, as companies try to figure out how to bridge the gap between their reluctance to relinquish control over information security and the limited visibility cloud providers allow into their security architecture.

Perhaps the main issue is transparency, as providers can offer strong assurances — but not the kind of accountability — an enterprise can demand.

There was heated debate in one RSA session, as Eran Feigenbaum, director of security for Google Apps, said that cloud computing was being held to a standard that didn’t exist inside the enterprise, what he called “euphoric security states.” The panelists, including Feigenbaum, pushed for a standards-based approach to security that would meet the rigors posed by corporate governance and regulatory requirements.

Absent such standards, Feigenbaum noted that Google received SaS 70 certification and shares the audit results on its security controls with customers. Google is also now seeking certification to comply with the Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA).

“The problem I have with SaS 70,” said Michelle Dennedy, Oracle vice president, “is that unless we make it like the 27000 series or publish the parameters of FISMA, the third party attestation for one is an apple, the third-party attestation for another provider is a cumquat.” She urged greater transparency, suggesting that “while cloud providers can’t reveal their entire security architecture, they can use vectors of the ISO 27002 standard to reveal as much as they can.”

Jim Reavis, co-founder and director of the Cloud Security Alliance, which has has issued a security guidance document (download PDF) for best practices, said the issue of transparency undercuts the question of whether information is any more or less secure in the public cloud than within the enterprise.

“The issue is that since we can’t prove [that the cloud is less secure] — and don’t have the compliance regimen we need to have done — we will require more transparency from cloud providers,” Reavis said.

Security pros are feeling the crunch. Even as companies push the potential cost savings in the cloud, IT departments worry about their ability to effectively mitigate risk or gain sufficient transparency into a cloud provider’s security.

As one conference attendee put it: “The execs and finance folks are banging the gong go to the cloud, go to the cloud. [But] I would not trust my private data or my high-impact business data to contracts.”

It was not all fear and loathing in San Francisco, however. Amid the uncertainty and hand-wringing, analyst Rich Mogull, CEO of Securosis, and Chris Hoff, Cisco Systems’ director of cloud and virtualization solutions, argues that cloud computing is a rare opportunity to redefine security around the informationThey call it “information centricity.”

“You should be delighted by disruptive innovation,” said Mogull. “It’s an opportunity.”

Hoff and Mogull argue that technology could soon allow companies to build security around the data itself, wherever it moves, protected based on its intrinsic value and the context in which it is used. For example, quarterly financial results are highly sensitive before they are released, but not once the quarterly report has been published.

“You have to adapt what you do and how, operationally, you may not be able to do what you do now,” Mogull said.

The information-centric approach requires understanding about how information flows, and how to apply the appropriate controls based on the context in which it’s used.

A combination of technologies — data labels, encryption, enterprise digital rights management, data leakage prevention and identity and access control — are close to the point, they said, where data can be classified at the point of creation and evaluated and re-evaluated wherever it flows. The result: Concern over whether data is within the enterprise or in a public cloud would lose a lot of its sting.

The key is to be ready to anticipate change, they said.

“It’s not about perfectly predicting the future,” said Hoff, “but looking at the indicators and correcting course before it’s too late. You have to know what to put on the radar, what to embrace.”

Original article from Computer World by Neil Roiter a freelance writer who has covered technology and security issues, most recently for TechTarget.

Interview with Center for the Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession (CAEAP)

Enterprise Architecture Forum (EAF) is focused on bringing its members the most reliable and interesting information relevant to the field of enterprise architecture. It is our heartfelt desire to be instrumental in bringing the Enterprise Architecture (EA) community together and drawing from other resources to strengthen this group. With that goal in mind, EAF contacted EAF leaders from Center for the Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession (CAEAP) for an interview conducted by EAF writer Chelsea McCafferty.

EAF: What is CAEAP and how was it founded?

CAEAP: CAEAP is an advocacy group for the enterprise architecture profession. It is a non-profit organization. CAEAP is for every enterprise architect who aspires at being recognized as a professional enterprise architect. It was launched in mid-December 2008, and as of March, 2010 has members across four continents. The founders are Mark Lane and Mark Goetsch and they both have a vision for this professional society acting as an advocacy group to support the following ideals:

  • Strengthen the identity of the Enterprise Architect Profession;
  • Provide differentiation between EA and other professions;
  • Engender consistency and relevance for the Profession and its practice; and
  • Change the way in which people think about and value EA.

EAF: Why was the group developed?

CAEAP: There was no organization solely dedicated to the advocacy of the enterprise architecture profession. As an advocacy group, our agenda is the profession itself. CAEAP seeks to be the organization responsible for the Enterprise Architecture Profession. In this capacity, CAEAP acts as the primary advocate for the Profession addressing the public at large and enterprises the Profession serves.

EAF: What are CAEAP’s tenants?

CAEAP: CAEAP believes in the basic tenants of the profession and practice of Enterprise Architecture.

Professional Tenants:

  • The Enterprise Architecture Profession has a focus of study embodied by its knowledge base.
  • The Enterprise Architecture Profession has a world view of Professional practice standards.
  • The Enterprise Architecture Profession actively conducts research and advances its theoretical base.
  • The Enterprise Architecture Profession has a reference profession used to establish the EA profession.
  • The Enterprise Architecture Profession has practice ethics, principles and values associated with the profession.
  • The Enterprise Architecture Profession develops educational programs and promotes professionalism.

Practice Tenants:

  • Enterprise architecture exists, whether it is recognized or not.
  • Enterprise architecture aligns and balances the needs of the enterprise.
  • Enterprise architecture embodies all other architectures used in the enterprise.
  • Enterprise architecture contains rational views that represent the logical transformations of the enterprise.
  • Enterprise architecture contributes to rational investment in change.
  • Enterprise architecture contributes to sustaining organizational value.
  • Enterprise architecture identifies and creates enterprise value through facilitation of innovation.
  • Enterprise architecture contributes to creating transformational value through operating and business models.

EAF: What are the goals of enterprise architecture?

CAEAP: The goal of enterprise architecture is to design and implement the structures that link a company’s strategy with its execution. This vital link captures the corporate strategy as blueprints that include enough guidance and detail for the various parts of the organization to execute while allowing sufficient innovation for groups to be competitive. Specialized practices are used to determine where the company is today, scenarios for where it will be tomorrow, and the roadmaps that lead from one stage in the journey to the next. In order to realize this goal, the profession must have a foundation or so-called infrastructure of consistent practices.

“CAEAP aspires to provide leadership required for public acceptance of the enterprise architecture profession.”—Mark Lane

EAF: Why is CAEAP a particularly attractive group to join?

CAEAP: True professionalism dictates that one give back to the profession from which one has benefited. Profound rewards can be achieved as a result of volunteer service to the enterprise architecture profession.

  • Knowledge Share – The best way to “give back to the profession” is to author articles and presentations, or join one of the association’s workstreams, in order to share your knowledge, experiences and lessons learned.
  • Training and Education – Serving a volunteer role in CAEAP can be a tremendous learning opportunity. Where one assumes a leadership role, that responsibility forces you to become more knowledgeable about a wide range of topics.
  • Industry Recognition – As a volunteer, you will be recognized and acknowledged by the other professional leaders with whom you work.
  • Networking / Sense of Community – Networking is regarded as the most obvious benefit from volunteering, and is quite real and significant.
  • Career Advancement – Of course, all of the above can help advance your career – sharing knowledge, accelerated learning about EA, greater visibility, networking and relationships.

EAF: How do CAEAP members and leadership advocate change?

CAEAP: CAEAP supports responsible advocacy on the behalf of the Profession through:

  • writing in journals, web sites, blogs and other media
  • speaking in enterprise and public forums
  • actively engaging with other enterprise architects, students, and communities of interests
  • leading by example in the practice of the Profession

CAEAP’s advocacy efforts align with and leverage available resources and endeavor to answer key questions for the public, such as:

  • clarify to the public what a professional EA contributes
  • ensure the public’s trust in EA as a profession
  • assure the public they’re dealing with a competent EA professional

EAF: What will make CAEAP successful where other groups have struggled?

CAEAP: Professional organizations link directly to careers. Simply put, it is in every enterprise architects best interests for these advocacy efforts to succeed. There is an interesting discussion within the paralegal profession’s attempts at recognition. They noticed how law firms, in the interest of saving money, re-classified paralegals as legal secretaries or legal assistants. While the battle is hardly over, the cost in salaries is substantial. Enterprise architects, whether they are in the public or private sectors, face this risk. Without unity in the profession and without constant advocacy, this could easily happen to EA.

EAF: Members of CAEAP are required to sign the Enterprise Architect’s Professional Oath. Why is that? What makes this oath important?

CAEAP: The Enterprise Architect’s Professional Oath is a social contract for moral behavior, commitment towards the community, and mutual obligation among members and the Enterprise Architecture profession itself. The Oath is a guideline for shaping the behavior of Enterprise Architect professionals and for stating consequences of misbehavior. CAEAP will monitor compliance, establish protocols for due process to review infractions, and administer sanctions as appropriate and necessary.

EAF: Members of CAEAP must also abide by the foundation values and principles for EA profession. Why is that? What makes this Doctrine important?

CAEAP: This Doctrine embodies Enterprise Architecture foundation values and principles for both Practice and Profession, clarifies the purpose of EA, and establishes a basis for EA to mature as a Profession. The Doctrine defines an ideal for behaviors that members of the Profession strive to achieve and for which they are held accountable, today and into the future. The Doctrine’s values and principles provide a defensible foundation for providing value to stakeholders across a wide spectrum of cultures, organizations and practitioners.

The Doctrine provides a set of foundation values and principles for EA. It also gives clarity of purpose to guide practitioners in balancing conflicts. Enterprise architects are expected to live the values and live by the principles, not simply reference them. The Enterprise Architect’s Oath, a separate document, commits enterprise architects to uphold the ethics of the Profession. Taken together, the values, principles, and ethics offer all Enterprise Architects a sound foundation for their professional behavior.

Gaining the trust for the profession of enterprise architecture must be regarded as an important responsibility for all individual enterprise architects. The Enterprise Architect’s Professional Oath reminds enterprise architects of their obligation to honor and further the reputation of the profession as a whole by their actions as Enterprise Architects as well as by their commitment to develop and enforce the code.

EAF: What is the current state of the field of Enterprise Architecture? What are the challenges EAs face?

CAEAP: There is much uncertainty today with regard to Enterprise Architecture professionalization, which makes it very difficult for an individual architect to set a career path and follow that career path across organizations in a way that other professions may take for granted. The current state of the Enterprise Architecture profession is progressing slowly—this is a call to arms for all stakeholders. Every organization has enterprise architecture yet the Enterprise Architecture profession does not have a commonly defined set of capabilities and duties.

The legitimacy and formalization of Enterprise Architecture is not consistent across the industry or many organizations and does not enjoy professional autonomy as found in the medicine, law, engineering, or accounting professions. There is a lack of attention and focus paid to sustained legitimacy and a clear authentic direction in pursuit of Enterprise Architecture professionalism.

EAF: What is CAEAP doing to advance the EA industry today?

There are five programs that CAEAP wishes to engage with organizations, sectors and regions to complete:

1. Enterprise Architecture Professional Practice Guide (EA-PPG);
1.1. The Enterprise Architecture Professional Practice Guide will serve as the leading business document for enterprise architects to advance in their specific fields, and will serve as a crucial reference for educational bodies.

2. Executive Training: Leadership in the Enterprise Architecture Profession (LEAP);
2.1. The LEAP program is a leading-edge development opportunity designed for executives challenged with optimizing the performance and success of their organization. It covers all aspects of enterprise architecture—from strategy and structure issues to those surrounding external alliances and partnerships. This program will help you better design, plan, and implement strategies and structures that delivery better business results.

3. Mentoring Program: Mentoring for the Enterprise Architecture Professional (MEAP);
3.1. MEAP is an international EA coaching and mentoring service that connects practitioners with expert advisors dedicated to helping practitioners form and grow their practices. MEAP provides expert advice and valuable resources for practitioners to start and grow their own EA practice. Thousands of practitioners count on MEAP (Mentoring for the EA Professional) for confidential practice counseling. MEAP will assign you a personal practice coach to help you with every step of your practice. Whether you are a longtime practitioner or new entrant into the profession–MEAP is a resource for you.

4. The Enterprise Architecture Registry Program (EARP)
4.1. The Registered Enterprise Architect is maintained through a registry that provides recognition that an enterprise architect has met the basic educational requirements for a profession (through other accredited organizations), follow the oath, understand the professional practice guide for the profession, and aspire to the principles and values found in the doctrine. There is an experience component as well, that is checked against a reference model for the types of architectural work found within enterprise architecture. Part of this is to list this career progression on the registry so that the enterprise architect can show consistency in growth and professional development. CAEAP will maintain this registry as a method to accredit enterprise architects. The registry is also a method for recognizing enterprise architecture teams, executives who have a basic understanding of the profession, and those on the path to becoming a registered enterprise architect.

4.2. The Registered Enterprise Architecture Team recognition is through a 5-star approach. Different than the maturity model approach, which is based on quality and process metrics, the star approach is based on softer variables. This includes how the team is known outside of its own company, how the business views its team, recognized writing, community involvement, and the ability to design in the enterprise (innovative designs, alignment). This is the secret sauce that cannot be predicted through other approaches. There are no specific hurdles from one star to another, although as this evolves those will become better understood.

5. The EA Accreditation Program (EAAP)
5.1. The mission of the Accreditation program is to provide the foundation excellence in the enterprise architecture profession by setting standards for EA education, training and certifications through CAEAP accreditation programs that meet those standards. Accreditation is not the same certification; certifications control the process by which professionalism is measured where accreditation approves others that control the process.

There are three major interrelated segments of the Accreditation program

  • Accreditation of Education and Training
  • Accrediting of Certifications
  • Accrediting Individual Professional Practices

1. Accredit Education and Training

  • Education is University level education that is either directly tied to the professional practices of the enterprise architecture profession or to a support field.
  • For classes that are enterprise architecture specific this may contribute directly to an individual requirement.
  • For classes that are part of a support field this does not apply directly to an individual requirement.
  • Training is through an accredited provider.
  • Training can be course based or certification based.
  • It has to be specific to the enterprise architecture profession.
  • A matrix can be developed to place the course or courses within the context of CAEAP accreditation.

2. Accrediting Certifications

  • Certifications are accredited if they meet the criteria set up for the enterprise architecture profession.
  • Certifications can be used to eliminate requirements depending upon how they contribute to knowledge:
  • Terminology
  • Concepts
  • Extension
  • To deliver a certification the certifying organization must be a participant in the CAEAP process.

3. Accrediting Individual Professional Practices

  • Professional practices are how an individual operates as a professional enterprise architect.
  • The only accreditation mechanism is to determine that the individual is fully aware of their responsibilities to the public and profession.
  • This has often been a test; however there may be other options to consider.

“As a nonprofit organization, must be recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and must be considered a reliable authority on the quality of postsecondary enterprise architecture education, across the globe”
— Mark Lane

EAF: How do you think an open discussion forum like EAF can help the Architect community? What do you like about the forum?

CAEAP: EAF will help to:
1. Create a network of people interested in Enterprise Architecture best practices;
2. Educate the IT and business community about Enterprise Architecture;
3. Educate and promote Enterprise Architecture Professional topics of interest;
4. Promote group discussion on relevant current events in the field of EA; and
5. Promote the effective application of Enterprise Architecture.

CAEAP believes that by working together, organization like CAEAP and EAF will help to create consistent practices and enable enterprise architects to lead a strategy of improving business results — by formalising the enterprise’s architecture, driving structural innovations and overseeing investments in change!

EAF would like to thank the leaders of CAEAP for taking the time to speak with us about the challenges, opportunities and goals for the Profession of Enterprise Architecture to help practitioners grow the Enterprise Architecture capability and attain a better grasp on how to handle Enterprise Architecture challenges at the executive level and of course, increase competitive positioning in being hired as a professional Enterprise Architect!

The original article was published on 5th March 2010 and is available here.