Transformation Must be Architected

By The Elyon Team

What if Google decided that today it was going to transform itself? What if they had been so influenced by a speaking engagement by Kevin Smith of PEAF or Carl Engel of Elyon that the executives had come to the conclusion that transformation was the answer to all their worries? And what if they took $250 million cash and applied it straight to their transformation efforts?

And when they were done, five years later, they presented themselves to the public with a new grey and black logo and a new search engine that randomly shuffled all the results, rather than organized them by relevance. This would be called a marketing fiasco. But at least they transformed right?

Our point here is that transformation in and of itself is not the goal. Rather, transformation is the means to a better goal. If the goal in business is transformation, businesses would hardly ever falter. In fact, any time there was a threat of struggle anywhere in the organization, all that would be needed to be done is a completely erratic and arbitrary change. That is, what is technically known as transformation.

But this is not the type of transformation that the Enterprise Architect is advocating for. Transformation must be architected. Transformation as a concept, when applied to the EA context, has specific goals in mind. First, the transformation must be effective. Which means that the enterprise purpose must be followed and only the “right things” should be done. Second, the transformation must aim for efficiency. Not only must the right things be done, but those things must be “done right.” Third, transformation must be agile in that the right things may be “adapted quickly” given their immediate and long-term context. Fourth and finally, transformation must be durable. Without foreseeing the future needs and applying the “right things” so that they last to that future, transformation is a misallocation of resource.

These four goals of transformation are also stated as the “EA goals” in Kevin Smith’s introductory book to PEAF. Since EA is ultimately about transformation, we are able to look at these goals in application to transformation. By tying EA and transformation closely together, it becomes obvious that to transform for the Enterprise Architect is meaningless without the actual architecture process. Transformation should not be a stand-alone goal. Not all transformation is created equal. It must be full of great architecture.