The current tried and tested methods of change are ‘outdated’ and need to be modernised and adapted to suit the current challenges businesses and organisations face, according to one expert.

Dr. Ashley Braganza, professor of organisational transformation at the Brunel Business School, made the comments during the IRM UK’s Enterprise Architecture Conference. The conference, which was held in London in June, featured world-class contributors and aimed to give delegates’ new approaches and innovative ideas as well as providing case studies.

During his keynote speech, Braganza argued that the traditional models for change – enterprise portfolio management (EPM), project portfolio management (PPM) and business process modelling (BPM) – were outdated.  The models of change need to change.

Braganza mentioned the work of Harvard professor John Kotter, who came up with a practical eight-step process for change management. However, Braganza disagrees with the focus placed on change agents that has become commonplace in modern enterprise architecture and what he sees as the oversimplification of the process. He argued that while change agents play an important role, change being driven by a few individuals could hamper long-term success.

Many change programs fail because employees are not invested in it. One way to combat this challenge is to provide members of staff with information that is relevant to them and demonstrate how they can contribute to the end aims of the plan. It’s also vital to exhibit where progress has been made to maintain motivation.

Another area in architecture enterprise that requires change is the speed of delivery. In today’s world many companies do not have the luxury of implementing a five-year plan, they need to react quickly in an increasingly competitive market and change management must reflect this.

The theme of change within the enterprise architecture space was one that persisted during the June conference, with many speakers giving their view on the topic. David Hunt, head of digital banking at Enterprise Blueprints, was among those calling for change. He urged enterprise architecture professionals to evolve to support major transformation in the face of the digital challenge.

Representatives of eda.c, a consultancy firm, also commented that enterprises are complex and dynamic by nature. However, they continued that enterprise architecture has largely treated them as static, deterministic and mechanistic entities with outdated models.

The prominence of change during the conference should remind practitioners and stakeholders alike of the importance of including change management in the skills and offerings of Enterprise Architecture.

By Nick Malik

Former CIO and present Strategic Architect, Nick Malik is a Seattle based business and technology advisor with over 30 years of professional experience in management, systems, and technology. He is the co-author of the influential paper "Perspectives on Enterprise Architecture" with Dr. Brian Cameron that effectively defined modern Enterprise Architecture practices, and he is frequent speaker at public gatherings on Enterprise Architecture and related topics. He coauthored a book on Visual Storytelling with Martin Sykes and Mark West titled "Stories That Move Mountains".

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