Who Cares About Technology?

Steve Jones reminds us that the business doesn’t care about technology – so stop harping about it and using it as an excuse for underperformance.

I totally agree that this is a key reason behind the endemic business/IT culture divide that is the root of many problems.

However this poses an obvious question – who does care about the technology?. The trick is not to over-engineer, but to engineer to just the right level to deliver business value now and into the future.

Somebody has to care about the technology (products, tools, methodologies), because otherwise you lose control and foster a legacy of technical debt which ultimately erodes business value.

I guess this is an axiom of Enterprise Architecture – that lack of governance leads to chaos and inefficiencies. Some would argue with this assertion, but I have never seen a counter-example. And of course the inverse statement is not necessarily true either.

So if the business doesn’t care about technology then who does? And if that is “nobody” then what happens?

11. Don’t Raise the Drawbridge

James McGovern provides some excellent thought fodder for all enterprise architects as they sit on the beach these holidays (or otherwise) and contemplate the new year. I’d like to add another point to his list.

One very common issue I see across the industry is the gap between “business” and “IT”. The typical – almost ubiquitous- example is of a cultural gap between the “users” and the “geeks”. ┬áIn its extreme form this gap can break down into a dysfunctional relationship where productivity grinds to a halt. Too often the response of enterprise architects to this gap is to take a defensive position on the IT side of the fence moat.

Enterprise Architecture is supposed to be about engineering the people, processes and systems so they work together to achieve business outcomes. From this perspective, enterprise architects are in a unique position to bridge the gap between business and IT. In fact I would argue it is the core responsibility to act on this manner. Above all, enterprise architects need to first understand the business requirements and then use their unique blend of technical and business knowledge to help IT deliver the required outcomes.

Yes, the real world and realpolitik will always work against you, but the first step is to start with right attitude.