The Argument: Better Architecture Everyday

EA Past and Future With Michael Sioufas and Gordon Cooper

August 06, 2021 Iasa Global Season 1 Episode 4
EA Past and Future With Michael Sioufas and Gordon Cooper
The Argument: Better Architecture Everyday
More Info
The Argument: Better Architecture Everyday
EA Past and Future With Michael Sioufas and Gordon Cooper
Aug 06, 2021 Season 1 Episode 4
Iasa Global

The combined pressures of Digital Transformation, Agility @ Scale and advances in AI, DevOps, IoT are creating a rapid rate of change for customers and employees. This conversation with Michael Sioufas from McKinsey and Gordon Cooper from MEGA, who will join Paul Preiss, Iasa’s Founder, will evaluate the impact of these changes to enterprise, business, and solution architecture now and in the future. Architects are finding themselves in increasing demand and Iasa and MEGA are working together to help them understand the evolving nature of their roles as they move forward.

The panel will take a look in detail at the following topics you won't want to miss:
• What does modern EA look like and how has it changed over the last decade?
• What methods and techniques are in play to scale agile architecture at the enterprise level?
• How does a customer/employee centric culture impact enterprise architecture?
• How are today’s EAs working with solution, business, infrastructure, and cloud architects?
• How has digital transformation and Covid-19 changed the practice and what should we be focused on in the next 6-12 months?
• What technologies and patterns are at the forefront of innovation in the modern enterprise?

Show Notes Transcript

The combined pressures of Digital Transformation, Agility @ Scale and advances in AI, DevOps, IoT are creating a rapid rate of change for customers and employees. This conversation with Michael Sioufas from McKinsey and Gordon Cooper from MEGA, who will join Paul Preiss, Iasa’s Founder, will evaluate the impact of these changes to enterprise, business, and solution architecture now and in the future. Architects are finding themselves in increasing demand and Iasa and MEGA are working together to help them understand the evolving nature of their roles as they move forward.

The panel will take a look in detail at the following topics you won't want to miss:
• What does modern EA look like and how has it changed over the last decade?
• What methods and techniques are in play to scale agile architecture at the enterprise level?
• How does a customer/employee centric culture impact enterprise architecture?
• How are today’s EAs working with solution, business, infrastructure, and cloud architects?
• How has digital transformation and Covid-19 changed the practice and what should we be focused on in the next 6-12 months?
• What technologies and patterns are at the forefront of innovation in the modern enterprise?

Paul Preiss  0:12  
Hey, this is a hole price with the argument. Thank you all for joining us today. The as you know, the arguments, a new podcast and YouTube channel from the eisah have got the two utterly distinguished guests to talk to you today. This is Gordon Cooper, who's the Director of consulting for mega North America, as well as Michael sophus, who's the Director of enterprise architecture for McKinsey. So, we probably couldn't have two better experts in Enterprise Architecture on and really glad to have both of us. So thank you both for joining us. Thank you. I want to give a chance for for each of you to kind of introduce your role a little bit maybe to the audience, let us let us know what what you know what what your purview is, and maybe also a short word about EA what is you know, what is EA to you? And then and then we can kind of dive into some of the deeper topics. You want to go first?

Michael Sioufas  1:24  
Oh, okay. Hello, everybody. My name is Mike surface. I've worked for McKinsey and Company I been in the IT industry for close to 35 years. McKinsey for close to 30. The last couple years, about six years, I've been focused on enterprise architecture, and trying to basically help our internal product teams address the business needs that are we face every day.

Gordon Cooper  1:52  
As I said, my name is Gordon Cooper, I'm the director of North America's services and customer success for mega international ifa. I've been in enterprise architecture and GRC for somewhere around 30 years. And luckily, one of my The best thing about my particular position is I get to see what a lot of different companies are doing with enterprise architecture. And I actually get to share that information between these individual companies as customers.

Paul Preiss  2:24  
See, I find this to be these are the these are my favorite kind of panels, because we got someone who wants to live with their enterprise architecture. And then we've got that visibility into Enterprise Architecture at an industry level across multiple companies. Of course, McKinsey sees a lot of that, as well, in your EA consultative practice, and I know that you've told me that, that you have a really great sharing capacity for both your internal and external EA practices. So I think I think, you know, this is going to be really exciting conversation. I want to start with the basic question, which is, is how is the How has he changed? And where is it going? Basically, you know, like, what is ea 10 years ago? Was this sort of big, you know, top down, you know, tool model, the Enterprise Architect the enterprise thing? How do you see that having changed? Or has it changed? And where do you see that going over the next 612 24 months?

Unknown Speaker  3:38  
What do you want to start? Yeah, I'll start that long. What I've seen is the shift away from enterprise architecture, being a discipline that's about enterprise architecture, right? It's it's been kind of removed from it, or it's moving that direction. Um, yes, technology runs everything. Businesses cannot operate without technology. But generally speaking, technology is not what companies are doing. They're not selling as product. So basically, what enterprise architecture has taken on is more of a or this new generation or next generation of enterprise architecture, what is involved to, is really more of a distal model. It's a pattern, it's, it's more than just technology, it's become greater than all the component parts put together.

Unknown Speaker  4:35  
From my experience, I mean, I've seen Enterprise Architecture had kind of move away from the old notion of the enforcers and have standards and compliance and more of enablers and, you know, the consultative within an organization to help organize, you know, within, you know, an organization to help business units, you know, achieve their goals and direction. So, we've been moving away, I believe I've noticed kind of this movement from, you know, the your standards and your frameworks and more of kind of, you know, obviously less from ivory tower more of to basically, hands on design and and and development work. We're not getting into the details of the technical architecture or the implementation, but we're working hand in hand with product teams, ensuring that we have, you know, greater alignment across different teams across different products, and leveraging capabilities within the organization and promoting the idea of reuse and standardization, but not so much from an ivory tower, but from actually, you know, working closely with the different teams.

Paul Preiss  5:43  
See, I think that's, that's a really exciting, that's a really exciting kind of, you know, development, because we we, you know, we've heard so much for so long about EA and the ivory tower and all of that. And then we saw a few years ago, pressure from both of the Agile transformations, as well as the digital transformations, pushing architects into kind of a different space. How closely Do you work with, say, your business and your solution architects? On a day in and day out basis? And, and and how do you see that those relationships occurring?

Unknown Speaker  6:31  
But I think I mean, personally, I, you know, I'm seeing that, you know, we work closely, I work closely with solution architects and technologist and business unit leaders on a daily basis, you know, understanding their needs driving, you know, towards conclusion on certain big issues and concerns, you know, and also it's a it's, it has been a major focus of ours or mind. What are the different levels that, or areas that we should focus on and make sure that are included in our product development? Whether it's, you know, you know, have a greater emphasis on cyber and risk controls, whether it's basically a bigger reference emphasis on design? So I think, no, I, it's, it's less about, it's more about facilitation, the creation of architecture, an architecture is not just enforcing it being a guide in an a coach of architecture,

Unknown Speaker  7:26  
you know, what else I've seen is also that now VA is providing the why not just the hell. So as I work with solution architects, you provide this, I know the new the new word, right now it's composability. So people are the building blocks, they have the ability to assemble these particular solutions. But EA is not just providing those patterns for reuse or those components or building blocks. They're providing the driver, the fly, the strategic value behind it, because now, people are looking at things in a way that how do I improve my business? And architect surprises out of it? And I see that a lot, especially with solar.

Paul Preiss  8:09  
Do you see EA, then as a as a as a kind of demand shaping activity, then? I mean, if you think about sort of value streams and the and the kind of composable, you were bringing up the composable architecture, which I thought was a wonderful article that we published in architectural governance. Do you see the EA is becoming kind of a demand shaping activity, really helping to triage between strategic activities? More, you know, run the business, maintain the business grow the business kinds of things? And are we getting more? Are we getting more voice in that kind of, in that kind of selection?

Unknown Speaker  8:58  
We are this next generation of enterprise architecture is that its strategic design. So it is being driven by business needs and outcomes. And it's providing that strategic capability of your enterprise to be able to conform or to adapt to situations to adapt to market forces. That's what all the resiliency efforts have been about that we've been a part of race over the last two years. Like you've seen that same kind of thing, y'all y'all are working in that same area? Yes.

Unknown Speaker  9:31  
I mean, we're definitely seeing an uptake in terms of the importance of focusing on particular business domains, and helping to push kind of the thinking around of, you know, how could those domains basically achieved or in, you know, levels of, of differentiation to help our organization grow and, and, and I think that's where we we play a pretty active role.

Paul Preiss  10:00  
So, if that's the case, then as you build stronger and stronger business relationships, do you find the I guess the great, the great question in architecture is always this balance between business and technical skill. Right? And how do we maintain? How do we maintain being an architect while also driving, you know, our business skills, and I know that you've had, you've got, you've got a lot of great things to say about the human side of it as well, the the ability to grow that. So I mean, how do you how do you maintain those competencies in your architecture teams? And how do you see that, that being shaped in the unit Gordon in the in the other customers that you see?

Unknown Speaker  10:57  
Well, I see one of the biggest use cases that we're seeing right now, and I'm not making this about a tool, I'm making it about what people are doing. And they're doing a lot of capability based planning. So they're using architecture concepts, they're using the layer of risk management, integrated risk management, to get a complete picture of what it is that they need to do to improve capability. So yeah, technology is how they deliver the capability. But it is not the capability itself, the capability is whatever it is that you do as a business, it is the outcome. Technology supports it. And people are seeing that now. And capability based planning is is exemplifies this shift, because now they're trying to figure out how to develop new capabilities or transform existing capabilities. And it's done through strategic planning, of not just technology, but also how you do business operational processes, that everything works together to deliver this kind of strategic ship.

Paul Preiss  12:09  
Mike, hold up that I mean, you and I spoke yesterday about this, you push this notion of human skills a lot. And and I and I wanted to hear what you had to say about how do you develop those leadership communication skills necessary to become a truly successful EA?

Unknown Speaker  12:32  
Yeah, I think, you know, I think it's, it's, you know, having those soft skills are a critical aspect of any successful, you know, architect or, you know, enterprise architects, I think being able to communicate very complex, technical, you know, ideas or thoughts. And in simple forms, I think, a lot of times technologists, you know, and coming from an engineering background, generally, you know, kind of fall into the trap of, you know, talking a lot of, you know, not being able to kind of communicate the technical aspects when they're trying to unleash people, you know, behind, it makes people feel uncomfortable, I also think there's a balance of basically ensuring that, you know, ideas are shared. And, and, and, and, you know, fully thought through, and, you know, even the smallest details are discussed in the open, and people can contribute them actively. But, you know, you know, enterprise architecture, I think, has suffered, you know, over the years, because basically, there's a Mystique around it for years, and people just didn't really understand I mean, there, it's, it's comprised of two complex words. But, you know, kind of breaking that down to where you know, anybody you know, and where the business could really understand what you're trying to achieve. And that basically, using tech terms, helps to go a long way to short people that, you know, we're understanding, you know, their needs, the needs of the business, and we're just using technology to help solve those needs.

Paul Preiss  14:04  
See, we've got a great couple of questions from the audience. So I'm going to go ahead and ask those two because of course, the three of us I think, could keep going on. I've got 1000 questions for you guys. And I think we could keep talking. One of them though, is I think it right along what we were just talking about, which is what is it? What does it mean by enterprise, and then the verb, the verb, the architect part, I mean, it's, we we put this stuff in front of the word architect, right? software architects, cloud architect, application architect, solution, architect, Information Infrastructure, I think we can catalog something like 25 different titles. My favorite of all time was so architect, which will you know, when you spell that one out, just just I find humorous but The but what do you guys think of when you think of architect? And then you think of? What does it mean to be the you know, the enterprise part of that? Is it a career path? Is it a, you know, do I come up from some other place? Is it a competency framework? What is you know, how would you characterize the the verb are? Well, eight, the there is no verb architected, the the verb version of architect is design, but the the architect part, and then the, the enterprise part of that, I think that's just a really critical question.

Unknown Speaker  15:44  
Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, it's a challenge. I mean, I was certainly challenged when I was first asked to basically think about enterprise architecture, you know, what that term actually means, and, you know, I've come to this conclusion, that enterprise just really essentially means the people, the processes, the data, and the technologies that help a company achieve its outcomes, and its goals. You know, I think, you know, in the IT world enterprise was used for a myriad of reasons and terms and names. It may have been enterprise architecture was considered a product, or a discipline or, or a set of action. But I've always viewed the enterprise to kind of just mean, you know, well, more or less, you know, what to take to run this organization and achieve its goals and outcomes.

Paul Preiss  16:34  
How enterprise II, do you think the architect should be? I think this is the, the, this kind of what we were talking alluding to yesterday, which is the sort of, there was the older version of the, we used to hear presentations, where it was sort of, we're going to architect to the enterprise, right. And we'd hear a lot, we'd see a lot of these big models, and we would go in, and we would work with sales and operations, and all of this kind of stuff, and we would architect, but then we got, we got a lot of pushback from that. Because we're not we're not insane. We don't have 20 years in sales, or operations, or finance, or whatever. So when when you think about your, your role in helping an organization create its strategy, or when you see your clients use mega to help organize its strategy? What is that sort of architect ownership piece? Like, what what is the piece that we get called in? And we have a seat at the table for these days? Is it? Is it documenting certain things like, you know, capabilities? Or is it more strategic advisor on digital? Or is it like, where do you see your, you know, the call to action that makes it so that people don't start the meeting until the Enterprise Architect is there?

Unknown Speaker  18:07  
So first, let me go back and say that enterprise architecture, actually is a way of life. It's Yes, you can say it's a

Paul Preiss  18:19  
it's a calling it's like, in the priesthood or something, right.

Unknown Speaker  18:28  
Right. It's a perspective, it's holistic, it's being able to look at the enterprise, which, if you quote, john zachman, zachman always said that the enterprise is what you do to make money. It is an enterprise. And if you think about what a business is made of, it's made of all the pieces that work together to help you make money, not to architect something like that. Used to the whole philosophy was, the enterprise architects were those guys, they were stigmatized, they were back in the back room, and they were drawn up all these cool diagrams and these big spaghetti bowl looking things. You're like, yeah, that's fun. These guys must really be smart. Sorry, I can't really use that to do anything. information for enterprise architecture is turned into something that, yes, we can provide graphical representation of something that you really want to know about. We can tell you what surprises you're going to encounter or help you architect the surprises out. And I think that's why people need the Enterprise Architect in the room. It's not just because I understand how these two applications communicate together. Because, yes, that's very important for data privacy and security, risk management and all the other reasons for that. But the fact of the matter is, how does this information helped me make money and an Enterprise Architect can help you do that because they've tied it to the business. And that's what's most important now, that I'm seeing that in the ship. The new enterprise architecture

Paul Preiss  20:07  
I love that description. Michael, what do you what are your thoughts?

Unknown Speaker  20:13  
Well, I think, you know, I mean, kind of goes back to the skills discussion. I mean, I think it's up to the enterprise, you know, to kind of communicate, you know, to a wider audience of basically, you know, how does the organization run with this leverage with as a use? You know, once again, it's based on the whole concept, the notion of people process he status and technologies, but then understanding like, you know, where are the gaps, where are their where they're, you know, overcome, you know, where their complexities, you know, where their efficiencies, you know, try to identify areas where the enterprise, you know, where, you know, they can basically, you know, make impact by just introducing, you know, new ways of doing things and new ways of thinking of things. I mean, it is challenging, I mean, I think you made a really good point, you know, one Enterprise Architect, it's really difficult to really understand the nuts and bolts of especially large organizations and large firms. And generally, that's why I kind of like the the notion of having, you know, this notion that we've been experimenting with, with domain architects, which are focusing on specializing on specific areas of the organization and trying to help them become more efficient, to basically do things differently, maybe to simplify the environment to focus on certain areas that have been, you know, you know, challenging or problematic over the years. I mean, I think things that, you know, come to mind, you know, is introducing kind of, like a framework detect that, you know, because that was a major concern of ours and of, of people. And, you know, coming up with a consistent framework to help measure it, identify it, and to address it, is one way of reducing complexity. If you think about it,

Unknown Speaker  21:57  
you know, myself, I'll jump in on the tail of that, because what I saw, in our conversations, when you and I have spoken in the past, what you guys did with how you're developing out the architectural practice, I actually am seeing other companies start to do that. And so I've heard some people call it micro or macro target operating models, or operating models in the same concept that you were just talking about, it's taking a subset either of the business or a way that a company operates, the systems, the processes, and the people, and architecting, what that needs to look like, and help you decide, and develop a roadmap for how to get

Paul Preiss  22:40  
you, I love the way that you guys are. There is this notion, obviously, when we were talking about the article and composable architecture, and one of the big stroke, stroke structures, and there was value streams, right, customer journeys, value streams and capabilities. Which gives, you know, in any large enterprise we may have, especially things like banks or whatnot, I mean, we may have 20 value streams, we may have internal value streams or development value streams that support them. And I but I love the way that you're talking about what what, to me feels more horizontal than vertical. So you know, EA, sa, and ba always felt like a kind of, like a kind of a, like a vertical, you know, like a vertical line like we're up here and near down here. But this makes it sound a lot more like we're working together on a stream of activities that have value to a customer. And that the domain, EA, actually, we may have chief architects of different kinds of things, which is something we've been talking a lot about. But I like the way that I mean, to me, it makes it sound like you're thinking about value stream architecture, right? And we've got maybe X number of solutions being worked on in that value stream, and our EA and potentially RBA are working together in a very strategic way to make sure that those value streams don't get optimized by themselves. They don't become they don't become siloed value value streams, but they that you're really talking about an architecture practice, where we're all kind of working towards the same goal. We just have focused on different horizontals does that is that? Is that a way of thinking about it? Or it's just is it just my interpretation? Yeah,

Unknown Speaker  24:48  
I think absolutely. I think I think the idea of like I said earlier, it's difficult for any one person to understand, you know, I guess the innate workings of every value stream especially like I said, For larger organizations, right, but I think, you know, architects focusing on specific business domains, gives them the ability to kind of focus on that domain, understand it and become true partners to business unit units. But it's also important for those architects to also communicate and have this kind of community among themselves, so that there's a broader level of awareness across the domains. You know, and that's where you you can start typically seeing the, you know, acceleration of sharing of ideas and technologies or frameworks of approaches. Because, you know, once again, you know, I mean, you know, there are the indications or seems between domains, where you want to make sure ensure that, you know, there is a seamlessness between, you know, as it flows from one domain to another domain.

Paul Preiss  25:45  
So, I'm going to switch back to a couple of audience questions because I think they fit right it. Given the Richard Coulthard asks, given the future direction of VA, within the enterprise, what what now is the is the hiring profile. Where do we? Where do we get these people from? How do we create them? What's the, what's the, we do?

Unknown Speaker  26:10  
Well, we have a forum down here in Texas where we grow those guys know when the next crop is weaned and ready to go.

Paul Preiss  26:19  
I've been to that farm, I thought they just grew a whole bunch of mutton muscatel there, you know, a bunch of good tequila. You know, where are you in Texas, by the way, I'm in a little town called Crockett. So I tell you what, I miss the accent. You know, I'm born and bred in Texas myself. So. So it's quite nice to hear to hear a Texan accent again. I can't get rid of it. So you're stuck with my, my can get rid of mine until I started drinking beer. And then it's all it's all cowboy again. But so let me follow up. Let me follow on with that. So how are you creating new EAS in your organization? And then how do you really see that happening in the companies that you have visibility into? Mike, I'll let you lead with that one. Well, thank you.

Unknown Speaker  27:29  
I think it's odd. I mean, it's it is not as simple. I don't think there's any simple approach to it, I think, you know, most of the A's that I'm familiar with, generally, kind of stuff, obviously, from a tech background. And they usually basically, you know, alone along, you know, one of the kind of, you know, whether they're strong software developers, or strong, you know, information management, or data architecture, you know, they usually have one or two, you know, spikes, you know, whether it's, you know, one of those, you know, architectural domains. But they're, like I said, you know, earlier that the emphasis on the softer skills and communication skills and problem solving skills, the ability to, you know, work collaboratively across different groups of people, I think those are critical, and I think we look for we look for, for people that, you know, have, you know, good tech skills, good tech, strong communication and problem solving skills, but also, you know, frankly, you know, grasp business concepts. And, you know, are, you know, and I, but I think the key, you know, trade in any person or any any character that in any proud person is having a level of inquisitiveness, and, and willing to basically, you know, do research on their own, you know, pick up new things and new new topics quickly. I mean, we have programs that we've been promoting in terms of, you know, technical competency models, and needed leadership models, to help people focus on areas that, you know, that they need to grow in. But it's an it's not an easy find, because, you know, I find that you have a lot of really good strong software engineers that want to remain as software engineers, but like the idea of the Enterprise Architect title, basically, you know, kind of caught into, you know, falling back on, well, I'm here to basically build, you know, an application section.

Paul Preiss  29:27  
You know, when we've done about four, we've done about 1400. competent eisah has the the competency model that we built many years ago, and we've done about 1400 or 1500 or so, of these assessments now, and it's really interesting to see the split of skills across the different titles of architects right so your software architects, you see this, you know, less business skill and more technical no more. It skill. Human dynamics and business often show up in the, in the BA in the EA space. But it's been very interesting to see the how people try to progress that over the years. I have one CIO say, I was kind of curious what you think about this, at one CIO say, basically, anytime an engineer walks into my office and says, I understand what we're building it, I just want to know why we're building it, immediately volunteer them to become a part of the aspiring architect program was like, the moment we started asking why instead of how or what it's like, it's like that art. It's like Gordon was saying that sort of that architecture is a lifestyle. It's a mindset, it's a, something you can't get rid of after use, you know, you start doing it. Let me let me, let me ask another couple of questions here, because we're getting, we're getting quite a number of questions from the audience. And I want to get a chance to have them as some how do you take the domain approach and a company that has multiple business groups, but using the same domain? It might work? Basically, our VA and EA the same thing? How many of them do we need? How do you you know, how do you? How do you say, like, we basically were a scarce resource, right? In any company? I don't know how many you have in McKinsey, probably more than most because of the consulting aspect of it. But in most of the organizations we see, it's somewhere like 1% of the it footprint, is architects. How do you how do you think what do you think the ratio and the layout should should be like, in, in kind of the modern architects? practice?

Unknown Speaker  32:07  
Yeah, I see, I've heard and seen this question, you know, on a lot of forums, you know, in terms of, you know, how many iais versus solution architects, I mean, he, you know, I don't think there's a hard and fast rule, or it's easy to come up with, because I think it really depends upon the size of the organization, or the cultural aspect of the organization weighs heavily into it, and where that organization is, in its own lifecycle. I mean, obviously, a startup is a lot different than a mature organization or a mature company. I think it's interesting, you know, for organizations that have multi business unit, each with, you know, like, you know, finance departments that credit courses, business units, obviously, you know, an interesting model may be, I would have, you know, I would suggest maybe possibly domain architects, but have a kind of community of interest of all the domain architects, you know, that have focused on one particular domain, you know, I mean, or if the business units, there are smaller ones, and there are larger ones. I mean, I guess, you have to look at it, you know, what is the type of work going on with each business unit are each business unit, you know, you know, undergoing transformational efforts, because I think, if you have a lot of transformational efforts going on, you definitely want to add a in that space, to kind of help with that. But the idea of having, you know, multiple business units, I think, you know, it's an interesting question, you know, a federated model may work. That sense where, you know, you have, you know, one or two dedicated iais across, or you have separate days, and then have a community of interest around those days.

Unknown Speaker  33:43  
But, honestly, I've seen about as many models, or organizational structures for this particular question, as we have customers. It's one of those things to where it grows organically. And whether it's organized by domain and then governed by an architecture Council, or whether it's governed by a TPA that has a staff of videos, and then domain architectures outside of that, or like Mike said, if if there's an EA who is responsible for a transformational effort, I've seen every flavor. And the question you asked about business architecture being part of EA, same thing goes there. I've seen business architecture be part of operations of the business. I've seen business architecture part of the VA. I've actually seen business architecture as part of marketing, which was first it sounded strange, but if you start thinking about it, it's you're talking about the strategy of your company. So it actually made sense after I decomposed, I

Paul Preiss  34:48  
don't want to it's funny I one of the questions I always ask when we go into the weeds when we go do architecture assessments of organizations is, is how many architects Do you have here and the number of times that we get the I don't know, there's about five and our group is really interesting to me when the when you find out that there are 150 there, they just don't know they exist because the BA is are over here and the iais are over there are the essays are over here, they are all reporting to different people. And I guess this goes to that question of, of, of practice, right? So how do you see, especially as we go to a more fragmented agile enterprise, right, so I want to kind of bridge the scale the Agile question now, I said, we're scaling agile across the enterprise after enterprise, even to the point where they're, they're building the, you know, like, HBr did a whole thing on on Bosch and how they're building engines in an agile way. How do we as architects then create a practice that connects those dots? Because, you know, I see us getting as fragmented, as, you know, like, we're all over the board it to your point? What do you do? Michael, you were talking about? A well, McKinsey shares architecture practice in both with its external consultant of architects, as well as with your internal teams. How do you maintain that practice? I guess, and, and, and really grow it and, and make it more mature?

Unknown Speaker  36:43  
Yeah, I think community building is certainly an aspect of all of this and and then it has a challenge, especially when you're a multi, you know, multi national organization. But I think, you know, very, you know, simple steps of understanding, you know, who is who is in the UAE, you know, who is that title, you know, who has a title of architect, you know, and basically making sure that you have kind of, you know, you start kind of built, you start off small and you build these communities slowly. We do quite a bit of, you know, thinking around having consistent skills, assessments, and, and, and, and forums, and discussion capabilities. I mean, we leverage things like slack quite a bit, we leverage Gmail quite a bit and distribution list. We are, you know, we have, we're probably slightly different than most organizations because, like I mentioned, we have those EAS that focused on working and serving clients, and then those architects on internal clients, internal business, which some part of that group, but we've leveraged you know, like I said, we do quite a bit of community building, you know, by just understanding, you know, who, who sees themselves as a practitioner, and having these outreach programs and meeting regularly and having stations and building training, you know, even having, you know, consistent training capabilities.

Paul Preiss  38:12  
Now, this is you bring this up in you know, this is a passion of mine, so, I apologize for my my soapbox, but but but Gordon, I'd love your thoughts on this as well. Michael heard me talk about this a little bit on our call yesterday. The the organizations of the world all, especially the ones that employ architects and grow them, generally from software engineer or from infrastructure person or data person or, or even from business analyst. We all grow our architects a little differently, right? McKinsey, BCG, BCG, platinum, you know, KPMG, Microsoft, IBM, etc, etc, etc. We all grow our architects a little differently. Do you see a way for us to start getting a unified competency model? I mean, I, obviously this is close to my heart, because this is something that that we as a professional association, are dedicated to seeing, you know, it's like, if I, if I get an ark, if I get a building architect in Arkansas, I'm gonna get roughly the same kind of person as if I get a building architect in Manhattan. I mean, I may they may differ in vision, they may differ in the style of what they would would design for me. But I'm going to get like kind of the same thing, right? If I get an oncologist in Oklahoma, I'm going to get roughly the same thing as if I get an oncologist in France. Well,

Unknown Speaker  39:50  
let me interject there. What you're talking about is moving EA from being an art for art from art to science. And yes, it While you can make that transition, and you can teach people how to approach your enterprise, from an EA perspective, there's still a fair amount of art in that because it is about versions. It's about the ability to make connections. And to put all of this analysis that you've put together and present it in such a way that it can make a difference. So you can, you can train people how to put the information together and develop the analysis. And that's really one of the most important things that an EA can do. So if you're growing, quote, unquote, growing in the VA, that's what you want to teach them, you want to teach them how to identify the component pieces, how to put those pieces together and understand and analyze how they work together. To find that chief Enterprise Architect or to find that strategic, is it right.

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