Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The pitfall of Enterprise and Social: evolution takes place in small steps

Enterprise architecture is the organizing logic for business processes and IT infrastructure reflecting the integration and standardization requirements of the firm’s operating model

Thank you MIT, and wiki!
Enterprise Architecture is a well-debated topic. It certainly is an ambitious goal, and encompasses a rather huge area: the enterprise. One could compare it with city architecture, although those folks usually take a bit longer for redesigning and -building entire cities. In IT, almost everything seems to have to fit into a 5- or 10-year roadmap
Social is hot as well, if anything we must at least all agree on that.
Both are on their way to make a big move: EA is getting a second chance: ERP+, SOA 2.0, all more or less driven by the larger Web 2.0 movement, whereas Social is getting its first chance. In between the two is SocialCRM

Triggered by Brian Solis' usual colourful words where he names Social Darwinism I was reminded of the fact that survival comes to those who adapt. There is a crucial difference between adapt and adopt. Those who adopt just go out there and get something with a big bang: they wear a new pair of clothes like it's not theirs, but still someone else's. Those who adapt gradually change over time, they change themselves. They will start wearing new shoes, or polish the old ones, and after a while other parts will follow: new trousers, shirt, a tie or not to tie...

Then it struck me that ERP was a huge leap, not just a tiny step. It was an Enterprise-move in disguise: replace all your diverse stuff by all our apparently homogeneous stuff. Or rather: replace all the different bills by just one. BPM intended the same, but never made it through, maybe it wasn't massive enough. SOA never started off small either, it made it to the enterprise level right from the start. Bang!

Is that wise? Isn't architecture all about taking small steps? Chopping up the big elephant in little pieces that can be devoured without choking?
People are now saying that SOA was a good idea, but that the implementation was bad. That's with the benefit of hindsight of course, and just means that you leapt before you looked

Similar moves can be seen in the Social Sphere. Conferences, events, blogs, sites, evangelists and gurus running around naked (i.e. content-free), companies looking for social directors, stories of (sometimes great!) success, Marketing and Sales plunging in there, it gets quite busy sometimes. And it seems like 2010 will now really take off for Social

Remember the dinosaurs. They didn't come into existence overnight. They slightly evolved over a period of time, and that was good. Then, circumstances changed, and they failed to change back.
They adapted when they had to adapt (slow growth), but failed to adopt when they had to adopt. Yeah I know it's tough to shrink by 50% if you're a being, or an organisation. But sometimes it's either that or extinction. So prepare for a bit of partial death while growing

Take it easy. Take an application, a small department, an office. Don't buy licenses to go for the next 10 years, have your dear new friend(s) prove a concept first. Don't look at your neighbour company, because they will assume you're outpacing them already or will outpace them in the near future, and toss some extra money inthere. That will scare you into doing the same, and off you two go creating a Facebook-bubble or something the like

Remember the evolution. Remember Darwin, and natural selection. Adapt. Gradually

2 reacties:

Patrick Brinksma said...

Nice article. And I would like to add that survival is about expansion. And expansion is caused by asking for what you really want (question) and aligning with that vibration (solution) for it to manifest. As the question is of a different vibration or frequency then the solution, alignment into the vibration of the solution is required to see the manifestation.
And to take it one step further, expansion is not limited to a generation, but especially in the context of evolution spans generations to come.

Martijn Linssen said...

Thanks Patrick, beautifully put!

The way you picture it I can see a triangle fitting into a round hole, slowly and gradually. And it's the generations that don't match with the 5-10 year roadmap mentioned

I have a blog post in my head about the tectonic plates of IT 2.0, and your view on this fits in perfectly. Thanks again

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