Roll call: 4 questions for Jan Gravesen
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This week we're calling on Jan Gravesen, Client Technical Adviser and Executive Architect. Jan's family consists of two very active soccer playing boys, and a lovely California girl wife. Outside of work, Jan finds time to play tennis, run, and lift weights. His passion for Enterprise Architecture is contagious. See for yourself in this week's feature article Reasons for resistance to enterprise architecture and ways to overcome it. As you read the article, Jan asks you think about this question: How does the practice of enterprise architecture look 10 years from now?What books have influenced your ideas and thoughts the most?
Michael Porter's Competitive Advantage: Creating and Sustaining Superior Performance is essentially one long text on the importance of enterprise architecture, written well before the term was invented. It talks about the necessity to share and coordinate resources in the knowledge economy from a very strategic perspective. Similarly, Christopher Bartlett and Sumantra Ghoshal's Managing Across Borders: The Transnational Solution is hugely inspirational, even though it was also written a while back. It too deals with how complex organizations must become better at coordinating across business units to build added competitiveness. Both books provide some of the clearest arguments for enterprise architecture in the 21st century that I have come across.
What is the one action you have taken that has accounted for most of your success?
Success is so hard to define, and not something I dwell upon a lot, but one thing I have tried to do for a long time - at least since I became a management consultant - is to study how things hang together and influence each other. I am thinking here about organization, culture, perception, architecture, process and the ability to coordinate across boundaries - what is often called 'coordination competence'. I think they all influence how architecture must be done on a grand scale, and it is clear to me that enterprise architecture is still an immature and emerging discipline.
What inspired you to write an article on this specific topic?
One experience I have had so often with organizations - almost in any industry - is that enterprise architecture is understood in so many different ways. And where it really seems to work, it has focused on a very specific problem, or set of problems, from the outset. Successful initiatives rarely start with an enterprise model just for the sake of modeling, but more often with the modeling of a problem and then the modeling of a solution to that problem. For instance, at a very large pharmaceutical company, the director of EA told me that enterprise architecture really started because the company needed to be able to move its discovery experiments between the different wet lab facilities they had around the world, depending on where the most capacity was available.
What magazines, newspapers and/or information products do you study?
I currently read the The Wall Street Journal every morning, but much prefer the Financial Times. I read The Economist and Barron's, typically when I am on a plane. The Economist is simply so inspirational to much of the work I do. It keeps up to date on trends in science and technology in a very economical way. I always look forward to the quarterly edition of the MIT Sloan Management Review - no magazine deals with the intersection of strategy and technology better than MIT.
After you read Jan's article Reasons for resistance to enterprise architecture and ways to overcome it, let us know what you think by leaving a comment here, or on his article.