Last week Glenn Smyth, Chief Architect from the Adelaide Bank presented for us at the Melbourne Architect Council. 

Ostensibly, this was a talk about SOA, and how you can use capability modelling (ala Motion, now called MSBA) to guide some of your decisions about implementing service oriented architectures.  But really, the talk was about good old fashioned organisational politics.

Want IT architecture to have an impact on the business?  Get the role out of IT, and _into_ the business.  What does this mean?  In the case of Adelaide Bank, it means that architecture is a strategic group that reports directly to the CEO.  They have a voice with the business, and are seen as adding strategic direction and business value to the organisation rather than simply being seen as 'governance' and 'standards'.

This also means that to be truly effective, enterprise architects MUST understand the business, which further implies that the business itself must be able to articulate what their actual business strategy is.  This might seem trite, but quite often it's the case that the business has trouble with this.  It's not enough to say "increase market share" or "improve customer retention and monetisation" or even "maximise profits through improved execution and reduced costs".  The strategy needs to be more specific than this, and include a clear view of the business intent of the organisation as well as some clear thoughts on the business operating model (ala the thinking from Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution).

The upshot is that if, as an enterprise architect, you aren't armed with a clear view of the business intent, strategy and operating model, you are more or less working in the dark as you try to align your architecture (and services) to the business.

It was a great session, with plenty of food for thought.  I've attached Glenn's very useful annotated deck to this post - feel free to grab it and have a look at how capability mapping can help your thinking around SOA and working more closely with the business.