We have written a whole series of posts related to what Enterprise Architecture (EA) is, why you should drive it down to the shop floor or into operations in asset intensive non-manufacturing industries, and just how you can start creating a Manufacturing EA. We believe strongly that EA is critical to executing a successful Digital Transformation within a manufacturing or asset intensive enterprise. Click here to speak with Dan
Like any initiative an enterprise takes there are strategic elements and tactical elements. The EA exercise helps to clarify and separate strategy from tactics, and helps an organization understand where they are today and define where they need to be to accomplish their business objects. It provides the map of how to get from the as-is to the desired state. For this reason, we believe that the manufacturing EA effort provides the blueprint for Digital Transformation.
A Quick Review of Manufacturing EA
In a series of four blog posts last year we outlined what Enterprise Architecture or EA was, and why you needed to drive it from its IT centric focus of the front office all the way to the shop floor. We talked about the value to be gained from having a view of how your plant floor systems tied together to accomplish your business objectives. We explained how to get started in the process, the importance of leadership support and the initial steps to kick off the EA effort. I shared my most powerful tool in identifying information opportunities, the “if I only knew question”, and the steps needed to build ownership for change in the organization when we talked about getting from the “as-is,” to the “could-be.” We wrapped up our series on EA with the post on how you could generate that could-be vision. These posts provided a process whereby any enterprise could begin the process of crafting their own EA, as it related to their operations.
Manufacturing EA Is the Digital Transformation Planning Process and the Plan
“Plans are useless and planning is everything” is a quote often attributed to Dwight Eisenhower, 34th President of the US. What he actually said was “In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” In the context of EA, much the same can be said. Plans are the result of the planning effort, and it is that process that imbues the organization with an understanding of the “what and why” of the change being pursued. If you couple Eisenhower’s perspective on planning with noted business management guru Peter Drucker’s view “Plans are only good intentions unless the immediately degenerate into hard work,” you can see that the simple fact is that plans do have value but only if they are acted upon. Thus, for any enterprise seeking to undertake a Digital Transformation, the EA process can provide both the planning exercise to engage the organization in the change effort, as well as educating everyone on the activity required to make that change and the desired end-state. This can be accomplished by providing the plan that then serves as the map for the hard work of actually executing the Digital Transformation itself.