enterrement.jpgCurrent crisis is not only changing business environment but lead governments to change legal and taxation rules too. Some agents prefer saving money to investing which is often view as too risky even if saving schemes yields are low. Others are running out of money. Economy is shrinking. Regarding consumption, people needs are moving along Maslow hierarchy, a lot getting down toward safety area while few are reaching the highest level. A lot of products or services do not meet expectation anymore and are deemed too expensive compared to their basic version, unless they address health or some other things related to safety. Conversely few luxury products take advantage of a growing market. It is the same applied to enterprises.

As a result, a lot of business models are hit hard and many CEOs see their enterprise cash engines breaking down. This crisis last long, Lehman Brothers bankruptcy happened September 15, 2008. The Greece economy turnaround which switched from the strongest growth in Euro zone to a recession in 2008, set on the forefront debt ratio as main solvency indicator. Since then, credit crunch hampered all euro zone economy growth and rose concerns on main countries solvability. As a solution, euro zone governments chose to tighten fiscal and monetary policies which have darkened business outlook. This is the case especially in France.

This time costs cutting would not be a salvation since the whole markets are moving as well as employees incentives. By now, most of companies have to contemplate pretty big changes in their way of doing business unless they die or shrink drastically their market footprints. If some of them expect to get public money as it dries out, few would be statisfyed.

Today companies business is often complex as they work in industries based on economic alliances. One or more companies are making design while others are doing mass or discrete manufacturing around the world. Some are contracting services for customized oversea performances. All took advantage of technology potentials which boosted the whole worldwide business. Today, enterprises have become digital whether they liked it or not.

In this bad times, management consultancies use to make good diagnosis but are unable to bring the right medicine since reorganizations turn out to be far less simple as changing a faulty part of an engine. A whole industry may be at risk. The same is happening inside great business groups of CAC 40 index.

Successful solutions have to be global and have to rely on holistic point of views which are not traditionally elements of organizational methods or engineering tools. Mainly current change management approaches focus on specific fields and use analytical points of view. Yet, today, a new knowledge field is emerging which targets to draw holistic maps of enterprises and to figure out their dynamics. It has the ambition of driving solutions design which integrates all points of view as it is required to dealing with modern business environment. This field is made of a lot of worldwide initiatives from universities and private businesses. It is a kind of new enterprise engineering which CEO should take interest in.

I still don’t understand why there is so few architects in CAC 40 index companies or in big french SME. And when some are there, they are IT ones in charge of  managing systems evolution.  How many companies have enterprise architects directly reporting to CEO ? I know only one such a group in France. How do others expect to undergo next gloomy business year ? Yet, some big mistaken decisions like public sector employees shrinking which lead to one billion and half additional costs, would have opened managers eyes. It demonstrated that only common sense in no more enough.

Yet, in France, enterprise architecture field has found support from a lot of management stakeholders like CIGREF, AFAI (ISACA Chapter), SYNTEC and forefront engineering and business schools like ECP, EP, INSEAD and others…

Then, I am urging that this message would reach CEO minds and lead them to settle a successful enterprise architecture practice. For that, they should consider it is primarily a matter of business understanding, not only a matter of method, which would require a lot of experience in many fields and very good knowledge of the company. Enterprise architects have to be choosen like other top managers and have to be in charge of building a practice based on a team which should be able to gather various high level technical and management competences.

Thanks to that, we may avoid to attend the burial of many french enterprises next year.

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