Enterprise architects (EAs) can sometimes lack the authority needed to make key decisions. Yet you are the very person who has pro-actively identified opportunities for change and growth through digital transformation.

As such, changes often have to be agreed and facilitated by those internal colleagues with broad organisational influence and responsibility. The EA must win the hearts and minds of these stakeholders in order to drive digital innovation.

Establishing who the key internal stakeholders with the power to trigger change are is key challenge for an EA. Choosing well will see the EA bring on board the most respected voice with the strongest leverage. So how can this be done? These seven pointers may just give you the answer.

1. It’s all about you...

According to best practice insight and technology company CEB, the most successful EAs demonstrate strategic thinking (66%), while only 47% excel at business understanding. The lesson we can take away from this is that being a strategist and being able to show people you are is by far the best recipe for success as an EA.    

2. ...until it’s all about everyone else

In his book The Fifth Discipline, Pete Senge said that change won’t happen until there’s universal consensus that it’s needed. He said: “People want change, they don’t want to be changed.” As such, you need to show all the right people why they should become involved. If the evidence is there, they will. Speaking of evidence...

3. What’s in it for them?

Since a wide range of employees could be affected by the changes led by an EA, make sure you communicate exactly how this ‘disruption’ will make their life easier. Tailor your conversation to address whatever their concerns are. If you’re talking to people from finance and procurement, steer them away from the bottom line and towards total cost of ownership instead. If that’s not their concern, what is? Speed and efficiency? Security? Pick the main pain point, and address this first.  

4. Just keep talking

Inevitably, Enterprise Architects and the projects they promote may impact a large number of people. As such, it’s important to talk to everyone involved. Whether it’s face-to-face meetings, or via digital communication, make sure you’re never accused of hiding the changes that are coming.

5. Be honest about any disruption

All change brings some degree of disruption. Since you need to keep the backing of those you get on board at the start, be upfront about what they can expect - and offer reassurance about how any risks will be managed.

6. Be willing to hand the wheel to someone else

To continue the roadmap metaphor, a successful EA will not just lead change themselves, but rather empower others to own the change too. They’re also on the journey, so let them drive. You might find that customer facing employers can provide more leverage than you, so use that to your advantage.

7. Don’t forget the C-suite

The previous six points can be seen as something like practice for this one: bringing on board the C-suite. The roadmap you’ll have built and partners you’ve gathered along the way will help you win over the highest people in your organisation, be they a chief executive officer, chief operating officer or chief information officer.

Remember:

  • Change can be delivered most effectively with the support of influential colleagues
  • Be honest and open with colleagues about any potential  disruption and how it will be managed
  • Keep lines of communication open throughout the change process
  • Help colleagues to feel engaged and in control
  • Engage at all levels - from employees at the coalface, to C-suite executives