I just returned from Las Vegas where my meetings with Cisco executives, including John Chambers, Gary Moore, David Hsieh, Murali Sitaram, Kara Wilson, and OJ Winge, clearly demonstrated that Cisco is still moving forward. John Chambers and his team were in lockstep talking about two things: corporate strategic imperatives and organizational foundations for success
I believe that Cisco is sounding very much like a mature market leader as it balances risks and rewards in the rapidly changing markets for networking and collaboration. Precise financial measures got little talk time, but there were plenty of mentions that forward-looking statements do not supersede financial guidance given at regular updates — the team was focused on Cisco's plans to fuel future innovation, maintain its market position, and continue working on strategic relationship development with its most important customers.
John and the entire Cisco management team are focused on five corporate strategic imperatives:
Core routing/switching innovation and optimization.
Virtualization (including data center and cloud) technologies.
Video as a primary communication medium and IT task.
Architecture — defining and delivering IT architecture for businesses and service providers.
Forrester’s Q2 2011 Global Current State Of Business Architecture Online Survey found that organizations are optimistic about the effort it takes to create a business architecture – overly optimistic. The prevailing view is that it will be significantly easier to create business architecture than it is to create enterprise technical architecture. A significant number of Forrester’s survey respondents – 63% – thought they would create the core business architecture in less than two years. They are clearly not taking into account the multitude of challenges that make building business architecture an arduous and time-consuming task.
I talk with business architects every day. Here are the types of challenges they tell me they are facing:
No standard tools or methodologies are available. Existing EA templates and approaches offer little value. Much of the BA’s work is exploration and innovation. It takes time to find the right path.
Business architecture has to be sold. The overwhelming majority of current business architecture efforts are not chartered by business executives. This means they must be promoted and sold. Additionally, business architecture is a complex product, and every sales professional knows that complex products have elongated sales cycles.
Multiple views are the norm. Business architecture artifacts are not one size fits all. There are many different viewpoints of business issues and opportunities, including strategy, capability, and process, among others. Business executives vary in their perspectives, so multiple views of each viewpoint will have to be tailored to fit the specific audience.