How Well Do You Understand Your Business And IT Strategy?

Whether you are a CEO, CIO, IT employee, or working outside of IT, you have some level of understanding of your organization’s strategy. At least that’s what I believe. But how much do you understand? To find out we’re conducting research across the enterprise to see how well employees understand business strategy and whether they have any idea about the IT strategy or even the IT architecture strategy.

As a reader of this blog, I know you are an innovative thinker and business-savvy — I’m hoping you will please take five minutes now or later today to help out our research by taking part in this survey, no matter where you work or what your role is. Even if you cannot take the survey, you can still help by sharing a link to this post with friends, colleagues, and associates who you think may be interested in the results.

 The survey examines a number of aspects of business and IT strategy, such as:

  • How well defined and understood is the business & IT strategy?
  • How well understood are the measures of strategy success?
  • What time horizons are most common for strategic planning?
  • Frequency of planning updates
  • The perception of IT (from inside IT and from outside IT)
  • The maturity of enterprise architecture planning
  • Social technology strategy

I'll be writing future blog posts here based upon the data we gather as well as sending participants a summary of the results. 

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Food for Thought

Ask questions about Capabilities that include:
• Aligning strategic and operational views of business
• Driving the technology vision
• Transforming and automating operations
• Facilitating and governing organizational change
• Mitigating risk
• Overseeing investments
• Managing the architecture
• Integrating people, processes, and technology

Ask questions about Dutues that include:
The duties of the enterprise architect address how the capabilities are fulfilled and define the accountability of the enterprise architect. The professional enterprise architect requires complete ownership for success.
Duties include:
• Planning and policy
• Strategy and transition
• Architecture and transformation
• Technology risk and impact
• Investment oversight and governance


1. How important a topic will architect development be for your organization over the next 12-18 months?
A. Very important – one of our top priorities
B. Somewhat important – not a top priority but something we need to address
C. Somewhat unimportant – we’re not focused on it as a near-term priority
D. Not important

2. What is the most valuable approach you’ve found to develop successful architects? [CHOOSE ONE]
A. Certification programs
B. External training/courses
C. Internal training/courses
D. Mentoring/coaching
E. Rotations
F. Learning on the job
G. Other (please specify)_______________

3. If you are training/certifying your architects externally, what type of program are you using? [SELECT ALL THAT APPLY]
A. Framework certifications (e.g., TOGAF, FEA, Zachman)
B. University programs (e.g., Carnegie Mellon, Penn State)
C. Vendor offerings (e.g., IBM, Microsoft)
D. Associations (e.g., CAEAP)
E. Other (please specify)_______________

4. How effective is your organization’s architect training program?
A. Very effective – we have an established program that measurably improves our architects’ performance
B. Somewhat effective – we have a program but the impact on performance has been mixed
C. Somewhat ineffective – training is ad hoc and the overall impact on performance has been negligible
D. Very ineffective – we have no formal or informal training and architect performance has suffered as a result

5. If you have a training program, how do you measure its value?
A. We have formal quantitative and qualitative measures that we track on a regular basis
B. We have qualitative but no quantitative measures or consistent tracking
C. We pick up anecdotal feedback but have no formal or informal tracking of results
D. We don’t measure the value of our training program
E. Other (please specify)____________________

6. What is the biggest challenge your organization faces in developing a high-performing architecture group? [CHOOSE ONE]
A. Lack of an effective training program
B. Inability to recruit top external talent
C. Absence of a defined career path for architects
D. Lack of a formal competency model and established set of job families
E. Immaturity of architecture as a profession/no industry recognized certification programs
F. Other (please specify)_______________________

7. What are the THREE most critical skills needed to become a high-performing enterprise architect? [PLEASE RANK ORDER FROM 1 TO 3, WHERE 1 IS HIGHEST]
__ Business domain expertise
__ Technical domain expertise
__ Ability to think strategically
__ Programming/systems knowledge
__ Presentation/communication skills
__ Modeling skills
__ Leadership and influencing skills
__ Critical thinking/analytic ability
__ Creative/innovative thinking
__ Breadth of knowledge (ability to think across technology and/or business domains)
__ Other (please specify)___________________

8. How important is it to the success of your architecture group to be able to develop high-performing architects?
A. Critical – without an effective development program our architecture group will fail
B. Important – it is one of several factors needed for our architecture group to succeed
C. Somewhat important – it is a factor but there are other issues that are more important to our group’s success
D. Somewhat unimportant – it isn’t a primary factor in determining our group’s success
E. Unimportant – it will not impact the success or failure of our architecture group

Food For Thought

Hi Thomas. Thanks for your detailed and thought-provoking suggestions. I'll review your suggestions with Jeff Scott as we evolve our research study. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest your opinions on strategy might be oriented toward the role of the Enterprise Architect - would that be correct? How critical do you see this role to the process of developing effective IT strategy? Do you feel the role is understood outside of IT?