The book I wrote in 2019, The Customer-Centric Architecture: Pathway to High Value Enterprise Architecture, takes a blended approach between inside-out and outside-in planning and engagement to tackle large complex transformations in an urgent and fused way. The customer-centric theme is that the end result must be based on the customer's initial, strategic definition of a successful end state. However, it requires a highly disciplined and collaborative "march" to that defined end state. I would like to offer another perspective, that of a Customer-Driven Architecture. In this case, the collaboration is still strategic, but more flexible and agile, which means it may be more appropriate for most transformations that are not at the "Whole City Modernization" level of City Planning Architecture, a popular metaphor for Enterprise Architecture. Customer-Driven Architecture (CDA) works in a relatively stable context of fundamental value streams defining an organization's essence and the capabilities it needs to deliver such value-added results. Working at a high-level of abstraction in terms of what an enterprise stands for and delivers, architecture initiatives can be traced to capabilities which enable defined value streams. To help organizations understand and pursue CDA, EA Principals offers an Agile Business Architecture course built in different versions for different verticals to make the courses as relevant and content-rich as possible. We just completed one on Agile Business Architecture for Retail last week and have two additional versions coming soon, one on manufacturing and another on healthcare.

There is great value in thinking of business/operations in terms of value streams that the organization considers central to its raison d'etre, to what differentiates it and makes it an important partner for customers and citizens. Ultimately, organizations are about delivering pertinent and predictable value in an incremental, intelligently architected way. CDA is a combination of a Value Realization and a Capabilities-Based Planning approach that provides a rudder in value streams to help organizations navigate to their targeted destinations, but in a way that is flexible, agile, and responsive. There is an increasing need to move toward CDA in most engagements, but to do so, mature Business Architecture is needed, one that defines and builds around the most relevant value streams and associated, enabling capabilities for seizing opportunities for transformation or enhancement. Our Agile Business Architecture courses, written with particular verticals in mind, include the starting toolkits for accelerating CDA within most organizations today and new versions are being rolled out every two months. Please check out this exciting new offering.

Authored by Dr. Steve Else, Chief Architect & Principal Instructor


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