Voices of Ardoq's Global Community Exchange: Surfacing Challenges and Sharing Solutions

3 Jan 2024

by Deborah Theseira

Being in the business of change, we know all too well how challenging and lonely it can be. The larger the organization is, the harder it can be to find allies, achieve alignment, and speak the same language. However, we also know that some of our best, greatest inspiration comes from each other, our fantastic customers and partners, with how they’re leveraging our platform to manage risk, drive change, and push the needle in their organizations.

With this in mind, we’ve been working hard to create a forum to showcase all the incredible things they’ve accomplished and to put these inspiring minds together to spark yet more insight that will empower others in their transformation journeys. So this autumn, we were thrilled to kick off our inaugural Ardoq Community Exchange series, gathering over 200 people from 150 different organizations in 7 different locations across the globe. An ambitious splash, perhaps, but a bold and driven move that would really enrich and benefit our community of Ardoq users.

What Is the Ardoq Community Exchange?

It was a substantial undertaking, but we felt it was important and valuable to bring together this vibrant community to really dig into common challenges but also possible solutions and approaches. This year, we held Community Exchange events in Barcelona, London, Melbourne, Oslo, Sydney, and Zürich, as well as a virtual session for those based in the US.

Valuable Roundtables Over Common Interests and Issues

Our mission with these new Community Exchanges is to pull on the expertise of the movers and shakers of the EA world - putting practitioners center-stage, with us serving as facilitators of idea-sharing. We shaped the schedules to be intentional, fruitful, and thought-provoking. In curated discussion groups, we brought together individuals with similar issues and interests to discuss and share what worked for them in their initiatives as well as what didn’t.

To ensure these curated discussions were as meaningful and relevant as possible, we boldly let attendees set the priorities and topics they most wanted to dig into. Listening to their needs and input allowed us to ensure the sessions were impactful, helpful, and engaging.

"Teaming up with enterprise architect leaders and experts from a range of great companies enables sharing of best practices across industries and gauging what works well in your company culture."
-Håkan Wärdell, Enterprise Architect and Business Domain Lead, ABB Motion

Practitioners in the Spotlight

There were diverse “Show and Tell” presentations from lead practitioners across a range of industries and countries. 16 brave digital transformation experts stood up to share what their experiences have been as well as their pragmatic advice to others on delivering value.

Ardoq experts also contributed to enrich the discussions where relevant and share guidance on different approaches with our platform. There was also, of course, time set aside to let everyone mingle freely and build off some of the valuable conversations begun or ideas floated in earlier sessions over a beer or two.

The Why: Drive and Inspiration for Community Exchanges

This series was inspired by our customers, who were hungry for opportunities to share and learn from each other. While hearing from industry leaders and expert “Ardoqians”   is helpful, they also wanted to have in-depth conversations with counterparts facing the same practical challenges.

"We felt a conference would be too monodirectional and not provide quite the right setting for the collaboration and interaction we wanted to encourage. Our mission is to help bring the EA community together and give our customers the opportunity to connect with like-minded practitioners to trade ideas, learn from others and, together, debate the challenges of EA and future direction for the industry."

- Claire Sporton, Global Director of Customer Experience at Ardoq

This format of mixing “Show and Tells” with roundtables for attendee-selected topics was a better fit for our goal of supporting each and every one of our customers and partners in driving tangible business value from our platform and company. Meaningful initiatives often take a village, and sometimes that village extends beyond just the internal architectural team but can span to take inspiration from peers in other organizations, industries, or even countries.people discussing digital transformation initiatives at ardoq's community exchange event

Transformation Talking Points and Takeaways

Every roundtable discussion was rich with insights into the specific problems or challenges attendees were facing and have faced in their organizations. For those who weren’t able to be a part of these exchanges, here is a quick overview of some of the topics and key points from the discussions. We are going to build these insights into a resource for all EA practitioners to access in the new year.

1. Engaging the Wider Organization: How to Get Everyone in the Organization to Own and Engage With Initiatives and Your EA Platform?

  • One of the key challenges EA teams face is getting more people outside the team engaged with the platform and what they’re trying to accomplish.
  • Important not to be pushing Ardoq as a platform owned by IT but as a means to specific objectives that others in the business can connect to and are motivated by.
  • Demonstrating how Ardoq can help them solve the problems they are facing and the benefits it can bring them.

2. Business Transformation and Innovation: How to Address Key Challenges in Change Projects

  • Some common challenges that came up are getting a clear understanding of an organization’s current state, connecting strategy to execution, enabling greater transparency in a distributed organization, and breaking down interdepartmental silos. 
  • Across these challenges, the need for a common language to ease communication came up frequently to overcome the gaps between the business and IT.
  • Culture and people, getting them open or on board for different ways of working can often be the bigger challenge, more than the technical challenges.

3. Transparency and Alignment: How to Leverage Business Capabilities as a Common Language

  • Defining the business by its capabilities helps overcome technological or departmental siloes. 
  • It is also a way to shift the conversation away from IT and architecture to make it clear that the architecture actually belongs to the entire organization.
  • Capabilities also help make the complexity of organizations more approachable and digestible.  

4. Improving IT: How to Overcome the Business-IT Gap and Get a Clear Overview of the Current State

  • Solutions shared focused on shaping challenges in business outcomes rather than IT terminology.
  • Part of this includes modeling business capabilities and connecting them to the IT landscape to demystify what the organization has in terms of technology and what that technology enables.
  • It’s therefore important to model not only applications but the greater context, including infrastructure and network, so that stakeholders can understand the true impact of change.  

5. Processes and Challenges in the Public Sector: How to Tackle Compliance and Regulations More Effectively

  • Often, there are more projects than there are resources, so prioritization is critical yet often unclear.
  • Dealing with a lack of control over different data owners and how to map processes in the public sector, with the lack of a common vocabulary across departments, is a significant challenge. 
  • Getting buy-in from the wider organization also surfaced as a continued challenge many were facing. 

Looking Forward: Exciting Events in 2024

2023’s Ardoq Customer Exchanges are just the beginning. All of us walked away energized by the fantastic response, and we have great plans for the coming year to go even bigger. All the challenges raised and conversations had are just one part of a much longer journey.

We plan to keep being an active part by helping architects and their teams get their rightful place at the strategy table. We hope to keep facilitating and forging valuable connections and empower EA teams to build compelling narratives that will engage their organizations. In 2024, we also hope to explore and include more technical and methodology workshops for those who want to get deeper into the “how”.

To those who came and made our 2023 Customer Exchanges such an immense success, our greatest thanks. You are the real superstars and change-makers who remind us why being in the business of change and digital transformation can be so rewarding.

For those who weren’t able to attend, hang tight because we’re already shaping our plans for 2024. Let us know where we should bring future Ardoq Community Exchanges 🚀

Community Exchanges for 2024

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Deborah Theseira Deborah Theseira Deborah is a Content Specialist at Ardoq. She wields words in the hope of demystifying the complex and ever-evolving world of Enterprise Architecture.
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