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Diversity and Inclusion Within Enterprise Architecture: Our Call to Action

6 Jul 2020

by Magnus Valmot

“Should we post on Social Media about our support of Black Lives Matter? If we don’t, is it then strange to change our logo to the Pride colors after?”
“What about our inclusion efforts?”
“How can we be better?”

I have no doubt that these questions, or similar, have been discussed in many different companies over the past few weeks. Ardoq is no exception. While for many, these can be uncomfortable topics that call for timely and tough reflections (often needed), I’ve never been more proud of the teams at Ardoq or more determined to take part in positive change within our industry and beyond.

If you follow us, you’ll have seen we didn’t post about either Black Lives Matter or Pride. Instead, we took this time to do some deeper reflections. We want to be authentic, raise awareness effectively, discuss how we handle Diversity and Inclusion internally, ask the tougher questions about our active role and go beyond the “What should we say?” to “How can we be better?”.

I’m not going to pretend we have all the answers, but I wanted to take this time to bring forward this critical topic that all teams working within or with Enterprise Architecture (EA) need to be having.

Tough and Timely Reflections in EA

EA is being disrupted. How we have some of these conversations now will impact that journey in a big way.

We just have to look around us to see that, in the EA industry and much of the broader departments and projects that EA services, the serious conversations around diversity are coming late.

EAs also have a unique position and opportunity in organizations. As a central facilitator of planning and change projects, when diversity is built into the EA team, it can have a ripple effect felt by the whole organization and the people it serves.

In March 2018, Gartner published their whitepaper on How Enterprise Architecture Can Lead Diversity and Inclusion Efforts for Digital Organizations. Through research, it highlights the specific ways in which EAs have both the responsibility and opportunity to drive Diversity and Inclusion. This was a milestone prompt for our industry to reflect critically on our role. 

EAs are at the core of building businesses of the future. How can we create for the future, if it doesn’t reflect the customers (the people) you are building the company for?

Innovation Is Driven by People

But, coming from a company that prides itself on being at the forefront of disrupting the EA industry, it’s important to remind ourselves that company values and how we work aren’t just catchy slogans for our website.

Innovation, disruption, and change are driven by people. Who gets a seat at the table and who feels comfortable, confident, and nurtured enough to bring their ideas forward is what will define how innovative we are.

Where We Are and Where We Need to Be

Ardoq started from and works within an industry that has traditionally been very white, very male, and with highly academic career paths rooted in their own boundaries of inclusivity.
We are also a young, tech scale-up, based in the heart of Norway. You just need to look at our management team to see a reflection of this.

These facts could quickly turn into excuses or perceived barriers to our efforts. But, as leaders of change, we should see this as an opportunity.
We need to set an example so that other organizations can look at us and think, “If they can do it, why can’t we?”

We are Bold, Caring and Driven

These are Ardoq’s values and, as ever, they’re what fuel our efforts to bring positive change to the EA space and all the work we do.

We will continue to be bold, having strong opinions that we’re not afraid to speak up about, asking the tough questions, and continuing these discussions.

We will be caring. To be aware and open to how our decisions and actions affect others while creating a company for the future.

As a group of driven individuals, we commit to not taking our foot off the gas in our efforts to always be better by doing better.

We want our values to have a measurable impact on our work, from hiring to marketing, our website, our office culture, and the Ardoq platform. To create tools and processes that are people-centered and inclusive.

Doubling-Down on Our Actionable Commitments

At Ardoq, we’ve prided ourselves on our (relatively) diverse, inclusive, open, and people-focused teams. We’ve always tried to put our time and money where our mouth is when it comes to our company values.

From the early days (before my time at Ardoq), we saw clear results of directives and culture around this.

Just one example of this has been our monthly, anonymous surveys enabling all employees to give feedback on how they feel about issues surrounding diversity and inclusion at Ardoq.

But while efforts have never slowed, the last couple of weeks have prompted all of us to reflect more critically and step up in the doubling down of these commitments.

Some of the next steps we have taken, on our journey for building and improving how we work at Ardoq:

▫️ Increase the regularity of management discussions, reflections and planning around these efforts

▫️ More internal Diversity and Inclusion training, especially for those involved heavily in the hiring and onboarding process

▫️ A new dedicated internal communication channel for all employees to share resources and discuss any topic around inclusion

▫️ Double down on our efforts to hire outside of our own network talent pool. Continuing not to let location, background or language outside of English proficiency be an issue

▫️ Using hiring organizations and platforms that are more centred around this mission

We look forward to supporting inspiring initiatives like Skillhus - a fantastic recruitment program for skilled refugees and migrants in Norway, with strong values and a clear mission.

 

After speaking with employees, especially those in the US, we took feedback and set about the first steps of showing our commitment to Black Lives Matter. We are starting with sharing anti-racism resources to all employees and researching, sharing, and contributing to organizations at the forefront of the BLM movement. 

Anti-racism is a long-term commitment, and we plan to keep momentum on these efforts.

Building Active Communities for Positive Change

For now, what all of us can keep doing is to have the conversations. Keep talking, keep asking difficult questions, and don’t be afraid to find the tough answers.

Ardoq is committed to actionable steps to lead the way in EA, as we have tried to do across many areas. We’re proud to be able to use our channels and influence to talk about and progress these movements and to have built a community of Ardoqians who are passionate about making us the best we can be.

 

Magnus Valmot

As CEO of Ardoq, Magnus is dedicated to building great teams of people in a shared mission to disrupt the EA industry and bring trusted, tangible value to Ardoq's customers and everyone we work with. Magnus has an MSc in Engineering and leadership background spanning from the Norwegian Armed Forces and critical management roles in global companies.

  

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