What can EA learn from Uber?

22 Nov 2018

by Lasse Berg

Technology will continuously innovate and present us with new opportunities, but will we focus on transformational benefits or waste time and effort preserving the status quo?

If anything, Uber is a case of how technology can make things better, simpler, easier, cheaper, and more accessible. But it also shows how technology can challenge existing working models and overtake outdated regulation – not to mention people’s old habits – almost overnight.

In Denmark, Uber was more or less abolished by lawmakers who didn’t embrace new technology because it simply challenged the system as a whole. The basic transportation of a person from point A to point B had been a highly-regulated market for years. It was the bread and butter for thousands of taxi drivers who followed these rules. Of course, using new technology to disrupt an ecosystem that had been built up over decades didn’t sit well with the people making their living off taxi-driving.

The result was that Uber was cast out of Denmark as the country failed to update its outdated regulations. Instead of utilizing the technology at hand to make a better product for end-users, regulators embraced old technology, such as seat-sensors, to maintain and protect the old system.

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Ardoq is similarly challenging old technology by introducing data-driven EA, also known as New EA.

New EA is adherent to delivering business value. The business doesn’t care about architecture. It cares about insight. No one should have to learn Archimate or BPMN to understand business insights. After all, communication is key during periods of change and transformation.

New EA is customizable. The organization shouldn’t try to fit into the model; the model should fit into the organization. Trying to fit classical academic and complex frameworks into an ever-changing ecosystem will almost inevitably fail.

New EA is flexible. Change is almost the only certainty there is. What you document today will most likely have changed within months. Organizations are becoming ecosystems, a concept Gartner frames as ‘ContinousNext’.

New EA is collaborative. The architects may well be (and should be) the experts, but without stakeholders pitching in from all four corners of the organization EA programs will not become successful.

The people who invented the seat sensor back in the 90s didn’t do a bad job. They probably did a great job with the technology available back then. But it's not 1990, and ideas and technology invented 20-30 years ago will not be applicable in 2019 – not even taking forward acceleration into consideration.

Nobody did anything wrong. The evolution of technology just relentlessly carves out its own path. And the truth is, EA needs to be data-driven, crowd-sourced, automated, and understandable to succeed. Organizations will seek out today’s solutions to today’s needs. And EAs need to decide if they want to be the solution of tomorrow, or remain entrenched in best practices of the past.

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Lasse Berg


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