It has always struck me as odd that in casual conversation with the business or IT regarding solutions or projects there seems to be a verbal block when it comes to alignment. Sure, most folks speak the alignment speak. As in, “Darn it, we need alignment!” But the reality is that we very often lack a common lexicon for having the types of discussions across the Business-IT divide that would actually engender alignment.
If we accept that IT folks will likely never fully accept the business way of speaking and business for sure will never fully understand what IT is saying, we may find it easier to look about for a mechanism for translating what each side is talking about. Lacking a common lexicon requires us to essentially construct a ‘Rosetta Stone’ for what should be normal and easy human to human conversation. Alas, we can’t force effective communication in every instance.
There’s been quite a lot of recent discussion around the rise and fall and rise again of SOA (or micro services, or service fabric, or service flux capacitor) as a means for constructing a services-based view of an enterprise or a solution. I totally support that idea. But to take it one step beyond mere technical views and introduce the common lexicon bridge, we need to be having discussion centered around the capabilities associated with those services.
Accurately identifying and describing desired business capabilities and aligning or mapping those with enabling IT technical services will serve as our common bridge. Neither side is stepping into the other’s domain. Business is still talking the language of business capabilities and IT is still speaking the language of enablement by deployment of services. This may seem obvious, or old hat, but it bears repeating at a time when organizations are seeking to extract maximum value from programs and maximum efficiencies from projects.
The EA program serves an organization well when it is able to connect these two sides via capability mapping. Real value will become apparent to both sides as they realize they can finally understand the language of the other!