The Philosophy: Progress

Companies are architectures

Companies are like complex buildings: they consist of many components that can stand alone and work by themselves, but show their true effect and value only through the interaction with others.

A change of strategy is one thing – the required impact on the internal organisation of the company is another. A need for change from the outside, rapid growth, mergers, etc. will only be successful, if the internal structures are properly adapted. A new process layer becomes necessary, as a growing company exceeds a critical size. Nevertheless, the previous agility should be retained. Or if the firm becomes smaller, the quality of service should not suffer. A new dimension of rules becomes necessary as the industry is increasingly regulated. Nevertheless, this should be handled smart and implemented not only on paper, but ideally with business benefit. Or let’s say the digitization of business requires new technologies and forms of organization – but an entrepreneur is usually not an IT expert – who ensures that the technology companies deliver the right thing and implement it the right way? From an entrepreneurial perspective?

I consider myself a “business architect”. My consulting concept follows a generalist approach, linking loose ends, bringing together themes and groups of people. My professional focus is the interaction, the connectivity, the integrated view on strategy, procedures, rules, organisation and IT rooted in my personal experience in all relevant areas.

Mine is a minimalist approach, focusing on reality instead of on a tool that only poorly replicates reality. I’d rather shape the essence and discard waste that will only be in the way when the next realignment is due. Fewer meetings, less bureaucracy. Focus on agility and avoid dependencies. Focus on what people need, not the machines’. Small, agile, networked teams are more successful because they do fewer things, but do them very well. Clear and simple is better than unclear and complicated. Less is more. At the same time it is true: complexity is real, and to ignore it “simply” would be wrong. It is therefore important to recognize what is really important to the business architecture. No more, no less.

Change is possible

Many projects, many change programs and many strategies are not successful because these interrelationships are not sufficiently considered. Connectivity needs to be combined with effectiveness.

But change can be shaped, even within seemingly deadlocked structures or old thought patterns. General theories and abstract strategy papers, miniature process maps or collections of IT functions – not really good foundations for relevant changes.

Rather, the analysis and structure, the identification of specific patterns within the individual architecture components is vital. For this purpose, sometimes you have to trudge through the mud of the “construction area” to recognize the essential peculiarities. Of course, the knowledge of different theoretical approaches helps in identifying structures – but they must be applied individually. In this respect, analysis needs independence: in order to free oneself from odd theories, opinions quickly taken, poor copies, and particular interests.

Analysis also requires openness, commitment and approachability – because change is ultimately about how different groups of people communicate with each other and collaborate as productively as possible. And urgency or necessity can trigger new positive options.

Following the analysis, the design of a future-oriented solution will be created. This “ideal” is always dependent on the purpose, on the goals of each company and on the purpose of a business area as well as on the values that drive the employees. I find it very helpful to formulate the following sentence: “The purpose of this organization is to …” The combination of the company’s specific purpose with its individual – and thus hardly duplicable – creativity shapes the concept of the solution. Restrictions within a current situation are something positive: restrictions encourage creativity more than absolute freedom. And the joint effort to design a new goal is an excellent basis for a fresh teaming spirit.

Following the concept, the implementation will be realized. On the basis of experience and responsibility, craftsmanship and the motivation of the joint purpose. The concept serves as a target and guide on the course. Only rarely should the ideal be implemented 100% into reality. The ideal needs to be transferred into reality by means of an implementation plan, based on benefits, costs, risks, and feasibility within its context.

Not surprisingly: the implementation, the action, is the ultimate litmus test, not analysis or concept. And the way the implementation is done is more than just the B-side. The type of implementation is the benchmark for further action. And for sustainability. It is the phase, which has the largest impact on business success or failure. Therefore, pragmatism and focus, courage and perseverance, experience and confidence are crucial here. The implementation phase determines the success.