The Architect demonstrates an understanding of the psychological dynamics of customer management and discusses business imperatives, modern techniques and tools for relationship management, industry engagement, contractual agreements, transparency and accountability, and related issues. Managing high-risk scenarios is also a demonstrated competence of the role.
The psychological dynamics of customer management
Five personality dynamics prevail in relatively consistent but unequal proportions. These recur sequentially for a given work process:
- Understand the complete situation, see relationships, and develop creative solutions.
- Invest in exciting others about the idea. Dissolve silos and develop internal support. Build a team.
- Develop an implementation plan using data. Create schedules, budgets, timetables, clear roles and rules, etc. Predict problems. Find faults.
- Aggressively implement the plan. Hold people accountable. Measure performance. Strive for completion.
- Evaluate the preceding four Dynamics by examining external success (e.g., cost, time, quality, profit) and internal satisfaction (engagement, absence of stress). Adapt the process to increase success and satisfaction going forward.
It’s important to note that each personality dynamic is of equal value and every personality dynamic has an unbounded capacity for growth. However, the way in which the members of each personality dynamic function is completely different.
When there is a lack of recognition of these differences in people, there is often misunderstanding, conflict, and an inability to make use of individual and group potential, whether in the classroom, in the work-place, or in the home.
A healthy relationship between the professional and client is one that includes intense interactions followed by respectful distancing, mutually high demands for quality, complementary but not overlapping visions, and the ability to engage in productive conflict. The lone genius architect, or any individual professional, is a myth. Excellence comes from an evolving chemistry among the principal participants.
The new and sustainable competitive edge resides in improving both staff connectivity (internal relations) and market connectivity (improved win ratio). The most valuable currency we have is the emotional capital of relationships. Human beings make decisions first for emotional reasons, second for rational reasons. The effective architect is present, listens and expects to be surprised, preferring perspectives over being right. Successful relationships are anchored by character and competence: trust earned through sincerely caring about others and being open. Without it three problems occur: non-inclusion, the illusion of inclusion and the loudest get heard.
Customers want a consistent, connected, personalized, and efficient experience throughout all phases of the customer lifecycle delivered seamlessly across all touch points. Exceptional Customer Experience (CX) drives revenue and creates loyalty, advocacy, and repeat business. The prevalence of social media today means that customer satisfaction may not only impact repeat business from that person, but frequently also impacts new or repeat business from their social media circle. Therefore, CX is more important than ever.
Top technology priorities for business leaders all center on improving CX in order to retain, serve, upsell to existing clients and lure new clients away from the competition. Business process and EA practices that focus on blending Design and System Thinking techniques develops a digital enterprise/business that is essential to success.
There is a gap in the general approach to problem solving between design agencies and enterprise architects. The former use Design Thinking practices, such as empathy and prototyping, while enterprise architects use deductive reasoning and quantitative analysis, or Systems Thinking.
CX, EA, BP – operate tightly
- CX: Delight Customers
- New digital channels
- EA: Embrace volatility
- New acquisitions and markets
- Build architectures that can sustain bringing on new channels
- BP: Test and learn loop
- Continuous Improvement, focus on building a process to further enhance
Balance the 3 by using design thinking instead of system thinking
- A collection of practices that helps teams better identify with customer experiences, and shift from logical problem solving to creative experimentation.
|System Thinking Practices
||Design Thinking Practices
- Not with the tech or processes, it’s about discovering information about the company by interacting with the employees
- Drive empathy using personas of employees and/or customers
- It’s important to imagine new personas with unique attributes
- Process team and Architects will take ownership of the persona and develop a solution that satisfies the personas around abductive experimentation practice
Don’t abandon System Thinking completely. Merge Design and System thinking
System thinking correlated with Design thinking
|System Thinking Practices
||Design Thinking Practices
|Target Operation Models
- Working with people who share similar and dissimilar experiences to generate richer work.
- Starts from a set of accepted facts and works back to their most likely explanation
- Build prototypes. Pose hypotheses. Test. All to manage risk.
- Realize each problem – and the people there to solve it – has a unique context.
- Seeing the whole system and its many connections.
Customer journey map using a persona (highlighting customer’s key goals and pet peeves) to walk CX through process milestones
- Initial research and expectation setting
- Deeper research and consideration
- Commitment moment
Translate internal business value (inside out) to customer’s perception of business value (outside in)
|Inside Out (Efficiency, Productivity, Quality)
||Outside In (Convenience, Engagement, Advocacy)
|Business Process Improvement
||Customer Experience Improvement
|Focus on efficiency
||Focus on value creation
|The model and the process is the subject
||The customer and their life is the subject
|The business identifies the problem
||The customer identifies the problem
|Respond to customer feedback
||Respond to latent and anticipated customer needs
|Design with business teams
||Design with customers
|Design operating principles
||Design service principles
|Define benchmarks and metrics
||Determine what customers truly value
|Define, measure, analyze, improve, control, replicate
||Discover, define, develop, deliver
A high quality architecture doesn’t equate to high adoption
Outside In Metrics
|Time to complete
||Net promoter scores
|Number of attempts
Architects need to be an accelerator and not a barrier to enhancing CX
The IT service can use CX practices to refine their BP internally.
Getting things right the first time and a zero-defect mentality are counterproductive, since they tend to create a risk-averse and uncreative atmosphere. A self-empowered organization is the ideal environment to create knowledge. Giving the team access to customers provides a much better understanding of the purpose and what they are trying to accomplish. The project as a whole becomes more meaningful and they see how their work is going to impact real people. Then let the team negotiate directly with customers to understand their priorities and take ownership of commitments.
Results, whether customer satisfaction, process outcomes or service excellence, are dependent on an organization’s ability to learn, innovate, and redesign its work in response or anticipation of what is happening in the environment. Effective organizations do this through quality decision-making by a collaborative workforce comprised of individuals motivated to continually clarify and deepen their personal vision, focus energies, develop patience, and see reality objectively.
Awareness of the personality dynamics offers new opportunities:
- Greater individual self-understanding and growth
- Greater understanding of others
- Improved communication and cooperation
- More effective teaching and learning
Personality profiles and character taxonomy: DISC, Enneagram, Myers-Briggs
Tools for relationship management Industry engagement
- SOW – Deliverables, Simple is better, Highly detailed saves money and minimizes riskStrategic objectives documentBusiness use-case model and definition
- High-level tools suggested in traditional strategic analysis…
- SWOT analysis
- Five Forces analysis
- Partner accountability mapping
- Standards Bodies –
- Papers (IASA)
- Talks/Presentations (NOREX)
- Industry conferences (NRF)
- Business Case
- Business Requirements
- System Requirements
- Business object model (business entities)
- System use-case model
- System object model
- Test plan and test cases
- Implementation plan
- Project plan and schedule
- As supporting information, I would include links to descriptions of each deliverable.
- Contract Compliance
- Master Service Agreement
- Intellectual Property
Tools for Contractual agreements
The assigned architect should be involved in the project planning and contract drafting and negotiation.
- Define the parties’ expectations before a project starts.
- Guide parties’ actions during the project.
- Protect parties’ rights.
- Facilitate parties’ ability to resolve issues quickly and inexpensively.
- Enable a third party (judge, jury, arbitrator, or company executives) to adjudicate fairly, in the event of a dispute that cannot be resolved internally.
Read the contract over the course of the project to stay abreast of how its contents can affect the design and other decisions.
Tools for Transparency and accountability
Managing company IT assets – confidentiality
Being allowed to fail
Governance: ITIL, OSIMM, CMM
The enterprise architect is bound to meet resistance in escalating nonconformance to the steering committee. However, she rarely has a really strong case to make the steering committee act in her favor especially when the solution has already been implemented by the project team and is working as intended in the production environment. Neither compromise nor confrontation works well. It is therefore of utmost importance for an enterprise architect to convincingly negotiate. He needs to create a win-win situation for both parties rather than falling into the trap of argumentative discussions. It is a real test to measure the enterprise architect’s interpersonal skills.
Both architecture conformance and post-implementation reviews are opportunities for an enterprise architect to engage closely with project teams. On one hand, they allow the enterprise architect to guide the development effort and ensure that project teams conform to the strategic direction. On the other hand, they help her backfill the enterprise architecture by consciously gathering and assimilating the best practices and lessons learned in real-life projects. EA begins with conceptualization, idea generation and philosophical preaching, but it gains substance only after gathering practical revelations from the projects on the ground. Hence these review processes can well be seen as mechanisms to backfill the enterprise architecture. They should enable two-way communication between the enterprise architecture and the project teams – guiding but also learning, governing while accepting feedback
Lack of appreciation for structure, process and best practices
Partnering with the business when IT is slower than the business (not a value added service), end-arounds,
Becoming the face of IT for the business; the go-to resource for all things wrong with IT
Cultural and Specialty Diversity
Managing high-risk scenarios
Defining key risk indicators helps enterprises achieve their goals, seize opportunities and seek greater return with less risk. It works at the intersection of business and IT and allows enterprises to manage and even capitalize on risk in the pursuit of their objectives.
Risks related to late project delivery, compliance, misalignment, obsolete IT architecture and IT service delivery problems
Using COBIT and Val IT to mitigate risk; the link between risk and COBIT control objectives and Val IT key management practices