By: A Staff Writer
Updated on: Jun 02, 2023
This is a business fable with an Enterprise Architecture elevator pitch to position the discipline and demonstrate its value.
The elevator dinged, its doors rolling open with a mechanical whisper. The sleek panels reflected the humming fluorescents of SuperBigCorp’s bustling main office floor.
Mary Misgiving, COO, strode in with an air of determination that even her designer suit couldn’t contain. She gestured for Wendy Wholly, head of Enterprise Architecture, to accompany her.
Wendy took a deep breath and stepped inside the capsule-like space, the doors sealing off the world outside. Mary, with a finger adorned by an audacious diamond ring, hit the button for the 75th floor.
“Alright, Wendy,” Mary began, her voice echoing off the brushed steel interior. “You’ve got until we reach the top to convince me that Enterprise Architecture is more than just a pretty diagram.”
Wendy smiled, a ripple of anticipation unfurling inside her. The tension was palpable, like when she had to debug a system outage with half the board watching. “Mary,” she began, her voice full of quiet confidence, “enterprise architecture is to a business what a city planner is to a city. Imagine building cities without planning, one house at a time, without considering roads, utilities, or future growth.”
Mary raised an eyebrow, a smirk playing on her lips as the elevator hummed along. “Ok, you’ve got my attention, but remember that I’ve seen one too many beautifully planned cities that ended up as ghost towns.”
Wendy chuckled, her fingers gripping the chrome rail. “Very true, Mary. But you know what separates a thriving metropolis from a ghost town? It’s not just the design—it’s the execution, the adaptability, and, most importantly, the alignment with the residents’ needs. Similarly, Enterprise Architecture doesn’t just design—it aligns, adapts, and executes. And it does all this not for some nebulous future but for our business needs here and now.”
A soft ding signaled the 25th floor. Mary gave a curt nod, her gaze on Wendy unwavering. “I’m listening.”
“Let’s take our recent merger with TinyTech, for example,” Wendy continued. “Remember the nightmare of integrating their legacy systems with ours? The cost overruns, the delays, the customer complaints?”
Mary sighed, her fingers rubbing her temple as if to ward off an incoming headache. “Don’t remind me.”
“Well,” Wendy said, a twinkle in her eyes, “with an effective Enterprise Architecture in place, we could’ve had a blueprint ready to predict and address such integration issues. It would’ve given us a strategic plan, not just for our technology but also for our data, business processes, and people.”
The elevator’s soft hum seemed to get louder as they ascended, or perhaps it was just the growing silence between the two executives.
Mary crossed her arms, her gaze narrowing. “And what about the recession looming, Wendy? How can your architecture help us there?”
“More than you might think,” Wendy shot back, her voice steady. “Our Enterprise Architecture can be the compass in this storm, guiding us to keep our operations lean and our business agile. It helps us decide where to cut, where to invest, and how to reorient ourselves quickly to meet the changing market conditions. It’s like a lighthouse, Mary, a beacon showing us the way even when the fog of uncertainty rolls in.”
The elevator pinged the 50th floor, but the brief interruption did nothing to dissipate the tension. Wendy knew she had just a few more minutes to land her pitch.
“But beyond crisis management,” she pressed on, “Enterprise Architecture is our enabler for innovation. It identifies opportunities for us to leverage new technologies, streamline our processes, or exploit data insights. It’s our strategic lens into the future, ensuring we are always ready to capture new market opportunities as they arise.”
Mary uncrossed her arms, a thoughtful look replacing her skeptical frown. “Alright, I’m beginning to see the value. But we’re a huge conglomerate, Wendy. Is it worth the complexity?”
Wendy nodded, recognizing the inherent challenge in Mary’s question. “Yes, it is complex, and it does require an investment. But consider the alternative. We stumble along, making isolated decisions; before we know it, we’re lost in a maze of our own making. Without Enterprise Architecture, we might end up like a jigsaw puzzle with all the right pieces but no picture on the box to guide us.”
The elevator’s progress bar blinked, signaling the 75th floor. The mechanical ding, usually a mundane sound, suddenly seemed full of import.
“Well, Wendy,” Mary said, her gaze softening, “you’ve given me quite a bit to chew on. So maybe your Enterprise Architecture isn’t just about pretty diagrams after all.”
Wendy breathed out a sigh of relief as the doors slid open. As they stepped onto the plush carpet of the executive suite, she knew she had managed to hold her own in the high-pressure elevator pitch.
“And maybe,” Mary continued, her voice echoing down the opulent hallway, “we do need a city planner for our SuperBigCorp city.”
With a nod of satisfaction, Mary walked into her office, leaving Wendy with a sense of triumph. Of course, the challenges were still there, and the recession was still looming, but Wendy knew they had a powerful tool at their disposal: a well-structured Enterprise Architecture.
And as she stepped back into the elevator, Wendy looked at the buttons glowing softly in the dim light. She smiled. Even an elevator needed a plan to get to the top. Without one, it was just a box suspended in a shaft.
So, what do you think of the enterprise architecture elevator pitch? What would your elevator pitch for enterprise architecture be?