Social Networking – What’s good for them is good for EA

Enterprise architects have historically struggled with the process of publishing content to the stakeholders in their organization.  Conventional advice has been to create an intranet site or other document repository primarily serving static documents such as strategy papers, standards lists, domain architecture documents, models, etc.   That approach has its weaknesses, not the least of which is that the content and access methods aren’t particularly engaging to the larger community of casual stakeholders including members of the extended EA community of subject matter experts and contributors, and the more formal members including senior managers and leaders in both IT and the business.

Many organizations have begun to deploy blogs, wikis and other related social networking technologies in response to demand from various user communities for easy to use tools that support collaboration and information sharing.   In fact, many EA practitioners are well down the road choosing social networking technologies and helping the business develop usage guidelines.

Surprisingly, EA practitioners as a whole have been reluctant to embrace the use of social networking for their own purposes, namely to share their thoughts and ideas with others in the enterprise, and to welcome commentary and perspectives from interested parties outside their own groups.  The key is to become comfortable sharing trends, ideas about the impact of those trends and thoughts on future EA changes, even before fully formed.   Post often and openly, resist the urge to assign rigorous categories, and tag and link freely.

The technology, and the behavioral changes that can result once the team becomes comfortable with it, can help improve the perception of the role of the EA group by the rest of the organization.  It can further recruit additional participants, effectively multiplying the reach of constrained EA resources.

1 thought on “Social Networking – What’s good for them is good for EA”

  1. Interesting discussion, which I’ve come past myself once in a while. I have a few questions.. From the post it sounds like social networking should be applied as a piece in the larger governance puzzle. That is, not the control side of the coin, but the side that engages and motivates people. Thinking of social networking in that sense, as a tool that is helpful in making us achieve something, do you see the activity being somewhat loosely applied, anchored with individuals in a grass roots approach, hoping for the interest to blossom in snowball manner, or do you need to plan the activity, delegate roles and responsibilities, tie it into the larger communication plan etc?

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