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Architexit: Brexit Planning During the “Phoney War”

By Philip Allega | July 26, 2016 | 0 Comments

Portfolio ManagementMergers Acquisitions and DivestituresEnterprise ArchitectureEnterprise ArchitectBrexitand DivestituresAcquisitions

Professor Sionaidh Douglas-Scott is a leading European constitutional law expert. She recently gave a speech at Chatham House outlining the legal requirements needed to realize Brexit. She noted that, in many respects, we are in the midst of the “phoney war.” The “phoney war” alludes to the eight-month period at the start of World War II, during which there were no major military land operations on the Western Front.

For Enterprise Architects facing “Architexit” planning and impact, this is a time of luxury. Why? Today is the day to consider the most elegant of solution options to the challenges that may be in store in the near future. This a day to take stock and consider the impact of change scenarios, their costs, their risks, and the business outcomes that will be achieved. This is the time to consider how technology innovation may make a difference in a newly combined IT estate and business landscape.

But, will you? In many discussions with public sector and private sector organizations on the verge of a merger, acquisition, or divestiture, planning (and other activities) can grind to a halt as the lack of clarity becomes a sticking point to which few can see a way forward. This is wasted time. With enterprise architecture programmes, it has been our observation that those that come to the table to models and plans and analysis lead the efforts moving forward. Those that do not? They are lead by others and reactive to the situation at hand. In other words, they have arrived unprepared.

One can imagine that there are many political considerations. The possibility of moving business or IT centres around EU and/or UK locations may seem an attractive hedge, but may also invoked shareholder worry, employment concerns, and draw political attention before the invocation of Article 50 (in whatever form that may take) that signals the beginning of the change effort. It’s not too hard to imagine that government leaders are worried about IT and business process costs not in current, formal, planning processes. Yet, it’s also not too hard to imagine that these same leaders are suspicious about impacts in personnel, process, and systems costs that were not in the 2017+ plans last year; but, now they will need to be surfaced to determine how to prepare for a change that may, or may not, come.

At Gartner, we know that these discussions are sensitive and emotions may run high as implications are considered or discounted or totted up for 2017 budget proposals for action. It’s time to start your Architexit effort now, before this lull in the action is over. Rahm Emanuel, the current US Mayor of Chicago, has been quoted as saying:

“You never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before.”

For enterprise architects, this speaks clearly to the planning and thinking not only of direct impacts but of the innovation opportunities that should also be under consideration today.

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