5 takeaways about Enterprise Investments and Enterprise Architecture

By | May 22, 2014

On  may 15th 2014 I attended the BAEA EA café in Brussels (link). Chris Potts (@chrisdpotts) presented his ideas on the link between “Enterprise Architecture” and “Enterprise Investments”. It was a great presentation and I would like to share 5 elements of the presentation.

1) “People create value, not technology or money”

I had heard it several times from investors, “we invest in people not in a business plan”. It’s now a clear and bold statement in my mind.


2) Enterprise Investment = Enterprise Architecture + Investment Portfolio Management

Enterprise Investment is how the organisation achieves its goals for both structure and value, through the risk‐efficient investment of enterprise, capital, and other factors. It has two core capabilities: Enterprise Architecture (structure) and Investment Portfolio Management (value).

Entreprise Investment is the link between the business strategy and the project sourcing.
In this model, enterprise architects make sure the structural changes are aligned with the expected added value.

To read more about this, have a look here:


3) Switch from a “project portfolio” to a “business value” portfolio

Don’t list your project portfolio by project name but rather present your investment portfolio by showing how projects contribute to the business goals.
Chris Potts presented the “smarties matrix” where projects are presented by how they contribute to the business goals.


Projects have primary goals (ex: blue smarties) and secondary goals (ex: red smarties). If one project has too many smarties it is a very challenging project, maybe too challenging.

In place trying to justify a complex NPV model, one tries to assess if the investment has a real chance of positively impacting the business goals (probability of realizing business value).

4) The role of “Investment Architects”

The team working in the “enterprise investments” functional domain could be called “investments architect”. They will make sur the investment portfolio fits with the current and future capabilities of the enterprise.
The investment life cycle looks as follows:

Innovate >> Invest >> Execute >> Exploit

In this life cycle, investment architects care about innovation, investment and exploitation (assessing if the business value has been realized before looping back to Innovate/Invest).

This is indeed something I recognize in my EA work. For example, for the Flemish e-Book Platform I mostly worked on the architecture required for innovation and prioritization of the investments (by selecting architectural blocks to build first). After selecting the suppliers, we just followed up the  implementation. Just before the exploitation we should come back for checking if projects have been delivered according to the specifications and will indeed deliver the promised value.

5) “Culture eats EA for breakfast”

Among the many constraints they have to care about when designing change, investment architects have to integrate the company culture. The company culture plays an important role in determining the possible enterprise changes. The investment portfolio must take company culture into account.

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