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Selling Enterprise Architecture with Sound Bites

        posted by , February 11, 2011

Enterprise Architects (EAs) need to be talented communicators — capable of building support for common solutions, justifying architectural decisions and selling the value of enterprise architecture.

Effective communication & acceptance

Gaining acceptance for common solutions across business and organizational silos can be a significant challenge. The biggest roadblock to acceptance is understanding. It is not easy to sell people something they don't understand.

enterprise architecture communication skills

Sound bites

Leveraging the principles of sales, marketing and advertising — sound bites are one tool that EAs use to get their message across. Mark Twain described a sound bite as:

a minimum of sound to a maximum of sense
Sound bites appeal to the architect's nature: they are simple yet powerful.

SOA sound bites

Consider a architectural concept such as Service Oriented Architecture. A reasonably complex topic — but sound bites can sum it up quite well.

SOA definition:
SOA is a set of design principles used to build highly reusable services.

Sound bites can be much more than definitions: they can sell benefits, give status reports etc...

SOA increases service reuse leading to reduced costs, improved time to market and higher service quality.

Status reports:
Our company was one of the first in our industry to take an SOA approach. These days, many of our competitors are catching up — it is important we remain focused on a SOA approach to maintain this important competitive advantage.

ESB sound bites

EAs must communicate to executives, business managers, technology managers, SMEs, solution architects, developers, project managers, partners and customers. It is often helpful to develop different sound bites for different audiences.

Consider the challenge of explaining a technology such as Enterprise Service Bus (ESB) to people with different backgrounds. You might want to develop several targeted sound bites.

Laypersons and Project Managers:
ESB moves data from one system to another.

Executives and Managers:
ESB is a tool for efficiently managing real-time data flows between systems.

ESB implements a design pattern that separates message consumers from message producers

ESB is software that includes adapters for connecting to a variety of systems, document transformation capabilities and admin tools to manage message flows.

How to drop a sound bite

Sound bites are like slogans — born to be repeated. If your sound bites are simple, powerful and relevant — you will find yourself using them all the time. If a sound bite is truly effective you will start to hear others repeating them for you.

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