Have you stopped to think what impact digitization is likely to have on your career?

In a recent report, Booz & Co posed 4 key questions all CEOs must face in response to the impending wave of digital disruption that will affect every company in every industry:

  1. How will digitization impact my current business model and positioning within my industry’s value chain?
  2. How can I best identify and enter areas where value is being created, both inside and outside my industry?
  3. What areas of my business offer new entrants clear opportunities to disrupt my current business model, and how can I fight back?
  4. Which capabilities do I need to build to be a leader in the field?

It’s not just the CEO who needs to understand these issues. It’s all of us. Our ability to enable or leverage digital capabilities for our business’s benefit and our ability to interpret relative strengths when it comes to disruptive strategy will prove to be a key factor in our own individual success – even if it’s merely choosing the right employer because you understand their relative capabilities to execute their own form of disruption.

For some professionals the effects of digitization will be devastating as new entrants apply disruptive business models, pushing aside the incumbents and rapidly assuming market share – just think about your home town’s print classifieds, video stores and telephone directories businesses as a taste of things to come. For others there are great opportunities ahead – especially if you’re in the enterprise architecture world.

While most people will not get the opportunity to guide disruptive strategy, business architects are in pole position to lead the charge. I point to the last question posed in the Booz report asking “Which capabilities are required to be a leader in the field?” as this presents the hook that brings enterprise architecture onto centre stage.

Capability-based planning has emerged as a key technique for architects to anchor their business and technology investment recommendations. The business anchor model provides a single page view, at a high level, of enterprise-wide business capabilities mapped across an organisation’s value chain.



An architect’s insight into what capabilities are available and ready to be leveraged is extremely valuable, if not a prerequisite, in evaluating candidate scenarios and contemplating how difficult and how fast a new business model can be realised. The same approach provides strategists with the insights they need to understand scale, scope and cost of execution – as well as organisational maturity and readiness.

In our Applied Business Architecture course we use the Business Model Canvas to interpret an organisation’s strategic opportunities and positioning, which helps to orientate discussions about value-discipline alignment, operating model design and the required investment program to bring online the required strategic capabilities.


Business Model Canvas: nine business model building blocks, Osterwalder, Pigneur & al. 2010

These linkages illustrate the growing opportunities for enterprise architects, and specifically business architects, to move up the strategic stack and engage with all C-level stakeholders on matters of digitization and disruptive innovation.

Where do you see the opportunities and threats from the incoming wave of digitization?