Monday, September 06, 2010

Generalization as Business Strategy

#entarch @BBCRadio4 Just listening to a business story on the radio: the music retailer HMV is now going to be selling clothes from its flagship Oxford Street store. Of course this kind of thing is nothing new - retailers have always tried to diversify, and there are clothes shops in Oxford Street that are trying to sell CDs, while large retail chains that started as grocery stores now sell books, clothing, computers, mobile phones and furniture, as well as financial services.

For many enterprise architects, this kind of diversification strategy seems like a "no-brainer". If you have a robust retail process, together with the assets and infrastructure to support the process, then surely it makes sense to make as much use of the process as you can.

But successful diversification is by no means a "no-brainer" (how I despise that term and its implications), but requires careful consideration and planning. This kind of planning should be meat and drink for enterprise architects, but not if they imagine that the decision follows automatically from some abstract process model.

So what models and techniques would be relevant to support an intelligent diversification strategy? And how comfortable are enterprise architects with using these models and techniques to support business decision-making?

These are questions I've looked at before on this blog (see the generic v specific category) and will certainly look at again. Meanwhile, I'd welcome your ideas.

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