The Value of Consensus in
Enterprise Architecture

By Ben Clark

I truly believe that if consensus building and visualisation is not at the heart of everything in business design and enterprise architecture, then what are we doing?

What is the point of creating models that no one understands or people interpret differently? What is the point of using language and visuals that confuse, rather than bring people together? And why be the supposed bridge between business and IT strategy if you can’t link them together? Consensus brings huge value to an organisation.


That value comes in the form of the significant benefits it provides, such as improved decision-making, better collaboration across teams, improving internal relationships, and increased buy-in as a result of these.

Let's take the outline of a complex decision such as an ERP purchase for a multinational company.

The whole lifecycle of this is a very complex one, from the business deciding that one is required, through to RFI/RFP, demonstrations, business case building, final selection, cloud (process) preparation and SI selection. The whole process before you even get close to implementation could be 2-4 years. This can involve a huge number of stakeholders from the board level down to SMEs, swallowing huge amounts of time and energy.


Where this can often get stuck, is when you have two camps – one that favours red and the other favours blue. Neither will budge or move, and the process can often get bogged down. What if though, through business design and enterprise architecture, this process can be reduced?


How many stakeholders are involved in a global ERP change project, in some shape or form, just in the pre-implementation stage? 50? 100? 200? If they were all spending on average 2-3 days a month on the project, how much money is being spent through not making a decision if it takes 18 months, not 6 months, to choose red over blue? 


Forbes research ranks poor communication (62%) as the main reason why transformations fail.

Visual communication is 50% easier to understand, and it is up to 60,000 times quicker to assimilate visuals than spoken language in someone’s mind, but it is still something that gets woefully neglected in architecture projects. 


Visualisations can be a helpful tool in the process of reaching a consensus because it can make complex information and ideas more easily understandable and accessible to all members of the group. By presenting information visually, it can be easier for group members to grasp the key points and concepts being discussed and to see how they fit into the larger context. 


This is something that we have found at Konvergent. One particular comment received by a global COO was “You have managed to achieve in 3 months what we could not do in 2 years.” When you arm excellent architects with the tool of visualisation, this is the result.

Visualisations can facilitate more effective communication and collaboration among group members by providing a shared frame of reference for discussion. By seeing the same visual representation of the information, group members can better understand each other’s perspectives and more easily reach a consensus.


Additionally, visualisations can help to make the consensus-building process more transparent and inclusive, as it allows all group members to see the same information and have equal access to it. This can help to build trust and confidence in the consensus decision and increase the value of the consensus for the group. 

More insights