The Blog
Henley Business School Press Release

Henley Business School Press Release


Digital Transformation: Decrease technical debt with Enterprise Architecture, October 5th 2018

Latest survey from McKinsey & Henley Business School covered 150+ respondents from diverse organisations and analysed the critical factors to mitigate the risk of technological complexity

DUSSELDORF/READING. Digital transformations increase the technical debt of a company and over time make it harder to introduce change. This is the key finding of the latest Enterprise Architecture (EA) research from McKinsey & Henley Business School. The survey covered 150+ respondents from diverse organisations and sectors and has been analysed since 2015. Its goal is to find out what strategies digital leaders are taking to remain flexible for further transformation.


Digital transformation: More than just an IT issue

The findings build on the former survey which highlighted the negative impacts of complexity. The latest edition looked at what digital leaders are doing differently and what sets them apart from the average (peer group).

One major result is that EA within digital leaders is a top management (CXO) topic. 60 percent state that their EA teams interact the most with the C-suite and senior business stakeholders rather than with other stakeholder groups (compared to 24 percent in the peer group). They treat the digital transformation not just as an IT matter, but rather as a fundamental change to their business model.

“When we see digital transformations struggling, they are often setup as an IT project”, said Dr. Oliver Bossert of McKinsey, who authored the survey. “But in order to be successful with the transformation you have to realise that it’s a fundamental change – with IT only being a part of it.”


Digital Leaders model the future

The survey also made clear, that all digital leaders in this survey model future and target architectures – compared to only 58 percent in the peer group. This focus on strategic planning
activities delivers more sustainable business solutions.

Prof. Sharm Manwani, who teaches Enterprise Architecture strategies at Henley Business school, said: “When we teach practitioners in the architecture space, it takes some time for them to absorb that they can and should engage in strategy development. Preparing an architecture target state linked to the strategy is essential. This often requires new capabilities and mindsets.”


People management for better results

Digital leaders are also more focused on developing their people than on selecting a specific technology asset. They put far more effort into educating their staff on EA (90 percent vs. 44
percent in the peer group). Another finding is that tier-1 talent is motivated mostly by interesting challenges, recognition, and education opportunities than by traditional HR levers such as salary and career advancement.

With regard to the actual solutions and tooling that companies are using, no significant differences between digital leaders and their peers were found. Digital leaders recognise the need for a more modular, perpetually evolving architecture and implement more services (on average 191 vs. 63 in the peer group). They are also more likely to work with latest innovations such as microservices.


Graphic material

Graphic material can be found attached; further graphics are available on request.


Survey Authors

Dr. Oliver Bossert, McKinsey & Company

Prof. Sharm Manwani, Henley Business School



McKinsey & Henley EA Survey -


For further information, please contact:

McKinsey & Company 

T: +49-(211) 1364486 


Henley Business School


T: +44-(0118) 378 7137

About McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm, deeply committed to helping institutions in the private, public and social sectors achieve lasting success. For over eight decades, our primary objective has been to serve as our clients' most trusted external advisor. With consultants in more than 100 offices in 60 countries, across industries and functions, we bring unparalleled expertise to clients anywhere in the world. We work closely with teams at all levels of an organization to shape winning strategies, mobilize for change, build capabilities and drive successful execution.


About Henley Business School

Henley Business School is a triple-accredited business school and part of the University of Reading. With campuses, offices and partnerships around the world, over 7,000 students from more than 100 countries and over 75,000 alumni from 150 countries, it is a truly international institution. Our courses are enriched by up to date knowledge, research and commercial experience, and aimed at helping professionals develop at every stage of their career – through undergraduate, postgraduate, PhD, MBA, DBA and executive education.

Share this:
Request more information

You have missed out some details, please try again.

Your Name:
Job Title:
Company Name:
Please answer the above question to prove that you are human.

©2019 Global Business Intelligence | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies. You can find out how we use cookies here.