Why I love my job

Some of my friends (and even family, bless them) are quite sniffy about Local Government at times. There seems to be a perception that we’re not in the same league as the private sector or even central government departments when it comes to EA or ICT in general.

DCC’s annual budget is in the region of £800M, with another £300-odd Million going to District Councils. Although this is not large by the standards of FTSE-listed companies (by way of comparison, Admiral Group PLC turned over £473M last year and British Airways turned over £8.7Bn in 2007/8) it is comparable with a moderately large privately owned company.

I’m now going to argue that, pound for pound, DCC is the most interesting place to work as an EA in the entire world. Why? Well, let’s consider a private company turning over £800m a year. How many products or services would it provide? I’d say that such a company would run only a handful of products. Examples:

1) Lurgi, the German engineering company: has 3 environmental process divisions and turned over around £800M

2) Ford retail (the fleet arm of Ford in the UK) turned over £800M – has one product.

One product? We EAs thrive on complexity and quite frankly I wouldn’t get out of bed to architect a company with just one product.

Maybe central government does better. I was at a conference a couple of weeks ago where there was a speaker from HMRC, and apparently they have 90,000 staff. How many services are they providing?

A quick look at their website (and I’d be happy to be corrected on this!) reveals around 50 unique services. Not bad:  but HMRC has an annual budget of around £4Bn (source:wikipedia) so they can afford a reasonably-sized EA team and resources to conduct large-scale enterprise change.

DCC runs 800 services. No contest. And we have no money to invest in big BPM or ERP initiatives that might simplify the job.

Now of course this isn’t a fair comparison. If your company has a single product then the demand on an EA is going to involve a lot more domain architecture co-ordination, whereas with 800 services then you are forced to take a more global view of things and not get involved in the nitty-gritty too much.

Even so, if budget/services = complexity, then local government is the place to be an EA.


One Response to Why I love my job

  1. carlhaggerty says:

    This is another well written example of why i love working with you martin and another reason why i was drawn to the world of Enterprise Architecture in DCC. Complexity is fun and exciting, i don’t like boring days and i don’t think in 12 years of working here i have had one, well there was a day when i started when i had to spend 6 hours in front of a photocopier, but even then i read all the articles i was asked to copy, so even that was cool…

    I love the public sector because it makes a real difference on people’s lives and we have no other motivation then to provide public services. you have got to love it, even if people (family and friends) talk down at us local gov folk…

    I say let them talk. we have fun in our job.

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