Book Review: Intersection

I worked my way through Milan Guenther’s book “Intersection: How Enterprise Design Bridges the Gap Between Business, Technology and People”. It was a delightful read, at the right depth and breadth to begin looking holistically at enterprise design, particularly for those outside of the field. More importantly it provides a nice framework to start your exploration of these topics.

Intersection is aptly titled, as it blends and synthesizes the various domains that enterprises naturally encompass - people, business models, process, and technology. It even provides a decent implementation framework in case you ever decide to hang out your shingle as an independent consultant.

As noted in my previous post, the book itself is beautifully designed with bright colors, and plenty of white space. It also is written at an appropriate pace. Weighing in just north of 450 pages, it is surprisingly light in tone and an easy read despite the diverse nature of the topics covered. In order to get the most value out of the book, it should be digested in small sections, particularly when you get into the framework sections.

While packed with insights and hidden gems, Intersection is at its core an introductory survey into design, and its various related disciplines. Its strengths are in the provided case studies, framework, and the references section. I’m not sure there is a book on the market today that synthesizes the diverse topics of Experience Design, Content Strategy, Enterprise Architecture, and Technology Design, just to name a few of the topics covered.

My key take away, or perhaps what is currently resonating with me, is the notion that the experiences people have in the enterprise are influenced by the automation and reliance on tools (applications, networks, databases, etc.). Those tools are ultimately reflective of the organization since humans internally and often externally are using these them to perform some activity. Extending this notion, is there a quantifiable relationship between brand identity and the maturity of its enterprise architecture? Is it predictive in nature and will it conveniently feed back into enterprise architecture maturity models?

Because of its depth and breadth, this book will serve as a reference to point towards various disciplines for deeper study and analysis. For the Technologist, Business Strategist or Enterprise Architect looking to reconcile back towards your end users, you will find valuable insights that will challenge your notion of what an enterprise is, and its connective tissue. However, for the well-read design or user experience professional, I think this book might be too light in content in the various topics. I suspect those individuals will want to start at the framework and jump right into the meat of any particular area of interest. Even so, a good actionable framework is hard to find, let alone design. That alone is worth the cost of acquiring this book.