For years, Enterprise Architecture (EA) has failed to live up to its name, having been typically deployed as a Solution Architecture oriented capability. Frequently viewed as a “mystery team” by the rest of the IT organization, EA teams and their Review Boards vet proposed projects against an obscure set of standards, often leaving development teams scratching their heads when they’re directed to re-engineer solutions.
In today’s technology-driven world, many companies are re-thinking how to leverage EA to become a key driver of business transformation, rather than a function who merely enforces standards. To achieve the twin goals of accelerating digital innovation and transforming the way modern organizations operate, EA itself must undergo a massive transformation. EA must embrace agile precepts, which will drive a leaner, more effective Enterprise Architecture practice. Lean Enterprise Architecture, enabled by the right technology, full executive support, and a collaborative culture, will be positioned to become a change agent and positively transform companies, such as yours.
Here are the five key fundamental changes that IT Enterprise Architecture practices need to adopt to be successful:
- Enterprise Architecture for the Enterprise
Traditionally, Enterprise Architecture efforts were focused on reactive one-off projects, and frequently lost oversight of what is best for the enterprise versus the individual department or project. As you plan to re-invent your Enterprise Architecture capabilities, consider the following questions:
- Do you have an ability to understand, and rapidly analyze various sources of information scattered throughout the organization to solve unplanned challenges in enterprise landscape?
- Do you have a clear traceability between current business requirements and current IT capabilities?
If the answer is No, then consider implementing Enterprise Architecture tooling, that will enable you to answer those questions in rapid fashion.
- Laser Focus on Business Capabilities
By implementing Enterprise Architecture tooling, you will begin improving accuracy of your information, and will now be able to start connecting the dots based on data and not opinion. This will help you streamline development of the overall strategy down to specific projects and quickly provide the answers to the common Business and IT questions:
- How well are my IT capabilities supporting business objectives?
- Are we investing in the right area across the enterprise?
- Are the strategic programs aligned, or for that matter, are they the right strategic programs?
- There is a lot of activity going on out there, how do I know we are doing the right things?
- Where can we take advantage of synergies across the major strategic programs?
- Is my investment portfolio balanced across all the economic value and dimensions?
- Collaborative Lightweight EA Governance
Without solid EA governance, an organization will eventually derail into slew of non-supported technologies and bad product purchases or developments. To avoid being viewed as a barrier to achieving business results, consider the following:
- Determine who needs to be engaged to achieve Enterprise Architecture strategic goals
- Make strategic decisions based on data
- Measure and evaluate architectural decisions based on how they are supporting strategic goals
- First 90 Days Plan
Developing and publishing Enterprise Architecture “First 90 Days Plan” is a good first step toward starting your journey to help establish and mature Lean Enterprise Architecture Practice. Educate your Business and IT partners on the EA role, and seek their input on their expectations of Enterprise Architecture. Consider getting someone to help guide you up front on best practices as you are developing your plan.
- Engrain EA in the IT Culture
While maintaining formal authority, promote greater collaboration between all key stakeholders by frequently sharing your knowledge of organizational structure at all levels of the organization. With a holistic overview of an enterprise, one where every business capability is mapped alongside its underpinning technologies, you are now in the driver’s seat to lead strategic transformation, rather than occasionally just provide guidance to individual IT functions.
By focusing on these five key fundamental changes, you will shift focus and establish a solid foundation where Enterprise Architecture will begin its journey to transform from project-focused traditional EA to data-driven Collaborative and Predictive Enterprise Architecture.
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