How To Deliver Enterprise Architecture Value Earlypost by Chris Curran on July 13, 2010
Co-authored with David Baker
How to demonstrate the value of enterprise architecture is a constant question we get from our clients. In fact, a more basic question might be “what is the business value of EA?” We strongly believe that EA should be the way that a business connects its strategy to its technology investment plan – through the use of business capabilities. As good as that might sound in concept, the hard work is in breaking organizational myths and stereotypes.
Our experience tells us that determining the services to launch (or re-launch) first must show tangible value and depends upon current maturity and pain points with the existing EA group and IT organization. Here are several options to show value early.
Launch (or re-launch) Project Architecture Assistance Services
These are great services to improve immediately if the EA organization is young or has struggled to gain the trust of the development organization. Trust must be developed in the trenches, so helping projects make decisions and keep projects on track is a good place to start. Our experience indicates that Enterprise Architecture should spend approximately 60% of its time working within projects, helping those projects get through the software development life cycle. The value here is immediate as there should be a positive impact on the delivery of the new business capabilities (e.g. improved speed to market, improved reliability, etc).
Blueprint a High Priority Business Domain
If an enterprise or business unit strategy exists and especially if there is some kind of external mandate (e.g. regulatory compliance) you may want to launch a blueprinting effort for the affected domain. Completing a successful blueprint often has a snowball effect. Once the business owners see how their goals and objectives translate into IT initiatives, they typically become converts to the blueprinting process. Business value is derived from the impact the blueprint has on the IT prioritization and delivery time frames. IT knows it is working on the right projects to deliver the greatest business value. The most tangible value, however, is through delivery of the projects identified by the blueprint. This circles back to the first option listed above architecture assistance and governance. Keep repeating the cycle.
Develop an Enterprise Core Blueprint
In complex organizations (e.g. a large number of business units / business domains), value can be delivered quickly by identifying the core IT functions that serve as many business units as possible. This requires going through a high level enterprise wide blueprint to understand the use cases that are similar across the enterprise. The future state then describes the reusable technology patterns which can then be sequenced into a roadmap.
Develop a Blueprint For One or More Core IT Capabilities
Some companies may have already identified a handful of core IT services such as master data, data management, application integration, portal platforms, or B2B integration. The EA group can launch a blueprinting effort focused on one of these core areas. This effort requires looking across the business domains to understand the business capabilities that would be enabled by the core pattern, and then proposing the future state technology solution to implement the service.