Maximize the Value of Your EA Program
Facilitate coordinated change throughout your organization by establishing a comprehensive enterprise architecture (EA) program.
by George S. Paras and Jonas Lamis
July 12, 2006
Today's enterprise architecture (EA) programs often hit a wall when EA teams attempt to demonstrate their value to the business. While EA teams might be effective at launching a program and creating initial deliverables, other stakeholder communities within IT and the business often do not directly appreciate the value of EA work.
As a result, the CIO and the EA teams themselves often ask, "How can we get value out of our EA investment?" While many EA teams embrace their role supporting project teams, most have not tapped the dramatic value available through the EA creation process.
To be an effective EA team, you must interact with many constituencies on a regular basis because these constituencies own the "business of IT" challenges that represent significant EA opportunity. Your EA team's foundational capabilities and work products provide a consolidated cross-enterprise data repository, a view of the desired future state, an awareness of the current state, and an analysis of the big picture. These activities produce decision-quality information that is valuable to the leaders across your enterprise.
Your IT organization can close the loop between business value and IT by involving your EA team in initiatives to optimize IT spending, improve effectiveness, and manage the overall IT environment. Foundational EA activities provide additional strategic perspective and add insight to these initiatives, producing value beyond what each initiative could achieve if done in isolation.
Resolving Enterprise Redundancies
Different parts of your organization spend time and effort to optimize their operations, but they probably don't understand how their processes overlap and interact with the rest of the enterprise. You might hear these types of questions: "Do we have one order-to-cash process or 17?" and "Are they building the same application in Singapore that we are building in San Diego?" EA allows your team to see across the enterprise and across domains. An EA process captures a snapshot of the desired operating model for the enterprise; marries it with information on the existing processes, assets, capabilities, and organizational structures; and then uses it as a reference point to resolve redundancies.
Identify IT Non-Compliance
Technology selection and implementation will be driven by projects, budgets, and urgency if not managed appropriately. Your enterprise will miss a tremendous opportunity to drive efficiencies and mitigate risk if it does not tie a standards management process to technology selection. With appropriate process controls, an EA foundation can help you link these concepts together and drive cost savings, risk reduction, and strategic alignment. To systematically steer your organization, you must have the ability to audit for non-compliance in near real time, assess the impact on the enterprise, and identify remedies.
App Risk Profile
Application health should be more than just a Green-Yellow-Red (GYR) report generated by a systems management tool. Rather, you will have broader opportunity for cost management and risk mitigation if you understand your company's health in the context of business impact. To calculate a business impact analysis (BIA) score for an application, you must merge operational data with business data. You can do this through an EA context. A top-down, business-strategy–driven approach to EA will help you establish a risk management context that can be used to analyze the value of specific software applications, their components, and how they contribute to your business strategy and operations.
Human Capital Management
The availability of skilled human resources is critical for all organizations. Unfortunately, too many organizations inadequately prepare for emerging technologies and the new skills that are required to implement them. You need time and investment to create the right portfolio of skills at the right time. An EA foundation—including planned roadmaps, lifecycles, and transition strategies—can afford your IT Human Capital Management (HCM) department the visibility and insight it needs to hire, outsource, train, or retrain staff so that skilled resources are available.
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