The Case for Enterprise Architecture, what it is and how it can help your business.
The impact of Enterprise Architecture on the organization is not small. Enterprise Architecture is one of the less “sexy” parts of business. The highlights and the spotlights go to risk, security, cyber and even Big Data. All these glitzy areas need to be designed, planned, before they are able to bring their maximum benefits to an organization. It’s that designing, planning, aligning with the organization’s purpose and strategy, in a conceptual sense first, then translated into practical solutions, this the domain of Enterprise Architecture. Much like the architects in the physical world they are the unsung heroes of our successful businesses.
What is Enterprise Architecture?
“The role of enterprise architecture (EA) is often misunderstood or unclear. Organizations without an EA function struggle to articulate the business need for a formalized discipline. Organizations with an existing EA function face additional hurdles as stakeholders are unsure of EA’s value.” - Gopi Bheemavarapu, Director, CIO Advisory, Info-Tech Research Group.
So, What is EA and what is its value? The well known research institution Gartner states this about EA in its Glossary - “Enterprise architecture (EA) is a discipline for proactively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analyzing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes. EA delivers value by presenting business and IT leaders with signature-ready recommendations for adjusting policies and projects to achieve targeted business outcomes that capitalize on relevant business disruptions.” - https://www.gartner.com/en/information-technology/glossary/enterprise-architecture-ea In english for the rest of us the above simply means, EA is the discipline of constant and consistent analysis of the environment of the organization, to facilitate execution and achievement of the business vision and attendant outcomes. The value then for EA is obvious, it presents to the business and IT leaders the possibilities for optimizing and capitalizing on the environment of the organization, inside and out.
What are the specific benefits of EA?
EA facilitates a holistic approach to organizational development internally. The focus of EA on the direction of the organization, while quantifying its current capabilities and structure, enable organizations to benefit. It takes into consideration the environment and the direction of the organization. EA provides a clear blueprint of the current organization, how it works and creates value for its clients. The clear understanding of the inner workings of the organization, including the principles that create its culture and focus, enable opportunistic choices to be made. The foundation being clear, the objectives and goals defined, empower the organization to systematically build, resilience, sustainability, innovation and growth into the very fabric of how the business functions.
Who is EA for?
EA is for any organization that is seriously pursuing the ability to respond to a changing environment, delight its customers and dust its competitors on a consistent basis. This is practically every organization, so why are not more organizations employing Enterprise Architects? There is a belief that the actual practice is seen by some as a “black art” known by only a few and accessed by extremely wealthy organizations and therefore unable to benefit medium to smaller operations. Note that the house that you live in, was designed by an architect and, the massive buildings and sprawling pads of the famous, are also designed by architects. EA is adaptable and benefits any organization that is willing to define itself and systematically build, resilience, sustainability, innovation and growth into the very fabric of how the business functions. Size does not matter, it's in the application of the principles that create a living space that is appropriate to your needs.
Where do I start?
Starting EA in an organization is much like starting a building or a house. You first start with the architectural brief, which is a statement of what you would like. That statement is further defined in the setting up of principles and other contextual concerns. The environment of the organization is analyzed to clarify how it creates value for its clients. Why? So the organizations capabilities and challenges are clear, in the context of the stated overall vision and direction. With the baseline understanding in hand, a clearer definition of the future is facilitated. Leveraging both, a rich tapestry of detail is made visible, defining the path to the realization of the overall strategic vision of the organization.
In reality the above may take a few steps, the more ambitious the strategic vision is. However, the ability to achieve that vision is now more assured of success. If you want to know more about EA and how it can impact your organization connect with us at https://www.reshglobal.com/book-online