Giving EA the much-needed business slant: some thoughts

By Raghuraman Krishnamurthy, Cognizant Technology Solutions

Recently, I had the opportunity to quickly look at Chris Potts’s absorbingly written book titled recrEAtion: Realizing the Extraordinary Contribution of Your Enterprise Architects. The best contribution of EA, the book illustrates through a fictitious story line told with finesse, is much beyond IT. Enterprise architects need to be thinking more of business and contribute to strategy coherence by being uniquely able to link business goals with IT.

The word ‘architecture’ has an unfortunate connation with IT resulting in lumping of any architecture into the IT/IS function. That EA is much more than IT/IS has been the uniform rallying point of the community of enterprise architects for several years. There is a degree of success in this effort: for instance, the importance of EA in planning, alignment and program management is well researched and there is evidence in industry of realizing benefits that EA provides in this direction. However, for EA to earn its glorious position of the overall enterprise wide architecture management function,  it needs business embracement.

Business architecture is part of enterprise architecture. Let us consider some of the challenges that have business ramification in equal (or perhaps more) measure as technology:

  • Gaining customer insight is no longer possible with internal systems alone. There are social sites where the views of the customers are shared and debated within the community. How would this challenge be addressed in business architecture?
  • Mobility is opening up enterprise’s business opportunities in innovative ways. Mobility gives the customer the power to do business truly anytime, anywhere. How an enterprise can improve the collaboration in novel ways and generate close customer touch using new channels like mobility? How is business going to measure the effectiveness of this channel and what type of architecture models will be relevant?
  • Business processes are keys to realizing business objectives. How the business process, the associated rules, performance of the business process itself can be modeled in business terms? How can workflows and the associated documents be modeled in business terms?

The above could be some areas that EA can focus on giving the business flavor.

‘Evolving EA to Architect the Business’ is a subject that will be discussed in depth during The Open Group Conference, London, May 9-13. Join us for best practices and case studies on Enterprise Architecture, Cloud, Security and more, presented by preeminent thought leaders in the industry.

Raghuraman Krishnamurthy works as a Principal Architect at Cognizant Technology Solutions and is based in India. He can be reached at Raghuraman.krishnamurthy2@cognizant.com.

2 Comments

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2 responses to “Giving EA the much-needed business slant: some thoughts

  1. Keith Youens

    Hi Raghuraman,
    I think Chris’s books are both inspiring and just to comment on some of your points that you make.
    “■Gaining customer insight is no longer possible with internal systems alone. There are social sites where the views of the customers are shared and debated within the community. How would this challenge be addressed in business architecture?” – I do know of companies that are addressing this by incouraging social debate within their own public (transparent) company specific social sites. These ‘forums’ are available to customers to share and discuss both positives and negatives. Again, there are other companies who have their own company evangilists that ‘meet’ the public within these social sites.
    “Mobility gives the customer the power to do business truly anytime, anywhere. How an enterprise can improve the collaboration in novel ways and generate close customer touch using new channels like mobility? How is business going to measure the effectiveness of this channel and what type of architecture models will be relevant?” – Look at Apple / itunes, Tescos apps, look at the mobilty market. There are huge changes going on… Mobilty will be the next megatrend / disruptive technology that will drive the business models and associated architectures….

    • Raghuraman Krishnamurthy

      yes, Keith. I have personal experience in the pharmaceutical sector where brand opinions are created elsewhere. There are systems that try to monitor the sentiments but not yet well integrated as an ecosystem.

      I fully agree with you on the mobility front – it is going to be a megatrend.