Tag Archives: EA adoption

The Business Case for Enterprise Architecture

By Balasubramanian Somasundram, Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd.

Well, contrary to this blog post title, I am not going to talk about the finer details of preparing a business case for an Enterprise Architecture initiative. Rather, I am going to talk about ‘What makes the client to ask for a business case?”

Here is a little background…

Statistics assert that only 5% of companies practice Enterprise Architecture. And most of them are successful leaders in their businesses, not just IT.

When I attended Zachman’s conference last year, I was surprised to see Zachman being cynical about the realization of EA in the industry. He, in fact, went on to add that it may take 10-20 years to see EA truly alive in companies.

I am also closely watching some of the Enterprise Architects’ blogs. I don’t see convictions by looking at their blog posts titled – ‘Enterprise is a Joke’. ‘Enterprise Architects do only powerpoint presentations’. ‘There are not enough skilled architects’, etc.

In the recent past, when I was evangelizing EA among the top IT leadership, I often got questions on ‘short-term quick hits that can be achieved by EA’. That’s a tough one to answer!

Now the question is – ‘Why there is lack of faith in IT?’

And many of us know the answer – Because the teams often fail to deliver, despite spending lot of cash, effort and energy. The harsh reality is that IT does not believe in itself that it can deliver something significant, valuable and comprehensive.

If IT doesn’t believe in itself, how can we expect business to believe in us, to treat us like partners and not as order takers?

Now, getting to metrics… I happened to read this revealing Datamonitor whitepaper on the EDS site. Though the intent of the paper is to analyze the maintenance issues Vs adopting new innovations in existing applications, I found something very relevant and interesting to our topic of discussion here.

Some of the observations are:

  • IT departments that are overwhelmed by application maintenance do not see the benefit of planning
  • Datamonitor believes that skepticism of these overwhelmed decision makers can be largely attributed to a sense of ‘hopelessness’ or ‘burn out’ over formalized IT strategies.
  • Such decision makers are operating in a state of survival rather than one of enthusiastic optimism
  • IT departments see the value of planning primarily in the ‘build’ phase and not in the ‘run’ phase. They don’t really care too much about the ‘lifecycle’ of those application in the ‘planning’ phase.
  • And now, this compounds the maintenance complexity and inhibits the company from embarking into new initiatives – creating a vicious cycle.

What a resounding observation!

As someone said, adopting EA is like a lifestyle change – like following a fitness regimen. And that cannot be realized without discipline and commitment to change! The problem is not with EA but the way we look at it!

Balasubramanian Somasundaram is an Enterprise Architect with Honeywell Technology Solutions Ltd, Bangalore, a division of Honeywell Inc, USA. Bala has been with Honeywell Technology Solutions for the past five years and contributed in several technology roles. His current responsibilities include Architecture/Technology Planning and Governance, Solution Architecture Definition for business-critical programs, and Technical oversight/Review for programs delivered from Honeywell IT India center. With more than 12 years of experience in the IT services industry, Bala has worked with variety of technologies with a focus on IT architecture practice.  His current interests include Enterprise Architecture, Cloud Computing and Mobile Applications. He periodically writes about emerging technology trends that impact the Enterprise IT space on his blog. Bala holds a Master of Science in Computer Science from MKU University, India.

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