By Serge Thorn, Architecting the Enterprise
This is the second post in a three-part series by Serge Thorn.
Continuing from Part One of this series, here are more examples of what an enterprise cannot achieve without Enterprise Architecture:
Reduce IT costs by consolidating, standardizing, rationalizing and integrating corporate information systems
Cost avoidance can be achieved by identifying overlapping functional scope of two or more proposed projects in an organization or the potential cost savings of IT support by standardizing on one solution.
Consolidation can happen at various levels for architectures — for shared enterprise services, applications and information, for technologies and even data centers.
This could involve consolidating the number of database servers, application or web servers and storage devices, consolidating redundant security platforms, or adopting virtualization, grid computing and related consolidation initiatives. Consolidation may be a by-product of another technology transformation or it may be the driver of these transformations.
Whatever motivates the change, the key is to be in alignment, once again, with the overall business strategy. Enterprise architects understand where the business is going, so they can pick the appropriate consolidation strategy. Rationalization, standardization and consolidation processes helps organizations understand their current enterprise maturity level and move forward on the appropriate roadmap.
More spending on innovation
Enterprise Architecture should serve as a driver of innovation. Innovation is highly important when developing a target Enterprise Architecture and in realizing the organization’s strategic goals and objectives. For example, it may help to connect the dots between business requirements and the new approaches SOA and cloud services can deliver.
Enabling strategic business goals via better operational excellence
Building Enterprise Architecture defines the structure and operation of an organization. The intent of Enterprise Architecture is to determine how an organization can most effectively achieve its current and future objectives. It must be designed to support an organization’s specific business strategies.
Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, David C. Robertson in “Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business” wrote “Companies with more-mature architectures reported greater success in achieving strategic goals” (p. 89). “This included better operational excellence, more customer intimacy, and greater product leadership” (p. 100).
Enterprises that are customer focused and aim to provide solutions for their customers should design their business model, IT systems and operational activities to support this strategy at the process level. This involves the selection of one or few high-value customer niches, followed by an obsessive effort at getting to know these customers in detail.
Greater product leadership
This approach enabled by Enterprise Architecture is dedicated to providing the best possible products from the perspective of the features and benefits offered to the customer. It is the basic philosophy about products that push performance boundaries. Products or services delivered by the business will be refined by leveraging IT to do the end customer’s job better. This will be accomplished by the delivery of new business capabilities (e.g. on-line websites, BI, etc.).
Comply with regulatory requirements
Enterprise Architecture helps companies to know and represent their processes and systems and how they correlate. This is fundamental for risk management and managing regulation requirements, such as those derived from Sarbanes-Oxley, COSO, HIPAA, etc.
This list could be continued as there are many other reasons why Enterprise Architecture brings benefits to organizations. Once your benefits have been documented you could also consider some value management techniques. TOGAF® 9.1 refers in the Architecture Vision phase to a target value proposition for a specific project. In the next blog, we’ll address the issue of applying the value proposition to the Enterprise Architecture initiative as a whole.
The third and final part of this blog series will discuss value management.
Serge Thorn is CIO of Architecting the Enterprise. He has worked in the IT Industry for over 25 years, in a variety of roles, which include; Development and Systems Design, Project Management, Business Analysis, IT Operations, IT Management, IT Strategy, Research and Innovation, IT Governance, Architecture and Service Management (ITIL). He is the Chairman of the itSMF (IT Service Management forum) Swiss chapter and is based in Geneva, Switzerland.