In today’s world of high-stakes business competition and investment, it can be difficult to see the criticality of proven approaches like Enterprise Architecture. It is far too easy to identify investments that, on the surface, appear to be more urgent.
Enterprise Architecture is Critical to Business Strategy
As IT leaders, it is essential for us to look deeper into what will truly deliver business value vs. moving from one critical project to the next. Our role in supporting the business requires that we think beyond today and tomorrow and instead focus on efforts that can truly transform our organizations. EA is such a game changer.
Here are 3 reasons you need a solid EA program to support your business strategy:
1. Everyday, your project teams create more technical debt
It is really no one’s fault. People mean well but they face continuous pressure to deliver solutions quickly and cheaply. The problem is that quick and cheap add up over time to equal slow and expensive. The debt mounts and your future projects pay the price by dealing with ever increasing complexity and tangled system and process integration. The business gets angry at IT for not moving fast enough and for costing far more than it should. Outside vendors swoop in and promise business speed and agility without understanding the underlying problems. These unrealistic promises just lead to more and more pressure on IT to move quickly. The debt mounts.
Someone in your organization needs to counter these pressures and push for quality solutions that can be maintained and updated efficiently. Someone needs to help the business and IT teams factor in the long term costs of short term decisions. Yes, sometimes you will need to make a short-term choice due to business needs, but that decision should be made with open eyes AND it should be the exception versus the rule.
An effective Enterprise Architecture program is the counterbalance that you need, and you need it Today
2. Your business goals need support from Enterprise Architecture
Most organizations publish business goals and then just expect alignment to occur. The goals are handed down to management and communicated across the organization but there is typically little effort to truly align project investments to goals. What capabilities do you need to make to achieve your goals? How do you build or improve those capabilities? What project investments will drive those improvements?
These are questions that often go unanswered in an organization. The result is underachieved business goals and missed opportunities.
An effective Enterprise Architecture program is about business alignment. EA can help your business units build roadmaps that directly support your goals. The result is the right projects launched at the right time.
3. Your organization needs innovation and change
Business transformation is a hot topic today, but many transformation programs fail due to high cost and high risk. Sometimes a major transformation effort is necessary but other times, transformation can occur on a much smaller scale. This may sound counter-intuitive since most people think of transformation as a massive business change.
The problem is that large scale transformations are very difficult to manage and execute. They typically cost significantly more than anticipated and the change is watered down along the way.
An alternative approach is to consider smaller transformations across your enterprise. These might include:
- API enabled systems and interfaces
- business rule consolidation
- implementing event management/event driven architecture
- self-service analytics
These smaller scale transformations can be equally powerful, and they bear much less risk.
Enterprise Architecture is a vehicle for transformational change and it can be targeted either at large scale change or incremental, yet powerful, change.
Enterprise Architecture and Business Strategy Solutions
If you’re interested in establishing a new Enterprise Architecture program or strengthening the one you have today – please feel free to reach out to us. We have assisted companies at all levels of EA maturity with their programs. We’re happy to help.
We hope you are finding new ways to thrive during this time, and that you’ll reach out to us for guidance along the way.