As the Vice President of Customer Value here at BiZZdesign, it’s my job to work with a great many organizations and identify ways for them to successfully achieve their objectives. This means I deal with big enterprises, small enterprises; companies that have a mature EA practice, or are only just now starting out; from retail to tech, and everything in between.
And across all these different scenarios I regularly witness EA teams struggling to articulate the value proposition of enterprise architecture. Personally, having been involved with EA and IT for 30 years, I am keenly aware of the benefits of having an architectural approach to success, and as such I’d like to talk about this for a moment.
As far as I’m concerned, there should be no confusion as to the power of EA to provide solutions to large, complex problems – it’s a fantastic tool for the modern, digital enterprise. After all, I’ve seen it at work many times throughout my career. In fact, the further we go down on the path of the digital enterprise and the more reliant we become on technology in order to do business, EA only stands to increase in importance.
Now, the way I see it, we can break down the value proposition of EA into three main areas. These are what I consider to be the most relevant and possibly the most impactful areas where architects ought to spend their time and energy. That does not mean more traditional activities like guiding solution architecture, say, is out of the picture. But realistically, considering the relationship that experience tells us EA needs to have with people on the business side in order to be given a place at the strategic table, then I would consider these three areas as most likely to produce long-lasting positive effects:
The first one of these is Strategy Advancement. This is basically concerned with how the business can achieve its target outcomes and also identifying the means to do so. So what are we trying to achieve – do we know, do we have doubts about that? If we’re sure our goals are solid, then how do we make them happen, how do we ensure that every investment, or strategic decision, or new business process we set up is inline and actively supports achieving those goals.
EA connects all these concepts across the different enterprise domains beautifully and when done in a leading platform like HoriZZon, the quality of the business intelligence insights that can be produced and delivered to the relevant audiences, in order to make sure everyone’s eyes remain on the prize, is invaluable. So strategy advancement is key in ensuring coordinated change across the entire business.
The second one of these areas is Risk Identification & Mitigation. Security and the risks to personal data have never been more relevant than now. This area of enterprise architecture’s value proposition deals with identifying the risks faced by the organization in a way that allows architects to engage in a meaningful conversation with stakeholders on the business side about how we can address these risks.
And finally the third area is Run Optimization. This focuses on optimizing the value of the company’s assets from a business or technical perspective (this also includes optimizing costs). So anything from process optimization initiatives to application portfolio management – all these areas where there is
waste due to duplication or improper oversight etc. – EA can come in and significantly impact things for the better, thanks to the transparent and enterprise-wide perspective it delivers.
If you’re a person working in EA and feel like you’re struggling to maximize organizational value, you should start from a foundation that is most likely going to sound like one of those three above. By the way, I also touch upon these areas in a recent BiZZdesign Podcast episode that I’ve been invited to. I suggest you head over there and get some more insights on this and other interesting topics as well.
The main takeaway is that EA provides a solution during a wide range of transformation scenarios. I’ve sorted these into 3 main groups for ease of presentation but really the message is that with the right approach, you can deliver great value to your entire organization (in ways that your organization defines value). All the dots you are connecting from strategy to capabilities, applications, processes, and so on are ultimately going to fuel not just your localized project, or your solution architecture discipline, but also provide leadership with the ability to make better decisions faster, to unlock strategic organizational value. As it grows and integrates more aspects into it (application rationalization, security architecture, data management etc.) it rapidly builds the framework that will get the entire organization to a significantly better future-state.
If you’d like to have a talk about how Bizzdesign can help you maximize organizational value, please get in touch. If you’re interested in listening to the talk I had on the Bizzdesign Podcast, you can find it here.