Enterprise Architecture Management: How it enables Organizations to achieve Long Term IT Objectives
Can organisations identify the impact of replacing an application or system within few minutes?
Are interconnections between systems transparently visible/available at detailed levels?
Are business processes, application and its interfaces well documented?
To answer the above questions affirmatively, organisation needs Enterprise Architecture Management. Organisation operate in a dynamic business environment driven by market / customer demands, regulatory changes, new technology trends and new types of security threats. Every change in environment also results in increase of overall complexity and cost of ownership. IT programs supporting these aspects have to be regularly reviewed and documented.
Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) helps in aligning the business strategies and IT strategies in a structured manner and brings in agility and cost reduction through transparency, standardization and complexity reduction. The intent of EAM is to determine how an organization can most effectively achieve its current and future objectives. This is critical to business survival and success. It enables effective management and the exploitation of information through IT. Good information management is necessary for a competitive advantage. EAM approach brings holistic, enterprise-wide architectural view and supports decision-making needs of CIOs.
EA lifecycle covers both business and IT architectural domains. Current and desired future-states of an enterprise are analysed and documented from a strategy, business, and technology perspective during architecture development iterations of EA. This blueprint of the future-state will help in moving to intended target architecture in a planned manner. This helps CIOs to make appropriate IT related investment decisions, architecture driven planning of IT programs & projects and implement top-down architectural governance practices.
The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF) is the generally preferred EA framework for many organizations. TOGAF-cycle is a key element of this framework; it is a lifecycle that helps to manage to continuous change of system landscapes in a structured way.
The Role of CIOs
CIOs need to treat EA as an ongoing program that continues to evolve together with the organization. Finalizing the vision for an EA program is one of the key first steps, followed by team formation, setting objectives and performance measurement. The alignment of business goals and strategy needs to be ensured by EA and IT leadership. Stakeholder feedback should be taken to understand the perceived value of an EA program and to judge the success or failure of the program. EA governance process needs to be formally established.
It is very hard to sell EA on its value alone. The need for EA should be made evident. It is recommended to start with small steps focussing on quick wins. However a complete EA program needs to be planned step-by-step keeping end results in mind, to achieve the organizations long term IT objectives.