Enterprise Architecture as a Strategy
Part of Enterprise Architecture (EA) is the study of business and IT to formulate aligned strategic initiatives for a given period of time. Outcomes can include enhanced profitability, lower IT costs, and improved business processes. Implementation of EA could include digitized business processes, upgraded IT infrastructure, and cloud lift & shift.
Many organizations do not have a Strategic Initiative (SI; also known as Digital Strategy). IT's annual budget does not align with business strategy and it's costly or their plan is faulty and easily steered off course. SI implementation requires an experienced consultant to formulate and execute properly. A good SI is iterative, ongoing, and evolves with the business.
How do I Engage the Business?
Study the business you are dealing with from the outside by performing focused research on the business type and their customers. Know their weaknesses and speak their language. Now when you are on the inside, asking the right questions becomes intuitive, which leads to SI discussion.
What are the SI Actionable Deliverables?
The business needs to ensure their strategy is clear to all parties within the organization. Clarifying IT's piece of the strategy is crucial as it will affect multiple areas of the business. Beyond this, IT must ensure they are in sync with company objectives or the business strategy will fail. How do we ensure business and IT strategies are aligned?
As with any initiative, this exercise should be an iterative process starting with a comprehensive roadmap for alignment. First, we need to model the business initiatives defined for the period. Modeling out each piece of the business affected by the initiatives, including their related IT systems, will eventually become your roadmap to success.
What do these models look like? Formulated diagrams and documentation
How did you derive these models? Interviews, research, and study
During the modeling process, the aligned business and IT roadmap begins to take shape. Now we can start to apply realistic timelines and dollars to the business strategy. Create a project plan where milestones can be set with confidence and expectations are clearly defined.
Disruption will happen. Some good and some bad. Plan for it, expect it, and deal with it head on. Adjust your plan, keep moving, and look forward to great results. Below you’ll see an example in part of a business roadmap.
Model and Roadmap Example
The importance of EA to any organization cannot be understated. Disruptive business and technological change can cripple well-laid plans. Implementing a solid SI roadmap will save the organization time, money, and pain.
NIST Enterprise Architecture model