May 302017
 
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Many enterprise architecture (EA) teams struggle with creating a program that demonstrates the level of strategic value that they believe EA should have. Even after following all the advice in frameworks and online articles, chief architects and CIOs still struggle as EA programs fail to reach their potential as an influencer of strategy execution across the enterprise.

There are five steps that Cutter Senior Consultant Nick Malik advises EA teams must do to go from a tactical technical program to a strategic role. Ironically, these activities are somewhat tactical in nature. According to Malik, “this is block-and-tackle work”. In his recent Business & Enterprise Architecture Executive Report, “Climbing the Ladder: 5 Steps to Connect EA To Strategy”, Malik presents a step-by-step guide to removing obstacles that keep an EA program from rising to the challenge. The 5-step guide is aimed at chief enterprise architects and architecture managers who are struggling to create an EA program that will make a strategic difference for their enterprise. Briefly, those steps are:

Step 1: Measure Your Maturity

But note, it’s not enough to use one of the standard CMM-based EA maturity models. A traditional maturity model will tell you where you are weak, but it won’t tell you the order in which you should fix those weaknesses.

Step 2: Connect Business Architecture with Enterprise Architecture

Building up staff and skills is part of the solution, but business architecture activities cannot be left to their own devices. There are two specific areas of interaction between the business and the technical architecture resources that add tremendous value: (1) the scope and outlines of strategic programs normally performed by business architects and (2) the planning for systems reuse normally performed by technology archi­tects under the guise of systems simplification or portfolio rationalization. To yield the maximum benefits from either of these two major focuses of architecture, both business and technical architects need to be involved.

Step 3: Connect EA With Your PMO

For business architecture to be effective, a close collaboration is needed with the PMO to ensure that the “demand pipeline” is primed with projects that are formed by architects, leveraging reusable assets, enterprise data, and secure information management as core requirements going into the estimation and budget process. Connecting the EA team with the PMO requires addressing budgetary. The most common, and pernicious, impact of silo thinking on enterprise architecture is the “earmarking” of portions of the IT budget for specific business units. When earmarks consume the entire discretionary budget of IT, architects have no flexibility to influence the allocation of resources “across silos” to meet strategic enterprise needs.

Step 4: Define the Value of EA Contributions as Service Offerings

A single, clear model of IT planning that integrates strategy management, business architecture, technology architecture, program management, software delivery, and value measurement will provide an understanding of the services that that already exist in the organization to support those elements, and offers a way to present and realize immediate value for the EA program.

Step 5: Plan Your EA Rollout Using Business Segments

A specific rollout mechanism that will work is dividing up the organization into segments and strategically selecting segments where leadership is likely to be supportive first. A careful rollout plan will allow EA leadership to build the team, and the program, in an orderly fashion.

More Insight on Connecting EA to Strategy

Cutter Research: In the full report, “Climbing the Ladder: 5 Steps to Connect EA To Strategy,” Nick Malik poses a series of pointed questions after detailing each step, designed to helps readers understand where their actual gaps may lie. He also offers a specific example of a defined value proposition to help guide the way, and delivers specific advice on how to use value streams to create the segment model of the enterprise as well as how to handle the gradual growth of the EA models themselves.

In “Jumping the Maturity Gap: Making the Transition from Average to Excellent”, Roger Evernden reveals the real issues behind the EA maturity gap shows how EA teams can reach higher levels of maturity.

Cutter Consulting & Training: Increase the effectiveness of your organization’s strategy execution life cycle, starting with strategy and objective formulation and translation, to business and IT initiative planning, through project execution. Cutter’s Strategy Execution Lifecycle Assessment and Recommendations engagement will help.

Understand the level of EA maturity in your organization; your strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations; and get a roadmap for architecture to deliver value and meet the enterprise goals with an EA Maturity Assessment.

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Anne Mullaney

Anne Mullaney oversees Cutter's marketing and product development activities and in-house editorial/research teams. She has more than 25 years experience in the high-tech publishing business.

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