Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

EA benefits evaluation

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Every Enterprise improvement ultimately translates into profit or cost saving for the business. For top management and external stakeholders that is what principally matters, after all. Nonetheless, to assess the effect of an EA action directly at these financial indicators level is impossible.  A benefit tree would show though, how an improvement is cascaded to a profit or saving. One should record, at the top of the tree first, the EA basic deliveries and observe how  they generate down the tree the benefits for the Enterprise.What an architecture typically enables:

* reduction in duplicated platforms, projects, in various units of the Enterprise
* elimination of hair ball connections through integration
* introduction of modular services/interfaces
* technology standards
* application processes alignment to business operational needs
* systems alignment to strategic demands...

Then the EA maturity should be estimated since the above benefits may be lost in translation because the architecture may not be properly communicated and as such used, or its deliveries may not be fit for purpose:

* how many departments use EA, how many people (especially outside IT)
* how many EA controls are embedded in stakeholders' processes
* how much feedback and how many requests for Views (proving EA success) from stakeholders
* not least, the degree of coverage of the Enterprise with EA artifacts...

At some level of the tree, compound measures for assessment of the simplification realised (-duplication + reuse+ reduced connections...), reduction in time to market (faster processes + automation + improved productivity...), cost saving (from duplication + re-use + ...) can be estimated for overall business value assessment. 

And once we have these we can estimate the profit and cost saving generated by the EA.

Nevertheless, the EA is mostly an enabler of benefits. By employing it, people in every workplace could bring in own specific benefits.  

The EA architect could specify measures for EA progress, maturity and quality of EA deliveries. The overall EA benefits can be assessed though at the EA program level where every stakeholder adds  the benefits enabled by EA in own department.

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Adrian Grigoriu blogs about everything relating to enterprise and business architecture, SOA, frameworks, design, planning, execution, organization and related issues.

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian is an executive consultant in enterprise architecture, former head of enterprise architecture at Ofcom, the spectrum and broadcasting U.K. regulatory agency and chief architect at TM Forum, an organization providing a reference integrated business architecture framework, best practices and standards for the telecommunications and digital media industries. He also was a high technology, enterprise architecture and strategy senior manager at Accenture and Vodafone, and a principal consultant and lead architect at Qantas, Logica, Lucent Bell Labs and Nokia. He is the author of two books on enterprise architecture development available on Kindle and published articles with BPTrends, the Microsoft Architecture Journal and the EI magazine. Shortlisted by Computer Weekly for the IT Industry blogger of the year 2011.

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