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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

Budgeting Enterprise Architecture

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EA budgeting depends how the EA activity is conducted at a point in time: is it a project or a Business As Usual activity (BAU)? 

Companies sometimes rely on short burst of activities (projects) to establish the EA foundations. And then continue with BAU. Or establish directly an EA practice.

Projects not followed by an EA practice establishment happen sometimes. But without a continuous EA governance, EA becomes quickly obsolete. On the other hand, EA practices established without the support of an initial project face the prospect of developing their own or at least customizing an EA framework and process.

The EA practice charter depends on the initial project and the quality of its output.    

I will not consider the results of EA here but only the cost and funding of the EA practice - which may return on investment or not.

What can incur costs? The EA team and their expenses. The tools they use. The time they impose on others' input and the work others do for them. One has to remember that EA does coordination work but the bulk of work should be done by domain experts. 

EA budgeting depends also on the scope of EA. For instance, if it is an IT activity alone as it typically is. If it is considered a strategy exercise or a to-be state effort alone as it often is. Typically an EA team reviews IT architecture solutions and roadmaps. This is the work it is paid for. Still a true EA practice would have to coordinate and integrate the work done by many other teams, in an EA.

For the project part, the funding should be approved and extracted from IT project funds, pending the business case approval.

For the BAU practice, the budget should be allocated, as for any other IT function, annually. But because it spills over in other domains, there is a need for the budget to support the EA related work in other functions. Since EA enables decision making, roadmapping, strategy, governance and so on, it should come from a management fund that could cover all these activities in other IT functions. This budget should be estimated at the beginning of a business cycle.
As typically, both project and BAU EA report to IT, funding comes from IT. 

There is a distinction between the EA and the Solution Architecture functions even if both are about architecture. And there are different ways of funding them.  Still if the EA team does mostly solution review work, it can be part of and funded by the architecture team.

In the end, if the EA is truly about the Enterprise, the funding should come from the CXO office to be able to cover all other enterprise wide required activities. The team should report to one of the top executives who could sponsor major decisions. 

The EA team would have a hard time to get the necessary budget or the collaboration it requires, if it has to employ influencing, so touted in some circles; influencing is just another word for trying to sell the value of EA to every stakeholder, again and again. This happens when the EA team has no authority, the EA has not been communicated properly, results are little convincing or benefits are claimed beyond the means of the current EA.

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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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