No architect (if he/she can help it) designs a building that will never be constructed, and no enterprise architect wants to create a model that will just sit on the shelf and not be used to guide organizational decision making. Sadly this is the fate of many EA projects because most architects fail to begin with the end goal – business transformation — in mind.
The purpose of any EA effort must be delivering measurable business benefits quickly and often. These benefits might be cutting costs, eliminating unnecessary work, improving customer service, speeding product development, opening new markets, reducing risks or even creating new products and services.
But if the architecture does none of these things, high level business goals such as “better IT/business alignment” or “business transformation” don’t mean much. That’s why IT researcher Gartner Inc. predicts that 55% of EA projects will be shut down because they fail to deliver business value.
Working with our customers, we’ve produced enterprise architectures that:
o Drove $40 million in cost savings at a leading PC vendor;
o Saved more than £100 million by helping a leading financial services speed an acquisition; and
o Slashed the application portfolio by 50% at a leading European railroad equipment manufacturer
Successes like these, we’ve found, are often the result of what an organization does not do, as much as what it does. Modern organizations are so complex that it’s impossible to model every last IT component and process and still deliver useful results in a reasonable timeframe. Trying to “boil the ocean” is a sure-fire way to kill an EA project and worse, the entire team, by letting the efforts drag on too long without delivering real results. The only sane way forward is to focus your EA efforts relentlessly on the most critical business objectives.
We at Troux have developed what we think are industry-leading strategic IT planning processes to keep an EA project on track. We call these “Accelerators” – tried and tested maturity models and roll-out plans that deliver value, in the form of answers to key business questions, in as little as 30 days after startup. But whether you use our proven best practices or someone else’s, if you’re not focused on delivering measurable business results early and often, your EA projects and even the entire EA function is at risk.