One of the central themes at The Open Group Conference Rome 2010 was that a successful Enterprise Architecture must focus more on the business than on IT plumbing. That might sound like “Mom and Apple Pie” but several presentations described in detail new ways to taking a business-focused approach to EA, and to explaining it to the business users who pay for it.
In “Business Architecture: Just Another IT-Centric Idea?” Leonard Fehskens, vice president of skills and capabilities for The Open Group, argued that the “business architecture” used in most EA projects actually describes the IT infrastructure that drives the business, and thus fails to capture the actual complexity of the business. His takeaway: Enterprise architects need to sharpen their business skills, increase their interactions with the business, and think of IT as part of the business as part of the business.
In “Evolving Traditional Architecture to a Business Centric Architecture” Forrester Research Senior Advisor Richard Sawhney described Capability Maps as the “Rosetta Stone” that translates business needs into IT requirements. In his view, Capability Maps are critical to helping business understand the role of IT in supporting critical business functions (and vice versa), improving decision making, saving money and improving communications. As Forrester Analyst Jeff Scott recently wrote (http://www.troux.com/resources/library/articles/ag_business_capability_map.pdf) in Architecture & Governance Magazine, these maps capture the attention of business managers by providing a stable and understandable view of which IT assets support which business functions.
Justifying EA projects to senior management is always a struggle. In “So, Why Are You In My Office?” Chris Forde, VP of Enterprise Architecture and Membership Capabilities for the Open Group described what those tough customers want to hear from the EA team. That checklist includes timely outcomes, improvement in key performance indicators, repeatable improvement and scalable results. His presentation was a great “how-to” guide and a reminder that, again, business results – not fine-tuning the IT plumbing — are what managers demand from an EA project.
Finally, an entire architecture track was devoted to the role of TOGAF™9 in helping EA teams structure their efforts to deliver operational efficiencies and those all-important business benefits. With more than 11,000 certified practitioners, it is becoming the industry standard framework for developing, maintaining and governing EA programs.
We at Troux are TOGAF™ enthusiasts, and are releasing a new product, Troux for TOGAF™9, which prescribes a best practice implementation of the TOGAF Architecture Development Method that helps you manage your IT portfolio in these fast-changing times.
If you’d like to learn more, watch a replay (and demo) of our Troux for TOGAF™ Webinar