13 years, 11 months ago

Getting your Enterprise Architecture Practice Funded

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If you have worked with Troux, you have no doubt heard us use the term “Time to Value”. When Troux Professional Services executes an implementation with a customer our goal is to be dynamic and provide value as quickly as possible to begin showing return on investment (ROI). This is not only a demand your business makes on Troux, but the demand your business makes on your enterprise architecture practice. Your business has invested in you (people) and in Troux (technology) to deliver savings, efficient change and higher rates of return on existing assets. With that in mind, what steps are you taking to prove the value of your EA programs and to get your EA practice funded?

To show real value, you need to transform your EA practice from an information provider to an information leader that helps lead your company to greater efficiency and agility. To do that, you need to focus your efforts, execute to a proven program, deliver quickly and promote, promote, promote your success.

Focus your efforts on the most important information.
Gathering every bit of data about the organization and then figuring out what’s important wastes time. Begin by asking specific, quantifiable questions about business needs. Does the board want to cut software licensing cost by 6% or by 12%? Would success be reducing the time required to close technical support cases by 12% or by 22%? Understand the business questions and keep your team focused on answering those high priority, valuable questions. If a new requirement is introduced, it should immediately be put to the test of “how does this help answer the focused business questions?”

Execute an EA/strategic planning program using proven processes and practices.
Your team’s focus should not be on implementing a tool, but implementing a program. People with knowledge and the proper processes for information flow must be put in place to ensure the technology can provide the proper information at the speed of business. If you are just executing a project, have you put in place a strategy for maintainability? Are you setting up the processes that can deliver information in a timely way? Are you developing the solution in a vacuum or are you continually engaging your end-users for feedback?

Deliver the required information from the EA team to business users early and often.
The competitive environment — anything from interest rates to a competitor’s pricing to customer tastes – can change every 30 to 90 days. You can’t help the business respond if it takes you longer than that just to figure out what parts of your enterprise architecture must change to meet the threat. Implement automatic, continuous processes to update your enterprise architecture so you can quickly answer those unexpected questions. Having the answers at your fingertips not only drives rapid time to value, but puts the EA practice at the head of the line for future funding.

Promote the impact of your program.
Promote the benefits of your EA projects and how they directly support business objectives. Your projects are among many that are jockeying for funding from your executive team. To get that visibility and leverage, you have to show that your EA organization:

  • Has provided successful projects that have benefited the business
  • Has a continued method for delivering success
  • Has provided value based on providing information that those same executives/management team said would bring about said value.

Success breeds more success.
Management is wary of past promises that did not come to fruition and is more inclined to work with those who have produced results in the past. And one last thing: Do not promote your efforts just at the time of funding requests. Promotion should be continuous.