13 years, 6 months ago

What Has Your EA Program Done for The Business Lately?

Link: http://resources.troux.com/blog/bid/54227/What-Has-Your-EA-Program-Done-for-The-Business-Lately

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Sometimes it seems as if we only hear about what goes wrong in Enterprise architecture programs. That’s why it was such a pleasure to hear Forrester Research Inc. Analyst Gene Leganza describe what makes EA programs go right. His findings, based on a year of research, shows how critical it is to explain, very clearly, what an EA program has done for the business, or what it will do soon. 26968064 Rasta resized 600

In his recorded webinar on Troux TV, Gene identified four specific “how-to’s,” each of which go right back to the main theme of understanding what’s important to the business, being practical about addressing those needs, tailoring your approach to your specific business and aligning the application portfolio to the business. The common theme is that if an EA program doesn’t matter to the business, and the business doesn’t understand why it matters, it won’t get anywhere.

Let’s look more closely at Gene’s four recommendations.

    1. Focus intently on clearly-defined goals. He suggests an annual exercise in which both business and IT staff revisit the EA program to ensure it’s creating value and focused on delivering what it promised. This includes setting specific, not just high-level, goals for the EA program and using a “goal tree” to explicitly link business needs to IT goals and the work of the EA team. Spreading this exercise over two half-days, Gene has found, helps both IT and the business trim their wish-lists of projects down to what is most critical.
    2. Base EA Goals on What Matters to the Business – Now. This requires getting direct input from various levels on the business side – operational types to understand short-term needs, as well as higher-level executives to understand future requirements. Gene also recommends using scenarios and narratives to confirm the EA team “got” what the business said it wanted. Don’t rely only on the “official” organizational plan, but ask business managers what keeps them up at night. And finally, start working on short-term needs while continuing your data collection and planning. “Nothing says `irrelevant’ more than a six-month stretch where no `real work’ is getting done,” says Gene.
    3. Fit the EA practice to the organization. No two organizations, or business units within the same organization, have the same appetite for risk, the same speed of decision-making, or the same urgent problems and “must-have” priorities. Not all business managers are equally ready to step back and begin thinking in terms of an “enterprise architecture.” Gene recommends taking these needs into account by, for example, using “zone’ architecture models to address local differences while maintaining the overall consistency necessary to achieve enterprise efficiencies and support core EA strategies.

    4. Map the application strategy to business goals. Gene recommends very explicitly linking individual applications as well as higher-level business services to business goals and strategies. This includes “very explicitly scoring your applications according to their business impact and value, the soundness of the applications themselves, their fit with IT architecture, and the status of any relevant vendors” to provide a meaningful portfolio analysis, says Gene. He also recommends focusing not only on cost-reduction, but on providing the new capabilities that will get business managers enthused. He also says its critical to keep your road map grounded in reality by being clear about how long new initiatives will take, and what it will require to accomplish them.

        We were very gratified to hear Gene’s recommendations because so many of them are embodied in our software, and in our Troux Accelerator methodology that focuses on high value quick wins while insuring customer self sufficiency. We take an outcome-driven approach to EA, working with you and your stakeholders to identify the urgent issues that must be addressed now and creating visual reports that help you validate their importance with your business partners.

        If you’d like to hear more of Gene’s thoughts, watch the replay of the webinar. Alternatively download a complimentary copy of his research “Best Practices: Starting Or Restarting an EA Effort, July, 2010” here

        PS: If you’re ready to get more information on how to successfully execute your EA program, sign up now for our upcoming Troux Worldwide User Conference set for March 23-24, 2011 in Austin, Texas. We’ll feature more case studies than any other EA Conference – Guaranteed!