8 years, 1 month ago

Who Drives an Enterprise Architecture Initiative? Part 3

Enterprise Architecture (EA) projects are often thought to be initiated solely by the IT department. Depending on the situation, this isn’t always the case. In the past two posts of this series we have discussed how EA initiatives can be driven by enterprise architects or IT, but these two groups aren’t the only people who drive process change. Oftentimes it is members of a business unit who identify a serious and urgent need to drastically improve the organization’s operations, most often based on experience from their daily interactions and responsibilities within the organization.

One of Metastorm’s customers is a global aerospace engineering corporation that has several business units responsible for building and supporting its engineering services. This organization is organized by individual project teams, and has several, massive multi-million dollar projects running at any given time. Each project team can have a budget allocation of millions of dollars and is comprised of several engineers who work closely together, but separate from members of other project teams to complete their individual missions. Given the sizable investment for each project, the team focuses solely on what they need to do in order to deliver on time and on budget. As a result, if a team needs a specific application or program that they don’t already own they go ahead and purchase it, without checking if the other teams have the tool.

The company realized that these teams were working on similar projects but in siloed teams and there was little communication occurring across the organization. This resulted in multiple teams owning the same programs and resources – creating duplication of effort and financial investment. It also became apparent that there were some projects that could have been leveraged by another group eliminating re-work and lost time. Given the lack of cross-departmental visibility, opportunities to improve overall profitability and efficiency were lost.

Realizing that they would be able to operate more effectively if they had a better understanding of their current applications, systems, programs, and processes, the company looked into implementing an enterprise and business architecture tool. They recognized the need to get a comprehensive blueprint of what assets each of the project teams owned, what they were doing, and how it fit into the bigger picture. After looking at several vendors in the marketplace, the company selected Metastorm ProVision to help consolidate its engineering efforts and build a new system that encompassed the entire organization’s capabilities.

The project started 18 months ago and with the help of Metastorm consultants they built a repository for all of the different components, capabilities and assets that once existed among siloed project teams. With Metastorm ProVision, the company now has an enterprise model that helps them understand the relationships that exist across their organization, what assets they have, and how project teams are leveraging these assets. All the sub-projects roll up into a high level view of all initiatives and are tied back to corporate KPIs. Metastorm ProVision allowed them to create strategy through to execution providing a clear vision to transform their engineering operations.

For many organizations, enterprise architecture has become a critical component for bringing value to the business and integrating IT and business operations. As we have discussed in this series, EA initiatives can start at an executive level, as part of an IT initiative, or in response to a specific business requirement. Regardless of its source, your organization should find a tool that supports the ability to move beyond tactical architecture to allow users of all backgrounds to understand the systems, processes, applications and people that will help your organization maximize its resources and reach its goals.

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