Despite changes in leadership and business structure, the EA effort at semiconductor giant AMD is growing and thriving. The reason: It provides consistent business value.
In her presentation at the Troux Worldwide Conference, AMD IT Relationship Manager Tannia Dobbins explained the importance of focusing on business problems, building a team that can survive leadership changes and leveraging Troux as a sole repository of architecture information.
A long-time Troux customer, AMD first created an EA Repository using Troux to establish the IT infrastructure and formalize its processes for capturing data. In parallel, it implemented a program to ensure that its repository objects were complied with approved standards. Then the EA team linked the repository data to business processes, goals, and strategies, displaying its application portfolio from a vertical (business functional) perspective and clarified which Centers of Excellence are responsible for developing and enhancing each application.
By identifying software AMD already owns, the EA effort has saved hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary spending. “All our hardware and software purchases are going through the EA team,” says Dobbins. “We ask questions like `Why are you buying Adobe licenses when we have an enterprise license?’ Being able to capture $100,000 here, $80,000 there, at end of the day, it really adds up.”
The accurate inventory of applications and systems produced by the EA effort has also made it easier to rationalize systems after acquisitions and divestitures, while giving AMD’s CIO the information he needs to make better decisions more quickly.
Three key lessons from AMD’s success are:
- The best way to demonstrate the value of an EA program is by helping executives and managers make decisions based on facts, rather than emotion or assumptions. “If we only have so much to spend, where do we best focus those dollars?” says Dobbins.
- Selecting an EA tool that can grow with the customer’s needs. “You can buy the shoes that fit you now, but you know your feet are going to grow,” says Dobbins. “One of the big reasons we chose Troux was because they were forward looking, and when AMD was ready to do more, Troux would be there.”
- Building a strong EA practice that can survive through changes in leadership. AMD implemented a federated approach, with a core team of no more than five people and another 30 “stewards” in areas such as networks and servers. Even when EA leaders were assigned to other projects, the stewards “who had an understanding of our architecture and artifacts and infrastructure and standards” could keep driving the EA effort forward, she says.
Through leadership changes at AMD, within its IT function and at the EA team, the enterprise architecture effort has not only survived “but has actually strengthened,” she says. That’s the power of focusing on the business, building a strong team and leveraging a scalable EA platform.