|Footprints on fresh snow|
(photo credit: dru!)
Walking on fresh snow is one of my favorite activities, as I enjoy leaving the first footprints in the soft, fluffy snow. My impact on the snow is evident to those that come after me. What impacts should EA have on organizations? What do EA’s footprints look like? Here are answers from three authoritative sources, on tell tale signs that an organization has effective EA.
1. Clarity on Long-term Plans
The book “Enterprise Architecture as Strategy” believes that enterprise architecture help organizations focus on building strategic capabilities, instead of constantly being distracted by immediate needs. It does that by providing a long-term view of an organization’s processes, systems and technologies . This clarity works hand-in-hand with strong governance to help organizations achieve future states they desire.
Following on this point, EA should also enable organizations to have clarity on current capabilities. Without this clarity, organizations end up building capabilities that they already have, or capabilities that are not supported by their existing processes, systems and technologies.
2. Strategic, Responsive and Cheap IT
CIO.com sees that enterprise architecture makes IT cheaper, more strategic and responsive, and help promote alignment, standardization and re-use of IT assets . This builds on the clarity mentioned in the previous point, such that IT works on what matters, is positioned for the future and designed to maximize reuse and reduce duplication.
Gartner sees enterprise architecture as a change enabler by “by creating, communicating and improving the key requirements, principles and models that describe the enterprise’s future state and enable its evolution.”  In a way this is similar to #2, but this brings the impact beyond IT to the entire organization.
What other impacts should EA have?
1. Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution, Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, David Robertson
2. Enterprise Architecture on CIO.com, http://www.cio.com/topic/3020/Enterprise_architecture
3. Gartner’s Definition of Enterprise Architecture, http://www.gartner.com/it-glossary/enterprise-architecture-ea/