1 month, 1 day ago

Step-by-step: How to develop Enterprise Architecture Services

Link: https://bizzdesign.com/blog/step-by-step-how-to-develop-enterprise-architecture-services/

Agile enterprise architecture management practices may want to consider developing repeatable Enterprise Architecture Services. This would allow consumers of those services (e.g., internal customers of enterprise architecture) to concentrate on their top priorities – running and improving their business – while being able to call on well-defined, expert services with clear value propositions and rules of engagement.

The idea of service offerings isn’t new. The concept of ‘IT Services’ first came to my attention in the 1980s through an innovative approach taken by an automotive company, which was a significant departure from the norm at the time.
The automotive company realized that their primary focus was to manufacture cars, not to master IT. They moved from primarily internal expertise to an IT service provider with the vision of outsourcing IT operations. They aimed to focus resources back on what they did best – building cars. They recognized that the effort to handle IT in-house was diverting valuable attention away from their primary mission.

The model they adopted was straightforward. Think of it as plugging in a computer: you’re not concerned with the complexities of whether it’s plugged into an electricity outlet and how that works. You just need the power to work seamlessly and without a second thought.

The manufacturer consumed a suite of IT services that functioned like a utility. They envisioned a kind of IT service – a comprehensive, worry-free solution where the intricacies of managing IT are handled behind the scenes. This allowed them to concentrate on what they do best: manufacturing and engineering.

You can think of Enterprise Architecture Services in a similar way.

What are Enterprise Architecture Services?

Enterprise Architecture Services refer to internal consulting services designed to build an effective enterprise architecture management practice to support the organization’s strategic objectives. We cover how a service is defined later in the article. It’s also important to note that Enterprise Architecture Services aren’t mandatory, but it greatly enhances the value the practice can deliver to the organization.

These services align with enterprise architecture capabilities and are developed according to well-defined value streams. The service capabilities focus on effective enterprise architecture management. These can be provided by either an internal services team or external, e.g., through vendor consulting. It’s more often than not a combination in which external provision is used to establish best practices, initiate a new service, or refine existing practices, then hand it back over to the internal enterprise architecture practice.

The point is that a well-defined service separates the ‘what’ (the service activity) from the ‘who’ (the service provider). Whoever provides it should provide the service at the same quality level, irrespective of whether they are an internal or external provider.

READ: The Fundamentals of Enterprise Architecture Services

How do you set up Enterprise Architecture Services?

When you want to set up a comprehensive set of services tailored to the dynamic needs of the organization,  focus on:

  1. Understanding value streams and associated capabilities
    A good starting point before defining your service is to understand the value streams (and associated capabilities) that drive business value. The image below shows an example of enterprise architecture capabilities associated with value stream stages. These can be useful when adopting agile practices to invest and make continuous improvements around specific value streams and associated capabilities.

    Bizzdesign Horizzon and best practices support the capabilities described in this image
  2. Understanding capabilities that enable a service
    Using the IT service analogy (above), a service is essentially an integration of various elements – be it computing power, storage capacity, or specific data processing functions. At its core, a service is characterized by a collection of capabilities it provides. To begin, ask: What defines a service? To do this, look at the kinds of capabilities that your practice needs to have.These capabilities, which encompass people, processes, and technology, act as the building blocks of the service. Imagine a service as a container that encloses a set of these capabilities constructed to deliver a combined function. As a result, you’ll be able to articulate a set of capabilities and offer them either as standalone services or as integrated service components.Another important aspect is how the organization consumes the service. Think of it like a contract between a supplier (provider) and a customer (consumer). When we measure and deliver the service, we can track where there might be gaps and close those gaps using good agile practice based on the value stream in which they exist.

Examples of Enterprise Architecture Services

A case in point: Strategic Planning Enterprise Architecture Service

Consider a hypothetical scenario where a company ventures into a new market: constructing and providing boat loans. They realize they must strategize effectively for this new venture and look to their enterprise architecture practice for guidance with this new initiative.

The boat loans company wants to understand if they should use the enterprise architecture practice Strategic Planning Service to help with this initiative. They need to begin by questioning the relationship between strategic planning and boat loan construction. The value of the Strategic Planning Service lies in its specialized expertise – not in boats per se, but in facilitating the strategic planning required to enter this market successfully. The service may include strategy mapping and alignment of the necessary organizational capabilities to the business goals surrounding the boat loan venture.

As a case in point, the company must assess whether it possesses the required organizational capabilities at the right level of maturity to compete effectively in the market. Do they know how to appraise a boat’s value? It’s crucial because without understanding the asset’s value, they can’t secure loans against it. Can they effectively reach their target customers with a winning value proposition? Can they do this at a cost that generates sufficient profit for an acceptable return on investment (ROI)?

Upon realizing a capability gap, such as not knowing how to value a boat, Strategic Planning Service becomes even more critical in formulating options and scenarios. This is to close the gaps and the trade-offs between options and scenarios to support decision-making. It addresses questions like:

  • Investment alignment: Does our company have the financial resources, the budget, and the necessary tools to support this strategic move?
  • Investment decision-making:  What are the benefits, costs, timescales, and risks across the available options, and which best fits our ambitions and constraints?
  • Road mapping: What is the implementation timeline, and how does it align with our company’s objectives?
  • Resource Allocation: Are new technologies or applications needed to value boats? If so, how do we integrate these investments to support the strategy?
  • Portfolio Management:  What are the dependencies and impacts of change, and does this implementation align with architecture principles and standards?

By offering this service, the enterprise architecture practice can show how it can bridge capability gaps and align with the company’s strategic needs. They’ll ultimately provide a comprehensive set of choices for business leaders to make conscious decisions for the optimal benefit of the business, considering all the relevant factors.

By capturing these decisions – and the rationale for the selected options – the enterprise architecture team can record each service’s impact.

Enterprise architecture services
Enterprise architecture services

By consuming these services the EA practice was able to contribute to the market venture. This gave the EA practice a seat at the boardroom table.

3. Measuring the value of a service

I have noticed that architectural practices often fail to promote their accomplishments and measure their impact effectively. The ability to measure the effectiveness and value of the capabilities that a service is made up of is critical. Once you’ve packaged your capabilities into a service offering, you can attach a monetary value and other measurements.

Internally, the concept might seem unusual. Yet, services come with costs. People, processes, and technology all have associated expenses. A service composed of these capabilities must justify its cost through its value – e.g., its benefits to internal customers.

Establishing detailed metrics whenever a service is required within your organization might be a good idea. For instance, tracking the frequency of a service’s utilization, assessing its impact on the business, and gauging customer satisfaction can provide insights into its overall value.

While charging for every service rendered internally is not essential, framing these capabilities as services has merits. It allows us to effectively delineate and manage finances and budget allocations within the enterprise architecture practice. Additionally, sometimes you might want to deprecate a service because nobody’s missing it, which you’ll see instantly.

To ensure continued investment, it’s essential to measure and communicate this value, possibly through dashboards, which can demonstrate the benefits of the service to the organization. Without such metrics, the service, and potentially the entire enterprise architecture practice, risks being undervalued and underutilized. Proper valuation and communication of services are therefore not just beneficial but imperative for the sustainability of your practice.

In larger organizations, leadership may often evaluate the return on investment of the enterprise architecture practice by asking, “What tangible benefits have the practice delivered recently?” This underscores the importance of not only defining but also valuing and communicating the success of your services.

Finally, once a service is measured, we can understand what gaps might exist. We would engage in a continuous improvement process because we think of this as an agile enterprise architecture practice. This is where the business funds a team of people to engage in a continuous improvement process (which is an agile approach to keeping the service and associated capabilities up to date and valued).

Enterprise architecture services with Bizzdesign EA Software
Enterprise architecture services with Bizzdesign EA Software

Bizzdesign Horizzon manages and measures EA services

4. Managing service performance

By measuring the value of Enterprise Architecture Services, the practice can take a portfolio management approach to actively managing its services, identifying which services are most frequently used and which deliver the most value and/or ROI.

Once it has this perspective, the enterprise architecture practice can actively manage the services that provide low value or are used infrequently. Can they be improved to offer more value?  Is there a significant capability gap, and if so, what are the options for gap closure? Or should the service be deprecated in favor of redirecting resources toward higher-value services?

The enterprise architecture team can practice what they preach or ‘drink their own champagne’, in other words.

Manage your services with the right tool

While Bizzdesign is used to manage the business from an enterprise architecture perspective, it can also be used to manage your enterprise architecture practice. While managing your capabilities manually is possible, your efforts will be significantly streamlined using an enterprise architecture tool like Bizzdesign Horizzon.

enterprise architecture services dashboard
enterprise architecture services dashboard

Use the Dashboards in Bizzdesign Horizzon to show how the EA team contributes to value categories. Revenue generation is measured of hard numbers. Cost reduction is a soft number where there is a possibility to save a certain amount based on a risk or cost avoidance.

Bizzdesign Horizzon allows you to efficiently define and refine your practice as a service-oriented organization. You can bypass traditional methods like spreadsheets and documents, offering a more integrated and dynamic way to manage services.

Within our enterprise architecture tool, you can design your services and develop metrics to evaluate their effectiveness. This enables strategic decisions about where to invest and how to secure additional funding to enhance these services and their foundational capabilities. By using our enterprise architecture tool, you don’t have to be an expert in creating services, your only concern will be whether there is a demand for the services and for it to create value. Bizzdesign Horizzon can manage enterprise architecture capabilities based on people, processes, and technology.

To find out more about how you can create Enterprise Architecture Services in Bizzdesign Horizzon, book a demo.

About the author:

Dan Belville
Senior Pre-Sales Consultant

Dan is responsible for sharing Bizzdesign’s value by hosting customer-interactive demonstrations and delivering Proof of Concepts based on value-based use cases. With 34 years in IT at leading firms like EDS and HP, Dan has been specializing in Enterprise Architecture and Strategic Planning for the last two decades. His roles have ranged from Enterprise Architect to Senior Pre-Sales Consultant, contributing to the award of 2 US patents. His passion lies in supporting organizations to advance in strategic planning and architecture, adopt new methods, boost competencies, and guide them to mature their architecture and fuel revenue opportunities.