Enterprise architecture (EA) isn’t dead, you’re just using it wrong. Part three of erwin’s digital transformation blog series.
I’ll let you in on a little secret: the rumor of enterprise architecture’s demise has been greatly exaggerated. However, the truth for many of today’s fast-moving businesses is that enterprise architecture fails. But why?
Enterprise architecture is invaluable for internal business intelligence (but is rarely used for real intelligence), governance (but often has a very narrow focus), management insights (but doesn’t typically provide useful insights), and transformation and planning (ok, now we have something!).
In reality, most organizations do not leverage EA teams to their true potential. Instead they rely on consultants, trends, regulations and legislation to drive strategy.
Why does this happen?
EA has remained in its traditional comfort zone of IT. EA is not only about IT … but yet, EA lives within IT, focuses on IT and therefore loses its business dimension and support.
It remains isolated and is rarely, if ever, involved in:
Instead, it focuses on managing “stuff”:
There are three main reasons why EA has been pigeon-holed:
Because of this, EA fails to deliver the relevant insights that management needs to make decisions – in a timely manner – and loses its credibility.
But the fact is EA should be, and was designed to be, about actionable insights leading to innovative architecture, not about only managing “stuff!”
It’s clear that the role of EA in driving digital transformation needs to be elevated. It needs to be a strategic partner with the business.
According to a McKinsey report on the “Five Enterprise-Architecture Practices That Add Value to Digital Transformations,” EA teams need to:
“Translate architecture issues into terms that senior executives will understand. Enterprise architects can promote closer alignment between business and IT by helping to translate architecture issues for business leaders and managers who aren’t technology savvy. Engaging senior management in discussions about enterprise architecture requires management to dedicate time and actively work on technology topics. It also requires the EA team to explain technology matters in terms that business leaders can relate to.”
With that said, to further change the perception of EA within the organization you need to serve what management needs. To do this, enterprise architects need to develop innovative business, not IT insights, and make them dynamic. Next, enterprise architects need to gather information you can trust and then maintain.
To provide these strategic insights, you don’t need to focus on everything — you need to focus on what management wants you to focus on. The rest is just IT being IT. And, finally, you need to collaborate – like your life depends on it.
The job of the enterprise architecture is to provide the tools and insights for the C-suite, and other business stakeholders, to help deploy strategies for business transformation.
Let’s say the CEO has a brilliant idea and wants to test it. This is EA’s sweet spot and opportunity to shine. And this is where erwin lives by providing an easy, automated way to deliver collaboration, speed and responsiveness.
erwin is about providing the right information to the right people at the right time. We are focused on empowering the forward-thinking enterprise architect by providing: