Why Enterprise Architecture matters
By Tatiana Varakina |Posted on 12 May, 2019
IT, technology and data are now the core of every business. Every industry is affected by the digital transformation. But many companies, big or small, are still struggling with business-IT alignment and long term IT vision.
Why is that?
What kind of IT infrastructure does my competitor use?
First of all, companies often follow trends and compare their business with competitors. “If my competitor uses a CRM system, I probably should as well”. This is not always the right argument. To decide if a solution/change is needed, business analysis and reflection on strategy is necessary.
Second, companies grow in their maturity gradually and often grow from having one system into a more complex business with an elaborate mix of systems and data spread throughout the organization. The problem is that they don’t always have a clear understanding of how it is all connected and don’t comprehend the long-term consequences of not having a vision for the future of their IT architecture.
A very important element not to forget: IT is there to serve the business. Therefore it is very important to have a clear business-IT alignment where the business strategy is transferred into the IT strategy. Implementing enterprise architecture can help the business and IT to adapt accordingly.
To realize Enterprise Architecture you should analyze the current “as-is” situation. Find out how the data and applications are all connected to each other and who is using it. Don’t forget to take shadow IT and data in to account.
Next, you should ask yourself: what is still useful to keep and what belongs to legacy. Keep in mind, asking around if something is still needed probably is not the right approach. Many people are scared of change and always find a reason for keeping something which can result in high operational costs. Implementing a clear change management methodology is a necessity.
Third step is to appoint an architect: the person responsible for maintaining the architecture of the organization and making decisions on what the future will look like. They need to do so while always keeping the business strategy in mind.
Adaptable and agile enterprise architecture
Implementing architecture that is adaptable and agile on the long term is the goal. This way the business strategy changes can be realized quickly by adding or removing some of the IT resources, which is needed in the fast changing world of today.
There are various methodologies out there to help you implement Enterprise Architecture, like Zachman framework, Togaf and BSP (IBM), to name a few. Choose the framework that works for your organization and stick to it. The main thing to remember is that implementing Enterprise Architecture is not a one-time investment. It is a continuous process which will help your organization not to stay behind in today’s business environment where agility and adaptation are essential.