Enterprise architecture programs are often perceived as being too long and academic while requiring lots of manual work and producing limited value. Enterprise Architecture also relies on frameworks that may be too difficult to implement with no end in sight. Additionally, market expectations constantly change while enterprise architecture can sometimes be not flexible enough to adapt to continuous change.
Alain-Gabriel Gomane, MEGA International
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At the same time, IT departments are facing increasing risks and very little flexibility to undertake new business projects. Organizations also need to release products in a shorter time, but there’s often a lack of alignment between IT projects and business goals.
Four main principles to accelerate business transformation
An outcome-driven Enterprise Architecture program provides the means to accelerate business transformation based on four key main principles:
- Automated data population
To accelerate time to value, an outcome-driven enterprise architecture program relies on open APIs and out-of-the-box integrations with third-party applications to automate data population.
- Best-in-class web-based UX and extensive collaborative features
An intuitive and simple UX drives stronger adoption and democratization of the EA program. Additionally, collaborative features allow organizations to get accurate data from all stakeholders and build a single source of truth that aligns business and IT stakeholders.
- Out-of-the-box business-outcome reports
Business-outcome reports give relevant insights to track the progress of an enterprise architecture program but also to share tangible business results with the C-suite and demonstrate business value.
- Real use-cases
An outcome-driven EA program follows a methodology based on value-added use cases rather than lengthy frameworks, ensuring repeatable and tangible results. It enables architects to add new use cases as the practice grows in the organization, building value step-by-step.
Four benefits of an outcome-driven EA program
With an outcome-driven EA program, not only do organizations manage to rapidly achieve faster time-to-value, they also obtain stronger adoption, demonstrable results, and a practical methodology.
Benefit #1: Faster Time-to-Value
By automatically populating the repository with data from third-party applications using out-of-the-box integrations and open APIs, enterprise architects can quickly start their EA initiative and promptly work on first analyses. Most traditional EA tools don’t provide API capabilities and enterprise architects have to collect data manually. This process can be very long and tedious. It requires identifying where the data is located, meeting with several stakeholders, and populating all the data manually. This process usually takes several months while no reports have been produced during this period. With automated imports and APIs, you can automate data population and focus on value-added reports.
Benefit #2: Stronger Adoption
To be successful, EA programs need to involve the business. The tool, therefore, needs to be intuitive and user-friendly. This is especially true for business users who don’t have time to learn a new tool. Additionally, advanced collaborative features are essential to share comments, ideas, and points of view with various stakeholders in the organization and ensure alignment between teams. For example, review notes with embedded discussions enable users to speed up the creation of deliverables while collaborative workflows help validate content. A full web platform is essential to such adoption and collaboration.
Benefit #3: Demonstrable results
Traditional EA tools mainly focus on creating diagrams but don’t provide sufficient dashboards and reports. Data needs to be smartly consolidated for easy consumption by top management. This requires a sophisticated metamodel and modern looking, user-configurable reports, which provide holistic insights to support decision making. A business-outcome-driven EA tool includes out-of-the-box reports and advanced dashboards that are easy to use and easy to share enabling enterprise architects to demonstrate tangible results to the C-Suite.
Benefit #4: Easy-to-understand practical methodology
Many traditional EA tools rely on lengthy, academical frameworks that can potentially discourage even the most determined enterprise architects. A business-outcome-driven enterprise architecture starts with simple use cases to create a baseline such as IT inventory and then expands to other use cases that provide more value to the organization such as application rationalization or strategic planning. The more enterprise architects embrace new use cases, the more their influence grows inside their organization. With a methodology that integrates practical considerations, enterprise architects make sure to get tangible results in a short period of time and demonstrate increased value to the business, step by step.
A business-outcome-driven EA tool relies on key features including an automated data population with open APIs and out-of-the-box integrations, a simple UX with extensive collaborative features, advanced dashboards, and value-added use-cases. This approach offers several benefits including faster time-to-value, stronger adoption, demonstrable results, and an easy-to-understand practical methodology. It enables organizations to efficiently tackle business transformation challenges while improving business-IT alignment, rationalizing their application portfolio, and reducing risk.
Alain-Gabriel Gomane has 20 years of experience in the high-tech industry. He started his career in a start-up that is now part of Hewlett-Packard. He then held several positions in product marketing in companies based in Silicon Valley prior to joining MEGA. He holds a BS in Engineering from Grenoble Institute of Technology (INPG) and an MBA from HEC Paris.
Copyright Alain-Gabriel Gomane, MEGA International