How to develop a high-performance enterprise architecture

By Alex Cullen, CIO |  IT Management, enterprise architecture

By using a combination of bottom-up needs identification followed by top-down harmonization, you can define an appropriate strategic mission that is relevant to stakeholders, a mission that might otherwise have appeared abstract and disconnected from business needs. A bottom-up approach looks at the business stakeholders' specific business goals and objectives and the current-state gaps to identify the specific objectives and initiatives EA can undertake. However, a list of business-relevant objectives isn't enough to reposition EA. You also need a top-down approach to identify the common values your organization needs and the cohesive mission that knits them together. For example, there could be multiple business goals and gaps within a common theme of information availability and quality, suggesting an overall EA objective for information as a strategic asset crossing business processes.

Build Your Strategy Around EA Capabilities and Services

Strategy is what separates a successful EA practice from busy one. Strategy looks at EA's current-state capabilities and the larger organizational context, constructs an appropriate mission, and lays out all the elements necessary to achieve that mission. It defines the key performance indicators (KPIs) used to measure progress and results. Moreover, a well-communications and well-executed strategy builds significantly more credibility than any amount of firefighting or chasing down of hot issues.

To get started, Forrester recommends using a capability map to translate high-level goals into more specific goals and objectives. Assess what the mission, objectives, and value proposition mean to the outcomes of capability, and set this as the goal. For example, you can set a goal for your strategy/road map capability around embedding it into developing your customer service plans for using social media.

EA services connect your capabilities to value for your customers. For each capability outcome, ask what is the service (or services) the EA program must provide to bring about that outcome. Define your services portfolio first, and then the processes, deliverables, and skills needed to deliver these services. Follow this definition exercise by selecting the key performance indicators that show your services' effectiveness and value.

Address Three Key Decisions

As you work through your strategy development, these critical decisions will bubble to the top:

1. The role and responsibilities of "extended team" architecture resources. Most organizations have a core team and an extended team of architects; the extended team is typically 150% the size of the core team. Extended teams typically include project or solution architects and technical domain architects. Defining what the EA program needs from this extended team is critical for an effective EA practice.


Originally published on CIO |  Click here to read the original story.
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