January 26, 2009

Strategic value of EA

Strategy is about tuning your organization to its environment, so that it adequately responds to its clients requirements and competitors. It is about defining the right value proposition and organizing the internal resources to deliver this in an optimum way. It is realizing the most favorable tuning of people, process, technology, material, information and other assets.

This alignment with the environment brings, when done the right way, a competitive edge, but is often a difficult process. To translate strategy into effective operations demands insight and hard work.

As for insight, there Enterprise Architecture can bring some value. Enterprise architecture (EA) is about the design of a holistic multidimensional perspective of the entire organization (or preferably the operational ecosystem). Its purpose is to align strategy to operations and the business to IT.

It is therefore an excellent instrument to use if an organizational transformation is needed. It supports the direction of the change and subsequently the solution design for implementation.

And although the roots of EA lie in the IT world, for some time now the understanding that it has great value to the business is accepted in many organizations. A fundamental shift from information technology (IT) to business technology (BT) is occurring. Technology is embedded in the business, recognized as indispensable, and managed as a shared and strategic capability (Forrester).
The business is IT, IT is the Business, as the majority of the processes and company data are supported by Information Systems.

Why is it though, that this is not yet a widely accepted practice? Some orgnisations, with the aid of an experienced Enterprise Architect, the gap between Strategy and Enterprise Architecture is bridged. It is however not yet common practice in this field. This must change.

So for all industry analysts and consultants that see the importance and usability of EA in the field of Strategy and Business Transformation, I call upon you to ‘spread the word’.
It would certainly help to show successful examples; for example organizations with separate business analysis and IT architecture departments that have understood that an holistic approach will bring more value. I welcome any example.
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