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Why Enterprise Architecture Is Valuable
John Spacey, updated on August 07, 2023
Enterprise architecture (EA) is the practice of managing the structure of an organization including business and technology. This is a large mandate that far exceeds the budget, capabilities and influence of most enterprise architecture teams. As such, EA teams typically develop a value proposition that is a small subset of the theoretical scope of enterprise architecture. The following are a few ways that enterprise architecture adds value. Small or new EA teams would do well to deliver a single value proposition from this list.
Information Technology GovernanceOrchestrating and supporting IT governance processes that feed into corporate governance. CEOs are increasingly expected to manage information technology risks, particularly related to information security. Few organizations have a handle on IT governance and this represents a significant opportunity for EA teams that can earn the mandate. Typically the Chief Architect has a seat on the IT governance board with the CIO as chairperson.
Project GovernanceA subcomponent of IT governance that reviews project architecture and project risk management. This is valuable as a means of calling out risky and expensive project approaches. Works best with a lightweight approach that seeks to prevent major tragedies as opposed to forcing projects to jump through hoops and follow centralized standards.
Program SponsorshipSponsoring programs of architectural change at the enterprise level.
Risk ManagementManaging structural information technology risks such as information security audits, application health checks and gaps between business needs and technology capabilities.
DataProducing a weekly visual report that indicates structural gaps and risks at the project, application, product or service level. For example, a product that has a structural security vulnerability or capacity issue might be highlighted as a risk. It can be difficult to generate interest in such reports because they tend to be generally negative and uninspiring.
Solution ArchitectureContributing to solution architecture with overarching strategies and structures. It can be difficult to do this in a way that is viewed as a value-added service by solution architects and project teams. Ideally, EA provides patterns, hooks and knowledge that move projects along faster while reducing enterprise risks and costs.
Architectural InnovationWorking with solution architects to pilot new approaches that might be deployed enterprise-wide if they are successful.
KnowledgeDocumenting current architecture and strategy at the organizational level. Offering templates and reviewing blueprints at the solution level. Next: Examples of Enterprise Architecture
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