Well, they are obviously more expensive than making a PowerPoint! But, let’s consider a project of rationalization of an application portfolio: in this case study, it has been established that this IT transformation reduced the number of applications by 3% per year on average, while each application costs about $100,000 per year*. It is not uncommon that a company reduces the portfolio by ten applications in the first year, which, in the case above, equates to a saving of one million dollars. It is not as easy to quantify the savings for a business transformation project, but the objective of streamlining and transforming the business being identical, it can be said that the achieved savings exceed, by far, the initial investment.
Even though an enterprise architecture project requires some initial investment, the return on investment is at a much greater value.
It is the company that is complex! This complexity has multiple layers: company size, number of employees, organizational relationships, relationships between business processes and IT, relationships between business processes themselves, relationship between data flows, applications and infrastructure that support them. Establishing a management system through processes help capture and spread information on all company projects, simplifying operations and governance.
As for frameworks and standards (TOGAF, BPMN, TAFIM, etc.), they are obscure only by their names because they offer a way to organize all these elements and their relationships, and simplify the work of many architects. These frameworks are models that each company can adapt according to its culture, policy, maturity, governance, and strategic objectives.
With the advent of the digital age, all businesses must be transformed to remain competitive. Since the customer is now at the center of the business’s priorities regarding digital transformation, every company is now becoming some version of a technology company. This new paradigm has been completely integrated in the business models of startups such as Uber and Airbnb, born in the digital age. Thanks to a "light" structure, these startups are flexible and agile. This is totally different for big companies though, which are inherently "heavier" and difficult to maneuver. To achieve their transformation, these large organizations can leverage agility. To quickly respond to market changes, they must have visibility into how their business and IT processes and related relationships add value to their business. By architecting agility into key processes and capabilities, large companies are able to decide their future direction, and identify the necessary changes to implement this transformation.
Lines of business mistakenly thinks that enterprise architecture is only pure IT and prefer to leave it to technology people. However, the architecture of the enterprise is determined by the business activity, and the purpose of enterprise architecture is to provide necessary information for operational decision-making, and to guide the company through the transformation route. Therefore, all lines of business are involved in this discipline. For example, strategists who set company goals and strategies to achieve them can’t have a powerful governance without a complete view of the entire value chain of the company. And it is all the departments, business and IT, which make up this value chain.
Do you see any other misconceptions about enterprise architecture? Please share with us!
*According to the Forrester report "The Total Economic Impact ™ Of MEGA's HOPEX Solution for IT Portfolio Management" commissioned by MEGA International