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4 Myths About Enterprise Architecture

4 myths about Enterprise Architecture
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Myth #1: Enterprise Architecture projects are cost prohibitive

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.

Fact # 1: An enterprise architecture project can produce a significant return on investment!

Myth #2: Enterprise architecture is overly complex

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.

Fact #2: The approach to enterprise architecture can be simple to manage business complexity!

Myth # 3: My company does not need enterprise architecture

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.

Fact #3: Every company can benefit from enterprise architecture!

Myth #4: Enterprise architecture is for IT departments only

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.

Fact #4: All company departments are involved in enterprise architecture!

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

30460
2
Comment

Myth #1: Enterprise Architecture projects are cost prohibitive

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.

Fact # 1: An enterprise architecture project can produce a significant return on investment!

Myth #2: Enterprise architecture is overly complex

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.

Fact #2: The approach to enterprise architecture can be simple to manage business complexity!

Myth # 3: My company does not need enterprise architecture

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.

Fact #3: Every company can benefit from enterprise architecture!

Myth #4: Enterprise architecture is for IT departments only

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.

Fact #4: All company departments are involved in enterprise architecture!

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

2 Comments
Atilla Vigh
Not applicable

Some open doors, but oke.

I missing something in the explanation.

What is EA? The word Enterprise suggest that it has to do with the whole organization.

Architecture says something about the outcome and structure.

 

Actually I nowadays encounter two types of Enterprise Architects.

1. The completely in the IT domain operating individual who more or less tries to relate every IT aspect to eachtother.

2. The business consultant who only sits at the demand side of the equation.

 

I think true EA is about the interrelationships between all relevant aspects within an organization in regard of the current status quo or some not yet formed business question. The aspects can be anything, from financial to something in logistics, one of the prime business processes and  IT. The interrelationships are being expressed in architectureal principles. From their you can relate to overall mission, vison and strategie of the whole organization. With this all aspects of an organization are related.

Do hear someone ask, why do I need this. Because this framework of interrelated architectural principles are the DNA of your organization. It comprises all written and non-written business rules of the whole organization.

 

Why is this so important. Because, when a new idea is born, you need to know how this impacts your organization. You can try to do this on automatic pilot or with a refined form a gut feeling, but it won't be very consistent, let alone traceable: accountability is far off. So every time a new idea is born (due to external factors or internal pressure), that idea needs to be challanged against not all, but relevant architectural principes that matter. By doing that exercise, you start to develop one or more holistic solution directions. After some cycles, you finally end up with one that fits your needs.

 

So EA is not a one time endavour, but a lasting growing framework, which changes every time slightly as new initiatives see the daylight.  

Geoff Young
Not applicable

A good post, my thoughts

 

Myth # 1.Yes it usually is expensive to establish and maintain a businesses enterprise architecture, but it is usually much less expensive than having projects that fail because solutions do not match business requirements and enable business strategy.

Myth # 2. Got to totally agree, complex businesses usually have complex architecture but what better way to see it than through an architecture framework. Secondly I have to say EA's do over architect some scenarios.

Myth # 3 That statement would never be made if somebody had taken the time to explain the benefits in plain language. Not every business needs EA, the larger and more complex the business the more liklihood of needing it (gross generalisation I know).

Myth # 4 This sadly is quite true at times but of course shouldn't be.