Enterprise architecture helps organizations transform. It is based on a global approach that enables to understand the complexity of an organization by describing it from different perspectives: business, organizational, functional, IT, data, legal ... Each point of view has its own objectives.
How does EA help digital transformation?
Foremost, Enterprise architecture provides a complete vision of the organization.
The "business" vision, for example, is only focus on the skills that the organization must have or used to carry out its activity - these are called "business capabilities" such as sales management, marketing, HR management, etc. This vision is also interested in the activities of the company, i.e. "business processes". The "IT" vision describes the information systems that support business capabilities and business processes, and define the infrastructure that allows these systems to operate. Both visions are complementary, supporting the corporate strategy. The "data" vision covers both data that is used by business processes and that which are exchanged between information systems. These different representations enable to get a complete vision of the organization, to understand how it works, thus helping the management teams to decide and transform.
Digital transformation: Adopting a transversal approach
Transformation cannot be successful if it is done on silos. It is difficult - if not impossible - to lead a transformation project by focusing only on a specific perspective, without adopting a transversal and global approach. For example, deploying a new ERP isn't just about implementing a software package that will replace legacy applications. This approach will also have a significant impact on all practices of the organization. The pitfall for such a project would be not considering business & data perspectives, which means describing the new processes and the data that will be managed by the ERP.
Same recommendation for a regulatory compliance project. This will have impacts both on company practices (process & data) and on information systems (existing applications) and will consider the risk dimension (financial or image impacts).
What is the connected enterprise?
Enterprise architecture helps connect all perspectives. Having a global vision of the existing organization is the key success of any transformation project. This is based on the connection between different concepts: process, business capability, application, technology, data, risk, regulatory compliance… to allow the construction of a realistic and reliable target version of the organization. This is called “connected enterprise architecture (EA)”.
Beyond transformation, the connected enterprise architecture can also help identify synergies (inter-department, interdisciplinary) from which innovation can arise. The activities of the organization - described in the form of a business process as part of a quality improvement process - can thus be used by the organization's internal control system. As part of projects to build innovative business models, Business Architects (who have a technological vision) could naturally approach Data Analysts, whose role is to identify the data and understand user expectations.
The key to success is ensuring that all stakeholders in a project work together around an enterprise architecture platform that connects them. A common repository that centralizes data relating to the various perspectives of the organization promotes collaboration and facilitates decision-making.