Enterprise Architecture – A tool of trade!

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ImageDuring the course of the life of a business there are many decisions that need to be made in response to drivers that influence the way in which the business will progress. How well and how timely the decisions are made can greatly influence the outcome.

It is extremely easy, in assessing a situation, to come up with a response, yet arrive at an unexpected outcome through both having taken too long to arrive at the required decision and consequently having it implemented.

Business decisions, in order to be effective must be both well informed and timely.

To gain the requisite information necessary to make a decision the decider must have access to knowledge and information that is pertinent to the decisions that needs to be made.  Unless personally and deeply knowledgeable, the decider needs to be able to tap into the collective knowledge of the business in which they are operating. How this may be undertaken is very dependent on how the business actually operates.

As an example, a business, in order to facilitate written communication with others, is likely to decide to purchase a word processor, a computer system on which to run it, a storage system which will hold created documents and a printer. It is unlikely that it will decide that all written communication will be undertaken using ‘quill and ink’. The decision reached identifies a solution to ensure that business efficiency is enhanced and that the recipients of written communication are satisfied with what they are provided and when. Whilst simplistic in nature this decision is based on knowledge of what is required in today’s market to be successful. Choosing which word processor, computer system and printer would be subject to a separate decision. Choosing wrongly however, could have serious ramifications on the the ability to actual ‘do’ business.

Fundamentally, with the use of the right tool, the word processor, the ability to communicate is greatly enhanced.

‘Tools of trade’ are identified and used in many parts of a business and are regarded as essential.

It is unfortunately rarer that a business would identify the need of a dedicated ‘tool of trade’ supporting the decision making process. It is not reasonable to expect that the process to support the simple decision can be extended to the more complex.

An Enterprise Architecture, established and maintained within a business, is a tool which can be used to support decision making. With it, the decision makers within the business, in response to competitive, customer or regulatory pressures, are better placed to receive answers to questions which they need to ask. With a repository of business knowledge and information to assist them the likelihood of making a rapid and correct response is enhanced.

Without an Enterprise Architecture the decision maker, for more complex situations must ferret out the information and knowledge they need anyway they can. This can be a time consuming exercise with little real confidence that all relevant information has been gathered when the decision is eventually made.

With an Enterprise Architecture, containing appropriate collective knowledge of the business, the ability to respond to drivers and enable appropriate change in increased.

With processes in place to capture the lessons learned from decision made and their outcomes the business will mature with an expectation that better decisions would be made in future.

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