Enterprise Architecture is not something of which a business should be wary. There is little concern apparent when required to use a word processor or a spreadsheet to support documentation or analysis activities within the business. Both are accepted as ‘tools of trade’ and consequently non-threatening.
An Enterprise Architecture should join their ranks.
An Enterprise Architecture is no more than another tool that can support the business. The specific focus of this tool is on decision making and change management.
All businesses need to ask the questions:
- Are we headed in the right direction?
- Are we doing things we should not?
- How are we performing?
- What will happen if we make a change?
- Can we do things better?
- Are there any opportunities to reduce costs?
An Enterprise Architecture can include information that can be applied to each of these questions.
An Enterprise Architecture, like a spreadsheet, which may for instance contain financial data and rules on how it is manipulated and displayed, will hold structured information about the business and rules about how it all interrelates.
Where a manager might want a view of the financial performance of their business unit from a spreadsheet a business strategist might prefer to have a view of what capabilities the business has that supports a specific business or IT strategy. The strategist would turn to the Enterprise Architecture for this information.
Ultimately, to support the decision making or change process, an understanding of:
- What are we doing?
- Why are we doing this?
- What do we need to do?
- How are we doing it?
- Who is doing it?
- What will it cost? and
- Should it be done and if so when?
needs to be acquired.
When the Enterprise Architecture becomes accepted as a ‘business as usual’ tool any mystery that surrounds it will vanish. It will then be perceived as both necessary and of benefit and not just another hoop through which the business has to jump.