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How to Address Five Key Concerns of Enterprise Architecture Realization

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To provide optimal value, IT organizations need a rigorous approach to EA planning and implementation that foresees and overcomes prickly environmental challenges.

To provide optimal value, IT organizations need a rigorous approach to EA planning and implementation that foresees and overcomes prickly environmental challenges.

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  • 1. • Cognizant 20-20 Insights How to Address Five Key Concerns of Enterprise Architecture Realization To effectively manage sponsors and stakeholder requirements — and provide timely value — IT organizations need a rigorous approach to EA planning and implementation that foresees and overcomes prickly environmental challenges. Executive Summary No matter what approach an organization takes when embarking on an enterprise architecture (EA) initiative, success often comes down to one important element: forethought. EA methodologies or frameworks such as TOGAF and Zachman1 lay out the generic methods or elements associated with EA definition and realization. However, successful EA programs also require careful consideration of the organization’s mission, vision, maturity and culture. Only then can IT choose the most organizationally appropriate method. The EA entry point, or the driving forces behind the requested EA exercise, must inform the way forward. In other words, IT must continuously survey the surrounding environment to set the correct direction of this journey. In this white paper, we cover five key environmental concerns that must be overcome to make EA a reality (see Figure 1). These concerns include: • Onboarding: Identifying key stakeholders and establishing an EA. • Commencing: Deciding the entry point for EA and the initial steps forward. cognizant 20-20 insights | november 2013 • Situating: Evaluating relevance and defining the optimal path. • Broadcasting: Establishing an EA awareness • Introspecting: Continuously monitoring EA program. details. 1 Onboarding: Identifying the Key Stakeholders and Establishing EA Benefits Every EA initiative needs to translate action into business benefits, whether through profits or cost savings. Enterprises can reap actual benefits from EA when four key dimensions (business, application, information and technology) are defined and integrated. Once that happens, the EA can help guide strategic initiatives effectively by minimizing redundancies, risks and throwaways. The success of an EA program hinges on stakeholder belief, support, funding and participation. However, establishing EA value among stakeholders is a perennial challenge, especially because these initiatives take time to mature and achieve success. Moreover, senior management is often reluctant to allocate budgets based on distant
  • 2. Five Key Challenges to EA Realization 5 Introspecting 4 Continuous monitoring of EA detail Broadcasting 3 Establishing an EA awareness program s Situating Evaluating relevance and defining the d optimal path 2 Commencing Deciding the entry point for EA and the first few steps 1 Onboarding Identifying key stakeholders s and establishing EA benefits Figure 1 Performing Needs Analysis projections, especially amid prolonged economic uncertainty. Hence, creating a business case for EA is always complicated. The key to this stage is understanding the vision and mission of the organization and being able to explain how an EA will help achieve that mission. Individual focus is often necessary to engage reluctant stakeholders. It’s not uncommon for perception gaps to lead to opposition, and organizational politics can also play a major role. The solution lies in profiling the stakeholders and understanding their objectives, concerns and challenges (see Figure 2). Profiling Stakeholders The first step is to identify the stakeholders and create a stakeholder map. Stakeholders should be profiled based on their power, influence and interest in EA. It is very likely that some stakeholders will refrain from participating, and some may even question the whole initiative. The objective of the profiling is to identify sponsors who will initiate the EA journey, as well as the key and potential players who can support it for the long haul. Resolving organizational politics is a gradual and cumbersome activity. To reduce perception gaps, stakeholders should be analyzed for the following: • EA-related needs. • Challenges. • Metrics for success. • Focus of interest. Profile Stakeholders Perform Needs Analysis Figure 2 cognizant 20-20 insights 2 Success Stories Benefit Tree Plan Measures of Success True Interests Supporter Enthusiast Indifferent Critic Detractor IT Challenges Business Needs/Requirements Power / Infuence Managing an EA: A Recommended Approach Establish Benefits
  • 3. Establishing Benefits This stage involves establishing a plan to ensure EA benefits, so that the program can meet sponsors’ needs. Although it is difficult to assess costbenefits at the program’s inception, creating a benefit tree can show how EA can produce profits and savings. The benefit tree can be used to calibrate the journey with milestones and list the gains along the way. The plan needs to define which EA tasks deliver what value to which stakeholders. Recounting successful case studies that reflect circumstances similar to your company’s can be a quick ice-breaker. 2 Commencing: Deciding on the EA Entry Point and Initial Steps Often, the stakeholders of an EA initiative are at different starting points and are even isolated from one another. Their interests can vary widely, and so bringing them to a common point can be a major challenge. The best way to address this hurdle is to use an EA maturity assessment (see Figure 3). Three major dimensions drive this approach: • Stakeholder needs and associated EA initia- tives. • Business values of those initiatives. • Organizational maturity. A needs analysis can help organizations define the initiatives that the EA team needs to undertake, while guarding stakeholders’ interests. Stakeholders, however, may have varied interests that are often project-focused in nature. EA initiatives that result from a needs analysis can be categorized in four quadrants: • Business strategies. • Business projects. • IT strategies. • IT projects. To prioritize these initiatives, companies need to estimate their value in terms of how well they align with the organization’s vision and mission, as well as their related business impact. Shortsightedness will plague the initiative if companies embark on the highest-value elements without understanding the maturity level of the organization and the effort needed to implement the elements. There is no denying the fact that the long wait may dampen stakeholder enthusiasm. To keep stakeholder interest alive, an EA realization plan needs to focus on quick wins and regular milestones. A maturity assessment that measures alignment with stakeholder needs and the ability to execute the mission can help organizations plan the most appropriate EA realization path. The different dimensions of maturity assessment include the following: • A value-oriented process. • Stakeholders’ relationship. • Availability of EA artifacts. • Structure of contents and organization. Entry Point Selection and Roadmapping Business Business Projects Business Strategies Project Strategy Entry Point Roadmap Initiatives IT Projects IT Strategies IT Figure 3 cognizant 20-20 insights 3 (Size of the bubble indicates value)
  • 4. The maturity assessment also reveals the common EA improvements needed to meet stakeholder needs. Which entry point is selected varies widely depending on the expectation and measurement of success in different organizations. For example, rationalizing the enterprise technology (or application) portfolio can provide momentum for EA realization when the organization has multiple platforms (or applications) for similar functionalities. In the case of data services, enterprise business object experts can facilitate data service implementation. Similarly, EA can enable serviceoriented architecture (SOA) implementations by defining an enterprise business capability map that maps business capabilities to applications. 3 Situating: Evaluating Relevance and Defining the Optimal Path In today’s fast-paced market, scenarios change quickly across the business, technology, economic, social and political landscapes. Therefore, the relevance of the EA needs to be continuously assessed, which requires organizations to gather strategic or direction-setting information. also set the execution path of the EA. To keep the EA deliverables updated, organizations need to define a strong governance framework and link existing EA deliverables to organizational processes to ensure timely updates. For example, if there is any change in resource priorities or in the plan, the IT roadmap needs to reflect that change. Similarly, changes in the organizational structure need to be reflected in the stakeholder map, and changes in the solution architecture that call for the adoption of new technology call for an update to the enterprise technology architecture. Project catalogs also need to be updated periodically to evaluate the impact of any new project on the EA plan. Figure 4 illustrates the process of direction-setting information. In this context, it is important to remember that broad drivers of change in EA deliverables include the economy, business and technology evolution, as well as social and political conditions. 4 Broadcasting: Establishing an EA Awareness Program A key objective of EA is guiding the enterprise through organizational change. Change is necessary for organizations to remain relevant, but their ability to adapt hinges on how well the EA maintains its relevance to the organization’s needs, business or IT plans, solutions and structure. Often, the EA needs to factor in tactical requirements for moving toward the strategic goal. This also calls for changes in the EA realization plan. EA is a collaborative process. Stakeholders are not only the recipients of EA deliverables and artifacts, but they are also participants in shaping them. It is important to consider that enterprise architects do not typically have the authority to direct resources. Therefore, stakeholders need a sense of ownership over EA deliverables. The challenge is to attract and invite more stakeholders to participate in the EA journey. Interestingly, EA deliverables not only provide strategic direction to business and IT, but they A well-defined EA awareness program can be instrumental in elevating interests and inviting The EA Situating Process Attach EA deliverables to the organization’s processes for timely updating. Capture change u in need. n Capture change in h solution, plan and structure. Evaluate impact on a t E EA plan and artifacts. a Assess maturity at regular intervals. EA Governance Figure 4 cognizant 20-20 insights 4
  • 5. participation. While the focus is on key sponsors and supporters during onboarding, the spotlight here is on the members of the stakeholder map. used, you can lose sight of its beauty. On the contrary, successful architecture is very much about the details. The value of EA can be demonstrated by citing previous successful applications of the EA’s products and services, which should inspire confidence in senior managers and executives. Organizations need to highlight specific instances of where the EA has previously offered valuable insights and solutions and incorporate stories of positive experiences. The program also needs to devise different architectural views to simplify communications about the architecture in ways that address various stakeholder concerns. In this regard, the EA scorecard and metrics are the most common ways to demonstrate the results of the EA on a broad scale. The necessary details of architecture include solution building blocks (SBB) and associated standards, best practices, principles and reference architectures. SBBs can be broken into components for further elaboration and act as inputs to the solution architecture involved in a particular project. The awareness program needs to inform stakeholders about the benefits of partaking in EA initiatives and how they can achieve those benefits. A successful approach is to divide stakeholders into groups, according to their perception gaps, and apply different types of interactions for effective communication. For example, it’s best to treat knowledge gaps and participation gaps differently (see Figure 5). 5 Introspecting: Continuous Monitoring of EA Detail During EA realization, it is important to not only keep existing artifacts up-to-date but to also add details. The paradox of architecture is that when you get too close to the details or the technology Often, the EA team guides the solution architecture definition but does not follow up during implementation to identify the practical challenges caused by the proposed architecture. The EA team needs to institutionalize a continuous feedback loop and review process across ongoing projects, as part of the governance framework. All design and implementation challenges need to be factored in, and the EA needs to be tuned to consider the practicalities. It is essential to link the EA definition process to software development lifecycle phases to assimilate all feedback. Looking Ahead People, processes and tools are fundamental to EA success, as these elements guide and govern the EA journey. A disciplined EA approach must address key environmental challenges and deliver better value. Further, it is important to consider that an EA is impossible to deploy in the real world without good governance and an operational model to implement it successfully. Elements of the EA Awareness Program Workshop Personal Meetings Newsletter Intranet Publication Self-Help Model Repository Poster Interaction Types Value Proposition Success Stories EA Scorecard Solutions Delivered Architecture Views Benefit Tree Messages Figure 5 cognizant 20-20 insights 5
  • 6. Acknowledgments My sincere thanks to Abhik Sengupta, Director of Cognizant Global Technology Consulting, for reviewing this paper and providing useful insights. Footnotes 1 TOGAF is a an EA methodology developed by the Open Group Standard. For more information, see http://www.opengroup.org/togaf/. The Zachman Framework was developed by Zachman International. For more information, see http://www.zachman.com/?gclid=CN2go_SMhbsCFel9OgodI1QARw. References • Gene Leganza and Tim DeGennaro, “The EA Practice Playbook,” Forrester Research, Inc., May 15, 2012. • Chris Potts, “recrEAtion: Realizing the Extraordinary Contribution of Your Enterprise Architects,” Technics Publications LLC, October 20, 2010. • Alex Cullen and Tim DeGennaro, “Forget EA Nirvana: Assessing EA Maturity,” Forrester Research, Inc., July 28, 2011. • Jürgen Laartz, Ernst Sonderegger and Johan Vinckier, “The Paris Guide to IT Architecture,” The McKinsey Quarterly, No. 3, 2000. • Ralph Whittle and Conrad B. Myrick, Enterprise Business Architecture: The Formal Link between Strategy and Results, CRC Press, Aug. 27, 2004. • Marc Lankhorst, Enterprise Architecture at Work: Modelling, Communication and Analysis, Springer, Aug 21, 2012. About the Author Kamales Mandal is a TOGAF certified Enterprise Architect in Cognizant’s Global Technology Consulting Group. He has over 13 years of experience in diverse areas of enterprise application development, enterprise integration and IT consulting. His current focus area is enterprise interoperability in a transforming IT landscape. Kamales has worked with major enterprises across North America, Australia, the UK and Latin America in retail, government, healthcare and the financial services sectors. Kamales can be reached at Kamales.Mandal@cognizant.com. About Cognizant Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process outsourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industry and business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50 delivery centers worldwide and approximately 166,400 employees as of September 30, 2013, Cognizant is a member of the NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing and fastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at www.cognizant.com or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant. World Headquarters European Headquarters India Operations Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA Phone: +1 201 801 0233 Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 Email: inquiry@cognizant.com 1 Kingdom Street Paddington Central London W2 6BD Phone: +44 (0) 20 7297 7600 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7121 0102 Email: infouk@cognizant.com #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Chennai, 600 096 India Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 Email: inquiryindia@cognizant.com © ­­ Copyright 2013, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.