7 Essential Elements Of EA


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7 Essential Elements of EA
Follow this roadmap to engage your business, manage
complexity, and govern the implementation of your architecture

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7 Essential Elements Of EA

  1. 1. insight 7 Essential Elements of EA Follow this roadmap to engage your business, manage complexity, and govern the implementation of your architecture by David C. Baker and Michael Janiszewski Enterprise Architecture (EA) can be either a cohesive force that binds technology and business operations in support of strategic goals or a misunderstood initiative that undermines the credibility of the entire IT organization. The difference comes in successfully applying the seven essential elements of enterprise architecture—proven principles that should be a part of any EA undertaking.
  2. 2. Mention enterprise architecture (EA) to management concepts that are clearly representation that is traceable, actionable, many CEOs or CIOs, and you often get a fairly relevant to architecture delivery). and communicable. standard set of responses: • Results of the EA effort are often difficult In this article, we’ll describe the seven “EA costs too much.” to communicate over the range of the elements that provide a roadmap for “EA simply isn’t a practical exercise for us.” organization’s various constituencies making your EA practice an asset to your “There doesn’t seem to be much benefit.” (for example, CIOs, business staff, and organization. We’ll discuss them within “Our stakeholders wouldn’t use our EA if we technical architects). the context of the architecture lifecycle as had one.” shown in Figure 1. Executed successfully, • Enterprise linkages and interactions are these elements empower your architecture Several factors keep many senior executives not well understood or documented, making organization to engage the business, manage from embracing the idea of EA. One reason is it difficult to use EA as a business enabler. the complexity inherent in your information that the management of information is not a Those problems are serious, but not enterprise, and govern the implementation well-understood science. Even at 50 years of insurmountable. In fact, we’ve seen numerous activities that follow your architecture effort. age, EA still is in its infancy, and practitioners companies extract real value from EA have yet to develop common definitions, The seven elements are: initiatives. The chances of implementing standards, processes, or tools for managing • Set the stage with guiding principles. a successful EA effort are substantially EA. Another reason is the organizational and increased by managing the seven essential • Manage complexity with blueprints. cultural barriers that block the acceptance of elements of EA that occur in stages throughout • Organize for architecture success. EA. EA is viewed as an ivory-tower playground the architecture lifecycle (see Figure 1). for technicians or academics, so organizations • Integrate through architecture processes. miss the message that it’s the glue that ensures Managing these elements helps ensure the • Keep on track with architecture the alignment of business and technology organization embraces EA and can answer governance. within the enterprise. This misconception the important questions, from “Why are we often arises from the pains many organizations • Use tools to model, analyze, and building an EA?” to “How will we measure experience when embarking on an EA effort: communicate your architecture. and control the end result?” These seven elements are essential in delivering an EA • Measure architecture success with • Frameworks are often not readily that provides real business value. It is a metrics. actionable (that is, they lack architectural For more information contact: Dave Baker, Partner & Chief Architect Figure 1 david.baker@diamondconsultants.com 2
  3. 3. Engaging the Incomprehensible technical models and and are a necessary tool to unite business Business arcane diagrams make it impossible to launch and technology constituencies. a meaningful architecture discussion with The second element, blueprinting, is business stakeholders. That approach will the art of documenting the EA models simply collapse under the weight of engaging and standards. As in civil architecture, a the business to help create such detailed good set of blueprints helps manage the models. A better way to introduce a business complexity associated with ongoing repairs audience to EA is to begin collaborating with and updates to intricate systems. However, business stakeholders to develop a set of unlike civil architecture, EA does not have guiding principles, our first element. a rigorous blueprinting methodology. You Guiding Principles are a collection of can use frameworks such as the Zachman definitive statements that provide guidance Framework, Steven Spewak’s Enterprise on how the organization should conduct Architecture Planning, and the Federal certain business and technical functions (see Enterprise Architecture Framework that Figure 2). They serve as filters for decision identify blueprint contents, but do not address making, eliminating possible solutions that how to go about developing the blueprints. are not consistent with the organization’s Start by engaging the business stakeholders goals and objectives. Good guiding principles in the development of business architecture are unlikely to change within a short-term blueprints. Architects work closely with the period, and are clear, concise, and supported business to document the mission, vision, by rationale and implications developed goals, objectives, and business capabilities with business and technical staff working required to enable the business strategy. together. Consensus building and alignment This strategic business architecture work is are beneficial by-products of conducting led by the enterprise architect, bringing an a series of structured guiding-principle engineering rigor to the process. The result is discussions. In all cases, the results serve as a set of linked architecture elements clearly guideposts for the upcoming decision making Figure 2 3
  4. 4. showing which capabilities are required to Next, engage IT to develop the systems The business and systems architectures deliver the business goals and objectives. architecture. The systems architecture are typically created and updated during Furthermore, business metrics are identified describes, in a platform-independent way, regular IT planning cycles. You use these and associated with each objective, the high-level applications, information, architectures to identify the IT initiatives providing a model that is used to periodically infrastructure, and interfaces that enable (and determine the funding) needed to measure the progress toward attaining the the strategic and operational business implement the business vision—expressed business vision. architectures. These models are useful in terms of the business capabilities, which for linking technical elements (such as by now has become the common language The business architecture also includes applications, information, infrastructure, that binds business and IT. an operational business architecture that and interfaces) to the business capabilities. defines the key processes, stakeholders, and The final level of blueprints is the technical This linkage provides a language for interactions that are needed to implement architecture, which describes the physical discussing technology with the business— the business strategy. Current state and implementation of the applications, both in terms of impact (What happens future state versions of the operational information, infrastructure, and interfaces. to my technology when I change a business business architecture allow architects to The technical architecture identifies the goal?) as well as in terms of cost (What assess the impact a new strategy would specific products, protocols, and wiring does it cost to implement a particular have on current operations. schemas that guide the implementation. business strategy or capability?). 4
  5. 5. Organizing An enterprise architect requires a unique EA services—business, systems, and for Success blend of skills. At various times he or she technical architectures. This organizational needs to employ the characteristics of an structure establishes a foundation to give artist, a guru, a coach, and a spy. As an artist, rise to EA capabilities, and allows architect an enterprise architect needs to be creative involvement in enterprise planning activities by looking beyond the “right” answers to such as business strategy development uncover new solutions to old problems. and investment management. As the The enterprise architect also needs to be EA organization matures, and individual a guru—someone who understands some architect skills develop, the organization can topics in depth, but can address a breadth swing back to a more distributed structure. of business and technical topics. However, this new structure should maintain a small central group of enterprise architects As a coach, the enterprise architect must to oversee the activities of the distributed bridge both business and technology, be able virtual community of architects. This virtual to find points of influence in both camps, architecture organization works because of and ensure that technology stays off the the EA awareness and skills gained by the critical path. Finally, as a spy, the enterprise individual architects. architect must be able to work across the enterprise, see patterns across disparate Understanding the need for true architectural business needs, and define solutions that processes is our fourth essential element. satisfy multiple business needs. Enterprise Architecture processes document how architects grow from within the technical architecture design is performed and architecture ranks, learning how to be artists, how architecture is communicated and gurus, coaches, and spies as they work their implemented within an organization. They way from being technical specialists, through provide the groundwork for leveraging application or infrastructure architects, the architecture organization to get work eventually to enterprise architects. done in a consistent and effective manner. Sample processes can include blueprinting, The third essential element of EA is integration planning, and project architecture organizing for architecture success. checkpoints and signoff (see “Controlling the Architect career paths should be nurtured Effort,” page 7). within an appropriate organizational structure. An effective architecture organization Architecture processes should be centrally ensures appropriate ownership of the maintained in an easily communicable format architecture and correct sponsorship of the and accessible location. Clear, traceable work, and provides an efficient structure for processes provide tremendous benefit to solving problems. The organizational form the organization, reducing time to project typically depends on an organization’s level completion and setting better expectations of architecture maturity. Organizations just around what it means for an architecture starting out on the EA path typically have effort to be complete. Developing architects spread across various application architecture processes is essential to and infrastructure departments, providing enforcing the EA big picture, to create technical architecture services (products, architecture that concretely provides benefit protocols, wiring diagrams). to the organization. The first step is to centralize all those Physical creation of an EA requires a lot architects into an organization delivering of doing. One of the biggest challenges 5
  6. 6. an organization faces with regard to its These tools also provide good versioning It is important to remember, however, that EA is writing it down. When assumptions capabilities and recently have had an although tools are an essential element of and tacit knowledge exist around an EA, enhanced focus on EA presentation— EA, content is important as well. Tools are its capabilities as a business enabler are ameliorating some of the need for taking a means of storing and working with the severely diminished. Therefore, it is critical EA elements and reformatting them to make artifacts created while working through the that the EA is well-documented, current, them more consumable. With a solid EA other key elements of the EA. To record EA and available for use by stakeholders. documented, stored, and updated within information in a tool requires careful analysis an EA tool, business users should find and understanding of the relationships The fifth element is that you should use tools straightforward answers to questions such between the key EA elements. To do this, to model, analyze, and communicate your as “What happens to my business if the organization requires a level of maturity architecture. Fortunately, the market for EA I turn off that server right there?” or “If we regarding its development and use of tools has been progressively evolving to meet decide to expand our marketing efforts into architecture before implementing an EA these challenges and to help the organization new territories, what information assets tool and repository. Using an EA tool without do architecture. Capturing EA requires can be leveraged to reduce risk and cost this maturity provides minimal benefit to an engineer’s rigor with the associated while enabling greater impact and speed to the organization. representations. Many EA tools now possess market?” An EA tool allows the stakeholder the capability not only to record and analyze to work with the EA in an understandable disparate information but also to import that format and to realize real benefits from the information for storage in a central repository. effort to create the EA. 6
  7. 7. Controlling With an EA effort in full swing, it is proactively provides the basis for demonstrating the Effort critical to maintain alignment between the value of your EA. Metrics associated with program execution and the organization’s blueprints provide an ideal opportunity to EA. This means ensuring that work tracks ensure program success. Good architectural are accomplishing what the EA describes metrics provide insight into aspects of the and that feedback loops exist for raising architecture that have meaning to the business. architecture issues, updating the EA, and For example, you can measure the EA for measuring EA program success. Our sixth the percentage of strategic capabilities that and seventh essential EA elements, keeping have been realized (capabilities that are on track with architecture governance and described in the blueprints) and percentage measuring architecture success with metrics, of existing enterprise architectural assets address this need. reused by a program. Architectural metrics, Separate from traditional program used in conjunction with governance, inform management office responsibilities of strategic planning and portfolio management driving and measuring project progress, we programs, giving quantification to the return believe that architectural governance on architecture assets achieved by the is a key element to ensuring that the EA organization. They are critical to articulating vision is maintained across the enterprise. the benefits of your EA effort and provide Architectural governance refers to how an the information necessary to help your EA organization makes decisions, sets priorities, organization provide guidance to the enterprise. allocates resources, designates accountability, Once in place, the seven elements establish and manages its architectural processes. The EA as a valuable asset for your organization. governance body is responsible for reviewing Engaging business resources in guiding products produced from EA efforts to ensure principles and blueprinting activities ensures that they meet the goals of the EA (for that the downstream implementation work example, designs meet the to-be depiction delivers the business vision. Building a strong from the enterprise blueprints). EA organization and integrating the EA The governance body is also the forum processes in IT management activities allows for raising and resolving issues through the architecture to guide investment and established escalation processes, and for implementation activity. providing inputs and updates to the EA. The payoff comes from the clear linkage of The governance organization should consist business vision and technical architecture. of a mix of subject matter experts and That linkage allows EA to govern senior leadership capable of representing implementation activities and provides the the organization from both business and metrics to communicate progress toward technical areas, and have the authority to realization of the business goals and make architectural decisions. objectives. The seven elements are best Architecture governance ensures organizational when executed in concert, but do not let alignment and a place for the EA to remain that daunt you. Pick a subset of the business a living asset. It is also an ideal place to strategy and get started with guiding implement our final key element—metrics. principles or blueprints. You will learn much Implementing and using architecture metrics and be on the road to achieving EA maturity. 7
  8. 8. About the Firm Diamond (NASDAQ: DTPI) is a premier global management consulting firm that helps leading organizations develop and implement growth strategies, improve operations, and capitalize on technology. Mobilizing multidisciplinary teams from our highly skilled strategy, technology, and operations professionals worldwide, Diamond works collaboratively with clients, unleashing the power within their own organizations to achieve sustainable business advantage. Diamond is headquartered in Chicago, with offices in Washington, D.C., New York, Hartford, London and Mumbai. To learn more, visit www.diamondconsultants.com. About the Authors David Baker is a partner and the chief architect at Diamond. As an EA knowledge leader, Dave develops business and technical blueprints that govern strategic initiatives. Dave’s specialties include identifying leading-edge technologies, guiding innovation projects, defining strategies for applying technology, and leading architecture assessment and implementation efforts. Dave has over 24 years of design, development, instructional and managerial experience in key technologies and architectures. His experience includes mobile application architectures, service-oriented architectures, enterprise application integration, business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce, community sites and content aggregation. He also has experience in customer service technologies, wireless operator enterprises, communication networks and relational databases and is a certified Federal Enterprise Architect. Michael Janiszewski is a consultant with Diamond. He is experienced in technology-related strategy creation, EA, architecture assessment, implementation and education, architecture governance, program planning, and execution. Michael has worked for clients in both the public and private sector. Michael is a certified Federal Enterprise Architect. Suite 3000 John Hancock Center 875 North Michigan Ave. Chicago, IL 60611 T (312) 255 5000 F (312) 255 6000 www.diamondconsultants.com © 2006 Diamond Management & Technology Consultants, Inc. All rights reserved.. Chicago Hartford London Mumbai NewnYork Washington, D.C.