Driving Business Outcomes with Enterprise Architecture as a Knowledge Hub


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Marc Lankhorst & Sven van Dijk
Posted by Marc Lankhorst & Sven van Dijk on Oct 10, 2014

Enterprise Architecture

Very few organizations have a systematic and reliable way of translating a business strategy into action across all relevant elements of the organization. Implementing a long-term plan by successive decomposition, design and realization steps is only possible in stable circumstances. Classical top-down strategy implementation cannot keep up with the transformation speed required in a rapidly changing environment.

Organizations need to develop a coherent business transformation management capability by aligning concurrently operating disciplines along the same desired business outcomes, to point them in the same direction. This capability coordinates and harmonizes change efforts across the disciplines involved. This requires a clear picture of the enterprise’s structure and development, from different viewpoints. We see at least the following relevant disciplines that are involved in business transformation:

  • Strategy development

  • Capability-based planning

  • Enterprise portfolio management

  • Program and project management

  • Continuous delivery

  • Service management

  • Process, rule and data management

  • Governance, risk and compliance

In a previous blog, we described how enterprise architecture can serve as a ‘knowledge hub’ in this transformation management. The use of enterprise architecture models provides an ideal foundation for this connective role.

In our tool BiZZdesign Architect, we provide extensive support for these relationships. BiZZdesign Architect enables organizational stakeholders to translate business strategy into transformation initiatives, with metrics that integrate various viewpoints through the use of EA models. We are expanding our tool capabilities towards enterprise portfolio management, decision management, risk management, stakeholder collaboration, and integration with project management and BI tooling. Architect thus enables users effectively to model and analyze a direct line-of-sight linkage between targeted business outcomes and the programs and projects that support them.

Some examples of these relationships are shown below. The figure shows the typical information flows between strategy, capability-based planning and enterprise architecture. In this triangle, we see that strategy informs capability-based planning and enterprise architecture about e.g. strategic priorities, the business model and target operating model. EA provides feedback on the cost and feasibility of these choices, given the current state and flexibility of the architecture. Capability-based planning defines the required capabilities and sets goals for change, based on the strategic direction. EA is used to assess their dependencies and the impact of changes.

BiZZdesign Architect supports these relations in various ways. For example, you can use the Business Model Canvas to describe your business model and strategy. Strategic decisions on your operating model can be translated in architecture principles about the standardization and integration of your business capabilities, which in turn affect the design of the supporting applications. An architecture model describing a business capability map is a very useful artefact in this context.

Such a capability map, in turn, can be related to the supporting business processes and IT resources, and the required capability levels supporting your strategy can be translated into improvements of these processes and resources. You can use Architect’s Enterprise Analytics module to perform cost calculations, analyze your current IT landscape, or assess the impact of changes, and to present these results in the form of accessible management dashboards. That information is important input in investment decisions on your portfolio of assets and change initiatives.

Enterprise portfolio management and enterprise architecture jointly provide direction to program and project management. EPM sets investment priorities and determines budgets for various change initiatives, whereas EA is used to analyze their benefits, costs, risks, and dependencies. Program and project management, in turn, provides roadmaps for change that take into account these dependencies. It also provides EPM with tracking data on the value delivered and budgets used by programs and projects.

BiZZdesign Architect offers you an integrated platform to manage this information. Its solid foundation, based on formalized models of your enterprise, ensures a consistent and coherent information base. This is essential in well-informed decision making to focus all disciplines involved on achieving strategic business outcomes.

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