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The beginning of the year is always a good time to look ahead at the trends in your profession. In enterprise architecture, the predominant trend is the need to provide business value, and do it now.
Companies in general understand the need for architecture. Ten years ago, we needed a lot of effort to convince management that architecture is indispensable in managing the complexity of any larger enterprise. But as a profession, we still have difficulty showing the concrete value of our work.
Unfortunately, architects are often ill-connected to strategic investment decisions on the one hand, and realization processes on the other. Moreover, architecture processes are frequently perceived as slow and bureaucratic, which increasingly contrasts with the speedy results provided by Agile and Lean initiatives.
The true value of architecture lies of course in its relationship with other disciplines within the enterprise. At BiZZdesign, we focus on helping architects to provide value to these stakeholder groups. The figure below symbolizes this playing field.
Figure 1. Enterprise Architecture in Context
From top to bottom, we see that enterprise architects need to support management in making business decisions on the one hand, and on the other hand be grounded in the operational reality of the organization. This is the familiar strategic-tactical-operational distinction. From left to right in the figure, enterprise architecture provides both insights that help to run the enterprise as-is (the ‘going concern’) and facilitates change to realize desired business outcomes. This distinction is less clear-cut: disciplines such as Lean, Agile and DevOps focus on continuous or incremental improvement in daily operations, and are therefore somewhere in the middle of this spectrum.
In these relationships between EA and its environment, we have identified five major areas on which we will focus our efforts in 2014:
Realizing the enterprise strategy. Enterprise architecture in general and specifically business architecture and capability based planning are important instruments to translate vision into action. Moreover, they provide essential feedback on the feasibility of such a strategic vision.
Supporting strategic investment decisions. Well-founded decisions on portfolios of applications or projects require insights in their dependencies and value, which can be provided by architecture-based portfolio management.
Fostering enterprise agility. By linking the enterprise architecture practice with agile, DevOps and Lean processes, organizations can significantly enhance their change capability.
Leveraging technological opportunities. Enterprise and infrastructure architecture are essential to make full use of developments such as Cloud, Big Data or BYOD.
Controlling risk and ensuring compliance. The insights provided by enterprise architecture are essential in knowing and mitigating your risks. Regulators pose explicit demands on the enterprise architecture of financial institutions; namely the Dodd-Frank Act, the ECB Resolution Mechanism or the Dutch committee on the structure of banks.
BiZZdesign will provide integrated propositions on these themes, providing methods, tools and training. Over the next months, we will keep you updated about our offerings.
We keep our own developments aligned with relevant standards in these areas. Core to our vision is the use of well-founded methods and models, to support clear and objective decision making and rapid realization. Naturally, you know BiZZdesign as the ArchiMate company. Version 2.1 of the ArchiMate standard for EA modeling was published recently, and our current products and propositions are of course in line with that standard. Currently, The Open Group’s ArchiMate Forum is working on topics such as business capability planning and risk modeling. BiZZdesign is actively contributing to these developments and future versions of ArchiMate are expected to support our vision even better.
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