Feb 7 2017

Forget Everything That You've Heard About Enterprise Architecture

Contrary to popular belief, enterprise architecture (EA) does not have to take too long or cost too much. The problems are not with the concept of enterprise architecture, but with how it has been taught, applied and executed.

Often when architects (or indeed vendors) talk about the C-Suite, they simply refer to the role of CXO, which is a reminder that executives have different needs and agendas to most people in the IT domain. But to think of them as a homogenous group is a mistake.

Forget everything you think you know about enterprise architecture

The table below reinforces this notion.  While commonality exists among the top 5 priorities of various members of the C-Suite, there are also many differences. This affords architecture groups greater opportunity to demonstrate their value to a broader audience.

Only when the connection between architecture and priority is explicitly stated in ways and terms that address the specific concern of the specific “C” role, will this become apparent.C-Level Executive priorities

In summary, while the needs of C-level executives may be different, they are all trying to make smarter decisions that enable achievement of their desired outcomes.

In order to make those decisions, they require actionable insights. As an architecture team, it is up to us to help deliver that insight.

When we do, and when we help others connect their projects, programs and initiatives to those outcomes, then everyone understands why we need to do the things we do – putting the data in context and thus providing actionable information.

In order to make your architecture efforts relevant and value added from a C-Suite perspective and increase your chances of getting or keeping budget:

a) Use benefit trees to illustrate how your projects or architecture initiatives connect to the desired C-Suite outcome.

b) Focus architecture efforts on presenting the data management needs to make decisions, rather than the maps and models technical staff use. This may mean maintaining multiple views of the same information, such as a business presentation version and a more technical model-based view.

c) When collecting or connecting data, think broadly. A catalogue of processes, a list of standards, or a common dictionary of business terms are all forms of data. Data about the organization is just as important as business performance, customer, product or accounting data that forms part of the everyday fabric of the organization.

This blog post is an extract taken from Enterprise Architecture and Data Modeling - Practical steps to collect, connect and share your enterprise data for better business outcomes. Download the full ebook, for free, below.

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