Welcome this series on articles on introduction in Enterprise Architecture. The series is structured into four articles, each of them discussing one of the following questions:
The intended audience are all of you, being affected by the topic of Enterprise Architecture. Such as a decision maker, who wants to understand a topic being highly relevant for many companies and organizations. As well as an architect, who already knows about the complexity of Enterprise Architecture and is looking for conclusive and consistent suggestions on how to answer the questions mentioned before.
While the preceding articles aimed to provide a fundamental understanding of Architecture and Enterprise Architecture the current article is going to discuss the benefits of Enterprise Architecture.
Based on the definition of Enterprise, Architecture and Enterprise Architecture it can be assumed that appropriate application of these concepts provides added value to the whole organization, to the complete enterprise. In my opinion, before discussing the benefits and added values a common understanding on the goals behind the application of the concept of Enterprise Architecture needs to be established.
Most companies, with the exception of some specialized consulting companies, do not apply Enterprise Architecture as a business on it self but as a tool set to achieve business goals. Consequently Enterprise Architecture needs to provide added value which enables the organization to achieve its goals more efficiently. More efficiently means
Since Enterprise Architecture is more often than not no business case on its own, its added values shall be visible to the stakeholders of the organization which are directly providing value to the organizations business model. This applies as well to the daily business as to the management level.
This is why the following guidance shall be considered:
Considering this guidance leads to an understanding that added value and benefits can be considered as those only if they are recognized within an organization or an enterprise. The visibility of benefits and added value is also one of the most decisive success factors for Enterprise Architecture within an organization. Without added value no acceptance and without acceptance even the best concept, the best methodology, has a hard time to be recognized as beneficial.
Consequently praxis has shown, that the benefits of Enterprise Architecture
Strong benefits which are also good practice and decisive success factors can be:
The reason why the success factors discussed before have been established is, that they do not focus on one group of stakeholders only but can be visible as added value from many stakeholders. Also, regarding a concrete context, they can be generalized as well as specified in more detail. This is important, since the success of Enterprise Architecture depends on the identification of all stakeholders with the related goals and results. Enterprise Architecture should be accepted as real benefit and not as a scientific end in it self.
Literature on the subject of Enterprise Architecture generally and TOGAF specifically support this concept by recommending an discussing some of the important and relevant added values.
In its paragraph on * … a more efficient business operation * TOGAF points to the following benefits and success factors of Enterprise Architecture
In its paragraph on a more efficient IT operation TOGAF references the added value of Enterprise Architecture regarding IT processes. The following benefits are discussed:
Key benefits for IT operation are:
This can be explained by the proactive documentation of interrelationship and dependencies with an Enterprise Architecture which enables risk detection, prevention and minimization before system changes or upgrades.
Discussing … better return on existing investment, reduced risk for future investment the following statement is given:
This statement is in my opinion misleading, since Enterprise Architecture can not reduce the complexity of things. However, what Enterprise Architecture can do is the transparent and appropriate documentation of the complexity of business and IT. This leads to better decisions for investment (e.g. the procurement of IT) as the decision would have been without Enterprise Architecture. This results in the achievement of a maximized return on invest regarding the existing business and IT infrastructure. An Enterprise Architecture focussing on the dependencies between processes and IT on the one hand side and the enterprise core processes and the supporting processes on the other hand side can support proper decisions on development, procurement or outsourcing of business and IT services. It also can show the effects on the enterprise. It should be understood that an Enterprise Architecture provides those aims not by its own, it needs to be specified regarding the focus and the goals and should be seen by all stakeholders as an important tool in achieving those goals.
Based on an appropriate understanding and application of Enterprise Architecture it can support the reduction of risk on investments and therefore support the reduction of operational costs.
There is a close relationship between business- and IT-processes, added value regarding existing and future investments and the added values regarding the procurement processes and procurement organization in an Enterprise. In particular those added values can be identified as enablers for short term optimization. Also those added values can be measured directly. According to TOGAF procurement decisions will be easier and more effective since all required information is appropriately collected and visualized for all shareholders by a common methodology. The simplification of the decision making process leads to faster procurement. As far as the procurement processes follow the guidance and principles designed in the Enterprise Architecture new systems and services integrate seamlessly into the existing environment and will not be regarded as isolated silos harming the existing processes and systems. Appropriate documentation with a focus on services but systems enables an enterprise to apply its procurement processes to heterogeneous system- and service environment provided by various vendors.
Applying the benefits of Enterprise Architecture to procurement processes leads to significant cost decrease and the overall economic success of the Enterprise
This article discusses added value and benefits by appropriately and result oriented application of Enterprise Architecture within an organization. It is recommended to enable a common understanding of the concept of Enterprise Architecture and than to identify the benefits which shall be achieved. The following principles where provided:
Based on this understanding it was recommended that the benefits of Enterprise Architecture
In addition the major benefits o Enterprise Architecture as identified in TOGAF have been discussed in detail.
Finally it shall be understood, that Enterprise Architecture is for most organizations no business on it self. It should be also understood that the added values discussed in the article are commonly accepted examples only, meaning that each Enterprise needs to identify and weight the desired benefits before using Enterprise Architecture as an appropriate tool to achieve them.
Based on the understanding on added value and benefits of Enterprise Architecture an other article will discuss the added values of Enterprise Architecture Frameworks.