A disconnect remains between the way many organizations pursue enterprise architecture and the impact of EA on the business, which prevents EA from delivering business value, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner. The report suggested EA practitioners need to re-examine old practices and shift their focus to deliverables that direct change and empower business and IT leaders to make better decisions.
Focusing on a standard EA framework doesnt work, said Brian Burke, research vice president at Gartner. In the past, EA practitioners focused on deliverables that were useful to enterprise architects but not valuable to senior management and/or did not respond to a specific business or IT need.
Gartner has categorized five types of deliverables that could help EA practitioners deliver business value from EA efforts, noting EA practitioners need to find the right balance of resource investment (time, energy and money) between all of these deliverables, while understanding that stakeholders only value actionable and measurable deliverables.
Weve witnessed a change in mindset, execution and delivery of EA. The value of EA is not in simply doing EA, but rather in how it can help evolve the business and enable senior executives to respond to business threats and opportunities, Burke said. EA leaders must shift their focus to create actionable and measurable deliverables that address specific business outcomes and work with other business and IT disciplines such as business process management, program and portfolio management, business information, finance and human resources to leverage their efforts and move to value-driven EA.
Measurable deliverables specifically gauge the direct impact of EA on the business. Currently, less than 44 percent of EA organizations worldwide have defined metrics, the report said, and even fewer are focusing metrics on business outcomes. Its often the case that many of these organizations measure what an EA team is doing, for example, how many deliverables were created, rather than gauging the impact of EA on the business, the report said.
Second is actionable deliverables, which drive change and must have a direct relationship to business outcomes and stakeholder requirements and present senior IT or business executives with a decision to be made or a specific action to be taken that moves the business toward a future state. Third is diagnostic deliverables, which include models, requirements and analysis tools that are designed to enable IT and business leaders to understand the impact of different decisions made in response to business disruption or business opportunity. Diagnostic deliverables combine different views of a problem or opportunity to address a specific need.
Enabling deliverables are composed of information that is collected; they provide input to diagnostic deliverables that represent the business, people, processes, information and technology, and are collected from existing information sources, such as performance metrics, reports from program and portfolio management or a business process diagram from business process management. Lastly, operational deliverables are the artifacts that EA practitioners use to help them define, communicate and run their EA program. These deliverables are largely focused on defining what EA practitioners “do,” and on positioning EA goals and governance structures, the report said. Examples of these operational deliverables are in the EA team charter, the EA steering committee and architectural review board charter.