McKinsey recently released a new
whitepaper on why business needs should drive IT architecture (http://ow.ly/1yUHu).
There has been a lot of discussion on this very topic over the past
years. So why are we still talking about it?
There are some excellent points and guidelines in this document;
however, it still does not address the underlying problem with the
enterprise architecture "movement". This article is written for the
Chief Information Officer (CIO), providing lessons learned and even a
“checklist” to “revolutionize architecture management”.
The authors present a case study of a global investment bank, and its
attempt to implement Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM). The bank
initially undertook the effort in order to consolidate an unwieldy
technical infrastructure as a result of mergers, acquisitions and
expansion. Unfortunately, like most organizations attempting to
implement EA, the effort was initiated 1) for the wrong reason, 2) by
the wrong department, and 3) with the wrong goal.
Undertake it for the right reason
In this particular case study, it was IT which initiated the effort to
streamline the technical infrastructure burgeoning under the weight of
By definition, EAM has the business as
its focus point - not the technology.
While an unwieldy infrastructure is certainly a
reasonable and logical reason to undertake an EAM initiative, the
technical “plumbing” should be invisible to business end users and
should not be the focus of a comprehensive EAM effort. Technical infrastructure
is only one “view” of the enterprise – one most users should never see.
If IT is driving the EAM initiative, the effort should be focused solely
on the technical view of the enterprise.
Select the right owner
One of the issues identified in the case study was the wrong owner for
the effort. In any EAM initiative, it is imperative that a business
owner is identified that has the ability and authority to initiate any
changes required in order to implement the EAM initiative. In this
particular instance, however, a business owner was expected to take
ownership of the technical architecture infrastructure project. This is
not a logical choice, since business users should not even be aware of
the infrastructure. Rather, the CIO or Operations Director is the
logical choice for this particular initiative. These are the people
responsible for the business processes impacted by this “view” of the
organization – not the business users.
“It’s the business, stupid”
The goal of this infrastructure initiative was to unscramble the tangle
of applications that were supporting the business at the time. Again, a
worth initiative undoubtedly contributing to cost containment; however,
enterprise architecture is not about the technology – it's about the
business and how it can operate more effectively and efficiently. As
long as initiatives are focused on software and hardware, organizations
will never be successful in implementing EAM with business partners as
Remember, enterprise architecture is a powerful and valuable tool to
assist an organization in understanding business processes and their
interactions, applications supporting the enterprise and data flows
through the organization. The key, however, is that it is the
business which must drive the EAM initiative. Don't get me wrong
- IT can certainly be the catalyst for starting such an undertaking but
in the end, it is the business which must understand and appreciate the
value EAM can provide.
The key to a successful EAM initiative is in starting for the
right reason, with the right leader, and with the right goal.
The Importance of
The Top 3 Problems with