It’s easy to talk the buzzword-talk around innovation, disruption, and staying ahead of the curve. But any organization, from local government to global media companies, that wants to actualize their future goals has to be talking about the maturity of their Enterprise Architecture (EA).
Already in the know about this topic? Head to our Enterprise Architecture Maturity Assessment calculator and use just 7 minutes to find out where your EA efforts currently rank:
Depending on the size and nature of your business, you might not even label this facet of your efforts “Enterprise Architecture”. Right now, you could be calling it “planning and execution,” “asset governance,” or “our never-ending vortex of IT estate management.”
Regardless of where you are in your EA journey, the whole industry is being disrupted (in the genuine, tangible sense of the word). Many of your peers or competitors are going beyond looking at how Enterprise Architecture maturity models can benefit the business to identifying places that aren't creating value and filling those gaps.
The good news is that this is not a journey where historical efforts are necessarily a benefit. In fact, organizations are often weighed down by the manual maintenance and status diagrams of past EA efforts. However, with the right tools and know-how, you can go from “Which apps do we have and how much do they cost?” to “How can we use data, automation, and visual storytelling to plan, prepare, and predict multiple futures.”
Here, we’re referring to a whole new way of measuring maturity (beyond the traditional EA measures of before). Get your hands on the Updated Edition of the 7 New Rules of Enterprise Architecture to get a full overview of how the true value of EA will be measured from now on.
How Enterprise Architecture Maturity Models Will Take You Where You Need to Go
Traditionally, EA has been mostly isolated within IT systems and existed purely to serve operations, map applications, and the like. But this doesn’t have to be (or arguably shouldn’t be) the case. Enterprise Architecture is a major asset that can help align IT and business strategy, extract additional value from your infrastructure and investments, and stay one step ahead of the competition.
Mature Enterprise Architecture teams are an integral aspect of the business, enabling you to:
- Fully align IT with strategy to reach critical business goals
- Increase operational and digital agility to meet the challenges of the future
- Improve IT and overall performance through scenario modeling
- Increase agile development with a low-risk, experiment-driven approach to change - where EA is an enabler of agility and innovation, not an inhibitor
- Increase collaboration, knowledge sharing, and creative new ways to use the valuable insights EA can provide
We’re not in the business of making lofty claims based on theory. These are very real examples of how some progressive organizations leverage Enterprise Architecture tools and techniques today.
This all sounds great, but how do we get there? What are the markers of a mature EA team?
A Mature Enterprise Architecture Team and Responsibilities
EA that’s still finding its feet: Responsibility is probably shared among the IT team, following traditional models and existing in a silo.
Mature Enterprise Architecture: Experimenters and adapters, this team is fully aligned with the overall business strategy, with an agile approach that allows the adoption of roles and responsibilities across the ecosystem as and when required.
Better Situational Awareness
EA that’s still finding its feet: Still using lots of manual tools (like faithful old Excel) without much real-time insight. Lots of mapping but not a lot of opportunities to tell the value story around it.
Mature Enterprise Architecture: Analytics allows you to measure the market and operational trends, performance projections, and alignment with business drivers. This information can be integrated with your architecture and used to inform its evolution.
The Power to Prioritize Initiatives
EA that’s still finding its feet: Minimizing risk and disruption is the ultimate focus (and energy drain), even at the cost of pursuing new and better technologies in the organization.
Mature Enterprise Architecture: An agile approach with advanced insights allows for experimentation that is low-risk, measured, and confidently aligned with business goals.
It’s All About the Execution
EA that’s still finding its feet: The burden of risk avoidance means every problem or suggestion needs to be justified - sometimes multiple times.
Mature Enterprise Architecture: Transparency, analysis, and common understanding enable you to bring insights not just to IT or operational strategy but the whole business strategy.
There is a marked difference in how data is managed and the role of the Enterprise Architecture team in a relatively immature EA practice compared to an organization with a very mature Enterprise Architecture model. While there are numerous Enterprise Architecture Maturity Models and frameworks that will offer a reliable way forward for your EA team and practice, remember that these efforts are also considerably limited by your organization's choice of EA tool.
It is critical to invest early and wisely in a dynamic, data-driven Enterprise architecture tool that will support the business from early EA practice and offer the flexibility to scale as the company naturally does over time. Too often are EA teams limited by the functionality and scalability of their tools, making it harder to socialize EA data processes or insights.
Democratization of data and access to EA insights is key to embedding EA successfully in the business' everyday workings and improving decision-making in the wider organization.
How Do Your Enterprise Architecture Efforts Measure Up?
Some of the qualities touched on earlier are just a few of the ways mature Enterprise Architecture can be felt within organizations, and of course, most teams are on a spectrum between one side or the other.
Find out where your EA efforts score and get a detailed report on all these different areas (and more) by using a few minutes to fill out the Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model Calculator.Ardoq This article is written by "Ardoq" as it has multiple contributors, including subject matter experts.