Starting out on the road to EA success | Real IRM

Real IRM

Leading Enterprise Architecture Value™
Friday, 23 October, 2015
Published by: ITWeb

Enterprise architecture (EA) is more relevant today than ever before – considering the accelerating pace of technology adoption, many new and disruptive market forces, hypercompetitive environments, and rapidly changing business models.

Together, these present a burning requirement for many organisations to digitally transform the enterprise.

EA supports the organisation to develop a holistic representation of the business, its information and technology. This provides a business tool for managing complexity and change.

The myriad benefits from successful EA practices include:

  • Competitive advantage – with so few companies getting it right, having a business-appropriate and sustainable EA function allows the company to respond to change with greater speed, and derive huge competitive advantage.
  • Corporate and IT governance – EA acts as the crucial linchpin between corporate governance and IT governance.
  • Business transformation – EA supports major business transformations, by clearly understanding the current state, and clearly articulating the desired end-state. In this way, EA provides a clear roadmap for transformation.
  • Portfolio rationalisation – a structured approach to EA helps with reducing the size and complexity of the organisation's technology estate, and removing any duplications within the application and technology portfolio.
  • In-house professional services – professional EA consulting services provide support services to many critical functions within the enterprise – such as strategic planning, governance, risk and compliance, and solution architecture.

"The strategic theme that underpins the EA practice, and helps guard against failure, is that of running the EA practice like a business, with a clearly-defined solution offering"

In essence, EA facilitates the fusion between business and technology based on the fact that if the company cannot change its systems, it cannot change its business. New entrants are often more digitally agile: they have the ability – for example – to embrace new cloud platforms without being tied to a millstone of legacy systems and processes.

The strategic theme that underpins the EA practice, and helps guard against failure, is that of running the EA practice like a business, with a clearly-defined solution offering.

Keeping this philosophy top-of-mind – across the entire ambit of people, tools, process, content, and products/services – is fundamental to ensuring the company's EA practice is business-appropriate, sustainable, and ultimately, successful. By running EA as if it is a business in its own right, in support of the enterprise's strategic goals, the EA capability is positioned to evolve in scope and importance, and add increasing value to the enterprise over time.

However, so many EA programmes fail to achieve meaningful results. More often than not, they either end up on the scrapheap of failed IT programmes and wasted investments, or limp along with limited and isolated impact within the broader organisation.

So, why do EA programmes so often fail?

In this series of Industry Insights, I will explore the most common reasons for EA programmes to fail, and provide a guidebook on how to avoid these issues. I'll look at the issues that can occur across a number of areas, including:

  • Chief architect
  • Core EA team
  • EA vision, strategy and direction
  • Organisational positioning of the EA function
  • Ivory towers
  • Executive sponsorship
  • Collaboration
  • Change leadership and communication
  • EA tools
  • EA processes
  • EA content


Carla Bell, Real IRM Solutions, 011 805 3734,