- Published: Thursday, April 07, 2016 08:00
By Stephen McGrady
I’m a big believer in Enterprise Architecture Planning, the detailed planning process that looks at how an enterprise will use information to support the business, and provides a blueprint for handling data, applications and technology.
While the process of creating an EAP can be lengthy – typically six to ninth months – the end results can make a significant difference in the IT organization’s ability to meet business needs. From my standpoint, I think the key benefits include:
- Alignment – At the end of the EAP process, you’ll have an IT department that is in full alignment with the overall organization’s process, data and application requirements.
- Prioritization – As part of the EAP process you will identify gaps and create a list of prioritized IT initiatives that should be done first.
- Buy-In – Enterprise Architecture Planning is not done in a vacuum. Having all stakeholders involved makes it easier to secure corporate financial commitment as well as executive support for the plan that emerges.
- Budget – Knowing which projects need to be done in an agreed-upon time-line also gives you an IT investment roadmap.
- Responsiveness – Enterprise Architecture Planning allows IT to be more responsive to changes in the business. This is because your Enterprise Architecture Plan gives you a model of the business. If something changes (for example, you introduce a new product or move into a new market), you’ll be able to use this Plan to identify how that change will ripple through the organization—and take action accordingly.
I first saw all of this play out years ago, when I led the Enterprise Architecture Planning process for a telecom company. They were working to set the company up to compete with much bigger competitors, so they wanted to do things right.
It was a multi-million dollar Enterprise Architecture Planning process that took nine months. At the end they had a data architecture, technology architecture, and a process map for the business. Plus, they had a model for how these items interacted with each other, and how they supported the company’s value chain. And their entire current portfolio of projects had been evaluated in terms of the strategic business objectives that they supported, and prioritized based on a multi-variable evaluation scheme.
So they also had a three-year program that laid out how to get 80 to 90% of these projects done, and the order in which to do so. In short, they were able to reap all of the benefits of EAP that I described above.
As much as I like the methodology, unless you work for a government agency or utility, your company probably won’t have the patience and budget for this approach. I’ll discuss the fast-track approach to EAP in my next post.
About Stephen McGrady
Stephen McGrady has served in technology vision and leadership roles, including Vice President of Services, Chief Information Officer (CIO) and General Manager, for over 20 years. Since 2006 he has focused on executive management consulting that enables business clients to improve performance through intelligent use of information technologies.
About CIO Professional Services
CIO Professional Services LLC is a top-rated IT (Information Technology) consulting firm, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, specializing in strategic IT consulting and business / IT alignment. Companies come to us seeking assistance with their information technology strategy as well as to source interim CIO / CTO employees or fractional CIO / CTOs.