There are a number of common mistakes that we see repeatedly when we talk to prospects or new clients about their EA Tool use. If you want to be successful with your EA tool, here are a few pointers:
- Don’t try to do too much at once
Obviously, it’s exciting having a shiny new tool that can provide lots of benefits, however, it’s really important to get the basics right and complete each delivery, or value drop, before moving onto the next. This also includes making sure the data maintenance processes are in place and working, as well as delivering the views and insights. It sounds dull, but if you don’t do this you will find that data becomes stale, and people will lose trust before you’ve got too far. One of my colleagues describes Essential, and many EA Tools, as like a palace – there’s lots of rooms, but you wouldn’t start decorating them all at the same time – you’d finish one before you move onto the next. Think of your EA Tool as your palace and your initiatives as rooms, pick an initiative, e.g. application rationalisation, vendor risk, etc and finish that first, then do the next one, ideally leveraging the work on the previous initiative(s).
- Don’t just capture data because you have it
When you start out it’s tempting to try to import all the data that is lying around in spreadsheets and other sources into the repository and hope for some insight. We would strongly recommend against this as you end up with lots of disjointed data, often partially populated. Once data is in the tool you must keep it updated – if it is not being used and providing someone with benefit then no one will update it, your data becomes stale and people will lose trust – once people lose trust then you’ve failed! We suggest starting by identifying the views and visualisations you need to answer the problem/help with the analysis, understand the data needed to populate these views, identify the person/roles/team that will maintain that data, capture the data, deliver the views, then move on.
- Do create an EA roadmap for the EA team
As your enterprise architecture efforts deliver value and become more prominent you will get lots of requests from across the organisation for support. It’s important to have a roadmap in place to manage the expectations of your stakeholders with regards to when you can start to understand their requirements and meet their needs. It will also help with your prioritisation process.
- Don’t worry too much about Frameworks
Especially when you are starting out. It’s more important to deliver value than to complete part of a framework but provide no discernible benefits to your stakeholders. Frameworks are useful, but cherry pick the elements that are useful at the point in time.
- Don’t worry if business users are not beating your door down
Business engagement is often hard to get, and we find it’s better to focus on delivering value to your key stakeholder initially – this could well be within IT. As you get more data and deliver value it will be easier to engage the business. We have an upcoming blog on that so keep an eye out for that.
- Do communicate your success
Make sure your stakeholders are aware of what you have achieved and any views or dashboards that can provide value to them. Even a simple application catalogue is useful if a consolidated one isn’t currently available.
There’s lots more information on how to be successful with Essential, or any EA Tool to be honest, on our University site in the How to be Successful with Essential section.