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Enterprise Architecture – Simple Wins to Show Value

We recently wrote a blog about how to sell EA into an organisation; another way is to show value quickly.  Here are some simple Enterprise Architecture wins to show value:

Application Catalogue

This is usually the quickest win.  It’s surprising how many organisations we work with that don’t have a consolidated application catalogue across the organisation.  Often there will be departmental or division-based ones, but nothing for the organisation as a whole.  You might be surprised at how pleased your CIO will be if you can provide an accurate(ish) list of all the applications in use across the enterprise.

Start by liaising with different stakeholders to gather their list of apps, consolidate them and create an overall list with a list of the teams that use them.  These can be cross-checked with other teams, such as those that manage integrations or deployments.  Once you have an overall list you can publicise and provide it to your CIO.  Often, we find organisations are amazed at the sheer number of applications they have – which can lead to discussions about whether they are all needed…

Business Capability Model

Again, many organisations do not have a capability model and are not sure where to start to create one.  We have a number across different industry sectors that can be used as a starter for 10.  Once you have applied your own knowledge, reviewing it with the different business heads is a good way to introduce them to the EA and explain how it can help them, and will also introduce you to their view of the business.  The business capability model is the first step in really understanding how IT supports the business and, therefore, key in any EA.  It acts as an anchor for discussing the business and the impact of IT on the business, so acts as both a good communication tool and as a mechanism for logically grouping technology and initiatives, where the high-level impact can be clearly seen.

Rationalisation Opportunities

Once you have a business capability model and a list of applications it can be a quick job to complete a simple mapping of applications to business capability.  This can indicate rationalisation opportunities, leading to cost savings and increase speed of delivery, things which most business heads are willing to discuss.  Note that this simple mapping is a starting point – to truly understand where you can make savings you will need to do more detailed analysis, understanding which organisations and processes use the applications, and what for.  But this initial view will indicate where to focus the additional effort and will create some credibility, and therefore space, to do further work.

Application Dependencies

Again, many organisations have a piecemeal view of application dependencies, with a few experts on key systems.  Bringing this together in one place can be a great benefit in speeding change and highlighting unexpected dependencies.  A simple initial view of the dependencies can be captured with a very simple three column spreadsheet which can be imported and used as a starting point – detail such as the information exchanged, acquisition method, timescale and so on can be added at a later date.  Talk to the key experts, but also the application and business owners, as they generally have a view of where their data comes from and make sure you publicise the results.

Simple, quick wins that show value are great in building credibility for the EA and getting buy in to data maintenance – once people see a benefit for them, they are generally keen to contribute.   The required effort can be surprisingly small, but the benefits can be very large.

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