Successfully sell EA in your Organisation

How to sell EA in your Organisation

We are sometimes engaged with an EA that is having difficulty in selling EA to their organisations.  Typically, perceptions are driven by an out-dated view that EA is an ivory tower that doesn’t reflect the real world, that it is a bureaucratic organisation that will make everything take longer than necessary, that they already know what is going on in the business and it won’t offer any additional value.

As mentioned, these are rather out-dated views.  An EA/EA Team should be a business-led practice that supports informed decision making across an organisation, there to provide guidance and to enable delivery, not to be a blocker to progress.

How to best address these objections will depend on whether you have an EA Tool already, and are having trouble getting buy in, or whether you are having difficulty building a case for an EA Tool.

If you have an EA Tool, here are some ways to overcome these types of objections:

  • Identify your Stakeholders and tailor you message

    The practice of EA can touch many areas of the business and will mean different things for different stakeholder groups. Messaging needs to change depending on the stakeholders and be aligned to their needs and/or problems, catching their attention.  Engage with individual stakeholders to gain a good understanding of the issues they encounter, and where the EA can help. Examples we have seen include an application owner that had been burnt by the unexpected costs and risk of technologies supporting his applications moving to end of life; an operations manager whose budget was being squeezed and wasn’t sure where cuts could/should be made; a procurement team without visibility of the usage of the application renewals being negotiated.

  • Identify the quick wins

    Once you have a list of areas where the EA can help, identify those where you already have the data captured, or don’t need to add much data. As an example, if you have already captured the technologies that support applications and the end-of-life dates, you can easily provide a regular report to the application owner of issues that are coming up, so proper planning can be undertaken, or if you have captured your applications and the services they provide mapped to using organisations, you would only need to capture costs to give a view on where there is duplication and the potential savings.  Look for areas where you have the data, or additional data is readily available, to identify the quick wins.

  • Identify enthusiastic Stakeholders and communicate the success stories

    Look for stakeholders that are likely to positively engage EA and help deliver success – there are always advocates in the business or IT, you just need to find them. Shout about what has gone well, along with the time/effort/budget it has saved.  People like to jump on success, so once others start to hear success stories, you will see people approach EA and will be keener to be involved.

  • Don’t be distracted

    As you achieve the above, usually after a few iterations, you may find you have a queue forming of interested people – don’t be tempted to try to keep everyone happy at once. Create a plan and stick to it – if you have seen our palace analogy from previous blogs, then remember if you try to decorate all the rooms in your palace at once you will end up in a mess!  Concentrate on one room, plan in the maintenance, and then move on to the next.


If you are looking to get buy-in for an EA Tool, here are some ways to overcome these types of objections:

  • Identify your Stakeholders and tailor you message

    As mentioned above, EA can support many areas of the business and will mean different things to different stakeholder groups. Engage with individual stakeholders to gain a good understanding of the issues they face where the EA can help. Don’t expect them to serve this information up to you, they won’t know the answer if you ask the question directly.  You need to use your analysis skills to tease out the areas of conflict and frustration and suggest how an EA could help – “would it be useful if I could provide a dynamic contract report with usage numbers, impacting projects and potential replacements?”. If the answer is affirmative, you have a use case.

  • Build a high-level roadmap

    Identify the different data sets required to meet the various use cases, assess how available the data is and create a high level roadmap with value drops at regular intervals. The data should build on the previous data as you move on. Think of your EA initiative as a snowball, expanding as you add more data, but importantly, data that is connected to the previous data captured.  Ideally, the data will already be maintained somewhere where you can integrate the EA system with the source data to avoid duplication of effort.

  • Building a business case

    As you gain the detail of how EA can provide value to various different stakeholders in your organisation, put together some examples of cost and savings.  Consider the time saved on an ongoing basis, we often see organisations spending weeks pulling together information for a one-off request that is then left to go stale and must be repeated again and again at regular intervals. For example, one organisation had the architecture producing quarterly PowerPoints which took several hours, we reduced that by automating the process so they just need to capture the data and the tool generates the PowerPoints, saving an average of 8 hours a quarter per architect.   Typically, if this data is updated as it changes, as part of an existing project or maintenance process, it takes no time at all and so the saving in time can be considerable.  You need to also build in examples of the costs of the tool.  We have some examples of both that can be used in our ROI blog.


If you are encountering push back from stakeholders in your organisation that are not familiar with the benefits of a business-led Enterprise Architecture practice, the hints and tips contained above should help to sell the benefits across your organisation.

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