Saturday, July 6, 2013

How to Evaluate Enterprise Architecture Effectiveness


The effectiveness of EA is measured by how the presence of EA artifacts influence business decisions, the more mature EA becomes, the more complex problems it can handle, the more users will use it, and the more investment will be made upon it, but how to evaluate EA objectively? Here're a list of questions: Are you trying to assess how well it reflects your current enterprise?  Are you trying to identify opportunities for improving your enterprise? Are you trying to assess the maturity and effectiveness of your EA function? How to improve EA maturity? Below are some aspects to assess EA.


1. Assess EA via major Elements

Briefly speaking: Enterprise Architecture maturity is assessed based on following elements 
  • Architecture process 
  • Architecture development
  • Business linkage 
  • Senior management involvement
  • Operating unit participation 
  • Architecture communication
  • Risk/Security Management Process
  • Architecture governance 
  • Investment and acquisition strategy  

2. Enterprise-wide Benefit of Applying EA

More specifically, what’re the benefits to use EA? The use of EA frameworks is a useful internal means for the EA team, but did the artifacts influence the portfolio of projects that create new or changed solution components? Were you able to point out the opportunity for shared or reusable components of business process, information or technologies? Were the Reference Architectures applied on multiple projects? Did they help the business see needed changes or adapt to changes more easily? In short, did the presence of EA artifacts (from whichever framework) actually influence business investment decisions (including the business of IT investments).
  • How well is it bounded? If it is not bounded
  • Does it clearly link to strategy and objectives? 
  • Does it reflect the 'As Is' and 'To Be'. These are critical in a change management situation. 
  • Does it span people, process and technology? Anything less coherency and consistency will be a problem. 
  • Are key performance measures captured and measurable?
  • Can the architecture be used dynamically to monitor reality?
  • Does the sponsor have enough authority to implement? 
  • Are the customers of the architecture identified and their needs understood? The Business Change team will have different requirements from the Management Board etc
  • Have the communication and education process also be checked for effectiveness or else the EA would be little utilized and as such returning little value to stakeholders. 

3. 5W+1H EA Navigation

You need a set of explicit vision-, mission-statements and strategic key success factors in writing. Then you can trace how your EA structures meet the normative and strategic direction. The architecture should be evaluated to discover if 
    • Does it covers all parts of the enterprise, or plans to, (at least the specifically required ones) 
    • How much progress has been registered in modeling the parts and if properly designed so that they serve the purpose of stakeholders
    • How good are the parts integrated 
    • In terms of capabilities:
      Who: access to users and support of devices
      What: representation of business objects
      How: support of business processes
      Where: distribution of locations and activities
      When: synchronization of activities  

4.    EA Maturity Definition

EA maturity level is from lower level to high level:
0 None
1 Initial
2 Under development
3 Defined
4 Managed
5 Measured

  • Can EA only solve tame issues or wild challenges?
  • Is EA maturity level proportional with IT maturity and overall Organizational maturity level? 
  • What's EA customer satisfaction rate?
  • How does EA handle the emerging challenges such as SMAC
  • Does EA have well set of KPIs to deliver both low hanging fruit and long term deliverable as well?  

5.    Assess EA via Financial Benefit 

  • Reduction in Time due to improved process & due to improved Architecture decision making process
  • Cost saves by aligning to EA Standard which increase reusability 
  • Saves in Mass Changes to existing application because of APM process and risk identification/ mitigation in advance by EA group
  • Reduction in Implementation Time/ Cost for a new Business due to alignment, standardized process for business IT alignment strategy, proper EA framework etc
  • Hardware / Platform Reuse 
  • Application / Component Reuse  

  1. Quantitative Benefit from EA 

  •  No of IT Projects aligned with Business Strategy
  •  No of Trends identified and it's adoptions rate
  •  No of new Strategies identified per quarter/year
  •  No of Projects with good health check 
  •  No of exceptions from IT Standard and it avoidance
  •  Proper Governance and Oversight for risk identification and mitigation

7. Key Factors to Understand in Lifting EA to Next Level

The following factors to understand what should be way forward to next level of EA maturity

  • Architecture Governance with organization roles and responsibilities and to what extent Senior Management is involved for governance at various levels say Corporate Governance, Technology Governance, Architecture Governance etc.
  • Maturity of Architecture capabilities at Strategic, Segment and Operational Level (Are we getting right Architectural oversight for business capabilities?) and how Operating Units are participating to achieve the target state of an enterprise
  • Right use of standards, policies, and industry reference models and how new capabilities are developed and existing capabilities are getting enhanced using Architecture Development
  • Organization and departmental level readiness for any change in business capabilities ( EA should provide a capability architecture covering all business aspects of an enterprise including departments) that is how business is linked to Architectural capabilities
  •  Is transformation plan in place and how various stakeholders are being communicated using a formal and agreed communication plan supporting the transformation plan
  • What are current investment and acquisition strategies and how they are related to business capabilities of an organization?
  • Is security architecture has been taken into consideration and transformation plan adheres to all security policies and ensure that business capabilities will be utilized in a secure and reliable manner
  • Do you need a list of change cases your EA has to react to.
  • Should organizations work backwards? Work on an opportunity and then figure out what is the EA existing out there. During this process, they come with principles, best practices; repository establishment, standards formulation, governance establishment.









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