Monday, February 25, 2013

EA’s Five Key Success Factors

Though it might be tricky to define EA success and measure (and evaluate) EA success because so many of the facets of EA are very difficult to measure.

Typically EA team is responsible for strategy/planning, innovation, and governance. It should be able to provide guidance, standards, principles, and roadmaps to anyone within the enterprise. However, due to the fact that EA in nature is multi-dimensional, how and what could be used to define the success of EA?

1.    Strategic Value

Enterprise starts looking at you for these activities/guidance, then you are successful in your EA mission. EA should be able to do all these effectively without impacting ongoing projects. EA should be able to provide short-term/tactical and long-term/strategic direction to the enterprise and executives' vision
he best measure of success for any EA effort would be for the enterprise to cost-effectively achieve its strategic goals. Of course, this is a long term measure in most cases. When

- One could address success as the successful implementation of the organizational capabilities to support strategic intent. This would include the generation of the roadmaps across all architectural domains to supply the organization with timelines and milestones to measure progress towards the enablement of the desired future state.

- The EA programs would be successful if it continues to support the evolving business strategies. It may be reducing costs in one year, gearing for growth the next, and a successful merger after that. Basically, the metrics for EA change as business strategy changes. Enterprise Architecture is successful when it is enabling strategic goals cascade and the stakeholder needs, based on their drivers are being met

2. Cultural Value

Victory can be declared when EA becomes essential to the culture of the organization; Strategic planners won't start their meetings until they have access to their favorite EA artifacts

-  Enterprise Architecture, as a business enabler has incontrovertibly demonstrated that it has enabled the enterprise to meet the goals that satisfy stakeholder drivers. This has been done by the creation, use, storage and re-use of value-adding artifacts and the adoption and adaptation of industry-standard leading practices.

- It needs to be defined how EA can enable stakeholders to deliver on their commitments, and translate these into actionable goals for the departments within the enterprise. Apart from increasing profitability. "EA success" should be defined and connected to people's issues. For example, the balance of expectations, the integration of satisfactions, the consensuses of stakeholders, etc. 

-  EA is being actively used by the enterprise (senior leadership, LOB's, architects etc.) and helping with swifter strategic/business decisions. In addition, EA is helping pick the right initiatives/programs and also aiding in swifter execution of changes to new business processes and/or technology solutions 

3.    Economical Value

In the short term, it is looking at how well the enterprise is progressing towards those goals and how well the organization is operating as it moves forward. Many people will try and throw out ROI measures and other cost centric yardsticks, but the reality is that cost is only one part of the equation with EA. EA efforts do attempt to help keep costs under control, but the focus of EA is not about cost reduction. It is about helping the enterprise achieve its goals in the most efficient way, even if that does mean spending more money to do so.

-   EA is successful when the cost of applying EA to a problem is recovered in the product. That cost could be revenue, reputation, legal issue avoidance, cost savings, etc., but if EA costs more than its benefits, then it has failed, via leveraging EA practice, the business can manage investment with a higher percentage of success rate or ROI.
-    A successful EA program should yield the following benefits:
      - Shorter time to market
      - Avoiding re-implementation costs
      - Avoiding overhead due to duplicate business processes and systems supporting those processes
      - Cost savings due to operational efficiencies
- EA being kept up-to-date to ensure its continued relevance 

-  Balanced Scorecard approach is good when defining a range of indicators as there can be no direct measure of what would have happened if you weren't there doing things, adding value, influencing others, etc.

4. Design Value

EA is an architectural design piece of how the organization exists and operates to create value for both stakeholders and end customers. It LITERALLY maps out how the perspective needs are delivered through Governance, Strategy, Management, Compliance, Risk, Process, Performance Management, Reporting and Continual Improvement work together as ONE system to deliver on Vision and Mission, Purpose and Goals. Indicators of success, therefore, are not singular and must primarily be based on what the organization is trying to achieve - did we do what we wanted to do?

- Qualitative indicators such as a staff understanding and commitment to the strategic intent of the organization (organizational alignment); seamless processes (versus silos); intuitive access to information; context for what each person is doing in their daily tasks at wherever they are in the organization (CEO to the juniors) and so on. Quantitative measures relating to again what the organization strategically planned to achieve. Isn't success relative to what we wanted to achieve for our respective stakeholders?

- Outside-in View: One transformation facing business and EA as well is from inside-out view to outside-in, in order to build up a customer-centric organization, so EA's success is based on end user's overall customer experience, overall business's digital capabilities. 

-  EA designs in pursuit of cascaded goals: Isn't EA about enabling change by allowing fast analysis and correction of up and downstream impacts of a change? If an organization doesn't change at all, then (apart from the fact that the organization is about to fail) they don't need someone to define their EA. Enterprise Architecture is about ensuring the data, information, applications, and infrastructure is managed end-to-end in the pursuit of these cascaded goals.

5.   Shared Value

EA sometimes acts like a great leader, leading from behind, when the work is done, they (business) think they do on their own, EA needs to share the credit and blame with business:
-     A factor that really complicates the direct measurement of EA impacts is the fact that like any other strategy, EA is only as effective as the implementation. Even if EA chalks out the best possible policies, faulty implementation can negate it all. This makes implementation governance a CSF for successful EA.

-  the side effect of all this is muddying of the metrics. When successful, EA has to share credit with business strategy as well as implementation. It becomes hard to get all credit that the program may deserve.

-  Bureaucracy and redundancy can be measured by the savings in manpower and more efficient processes. Potential and opportunities and new technologies/markets should be considered even though these are more challenging to measure. EA and cross-functional teams should work collaboratively to enforce business capabilities, also measure results in a reasonable way. 

Though it might be tricky to define EA success and measure (and evaluate) EA success because so many of the facets of EA are very difficult to measure. Still, one can only manage what it’s being measured, EA success need be objective. Success is what the enterprise stakeholders and customers define based on their drivers, then translate it into enterprise goals, upon which all other business goals are set and achieved.


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