Friday, October 4, 2013

How does EA Fit into IT Governance

Governance is like 'steer,' to ensure business running in the right direction. 

Governance is an organizational capability for risk mitigation, whereas IT governance is primarily operational with the focus on directing how IT services enable business operations through people, process, SLAs, reporting, etc. So is EA a fundamental part of IT governance, how does EA fit into IT governance, or perhaps more precisely, how does IT governance fit into EA?

EA should not be part of the IT governance equation: EA is at an overall strategic level for the entire business across all domains. IT governance is at a lower level and deals with the detailed rules for implementing IT solutions to the functional level requirements coming from the EA. IT Governance should include not only IT solutions but also IT PMO, IT Policies, IT Processes, IT Change Management, etc. It all depends upon the complexity, size, maturity as well as business of the enterprise, how EA fit into IT governance? It depends upon how an enterprise has set up its EA: Is their EA solely IT-centric (which sadly is often the case), then EA governance will be part of overall IT governance scope and mission. In such cases, both will have their own distinct boundaries. Is EA a fundamental part of IT Governance? EA is used to help the IT functional align to and support the business strategy but is that also the role of IT governance?

EA and IT Governance need to go hand-in-hand. EA roadmaps are one of many inputs into a mature IT portfolio management process which is part of IT Governance. Both are sub-optimized without the other. EA should play a very important role in IT governance by providing tools and methods for monitoring the success of an Enterprise-wide architectural deployment in IT, Processes or other resources. And ideally, EA is strategic within the enterprise landscape. The EA role also has an ongoing responsibility to monitor the overall architectural health of existing assets as well. EA, by design, is not IT-centric but enterprise-centric. Though it has been practiced more often only within the IT landscape.

EA should not be an IT policing function like many governance activities: IT should be focused on delivering value-adding services to executive management and projects whether strategic or tactical. That said, one way to deliver value is to review solutions for asset utilization, design/construction quality, and architectural alignment across the relevant architectural domains (business, data, applications, and technology). It should be noted that any given person responsible for designing a solution will have their strengths and weaknesses in one domain or another. In the end, if solutions fail to deliver or inadvertently move an organization away from enterprise (cross-functional) goals, then these risks should be raised and mitigated like any other business risk. These are areas where the EA can provide real value

Establish EA governance, both within IT and enterprise landscape: Within the IT landscape, EA governance exists generally at two levels: 
(1).EA Governance Board – Reports to IT Executive Steering Committee
(2). Enterprise Architecture Review Board – Led by Chief Architect and reports to EA Governance Board 

EA should be the process manager in defining and managing the "how" of the governance process: The scope and maturity of IT Governance include a). from a broader and more strategic business-driven perspective involving how decisions involving IT are made (budgeting, planning / aligning investments, implementing controls, scope, and depth of decision oversight, etc.) or perhaps b). more tactically (it begins doing some alignment -it is helping to manage the IT function/decisions - more like a service provider or order taker / less strategic IT function). 

Therefore, how should EA plugin and have impact/influence: Consideration of your current governance maturity -where you are today and how far & fast you might change things, coupled with a good definition of roles & responsibilities wrapped around governance processes, the role of EA is convening various stakeholders to create consensus on technology policies and standards, also ensure the resources are aware of changes and the risks get mitigated accordingly, in order to achieve business & IT effectiveness, efficiency, and ultimately reach the stage of agility.   


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