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How enterprise architecture supports organisational strategy

Since the phrase digital transformation made its first appearance, most organisations are now either well into their transformation journeys or at least considering how technology could potentially transform their business operations. However, transformation projects aren’t likely to be successful unless they find the perfect balance between people, process, and technology.

How enterprise architecture supports strategy

Most businesses are already aware that this balance requires:

  1. A capable team at the right place at the right time.
  2. Well-defined, robust, scalable and adaptable processes.
  3. The right toolset to execute.

However, to take this concept to the next level, it’s important to note that:

  • when people interact with process, we scale
  • when people interact with technology, we innovate
  • when processes interact with technology, we automate.

It’s no coincidence that the final stage, automation, is the one in which organisations can find the most value. Automating routine business processes frees up team members to focus their attention where it can add the most value, rather than simply executing mundane tasks.

Managing three types of processes

There are three key types of processes that need to be reviewed when considering your digital transformation:

  1. Strategic processes: organisations usually review their strategic processes annually. This may need to evolve and become more frequent as part of a digital transformation strategy.
  2. Organisational processes: these processes drive execution on the strategy and include future capability planning, succession planning, and contingency planning.
  3. Operational processes: this is the day-to-day work driven by line managers.

How enterprise architecture helps organisations transform successfully

Transformation, whether digital or otherwise, occurs most successfully when the organisation defines the current state and future state of the business, then identifies the gaps. Deciding how to bridge these gaps forms the tactical plan for transformation.

Most organisations focus on processes and technology, but it’s essential to ensure people are included in that mix to steer the organisation in the right direction.

There are six key steps to developing a technology solution roadmap using an enterprise architecture approach:

  1. Use a design thinking approach to fully understand the impact of technology and digital investment decisions and how they deliver business value.
  2. Identify and define the business capabilities and priorities.
  3. Conduct workshops to help recommend solution options.
  4. Playback the best value solution option and help define the roadmap.
  5. Drive delivery and assist with realising the business capability promised by the solution.
  6. Empower teams with architectural guidance and post-implementation support.

Organisations that methodically work through these steps are more likely to achieve successful transformation.

Enterprise architecture helps by:

  • analysing, designing, planning, and implementing enterprise analysis to execute on business strategies
  • structuring IT projects and policies to achieve business results
  • staying on top of industry trends and disruptions using architecture principles and practices.

Creating a capability model for the enterprise is usually one of the most difficult challenges for the enterprise architecture team. The capability model is a high-level view of the organisation, including its structure and the relationships among different business units, stakeholders, strategies, policies, initiatives, and products. The complexity of this view requires a design thinking approach.

The key goals of enterprise architecture

The key goals of enterprise architecture are to:

  • analyse and evolve the organisation’s business vision and strategy
  • describe that vision and strategy simply
  • provide tools, frameworks, and specifications to support governance
  • enable traceability across the IT landscape
  • define the programs and architectures needed to realise the target IT state.

When organisations have a strong enterprise architecture approach, they will be able to do better what-if analysis and impact analysis.

The business value of enterprise architecture

Enterprise architecture aims to help demonstrate the business value of IT assets by describing how these assets realise the business vision. When organisations understand which applications help deliver what business capabilities, they can make more informed decisions.

With an enterprise architecture approach in place, businesses can be more innovative and respond faster to changing customer behaviours, letting them compete more effectively. Importantly, enterprise architecture is a long-term approach, helping organisations reach their goals across business, application, technology, and data.

While many organisations are wondering how to reach their transformation goals, those using enterprise architecture are already well on their way.

To find out how Empired’s enterprise architecture team can help you transform faster and more successfully, contact us today.

Posted by: Ravi Baggam, Solution Architect | 24 July 2019

Tags: Digital Transformation, Enterprise Architecture, Strategy

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