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What are some key challenges in integrating EA with the Business? Let us know your thoughts…

  • 11 April 2024
  • 6 replies
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Hey there, LeanIX customers and Architects! 

 

Enterprise Architecture (EA) services are incredibly valuable, but sometimes, the theoretical and abstract nature makes it challenging to explain its value/position to the organization. TOGAF describes an EA service as “a manual or automated service that supports processes and business capabilities ... governed by an organization, and what kind of services your EA community offers.”

 

To help spark discussions and improve collaboration, we published a 'How To Sell EA Services To The Business' blog/framework based on customer interviews, and we believe that involving the business stakeholders in defining EA services is crucial, as it specifies the portfolio structure and value of EA services to the organization. I would love to get this group’s opinion on the following questions (blog post has further questions to consider:)

  • Does your EA practice offer well-defined EA Services?
  • How well have EA services helped you execute against your overall business strategy?
  • What are your top 3 tips for raising the relevance of EA to business stakeholders?

 

We encourage you to engage in these discussions, share your experiences (positive or constructive), and ask any questions you may have. We'll incorporate your CSM into the discussion. Let's work together on understanding the "why" behind EA services with noteworthy interactions and conversations within our community!

 

Thanks,

Ricky Urdaneta

#BringBusinessDesignToEA


6 replies

Hi Rick! You have a great point about the challenge of explaining EA's value. I agree, involving stakeholders in defining services is key.  Would love to hear from the group on your questions, especially regarding tips for raising EA's relevance to the business.

I like to think of the ‘relevance’ question like this:  “thank goodness we have an EA discipline, because if we didn’t, then (negative) would still be happening’… or more positvely, ’...because, if we didn’t, then (positive) wouldn’t be happening.’   I doubt many of us can complete that sentence.  Many of us are part of EA discipline at our employers that were created because it was the right thing to do.  EA is a mature IT discipline practice.   Many, many shops are still very low on the maturity slope. 

So much of this depends on the organization - is change good, or is change bad?  Do we see problems/ risks as failures, or as opportunities to improve?   And unfortunately, these perspectives often shift depending on who sits in the corner office.  

The challenge at my organization is we still like to be firefighters.   Many people make their living ‘fixing’ things.

Sorry Ricky, probably not the tone you were looking for, but just wanted to be candid. 

Thank you for sharing this article Ricky and as you mention, it is quite a challenge to be able to bring this to the business. Although EA is more than 20 years old, in our case we are new (less than 2 years) and our first challenge was to have a good understanding of what EA really is and that the TOGAF courses only focus on showing the framework. After doing a lot of research, reading countless articles, blogs and also with specialist providers, we were able to understand what EA is, the different layers that make it up and the importance it has not only for IT but for the business. Challenge 1…check!

As we continued moving forward we saw the need to extend EA understanding to all areas of IT and after reading the article “7 Stakeholders Enterprise Architects Need Buy-In From” it was good to know that we are aligned and on the right track. And the challenge with IT Stakeholders is collaboration, that each one is responsible for a component of the architecture and that we as EAs are not only information collectors but collaborate with us, that is, the PMO responsible for the initiatives, business context processes, IT infrastructure, etc....and we are on that path. Challenge 2…in progress.

Finally, and as the third most challenging challenge, it is to involve the business and for this I believe that it is vital to be able to explain the concepts of EA in the simplest way possible and that they can understand the benefits that the implementation of EA brings to the business, that they can visualize this alignment between business and technology and how that contributes to the achievement of strategic objectives.

I hope that under my short but very rewarding experience I have been able to contribute with my experience and that it can help you as well as be able to hear about your experiences in this exciting world of EA.

Hey Rick. Definitely involving stakeholders is a crucial activity needed for a successful EA in an organization.  From my point of view, collaboration among all parties involved to keep all the EA pieces up to date is the cornerstone needed to achieve the expected benefits behind an EA implementation. Sometimes is hard to obtain this collaboration because not everybody is fully aware of the EA benefits,  in that case communication campaigns can help to let the people know more about EA concept and the value that can bring to the company,  as for instance save time avoiding manually collecting data,  reduce the risk of impacting business operations by having a plan for technical components replacement due to obsolescence or lifecycle or save money avoiding duplicities in technologies.  Glad to hear more ideas from you. 
 

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Thanks for the insights/feedback. The best way to win buy-in from your stakeholders is to know which of them will be the most receptive to your ideas by defining the specific parts of your EA practice/services that matter to each stakeholder. Put your processes in the context of the stakeholder's business area and show the immediate value you will create and the structure you have in place. For example, you can ask some of the following questions to your stakeholders:

  • What specific business functions do you provide services to?
  • Who specifically provides the service?
  • What are the deliverables and outputs of your EA service?
  • Do you know which SLAs will be breached and what the price will be if critical services fail?
    • Further questions are here

These answers will help you define the EA services that provide value to the business stakeholders and create a portal, reports, and dashboards to drive value. As part of this community topic, I would like to create a workshop for interested customers. Would you like to participate? @Oscar 

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Here’s some typical EA Services: @Oscar 

Services

Description

Deliverables

Business Case Development

Business units create cases to gain approval for initiatives supporting objectives.

Business Case Template

IT Strategies Development

Develop a clear strategic direction, including goals, guidelines, and initiatives, for a specific domain and effectively communicate it. E.g., Data/cloud strategy, API/integration strategy. 

Strategy Document, Standards, Principles, Initiatives, Guidelines

Technology Trend Analysis

Identify opportunities for applying technology to solve business challenges. 

Technology Radar

Innovation Management

Brainstorm, ideate, test, analyze, and iterate for creative problem-solving. Encourage non-linear thinking and multiple perspectives.

Solution Architecture Docs

Technology Capability Management

Evaluate current technology capabilities and determine which to develop, retire, or maintain to support the business and technology landscape.

Architecture Technology Capabilities

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