What are the benefits of modelling and managing the enterprise architecture landscape?

TCO per Department

How many businesses have effective insight into their enterprise landscape?  Has your organisation sufficient insight into the number and types of applications, along with their purpose and contribution to business margin? Is there visibility and transparency of where each application is used, what data it accesses and the technologies the applications use?

 Build and embrace a dashboard and reporting system which will help you monitor and measure key metrics

 Often business and IT departments are left in the unenviable position of tracking down applications with high license costs, with no known application owner.  Stories of IT managers emailing various departments asking who uses an expensive application with no one seeming to know anything about, or can explain  its purpose, or who uses it is often more common than you think.  An IT manager, often in desperation will eventually turn it off – the result is often a “no response” as the application had been bought by a business owner who subsequently left – unfortunately the high license costs were paid for 5 years is often paid for numerous years before it is uncovered.  Paying unnecessary license costs in todays’ austere economic climate inhibits an organisations competitive edge – smart businesses use their budget to not only increase capability whilst offsetting some of the costs by organisational efficiencies such as reuse and smart procurement.  Sensible planning and management of the enterprise architecture landscape with standardised products reduces maintenance costs, training costs and smarter bargaining power on purchase.

Build an expense control culture which recognizes and rewards employees (and others) who develop ways of controlling costs and improve profitability.

 As businesses continue to take a tactical, silo’ed approach to the enterprise architecture landscape the number of licenses per user can multiply to unbelievable proportions – through lack of transparency and knowledge of the problem. Take for example a company that eventually took a strategic approach to enterprise architecture and modelled the enterprise architecture landscape.  Their analysis uncovered that the average number of oracle licenses per user was 200!  Each project bought and negotiated Oracle licenses per project.  Taking a more controlled approach such as passing the purchases through a centralised EA board can easily rectify this problem as visibility and oversight of procurement can prevent such problems becoming so prolific.

Business transformation and change management is part and parcel of new and innovative businesses who wish to gain new customers and market share.  The main focus therefore of mature and successful organisations is enterprise architecture maturity where there is effective governance and visibility of the current EA landscape and effective reporting where business unit managers and IT work together to develop an IT landscape that delivers what the business require with transparency of costs. 
Most organisations agree that a disciplined approach to visibility of the enterprise architecture assets is required, though many openly admit they haven’t achieved this yet.

Benchmarking is key … know the typical ratios within your industry and manage accordingly

The starting point for most organisations should understand the value and risk associated with each project.  This knowledge helps focus investment and development in key areas to make most impact.  They also need to get an insight to their assets are – has your organisation visibility of all of its applications, who are the application owners, which locations they are used, and by which departments?  How about data – is it centralised and shared by multiple users or fragmented and inaccurate?  As organisations grow organically it is easy to lose track of the current state of the architecture landscape.

Having sufficient visibility of the makeup of the enterprise architecture landscape is crucial to making key decisions –if key capabilities are tied to legacy, out of date systems with no strategy to transform to a more robust, cost effective, optimised solution then other companies with more focus and effective planning will take advantage of this weakness.

Effective reuse cuts development costs and capabilities that span several areas of the business help spread costs reducing capital expenses (capex) and operational expenses (opex), which is more efficient than the traditional silo’ed approach to IT. 
TOGAF can help support migrating from baseline to target capability showing the business value and tracking risks during transformation – though the wider knowledge of the enterprise architecture and maintaining insights into overall management of costs and strategy would need some additional modelling effort to understand the overall enterprise landscape.

Profitability-improvement programs do not always need to be focused on reducing costs … there should also be an effort to develop higher-margin revenue streams

 A typical enterprise architecture framework includes a methodology, business value/ performance metrics, covering the business, applications, data and technology domains
TOGSF references Archimate as a metamodel, which helps capture the high level layered view and many modelling tools allow you to gather the relevant information to produce the management reports.  Archimate is not the only metamodel that is suitable – DODAF, MODAF, Zachman, any metamodel that helps link business capabilities, processes, functions ,locations, actors, applications, services, data, and technologies can produce the results – linking to goals, benefits business drivers constraints help provide the business focus showing us where to focus effort and resource.

Does this activity need to a huge team of modellers to maintain it?  Not necessarily – think smart, excel reports can be used by business units to keep their application information current.  If this excel format is taken from the tool the information can automatically be imported to keep the model current with minimum work.  Scripts could check if monthly excel reports have not been updated and automated emails sent to remind owners to check their monthly report data.

What is the benefit of a centralised modelling approach – you can then have visibility of which applications are used in which locations, by which departments, to support which processes.  The mission criticality, end of life and technology profiles would also be visible.  Number of oracle licenses, overall license costs etc. become more visible and analysis suddenly becomes possible and more accurate information can be reported to management.

Is this utopia?  Not necessarily – by just taking a pragmatic approach of how the data can be collected and kept current by responsible and accountable owners can be the key to its success?
The benefits of  IT transparency of costs and a clear understanding of business value and risks are clear to all who have been saddled by IT wastage and uncontrolled IT costs through lack of clear visibility of problems.  It takes both business and IT to work together to crack this –getting the CFO and business support on side with this approach, painting a clear picture of its benefits, is critical for success.

Governance, business change, business transformation, enterprise architecture, ArchiMate, modelling


Benefits of Modelling

  • Ability to articulate strategic view of landscape Optimise data use
  • Reduce infrastructure duplication and optimise non-functional aspects
  • More effective decision making due to up front options analysis with simulation of key requirements
  • Ability to communicate conflicting goals and drivers and facilitate conflict resolution
  • Highlight misalignment of priorities
  • Show competing demands for business services allowing compromise service levels to be defined
  • Improve oversight and Architectural Governance

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