A successful enterprise architecture project can help unlock an IT department's true value to the business it supports. EA, as a discipline, allows an organisation to compare its near-term business objectives with its current technological capabilities and then make intelligent decisions about what it can reasonably expect to accomplish. Furthermore, the gaps that are identified represent opportunities for future IT investments.
Sound like a lofty endeavor? It is, but getting there isn't as difficult as you might think.
Developing a good enterprise architecture program shouldn't require a dedicated full time staff of specialists. A team led by a strong, focused manager can jump start an EA program by creating small deliverables that the business stakeholders can understand. (Hint: If your program's objectives can't be described in an elevator speech, have your team step back and simplify.)
Work with representatives from the business side to set up four easily understood documents. If the business people have a chance to offer input, they should be able to understand the business value of each phase of your EA program.
This discussion will focus solely on Phase 1 of an enterprise architecture initiative. This phase should include the following:
- The Foundation (principles and objectives)
- The As-Is Architecture model
- The To-Be Architecture model
- The Transition Model (i.e., a road map)
If you take the time to fully develop each of those documents, you'll lay the groundwork for discussing valuable opportunities for improvement.
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