Enterprise Architecture Benefits

Delivering Business & Technology Innovation by the use of EA

Business Capability Improvement as one of the Enterprise Architecture Benefits.

Every Organization Has Enterprise Architecture to Control

Enterprise Architecture (EA) means two things. It is both a process (1) and a product (2).

  1. Enterprise Architecture as a field of work is the art and science of designing and realizing enterprises.
  2. Enterprise Architecture as in the architecture of an enterprise is the total concept of that enterprise, consisting of concepts that provide construction, operation, and decoration to that enterprise.

Every organization has a coherent set of concepts applied to it, like process orientation, service orientation, b2b marketing, and automation. Therefore every organization has an enterprise architecture. If you look at only the business concepts of the enterprise one can speak of the Business Architecture. When one only looks at the IT concepts of the enterprise one can speak of the IT architecture as part of the Enterprise Architecture. In this way, one can recognize many different types of architecture in an enterprise.

Architects use the strategy, needs, and requirements of stakeholders and their own experience to select the right and required concepts (with principles/working mechanisms) and standards for the organization. Next, they get the concepts, principles, and standards approved by CxOs and provide projects with visualizations to guide them in implementing the concepts, principles, and standards.

A misconception of architecture is that EA can be a description only. That is not true. EA is a total concept. That total concept can be designed, visualized, and described. If you do not describe the architecture of a pyramid or an enterprise, these two structures still have an architecture, and that architecture will enable or block certain changes and innovation. Therefore architecture cannot be just a description.

Benefits of Enterprise Architecture using Conceptual Diagrams with Architecture Principles.

A conceptual blueprint as a product or document can be part of the design, visualization, or description of an architecture, but a blueprint is not the architecture itself. Architecture is a total concept applied to a structure. Nothing more and nothing less. And creating a conceptual blueprint as a document or visualization to control architecture, is a best practice.

The point is, that if you only describe enterprise architecture, you are not working with enterprise architecture or gaining its benefits, as in guiding a project to make use of principles and standards that eventually will implement the strategy.

To work with enterprise architecture you need to start up a process, assign roles to people, have people educated, and have people create products, approve products, and use products.

What are the 7 Enterprise Architecture Benefits?

Enterprise architecture has many well-known benefits like providing insights and an overview of structures and dependencies between processes and applications.

In the view of strategy, it pays off to formulate proven EA benefits that directly can be justified financially and strategically. But what are the benefits of Enterprise Architecture?

We come to 7 proven EA benefits that can be delivered by enterprise architecture using Dragon1 in any organization. These are:

  1. Creating Insights and Overviews of Relations and Dependencies
  2. Impact of Change Analysis (What-if Scenarios)
  3. Standardization and Risk Mitigation
  4. IT Cost and Complexity Reduction
  5. Process and Capability Improvement
  6. Enabling Innovation
  7. Strategy and Transformation Realization

All these benefits justify investing money into the enterprise architecture initiative in an organization.

1. Creating Insights and Overviews of Relations and Dependencies

The most well-known benefit of EA is to create common insights and overviews of relationships and interdependencies. This leads to reducing miscommunication and misunderstandings. And also more confidence in making a decision.

Read more about Creating Insights and Overviews using Dragon1 for EA.

2. Impact of Change Analysis

The second most well-known benefit of EA is about visualizing and using the knowledge on the impact of change. With this, you can prevent showstoppers in projects better.

Read more about Impact of Change using Dragon1 for EA.

3. Standardization and Risk Mitigation

You may want to collaborate seamlessly with other organizations or have your business unit collaborate more efficiently together. For instance with one consistent client view.

If you would only have solutions built on open standards, then integrating processes, services, and applications is easy to do.

Having different solutions for the same problems and having a different version of the same solutions, increases costs. Having exotic solutions to a common problem, or having no standard solutions to standard problems, all increase costs. Especially when knowledge is scarce.

EA is a proven tool or method to standardize IT successfully.

The less diverse an IT landscape is, and the fewer relationships or interfaces there, the less complex the IT landscape is. Lower complexity leads to higher availability, an improved way of working in the IT landscape, and much fewer risks it will fail.

Dragon1 as an open EA method supports you in standardizing your IT Landscape.

Read more about Technology Standardization using Dragon1 for EA.

4. IT Cost and Complexity Reduction

In organizations many things happen where not everyone is constantly busy with thinking: how necessary is this what we do concerning the strategy? When working with EA, every project that is not related to or necessary because of strategy gets the advice to be stopped.

Also every process, service, system, or construction that is not adding value to the business model or strategy, is advised to be stopped. This reduces complexity significantly and with that increases stability and overall quality.

Rationalizing every solution, based on benchmarks, standards, experience, and references will reduce costs.

Having more overviews and insights into dependencies and interrelationships makes sure you will reduce costs.

Read more about IT Cost reduction using Dragon1 for EA.

5. Process and Capability Improvement

Working with Enterprise Architecture has a history of improving processes. The fundamental lean redesign of chains of activities, complex services, and products requires global and detailed insights and overviews. Architecture visualization can quickly provide information on the impact of change on a redesign of a process, service, or product.

When processes are improved, fewer mistakes are made, resources are used more efficiently and effectively and customers and clients immediately will experience the improvement.

Read more about Business Process Improvement using Dragon1 for EA.

6. Enabling Innovation

Working with Enterprise Architecture leads to increasing the ability to change and transform.

You may want to implement new technologies and concepts like artificial intelligence, block, and IoT to innovate your business model.

Having EA documented and used in projects, makes sure that you know exactly how everything is currently configured, related and works in your organization and what the impact of change on anything is in the near future.

With that, the constructions or outdated standards and technologies that may be blocking innovation can be removed or phased out step by step. With EA you become ready for the future.

Dragon1 as EA method supports you in creating the necessary holistic view of the enterprise.

Read more about Innovation Enablement using Dragon1 for EA.

7. Strategy and Transformation Realization

Every organization that has a strategy will want to realize it. And for that put up programs and projects.

Enterprise Architecture is most helpful for reviewing, feedback, and using the strategy: the strategic priorities and initiatives can be connected to programs and projects that realize them. Architecture can provide integral blueprints and landscapes for the strategically required concepts, principles, standards, and solutions and guide projects with them.

Read more about Strategy Realization using Dragon1 for EA.

Smart Organizations require Working with EA

Today the customer wants an organization to be smart, so they can get the best experience possible. They want an organization to make maximum use of what it knows about products, processes, technologies, and customer behavior.

Customer Journey Mapping is a new way of creating insights into what a customer wants and how it is provided to the customer.

To be able to deliver what I promised or is necessary, many projects have to collaborate efficiently and perform a continuous transformation of the organization.

What these projects need are global and detailed insights and overviews, principles, and standards that guide their project execution. That is why every organization that wants to become smart will benefit from working with Enterprise Architecture.

Working with Enterprise Architecture at Maturity Level #1

To realize 1 or 2 benefits out of 5 of working with Enterprise Architecture, it is necessary to scale up to maturity level #1.

Dragon1 defines Maturity Level #1 of working with EA as follows: The architecture team provides services to every project, and every project potentially can make use of architecture products that are available to them. The most important stakeholders are aware of what EA is and the benefits and its products, the EA process is rudimentary in place. The architects can make use of the Enterprise Architecture Dossier (as a common ground and unique base) to answer any simple question by a stakeholder. Not all views thinkable are present, but the most common ones are.

At the bottom of this page a configuration is provided for an Enterprise Architecture Dossier at maturity level #1.

Checklist for Maturity Level 1

  • Organize architecture roles
  • Create architecture plan, quantifying EA benefits, adding EA product roadmap
  • Get assignments (requests) from stakeholders (to create certain views of EA products)
  • Create enterprise architecture dossier
  • Create EA process and EA products together with stakeholders
  • Communicate the process and products to stakeholders and projects
  • Report on realizing EA Benefits

How to have Stakeholders Benefit from EA

Next to the overall benefits, EA has also role-specific benefits. Some of them are outlined below. Per type of stakeholder, products are mentioned that the stakeholders can use in their work.

Client / Customer

Working with enterprise architecture improves processes that clients and customers depend upon and rely upon.

  • Products and Services Roadmap
  • Infographics, to communicate transparently about processes, products, services, and technologies

Working with enterprise architecture improves the data quality of the organization, enables permanent education for employees, and increases career options for employees because the organization is better able to execute its strategy.

  • Strategy Roadmap
  • Infographics, to communicate transparently about processes, products, services, and technologies and startup discussion on the usage of new concepts
Business Manager

A business manager will have constant insights and an overview of the processes he or she is responsible for.

If a business manager wants to innovate the part of the business he or she is responsible for, very quickly architects and the architecture can provide feedback on what the impact or resistance in the organization is and provide projects with designs and guidelines on how to realize that innovation.

  • Customer Journey
  • Process and Services Landscape
  • Business Capabilities Map
IT Manager

IT Managers can be more ambitious if they work with EA. For instance: reducing 30% costs instead of 20% on application licenses and maintenance.

  • IT Landscape, with views on costs, integration, and end-of-life assets
Information Manager

Information Managers can be more clear to the business when they get what service

  • Information Landscape with views on services
HR Manager

HR Manager can source the organization better with skills and competencies that are required.

  • Human Capital Landscape
  • Competence and Skills Heat Map
Project Manager and Project Worker

  • Project Landscape Map per project
  • Functional and Technical Concept Design Sketch per Project
  • Functional and Technical Solution Design Diagram per Project
Logistics Manager

  • Logistics Landscape Map
Financial Manager

A financial manager can make sure that investments in innovation are more aligned with the strategy and that the usage of resources is more in line with the business case.

  • Financial Landscape Map, with a view on justified costs of assets and projects in line with the strategy.
Security Manager

  • Security Landscape Map, with the Top 10 Potential Leak Risks
Directors and CxOs

Directors benefit from EA because it helps them to communicate the strategy to everyone and have integral designs for every project to realize the strategy step by step.

  • Strategy Map
  • Business Model

Quickstart working with EA using a Dossier

It makes sense to organize and control working with the enterprise architecture in any organization. And this can be done at various levels of maturity.

Compliant to Dragon1, at the first level of maturity, the organization recognizes there is an architecture (more architectures) present in the organization and that it pays off by making it tangible and using it to guide change and innovation.

Several people are assigned the role of manager architecture (exactly 1) and architect (at least 1, preferably 3) and a first process of working with architecture is put in place that tells how to create and make use of enterprise architecture products and a basic enterprise architecture dossier is created and maintained containing the enterprise architecture products. Commonly the CIO is the owner of the Enterprise Architecture.

1. Maturity Level 1 EA products

One can create many products in an organization for many stakeholders when starting up working with EA. Dragon1 promotes the following basic products to create as part of maturity level 1.

The products are placed in the order they are commonly created.

  1. EA Assignment or EA Statement - This is a document where a director states the mission, vision, ambition, and goals for working with the enterprise architecture in the organization and declares him or herself the owner of the architecture. Often the architecture manager and architects that are responsible and accountable for EA are named. In the document, it is described when working with EA in the organization can be seen as a success and how that can be measured. Every year, this document should be updated.
  2. EA Process - The process description of working with the enterprise architecture in the organization: how are various roles in the organization going to ask, create and use EA products?
  3. EA Framework - Document with description and visualization of the recognized architecture in the organization: responsibility, accountability, which architectures are and in scope and out of scope for which years, the main parts of architecture to manage and administer.
  4. EA Product Roadmap and EA Product Calendar - A document when the documents, products, and visualizations in this list are produced and delivered.
  5. Architecture Team Services Menu - A document, like an intranet page, that describes the services the architecture team provides to the stakeholders.
  6. Meetings Schedule - When is everyone going to meet to discuss the creation of products, provide input, provide feedback, and use them?
  7. Application Landscape - Document with description and views of various aspects of all the applications in the organization: f.i. dependencies, relationships, technologies, concepts, principles, methods, standards, life cycles, and responsibilities.
  8. Process Landscape - Document with description and views of various aspects of all the processes in the organization: f.i. dependencies, relationships, technologies, concepts, principles, methods, standards, life cycles, and responsibilities.
  9. Enterprise Functions Overview (Structure Vision) - A document with a description and visualization of the main enterprise, business, and IT functions and domains that currently are applied to the organization.
  10. Architecture Concepts Overview (Architecture Vision) - A document with a description and visualization of the main concepts that currently are applied to the organization.
  11. Architecture Principles Overview - A document with the description and visualization of the principles of the concepts that currently are applied to the organization.
  12. Standards Overview - A document with the description and visualization of the standards per domain per architecture layer that currently are applied to the organization. And the level of compliance with these standards.
  13. Capability Landscape
  14. Strategy Map
  15. Business Model
  16. Data Landscape
  17. IT Landscape
  18. Glossary of Terms
  19. Architecture Design Decisions
  20. Architect Role Description
  21. EA Year plan or EA Policy
  22. EA Vision Statement
  23. Enterprise Architecture Blueprint
  24. Projects Overview / Portfolio
  25. Functional and Technical visualization of a solution or concept per project
  26. Business Architecture Section - If Business Architecture is recognized as architecture in the framework
  27. IT Architecture Section - If IT Architecture is recognized as architecture in the framework
  28. ... Architecture Section

Make sure that you create a calendar where you plan when what product is created and delivered. Make sure that for every product there is someone who asked for it or ordered it and someone is the owner and administrator or editor of it (for controlled maintenance).

At first you will mainly create visualizations as part of the products that are management overviews. Over time you will see that you create visualizations that are for different stakeholders. This is what we call views. Know that you may need a view per type of stakeholder to have a product used by that type of stakeholder.

2. AS-IS Architecture and TO-BE Architecture

In architecture we distinguish between the current (AS-IS) and future (TO-BE) state of the architecture.

Visualizations of the views of the AS-IS architecture will show the principles and standards per domain per architecture layer that are currently in place or effective.

Visualizations of the views of the TO-BE architecture will show the principles and standards per domain per architecture layer that is in the future implemented or effective.

With the visualizations of two different moments of architecture one can create a roadmap to migrate the whole or part of the organization from working with the current set of principles and standards to the new future set of principles and standards.

More Information About using Dragon1 Enterprise Architecture

On this page, we have shown that Dragon1 is an open EA method. Dragon1 is also an EA software platform with strategic Enterprise Architecture tools available.

If you have any questions about working with Enterprise Architecture, or want support from a Dragon1 Expert, please contact us at info@dragon1.com.

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