How Does Enterprise Information Architecture Benefit Organizations?
Facilitate the digital transformation of businesses by reaping the benefits of enterprise architecture to help enterprises keep up with new technologies such as cloud, IoT, and others.
FREMONT, CA: Business transformation takes place with the ever-changing needs and circumstances. Managing complexity and constant change is a daunting task. Organizations mostly lack a clear cut insight into their business functions, processes, technical platforms, such as servers and databases, their dependency, and information systems (IS) to execute the transformational initiatives. Although there exist many traditional transformational approaches like process improvement, IT governance, and program management, they are not very useful. Thus, organizations nowadays align towards a common goal using enterprise architecture (EA), a planning and governance approach.
EA is especially useful for large businesses undergoing digital transformation because it focuses on bringing legacy processes and applications together to form a more seamless environment. Eventually, CIOs have observed organizations deriving the benefits of EA, and here are some significant ways EA transforms organizations.
Significance of EA
Enterprise architecture refers to the representation of a high-level view of an organization’s business processes and IT systems, interlinks between them, and the extent to which different parts of the enterprise share these processes and systems. EA intends to determine how effectively an organization achieves its current and future objectives. Creating enterprise architecture comprises analysis, requirement specification, design, development, testing and integration, and implementation or deployment.
EA Management (EAM) operations include the management activities conducted in an organization to install, maintain, and develop an organization’s EA. On the other hand, EA governance ensures that the documents used for guiding each development activity in the organization’s transformational journey are facilitating the compliance of solutions. EA products are the desired outputs of EA processes, including documentation and services. The documentation describes the current and target state while elaborating on how to attain it. This includes architectural models, principles, standards, and others representing the organization’s business, information, IS, and technology, on different levels of abstraction for varying requirements.
EA services refer to the collaboration interfaces of the EA stakeholders, including its planning and implementation of support services that support decision making on the EA target state. While EA products are primarily used for guiding the EA’s realization in individual development initiatives during implementation, ultimately, they support decision-making and communication, transformation governance, strategic management, and IT and business planning activities. As the EA process and result’s quality and intertwined, high-quality EA products are required to deliver high-quality service, and appropriate EA services improve the quality of EA products.
Goals of EA
To keep pace with an organization’s business requirements, EA allows information, business, and technology flow together, thereby establishing the interrelationship between them. A good EAP strategy utilizes the latest innovations in business processes, information systems, organizational structure, and technologies. It uses a standard language and best practices for business processes by analyzing where processes can be integrated or eliminated throughout the organization. Thus, the ultimate goal of any EAP strategy is to improve the efficiency, timeliness, and reliability of business information.
Deriving Benefits from EA
EA has a direct impact on the quality of the results of the EA processes represented by its product and services. It provides document knowledge on the enterprise. The methods of EA planning, documentation, and governance can immediately contribute to an improved understanding of the organization and its components. An EA identifies resource dependencies, synergies, and suboptimal resource use while improving return on investments, solution development, and alignment with partners, stability, change management, and compliance. They also enhance the quality of resource, integration, consolidation, flexibility, reuse, and alignment. Another way of utilizing EA products and services in use situations by stakeholders include architects, projects, and management.
The benefits from EA processes are numerous, resulting from EA activities where each benefit triggers other benefits. Most of them are indirect as they increase agility, efficiency, growth, innovation, improve customer satisfaction, improve decision-making while reducing cost and complexity. Most of the benefits are on an individual or project level, while some are more at the organization level in nature. Finally, while there are concrete, measurable benefits such as cost savings, most of the benefits are somewhat abstract and are not easily measurable. Other purported advantages of having enterprise architecture include improved organizational communication, enterprise-wide goal attainment, employee satisfaction, minimization of employee turnover, and more.
While building enterprise architecture, an enterprise architect should keep up with the latest technology trends and choose the right one that would fit right for a company.