Enterprise Architecture provides a conceptual blueprint for enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation through an extensive program to achieve profitable growth and strategy execution consistently. Enterprise Architecture exists to guide effective change within an organization. It is also a proactive and holistic discipline to give enterprise solutions to obstacles and problems by executing observation and analysis of change to achieve desired business outcomes.
Enterprise Architecture is responsible for managing, developing, and upgrading enterprise services and technology such as hardware and software. Enterprise Architecture helps identify deficiencies in all areas that matter and improve each part of the organization. Once these loopholes are identified, a roadmap to close out these gaps are set out.
What is an Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model?
An Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model provides organizations with the ability to benchmark and elevate their services. An assessment is conducted to evaluate the organization's practices against these models. This then determines the level at which an organization currently stands. A good maturity model is supposed to do three things:
- Constitute a proven framework within which to manage the improvement efforts of an organization.
- Provide a rationale of success that can be used periodically to measure where your organization currently stands.
- Describe the practices that an organization needs to perform to improve its processes.
There are 3 common maturity models used by enterprise architects, namely: the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model, Gartner’s EA Maturity Assessment, and the TOGAF 10 Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model. Let’s discuss some of the characteristics of these models.
The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) developed an Enterprise Architecture maturity model that state and local governments can use as a tool to objectively review the status of their Enterprise Architecture programs. The model is based on the same concept as the Capability Maturity Model (CMM)developed by the Software Engineering Institute (SEI). It describes the evolution of software development processes and has been used as the basis for maturity models for most organizations.
The NASCIO model seeks to supply a tool that can benchmark the effectiveness of an Enterprise Architecture program. In addition, it displays the natural progression of benefits that a supported and managed architecture program contributes to an organization as it matures. The model has 5 primary levels. However, there is one more level that is often not included when counting the levels. The levels in the NASCIO model are:
- Level 0: No Program
- Level 1: Informal Program
- Level 2: Repeatable Program
- Level 3: Well-Defined Program
- Level 4: Managed Program
- Level 5: Continuously Improving Vital Program
However, similar to all things in life, the NASCIO model has a few shortcomings, including:
- It assumes centralized IT decision making, which is characteristic of the state and federal government. However, this model is not suitable for private organizations.
- NASCIO assumes that your Enterprise Architecture organization is performing IT architecture that supports your IT portfolio.
- The model measures portfolio success but doesn’t provide guidance on how to improve your organization.
Having a world-class enterprise architecture in place doesn't happen by chance, but we systematically build it. According to Gartner, it often takes 18 months to two years to get the Enterprise Architecture up and running, and another one or two years after that to develop and refine it. The model also states that the constraints under which an organization operates are a key indicator of the organization's enterprise architecture maturity.
Gartner's model suggests enterprises must understand their maturity level, identify their weaknesses, set achievable goals, and progressively remove any barriers to success. The model defines five levels: nonexistent, reactive, functioning, integrated, and ubiquitous. They define the progress along these five levels based on another eight dimensions of Enterprise Architecture maturity. These eight dimensions are Enterprise Architecture governance, Stakeholder support and involvement, Team resources, Architecture development method, Deliverables, Organizational integration, Metrics, and Stakeholder perceptions.
A “mature” organization according to Gartner, has fully developed its operating model to be successful in delivering business outcomes. However, the model also has some limitations which we believe deserve a mention.
- Gartner assumes your Enterprise Architecture team supports your IT and Application portfolio and is highly IT-centric.
- Gartner’s model assumes centralized Enterprise Architecture governance, which is not a sound approach for an organization pursuing a digital transformation.
- Although Gartner measures the success of an organization, it doesn't provide guidance on how to improve your EA team.
TOGAF® Enterprise Architecture Maturity Model
The TOGAF standard doesn’t provide a standardized maturity model for enterprise architecture. The TOGAF standard assumes an EA Team could support several enterprise architecture use cases. A simplified model that measures development along a single use case would not be universal.
However, it provides a guide for developing a team using the “TOGAF® Leader’s Guide to Establishing and Evolving an EA Capability.” The TOGAF standard focuses on ensuring your Enterprise Architecture team is developed to serve your organization and provide guidance of effective change.
The TOGAF standard has a couple of limitations for assessing maturity:
- It doesn't provide a simple single-use case maturity assessment
It explicitly states the assumption of a single purpose (NASCIO & Gartner) is wrong.
- The improvement guidance in the Leader's Guide is process and outcome oriented.
- It only provides the top-level capability model, without any means to benchmark.
The Enterprise Architecture Capability Reference Architecture has a complete capability model and set of business architecture capability assessments to help build an effective EA team.
Develop Your Enterprise Architecture Team
As mentioned earlier, a great maturity model should be aligned with your organizational needs, provide success measures for your organization and enable the continuous improvement of your firm. Sadly, there isn’t a ready maturity model that does all three. One thing we can say, all high maturity enterprise architecture teams use enterprise architecture modelling tools. Experts advise that if you want to build the best Enterprise Architecture team, then you either need to do it yourself or engage expert consultants like Conexiam.
We have an established 3 step method for building an effective Enterprise Architecture team. Let’s discuss some details regarding these steps.