While most businesses are focused on the tasks of the day, enterprise architecture brings a new, holistic approach to business. After all, there is a method to the ways in which organizations operate, and those that can codify their focus and maintain an overall view of what’s important and what’s not will stand to do better and have more success in today’s quickly changing business landscape.
However, not everyone has bought into the value of enterprise architecture and how it can optimize the efforts of an entire organization in ways that can exceed the sum of all of those departments and resources at a company’s disposal. Sure enough, the overall value of enterprise architecture will only be as beneficial as the buy-in, and that means disparate departments and initiatives will have to adhere to what’s set forth in enterprise architecture itself.
What Is the Added Value of an Enterprise Architecture?
While enterprise architecture can be a huge catalyst for organizational change, many actually see these efforts as detracting from the work they need to do. That’s why education is such a big part of enterprise architecture value, and once you can communicate the benefits and get people on board, you can really start to drive influential change in your organization. Some may doubt the value driven by enterprise architecture, while others may be unconvinced as to the true impact because they only see a smaller piece of a much larger puzzle.
Today, enterprise architecture can be seen as bringing the same value to the organization that certain optimizations bring to certain products and services. A business may produce product or service X, but the value of enterprise architecture is in streamlining the organization so that each organizational piece plays a crucial role in the overall strategies and goals of the entire company. That’s slightly different from most companies that silo certain departments and reduce cross-departmental communication and initiatives, which often presents significant challenges to be overcome with regard to the overall goals.
Furthermore, when business actors have different goals in mind, it’s hard to draw the right conclusions and see the forest, not the trees. In some instances, the wrong decisions will be made because the focus may be too narrow. But when everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goals with the same guidance and strategies in mind, true value can start to emerge.
For those still on the fence, the market won’t sit idly by and wait for you to play catch-up. Those that have implemented successful enterprise architecture strategies will stand to gain the most, as well as increasing their market share and making it more difficult for other players to compete and exist in the space. Over a long enough timeframe, you may find that your inefficiencies have cost you market share, revenue or a path forward, and that’s no place for an organization that wants to stay on top.
Adding Value With Enterprise Architecture
Instead of allowing your overall goals and structure to work against you, creating friction and making it more difficult to get things done, enterprise architecture is more about staying abreast of changes in the landscape and the incorporation of new technologies that can help you get more done while devoting less resources to doing so. Rather than using your existing architecture to find reasons that you can’t do something, enterprise architecture allows you to flip the script and figure out the best way to move forward with any new initiative — more of a solution mechanism than an excuse.
Regardless of the existing standards and goals of your organization, the value of enterprise architecture is more about providing a way forward to any challenge that’s affecting your business. Enterprise architecture is not about making it difficult to affect change, but rather about driving strategic planning with a codified process that takes into account all the different players and resources that your organization has at its disposal.
Often, that means bringing IT and business initiatives together in a holistic way to where they support and augment each other, thereby foregoing wasteful conflicts that have a tendency to consume time and resources. All of that begins with giving everyone a seat at the table and to agree on the shared goals, as well as a common language that can lead to initiatives that help the organization meet those goals. Once the important aspects have been identified, priorities can be assigned and strategies can be accelerated into action.
How Can Enterprise Architecture Help?
Some organizations may be better equipped to integrate new strategies and suggestions in an expedited manner. However, the true value of enterprise architecture is to shorten the timeframe and enable any organization to establish goals and comprehensive strategies to help meet those goals.
To get more out of your initiatives and to help establish enterprise architecture as a focal point of your organization, training is a great place to start. Here at Conexiam, we help train business architects, IT departments and other players in the big picture of enterprise architecture. Learn more here.