Defining Enterprise Architecture Strategy
It is often an enterprise architect's responsibility to work with the business stakeholders to define an enterprise strategy that fits into the over strategy of the organisation. Using the TOGAF architecture development method, the enterprise architect will work with the business to define:
(A) an architecture vision, and go through the series of processes to thoroughly define.
(B) the business architecture; the business process and organisation structure, roles and responsibilities.
The information architects and the technology architects will assist the enterprise architects and the business stakeholders to define:
(C) the information system, data and application architecture; the data model, domains and applications involved.
(D) the technology architecture; the technology choice, development methodology.
A few of these so call "strategies" may form to deliver the overall architecture vision.
(Source: The Open Group Architecture Framework)
Once the strategies ha been defined, wider engagement with IT program managers, solution architects, development managers are required to identity solutions and opportunities and come up with a plan to implement these strategies. Plans should be fed back to create a strategy roadmap so that everyone in the organisation will have a clearly defined direction to move ahead with. Obviously plan can change and decisions will be made based on the market conditions, the economics of the solution, but the directions and the vision should not.
Bridging the GAP
In an ideal world, everyone in the organisation will share the same vision, and all move towards the same direction. However, in reality, there is quite a disconnect between the
Visionaries (Enterprise architects, Business leaders)
Executors (Program manager, Developement managers, Solution architects)
This is common because the first group of people often look at the big picture and the long term (5-10 years) outcome, where as the second group of people often cares more about the details and whether the "project" is financially viable or not. The strategy and the vision often end up being all talks but no actions
The Enterprise Architecture Network
Like people, enterprise architecture strategies cannot live in an ivory tower. It needs to branch out and connect to the real world. And in the real world, real projects must have a business case, short term or long term. Enterprise Architects should work harder on their side to bridge the gap between the vision and the reality. Efforts needed to be spent to
- ensure buy-in from the executors
- ensure that there are roadmaps/plans which map to real world projects
- putting the business case for projects
Just like what's being shown in the diagram, Enterprise architecture stategy and projects should form a network because
- EA strategies need projects to bring the vision to live
- Projects need EA strategies to align with the vision