Enterprise architecture provides a set of tools that help organisations to align their strategic objectives with operational consequences and IT decision-making, however it is not only an IT tool.

It is a business instrument that also aligns the organisation at all levels with its business objectives.

The ‘perfect world’ alignment of enterprise architecture and project delivery

In a perfect world, enterprise architecture and project delivery should always have strong alignment, which is critical to building and deploying projects that meet the long-term vision and strategy of the business.

Often projects will be run in silos, or focussed on a tactical outcome without considering the wider organisation. Strong Enterprise Architecture can help avoid this happening.

Here’s how:

  1. Business architects create business models based on the emerging business vision and strategy from the executive leadership team.
  2. The business models form the basis for future business requirements for information, processing, security and integration solutions. Information, application, security and technology architects each design the required systems – initially at a strategic level – to guide portfolio planning and later provide detailed solutions to support individual implementation projects.
  3. Portfolio Managers then use the models to devise programs consisting of smaller projects via a roadmap to attain the target Enterprise Architecture. Individual projects are then implemented, each tackling a piece of the transformation puzzle.

These Enterprise Architecture frameworks will drive clear scope and requirements for technology projects that are targeted to outcomes (tactical and strategic) across all levels of the business.

Three tangible benefits of strong enterprise architecture

There are benefits beyond sound project outcomes that enterprise architecture will achieve, for example:

1. Cost Management
Enterprise Architecture can provide clarity and targeted frameworks across a range of elements to capture costs, including:

  • Total cost of operation of the application(s).
  • Costs of infrastructure, hardware, software and networks.
  • Development costs if software is needed.
  • Cost of business operations once transitioned over from the project.

2. Risk Management
Enterprise Architecture can help manage risk in:

  • Non-compliance (i.e. regulatory / legal).
  • Excessive project costs (well-defined outcomes and design minimise cost blow-out)
  • Loss of intellectual property (retained in-house).

3. Business Agility
Companies focused on business agility and flexibility with well set-up Enterprise Architecture can improve flexibility through:

  • Better decision-making support, thanks to greater awareness of the business outcomes and what the project needs to achieve.
  • Faster realisation of new business processes that are aligned to outcomes.
  • Improved flexibility to outsource non-core activities with a deeper understanding of what core business capability is as well as what can be outsourced.

Right projects at the right time

When a project is in scoping and requirements phase, a robust Enterprise Architecture can ensure that costs, risks, business outcomes and agility are controlled through deep insights and clearly defined roadmaps.

Clearly defined frameworks and a thorough understanding of what the business needs to achieve a fit for purpose Enterprise Architecture provides organisations tools and a governance capability that helps ensure they are focused on the ‘right projects at the right time’. This remains a critical component to sound portfolio management and overall successful project delivery across an organisation

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Quay Consulting is a professional services business specialising in the project landscape, transforming strategy into fit-for-purpose delivery. Meet our team ...