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Put Your Strategy Into Action With Enterprise Architecture (EA)

Put Your Strategy Into Action With Enterprise Architecture (EA)


Put Your Strategy Into Action With Enterprise Architecture (EA)

by Tommo Koivusalo

With the help of enterprise architecture (EA) you can combine the four layers of every company: business strategy, information, applications and technology. The idea is to build one framework that combines the four layers in a rational way. EA is both a method of working and the product of the work itself.

Now that information and communications technology (ICT) has become truly critical to businesses, there is a need for a holistic approach that develops business and ICT at the same time. Earlier this approach was preferred by the ICT managers but today the successful business managers make use of it. The biggest benefits are agile implementation of the strategy and better quality.

Holistic approach ensures quality

The ideology of EA is in many ways similar to the quality models, like ISO, six sigma or EFQM. Both EA and all the quality models involve the holistic approach; in order to improve you have to improve in very many things. How is this done? First you describe and do modeling, then you improve the big picture and the details, track the results and correct. Then you keep repeating the process constantly.

These basic quality rules have been known from the distant days of W.Edward Deming. What EA adds to the quality modes is the ICT component. EA highlights the role of ICT in today's business. As every manager knows, it is virtually impossible to operate profitably without IT applications. Or put it another way - it is virtually impossible to get the most out of the given resources if the IT applications do not work well together.

Agility is attainable

The business environment is rather hostile in many industries and companies have to adapt to changes rapidly in order to survive. We assume this trend will go on. Therefore agility it what good business managers are looking for. What are the biggest obstacles for agility then? Existing contracts, personnel and the processes they follow, legislation, the current production infrastructure, not to mention the IT applications that all this needs in order to operate...

How to improve agility if there are so many obstacles? We feel the best way to do it is to develop the entire company, not any single area of problems. This is where the EA approach can help you. If you truly try to exploit ICT, you have to go over existing boarders within and outside your organization. So every time you want to improve in something, look at the big picture and consider if there is room for improvements.

Call for it

Take a look at what basically every ICT company offers you. Solutions for simple, limited problems. Improvements in a single, limited area of your company. You will not achieve true agility with these kind of investments (of course they still can improve your current state). On the other hand, take a look of what the management consultants offer you. Does the same hold true with them? Improvements in single, limited area. The responsibility to call for more is yours.

There are plenty of examples

You know companies that exploit ICT in a way that makes them cleverer and faster than the other. They think "the EA way". In today's world, they are winning the races. Tomorrow they will crush you.

About the Author:
Tommo Koivusalo is Managing Director in A-Ware Oy. A-Ware Oy, located in Helsinki, Finland , is an enterprise architect and has gained knowledge in the field both through academical research and commercial assignments.To learn more about Yritysarkkitehtuuri and Ict Konsultointi please visit authors site.

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