Enterprise architecture management has led a shadowy existence for a long time. “Only the really big ones need that!” or: “That’s what we take care of when there’s nothing else to do.” Those were quite common statements about EAM. Fortunately, that attitude is changing. You wouldn’t build a house without an architect. It might be possible, but the result would be disappointing. The same applies to the extensive digital transformation of companies. After all, you don’t want to build tomorrow’s legacy today. Technological debt can only be avoided with EAM.
Therefore the topic of EAM is also important at the most important IT management forum in Austria, the Confare #CIOSUMMIT. EAM specialists from well-known companies such as Erste Bank and Lufthansa Technik report first-hand on their experiences in lectures and at the CIO Executive Arenas. Secure your participation now.
Peter Chorlton is Director of Professional Services at ins-pi. As a software manufacturer and ServiceNow partner, the company specializes in enterprise architecture and transformation management. Meet the EAM professionals from ins-pi personally at www.ciosummit.at
You can read more about EAM with exciting company examples in the Confare factsheet.
The benefits are numerous! For example:
- driving cost, complexity, and risk out of the IT portfolios,
- achieving business and IT alignment,
- allocating IT investments according to business priorities,
- understanding the impact of change with well-defined transformation programs and integrated roadmaps.
But the most significant benefit of EAM, the Holy Grail, has always been its competitive advantage. An enterprise can realize a higher velocity of change by enabling business agility. With it, you can make better data-driven decisions and execute them faster. And if you can transform faster than your competitors, you increase your odds of being the best one on the market.
The Covid crisis has changed a lot – the analysts from Gartner believe that the importance of EAM has increased significantly as a result. Do you agree?
Threats to business continuity are nothing new. The COVID pandemic just had a broader impact across all industries. Thus, more executives became aware of their enterprise’s deficiencies in resiliency and agility.
Senior management now feel a higher urgency to implement effective strategies for the digitization of both B2B and B2C interactions. In response to the rapidly changing market conditions, they are now enabling a more fluid ‘anywhere’ workforce, and supporting business composability in response to rapidly changing market conditions.
It’s a fact that the promise of EAM has always been helping the enterprise adapt better by:
- fostering agility,
- speed for change,
- identifying risks, threats, and opportunities early on.
However, most business leaders still don’t recognize it as an essential management discipline for effective strategy execution. Enterprise Architecture still largely remains the arcane topic of the practitioners who gravitate to the discipline – the true believers.
How vital is EAM when it comes to a company’s digital transformation?
The simple answer is: every strategy today has a digital component or is already 100% digital. You need to operationalize your strategies in a coherent fashion with enterprise architecture, or you will likely end up with a disjointed digital presence. For example, if your customers are interacting with you via multiple digital channels, it can create a frustrating customer experience if the channels they interact with are not seamlessly integrated.
If you’ve ever had to get support as a customer, you’ve probably dealt with chatbots, auto-attendant phone menus, IVR systems, or multiple human agents. This means that while looking for a solution, you had an experience where you had to give the same information to a company’s multiple support channels, over and over again. This is the sort of experience that can make your customers detest interacting with your company – which is the direct result from a disjointed digitization.
To avoid this, you need the holistic view that enterprise architecture provides. That visibility into the connective fabric of the enterprise and end-to-end and top-to-bottom alignment. Otherwise, as you attempt to drive the strategic intent down through business operations and into the technologies that operationalize your strategies, you risk your strategy execution being disconnected.
What are the worst mistakes and misunderstandings when it comes to EAM, and how to avoid them?
The number one mistake is insufficient executive sponsorship. That also stems from the biggest misunderstanding – which is the lack of awareness of EAM and its benefits to the enterprise amongst senior leadership.
Another common shortcoming is that enterprise architecture creation and governance processes are often seen as an impediment to business agility. This is why EAM programs must become service-oriented, and they have to be agile in the processes of architecting and governance
Other conditions that cause EA programs to fail are often the consequence of deficient executive sponsorship, such as:
- insufficient enterprise architecture staff capacity and skills,
- the impetus to mobilize SME resources to acquire and maintain the requisite data,
- poor implementation of tooling.
Ultimately, it’s all down to the executive sponsorship to provide the focus, motivation, and funding to establish EAM as a key management discipline in the enterprise.
What impact does EAM have on communication within and beyond departmental and company boundaries?
In today’s environment, with things like hybrid cloud and event streaming, communication is fundamentally about:
- freeing data,
- breaking down the boundaries of the business itself to integrate entire value chains,
- exposing information within and without, to realize new revenue streams and new efficiencies.
Business communication today is mostly digital. Which means it must be secure. However, in today’s business environment, communication must also be instant.
When was the last time you purchased an item, and didn’t receive confirmation within seconds of your purchase? Well, there’s a lot that has to happen behind the scenes to provide communication that is both instant and secure. We take this for granted now, but this was not the case mere years ago.
How can a business understand all its communication channels and technical underpinnings without knowing the underlying (enterprise) architecture? You need to have a robust information/data architecture, which is a requirement to understand what information needs to be transmitted in connection to business events or transactions.
Instant and secure communication today requires:
- air-tight infosec policies and corresponding tech across the corporate network and boundaries with suppliers and customers,
- seamless orchestration and integration between on-prem and cloud systems.
And you can’t accomplish any of that without a comprehensive data architecture. Otherwise, you risk having duplicate and out-of-sync data. None of this is achievable without a very robust EAM practice.
What are the most critical requirements for modern EAM infrastructure and tools? Which elements are crucial?
Speed-to-value is a key metric for an EAM program. The tooling should allow for:
- ease of implementation and configuration (because everyone does it),
- be intuitive to use (not a steep learning curve),
- come out-of-box with dynamic analytic functionality (dashboards, dynamic reports, and BI capabilities) that supports the common use cases of EAM.
As we all know, data is paramount. An EAM solution should have facilities to ease the acquisition and maintenance of data, with out-of-box integrations with other data sources in the EAM-adjacent ecosystem.
Data quality management features are very helpful as well; because the closer to real-time and up-to-date data the EAM program is working with, the farther it is from creating what are effectively “shelfware” artifacts – like the architectures of yesterday.
And, of course, EAM will only go as far as organization adoption and consumption of architecture information and products. For broad adoption and making the most of architectures, an EAM solution should have the ability to present information for different audiences in different contexts and formats.
What role does ins-pi play in a CIO’s EAM ecosystem?
The ins-pi solutions (Designer, UPM-X, and FREELUCY) cover the full EAM space, all layers of architecture, and all the common types of models. However, ins-pi supports other types of modeling beyond architecture and process modeling. The shape libraries come out-of-box with over 4,000 shapes, supporting all the common modeling languages and notations.
A key differentiator is that the solutions are native applications running 100% on the ServiceNow platform. This basically means that users can diagram anything that is in the CMDB. So the power of the solutions extends far beyond traditional EAM solutions, and they are useful to a much larger community than just enterprise architects. This broader community of use leads to much richer and more extensive content in the repository.
And because the solutions are native to the ServiceNow platform, architecture models and diagrams come to life with real-time data from the ServiceNow repository. This goes a long way toward solving one of the biggest challenges of architecture: data acquisition and maintaining data currency. And all of this can be done without having to build expensive and rigid integrations.
In fact, ins-pi solutions can take advantage of the full features of the ServiceNow platform, including the ServiceNow Integration Hub, which can integrate with any API-enabled system, and has more than 180 ServiceNow and partner integrations already available. So while ins-pi and ServiceNow together cover a much broader range of content than traditional EAM solutions, there is the expanded ability to also include many other data sources. And finally, the procurement and implementation process is simplified with an app store purchase and easy installation by a ServiceNow admin, so ins-pi customers can hit the ground running in no time.