Industry experts discuss examples of how Enterprise Architecture aligns Business & Technology
How does enterprise architecture engage with the business today? How can EA help the Business and IT align and work closer together?
After sharing the discussion on the evolution and perceived value of enterprise architecture, let’s explore what our thought leaders, President of JV Strategic Solutions John Varricchio, KPMG Enterprise Architecture Leader Roland Woldt, and MEGA’s own Chief Strategy Officer Dan Hebda, discussed around how enterprise architecture can help align business and technology during a webinar entitled, “Modernizing the Role of Enterprise Architecture in the Age of Digital Disruption.”
How engaged are enterprise architects with the Business today?
In our webinar poll, we learned that 6% of respondents said they do not engage with the Business at all; 24% rarely; 42% occasionally; and 27% regularly. This means that 72% of respondents do not engage with the Business on a regular basis. This is no surprise given enterprise architects tend to work separately from the Business in their own organization and thus are disconnected from on-the-ground projects. However, in this highly disruptive, agile environment, companies will benefit from a more connected enterprise architecture function to facilitate digital business transformation.
What can enterprise architecture do to help bring the Business and IT closer together?
Dan starts by saying, “One of the things to recognize is that business and IT shouldn’t be treated as two competing aspects. We’re all the same organization. We should have the same aspiration which is to achieve the outcomes defined by the strategy and have an architectural vision to clarify that and bring that together is valuable. Articulating a singular perspective on the strategies that can be viewed through the business or IT lens so that we can then flesh out more specific tactics for each group is very important.”
“I go back to my affinity for business architecture as a piece of enterprise architecture and when it comes to business IT alignment, I think that capabilities are a great way to assess and understand the general gaps in the performance of the organization whether they be business-oriented or technological in nature. Solicit ideas, for example on ways of enhancing and improving them and then put that into action. If it’s IT in nature, flesh out the architecture, understand the cause and implications before major investments are made and similarly do the same if it’s Business. Architect or design a mockup of what the processes might look like and the data and technology required to support it, all in advance of the cost. So I think there’s a lot that can be done there.”
Roland agrees, “I’d like to stress what you said. There shouldn’t be two strategies. There should be just one strategy. You can only have one North Star and given the fact that everything is faster we say, ‘Okay, how do we provide technology and business services faster in a more integrated way?’ I see that going on and it doesn’t work with two separate strategies. So mind you, there are some narrow teams in all areas of the organization using Agile versus Waterfall where you have the handoffs and one thing that I really like is the one-stop shop.” Further, Roland adds, “I think three organizations: strategy, architecture and product management, should go together into one – it should be a one-stop shop, one organization that manages the transformation, the change in the organization.”
John Varricchio responds, “Alignment is an area where the Enterprise Architecture group can really step in and lean into and be the first responders to alert the organization that there is a misalignment.” Roland agrees, “Enterprise Architecture should be in the KNOW and they should understand how things are wired up. They should be able to run the analysis that’s needed to make the right decisions fast and they should have the tools to be able to not only capture and analyze the thoughts and then rationalize it.”
“I worked with a client where there was a lot of internal frustration around the IT organization, but the IT organization was delivering on all of their commitments. Great project delivery, great results, but the business didn’t care,” adds John. “So it was almost like, ‘great landing, wrong airport,’ so we got the business and IT folks together and it turned out there were actually two strategies: Business strategy and IT strategy. We worked together to unify those strategies, so they had one and their alignment problem was greatly improved.”
Roland Woldt is a well-rounded executive with 20+ years of Business / Digital Transformation consulting and software development/system implementation experience, in addition to leadership positions within the German Armed Forces (11 years).
He has worked as a Team Lead, Engagement/Program Manager, and Enterprise/Solution Architect for many projects. Within these projects, he was responsible for the full project life cycle from shaping a solution and selling it, to setting up a methodological approach through design, implementation, and test, up to the rollout of solutions.
In addition to this Roland has managed consulting offerings during their lifecycle from the definition, delivery to update, and had revenue responsibility for them. This also included the stand-up and development of consulting teams, and their day-to-day management.