Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Measuring Enterprise Architecture through Technology Business Management

Enterprise Architecture  (EA) is a discipline with a goal of ensuring that the architecture of applications, data and infrastructure are aligned with the business goals.   One begins ensuring this alignment is created by starting with business capabilities and then mapping the application, data and infrastructure architectures support the required business functions.   The art of EA comes from not only identifying and fulfilling the objectives of the business as they stand today, but also to ensure that the respective sub-architectures are flexible to allow the business to adapt to the changing business and customer needs.   One of the limitations of Enterprise Architecture is that while it supports the alignment of business functions to technology and ensures flexibility, the currently defined methodologies focus on EA being the center of the world.   An alternative approach is to consider that it is one of the disciplines necessary to run IT as a business.   One of the results of this approach is that it is difficult to measure the value of the EA program.   By considering it a building block to effectively running IT as a business, the results can be measurable in IT business performance indicators.   These might include:

  • cost of business services in the service catalog (and the forecast for these costs, e.g. is there a path to lower them through a modified EA)
  • the unit costs of supporting IT offerings, e.g., CPU, memory, storage, network
  • the present value of unused spare capacity and the interest expense of this
  • the response time of IT to fulfill service requests, requirements for burst capacity
  • the agility of IT to provide new services and eliminate services that are no longer needed
  • overhead of managing the existing application and project portfolio
To align the business capability/requirements/priorities with the need to run IT as a business, the IT organization needs to implement IT Financial Management in a way that provides the right metrics and an EA program that takes these metrics into consideration as part of its process.   One of the interesting initiatives that is driving the IT Financial Management strategy is Technology Business Management.   There is an independent council of IT thought leaders from significant companies that is driving this.   You may want to take a look at Technology Business Management Council for more information on this initiative.