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Driving Business Value Through Enterprise Architecture

by Srini Penchikala on Apr 13, 2011 |

Using business architecture to improve project life cycles and applying a standard Enterprise Architecture (EA) methodology can be the drivers to add business value in organizations. Richard Reese, VP of Enterprise Architecture at Discover Financial Services (DFS), recently spoke at Troux Worldwide Conference about driving business value through EA initiatives.

He started off the presentation with discussion on some of the challenges their team faced in the organization like moving from project focus to strategy planning focus, generating measurable business value, managing federated architecture discipline, and changing the perception of EA in the organization. Their approach to address these challenges included four initiatives.

  • Build credibility through IT metadata: The EA team developed a meta-model of the business and derived a Business Architecture Reference Model from this metadata. They were able to use the Business Architecture to improve project life cycles which reduced requirements definition phase by 30%. Richard talked about other architecture artifacts they created such as the Application Map (that shows mapping between capabilities, business processes, business functions, and applications) and Capability Report (includes details like application name, description, business function, parent capability, and sub-capability). Also, other assessments like analysis of the systems architecture, which includes identifying the applications by platform (Mainframe, Distributed Windows, Distributed Linux, Appliance based, Externally Hosted etc), led to significant savings.
  • Architecture Review Board Process: The EA team also streamlined the Architecture Review Board (ARB) process by applying Lean principles which resulted in an improved ARB process (by 119% over 3 years) and several ARB requests getting approved in 0-2 day time-frame.
  • Apply Standard EA Methodology: They used TOGAF EA framework to manage federated architecture and adapted the framework to entire DFS culture and methodology. Other initiatives they realized are to get the whole EA team TOGAF certified as well as developing standardized architecture artifacts.
  • Establish EA metrics and a Value Log: They also initiated what they call an "EA Value Log" with input from all teams. The types of value captured in the value log are metrics like real dollar savings, cost avoidance, and process improvement.

He concluded the presentation with the lessons learned and recommendations that EA teams in other organizations can use to improve their programs.

  • Set an EA strategy with metric based goals
  • Develop credibility through collecting facts
  • Know what works in your culture
  • Find sympathetic partners (e.g. Audit, Risk, Compliance)
  • Invest incrementally
  • Promote successes

 

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