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The Value of Enterprise Architecture to Innovation and Digital Transformation

The value of enterprise architecture to innovation management and digital transformation is clear.

Innovation management is about quickly and effectively implementing your organization’s goals through the adoption of innovative ideas, products, processes and business models.

Most organizations are beginning to realize that to drive business growth and maintain a competitive advantage, innovation needs to be uncovered, documented and socialized rapidly but with care to ensure maximum value.

The process of innovation needs to be managed and governed in the organization because it’s an important facet of a company’s overall function. And ultimately, it is a process in which the business and IT need to collaborate to drive the transformation.

Enterprise Architecture

How Enterprise Architecture Guides Innovation and Transformation

Once you develop a good idea, you need to understand how to implement it successfully, which is why enterprise architecture (EA) is a perennial innovation tool.

Investment in a particular idea requires a degree of confidence that a product, service, IT component or business process is going to make it to market or positively change the business.

Conversely, IT requires traceability back to the innovation that drove it. Without such traceability, it’s difficult to see the value of IT and how it drives the business. And to make it all work seamlessly, it needs to be the business of both those who innovate and those who manage EA.

  • Get the eBook: Enterprise Architecture and Innovation Management

Without EA and an enterprise architecture tool, decision-making expanding from the right ideas and requirements is much more of a lottery.

And while there are more and more projects in progress and a rise in agile development approaches, companies simply do not invest enough time in combining innovation and EA.

DevOps and continuous delivery are prime candidates for connection to innovation management. In the context of speed and time to market, where the frequency, capability and release cycles are key to competitive advantage, EA’s support of decision-making allows innovative ideas to be implemented without costly mistakes.

Strategic Enterprise Architecture Planning Creates Digital Leaders

Innovation management and digital transformation go hand in hand these days, and EA teams can play an integral role, according to a study from McKinsey and Henley Business School.

The study highlighted the need for enterprise architects to facilitate digital transformation by managing technological complexity and setting a course for the development of their companies’ IT landscapes.

One of the stunning results of the study was that 100 percent of respondents from companies that identified themselves as “digital leaders” said their architecture teams develop and update models of what the business’s IT architecture should look like in the future.

In contrast, just 58 percent of respondents from other companies said they adhere to this best practice.

There are three broad states of EA maturity within most enterprises. Where does yours land?

1. Under design

  • Does not exist (or is covered by IT)
  • Information barely managed (or managed on an ad-hoc basis)
  • Knowledge resides mainly in people and disparate other media

2. Existing but needs improvement

  • Efforts have been made to collate and manage information
  • In disparate media, but usually more organized
  • A potential attempt at solutioning has been made
  • Some (manual) reporting is possible

3. Mature and works great!

  • Distinct function within the organization
  • Initial data aggregation and collation is completed
  • There is an EA solution deployed and used
  • Dashboards and reports are available

See also:

Enterprise Architecture Turns Around Inefficiencies

Envision a scenario in which you’re part of the EA team at an energy company with 30,000 wind turbines. When engineers inspect the wind turbines, they record the results on paper forms.

An administrator then uses this paperwork to enter information into the database so repairs can be scheduled. This manual, low-tech approach that relies on good penmanship equates to losing 10 days per year due to manual paperwork that delays necessary repairs; and work-order entry makes up about 25 percent of an admin’s day.

How could technology be used to improve this process? Is there an opportunity for digital transformation? Yes.

By deploying tablets in the field, engineers would be able to review the specs and history of each wind turbine in real time, note the necessary repairs, and then specify the work orders onsite. By driving the innovation process with EA, it’s possible to:

  • Demonstrate how different types and groups of users collaborate within the tool from ideation through execution.
  • Graphically illustrate the ideas, people and support for categories of ideation and innovation
  • Leverage mode 2 activities, such as business scenario planning, persona profiles and strategic value assessments as part of the process.
  • Manage iterative solution or application development projects, leveraging methods such as Kanban, agile, scrum or lean, which help the IT organization pursue a DevOps approach.

Enterprise Architecture at the Heart of Innovation

erwin’s technology roadmap is defined largely by our customers, their needs and requirements, and the trends and initiatives that matter most to their businesses. They are constantly evolving, and so are we.

That’s why we’ve released erwin Evolve, a full-featured, configurable set of EA and business process modeling and analysis tools.

With erwin Evolve, you can map IT capabilities to the business functions they support and determine how people, processes, data, technologies and applications interact to ensure alignment in achieving enterprise objectives.

Such initiatives may include innovation management and digital transformation, as well as cloud migration, portfolio and infrastructure rationalization, and regulatory compliance among other use cases.

Click here to test drive erwin Evolve today.

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