erwin Expert Blog

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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erwin Expert Blog

Top Use Cases for Enterprise Architecture: Architect Everything

Architect Everything: New use cases for enterprise architecture are increasing enterprise architect’s stock in data-driven business

As enterprise architecture has evolved, so to have the use cases for enterprise architecture.

Analyst firm Ovum recently released a new report titled Ovum Market Radar: Enterprise Architecture. In it, they make the case that enterprise architecture (EA) is becoming AE – or “architect everything”.

The transition highlights enterprise architecture’s evolution from being solely an IT function to being more closely aligned with the business. As such, the function has changed from EA to AE.

At erwin, we’re definitely witnessing this EA evolution as more and more as organizations undertake digital transformation initiatives, including rearchitecting their business models and value streams, as well as responding to increasing regulatory pressures.

This is because EA provides the right information to the right people at the right time for smarter decision-making.

Following are some of the top use cases for enterprise architecture that demonstrate how EA is moving beyond IT and into the business.

Enterprise Architecture Use Cases

Top 7 Use Cases for Enterprise Architecture

Compliance. Enterprise architecture is critical for regulatory compliance. It helps model, manage and transform mission-critical value streams across industries, as well as identify sensitive information. When thousands of employees need to know what compliance processes to follow, such as those associated with regulations (e.g., GDPR, HIPAA, SOX, CCPA, etc.) it ensures not only access to proper documentation but also current, updated information.

The Regulatory Rationale for Integrating Data Management & Data Governance

Data security/risk management. EA should be commonplace in data security planning. Any flaw in the way data is stored or monitored is a potential ‘in’ for a breach, and so businesses have to ensure security surrounding sensitive information is thorough and covers the whole business. Security should be proactive, not reactive, which is why EA should be a huge part of security planning.

Data governance. Today’s enterprise embraces data governance to drive data opportunities, including growing revenue, and limit data risks, including regulatory and compliance gaffes.

EA solutions that provide much-needed insight into the relationship between data assets and applications make it possible to appropriately direct data usage and flows, as well as focus greater attention, if warranted, on applications where data use delivers optimal business value.

Digital transformation. For an organization to successfully embrace change, innovation, EA and project delivery need to be intertwined and traceable. Enterprise architects are crucial to delivering innovation. Taking an idea from concept to delivery requires strategic planning and the ability to execute. An enterprise architecture roadmap can help focus such plans and many organizations are now utilizing them to prepare their enterprise architectures for 5G.

Mergers & acquisitions. Enterprise architecture is essential to successful mergers and acquisitions. It helps alignment by providing a business- outcome perspective for IT and guiding transformation. It also helps define strategy and models, improving interdepartmental cohesion and communication.

In an M&A scenario, businesses need to ensure their systems are fully documented and rationalized. This way they can comb through their inventories to make more informed decisions about which systems to cut or phase out to operate more efficiently.

Innovation management. EA is crucial to innovation and project delivery. Using open standards to link to other products within the overall project lifecycle, integrating agile enterprise architecture with agile development and connecting project delivery with effective governance.

It takes a rigorous approach to ensure that current and future states are published for a wider audience for consumption and collaboration – from modeling to generating road maps with meaningful insights provided to both technical and business stakeholders during every step.

Knowledge retention. Unlocking knowledge and then putting systems in place to retain that knowledge is a key benefit of EA. Many organizations lack a structured approach for gathering and investigating employee ideas. Ideas can fall into a black hole where they don’t get feedback and employees become less engaged.

When your enterprise architecture is aligned with your business outcomes, it provides a way to help your business ideate and investigate the viability of ideas on both the technical and business level.

If the benefits of enterprise architecture would help your business, here’s how you can try erwin EA for free.

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How Does a Vanguard Enterprise Architect Manage Innovation?

We should move away from the ‘burden of innovation’ expression. Innovation is born of free thought, expression and creativity, and to label such a notion a ‘burden’ has always seemed a bizarre turn of phrase.

Of course, some people are naturally better at innovation than others, and those that struggle with the discipline may feel burdened with pressure if you demand innovation from them. But it’s unlikely that either employees or business leaders will feel oppressed by the notion that their good ideas will have a positive impact on the business.

Gartner: “By 2016, 30% of global organizations will establish a clear role distinction between Foundational and Vanguard Enterprise Architects.”

It’s for these reasons why Enterprise Architecture going forward, needs to adopt the Vanguard Enterprise Architect.

An innovation driver, the Vanguard enterprise architect deals with technology disruptions and enterprise connectivity; as opposed to the Foundational Enterprise Architect, who maintains enterprise technology and the systems of record.

Gone are the days whereby innovation is managed by a small group (i.e  a Research and Development team). We now welcome an era of collaboration, enabled by the speed and quality of communication the Internet can offer, and further enhanced by the Cloud.

With digital business, innovation should (and will) permeate every aspect of business – Enterprise Architecture included. In fact, Enterprise Architecture will arguably be the most imbued business department, due to their governance over steering innovation for the business as a whole.

EA’s will have to manage the current state of the business, but now the non-linear tasks attributed to digital business are also a duty. These are two very different responsibilities and therefore, not only warrant, but demand two clearly defined and distinguished roles.

Bimodal IT

Bimodal IT is a business mantra whereby an organization fundamentally acknowledges the separation between new and old IT. The reason for its inception, is the maturing role of IT within organizations. Over time, we can see that IT has evolved, indicating it’s taken on new responsibilities, but hasn’t shed the old ones.

It’s become more capable and more essential, and so the tasks IT departments have to carry out have grown, rather than changed. Bimodal is a method of acknowledging this evolution, and effectively coping with it.  This is why colloquially, bimodal IT has been summarized as having your cake (old IT) and eating it too (new).

It accounts for two ‘modes’. Mode 1 being the more traditional, responsible for “keeping the lights on” – the cost savings, efficiency improving, core tasks we’re used to from IT.

Mode 2 on the other hand, is responsible for ‘new IT’ tasks, like innovation and businesses more disruptive factors. Sound familiar?

That’s because bimodal IT is closely aligned with the idea of a Vanguard EA. In fact, for either to work at their full potential, both should be employed in tandem.

The separation between the two modes and the two roles shouldn’t get in the way though. With well actioned collaboration, organizations can ensure their processes are carried out in the open for the relevant parties.

If teams behind both modes, and Enterprise Architects occupying either role (Foundational or Vanguard) are aware of what one another are doing and even share resources in order to help one another, the system becomes frictionless. This effectively blurs the antithetic nature of the disciplines as in the end, everybody is still working towards bettering the business and it’s operations.

Bimodal Mode 1 and 2

The above shows the differences between the two modes. Most prominent perhaps, is the increased IT agility awarded by Mode 2. In an ever changing field such as digital business, agility should be a priority for any organization.

Benefits of Enterprise Architecture Tools in Bimodal IT

A good Enterprise Architecture tool (or digital business platform) can aid the alignment of the two modes. You’ll be able to clearly identify the different assets associated with the modes, as well as facilitate improved communication between the relevant parties.

The benefits don’t end here though.

With an efficient, agile EA tool, planning can becoming more accurate and reliable through the well applied use of roadmaps; you’ll be better equipped to understand the impact and costs of change; business and IT assets can be standardized so everyone is always on the same page – facilitating better communication; the traceability of objectives to projects will be improved, increasing visibility; and with all this in mind, collaboration between individuals and teams will benefit too. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

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