Is Your EA Program Making A Difference?

Several recent reports on Forrester.com start with the sentence: "EA organizations often toil out of the limelight . . . " There are fewer and fewer reasons why this should be the case. 

InfoWorld Enterprise Architecture AwardWe hear fewer stories of EA teams as purely "the standards police" or with "their heads in the clouds, not producing anything useful." We hear more and more stories of EA teams changing how business and IT plan, taking the lead in application simplification and rationalization, or being the broker for innovation. Infoworld and Forrester want to recognize these success stories with the 2011 Enterprise Architecture Award.

Our 2010 Award winners show the range of ways EA teams are making a difference:

  • Discover Financial created an EA repository that aggregates information from its Service Catalog, Fixed Asset, PPM, and Business Goals to provide decision-making insights that saved more than $1M of avoided costs.
  • Aetna used its Business Capability Map to combine more than 30 business unit strategies and road maps, highlighting common opportunities and gaps that it then used for its annual planning.
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Architect Angst On Their Readiness For Empowered Business

Forrester sees business empowerment — where business areas seek greater autonomy to address their own technology needs — as an inevitable trend. We’ve seen this before: New technology brings business areas new opportunities to improve their performance — from finance (PCs and spreadsheets) to marketing (web and eCommerce) to sales (PDAs). When this occurred, IT was unconnected to the frontlines of the business; IT’s technology was viewed as hard to use, and the result was business-initiated “shadow IT.”

At the recent Forrester Enterprise Architecture Forum in San Francisco, we offered attendees a copy of the new book Empowered, by Forrester analysts Josh Bernoff and Ted Schadler. To get a copy, attendees had to complete a two-question survey. The questions directly related to their readiness to support this round of business empowerment:

“On a scale of 1-5, where 1 = ‘This doesn’t sound like my company at all’ and 5 = ‘This sounds exactly like my company,’ please rate the following questions about your organization:

  1. The EA function has close ties with business management.
  2. Our technology strategy and standards allow for rapidly changing technologies.”
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