1. Strategic alignment. Every EA effort must be focused directly on achieving real business results. Organizations with mature EA programs nearly always design their EA functions to be included in both technology and strategic planning processes — to compel formal engagement between the two.
2. Leadership and staff development. A successful EA program depends on top management effectively communicating its value throughout the organization (in both technical and nontechnical settings). It also relies on the training and development of enterprise architects who understand the business and can further strengthen the organization’s EA capability.
3. Performance measurement. Accurately measuring the results of EA efforts in terms that show its impact on the business (and using these results to further drive support for EA) is critical. This helps strengthen the message that EA is not simply the preserve of the IT department.
4. Organizational structure and formal processes. Our study found that creating the frameworks, tools, and methodologies of EA is necessary in developing a functional capability, but that they mattered much less in driving business value than the first three elements outlined above. That’s because organizational structure and formal processes, although foundational elements of EA, are not differentiating facets of enterprise architecture implementation.
At a time when all industries are being reshaped by changing business conditions, organizations should define their strategies clearly, and then design, implement, and maintain cohesive enterprise architectures that build IT capabilities around those strategies. Organizations possessing these capabilities will be best equipped to create innovative new products and services that can build competitive advantage.
The keys to long-term success are agility, responsiveness to markets and customers, and flexibility in pursuing partnership and acquisition opportunities. A mature EA capability offers the potential to guide organizations in these efforts — to link business processes and technology more tightly with strategy, to make better investment decisions, and to adroitly measure the results of those decisions.
- Hugo Trepant is a partner with Booz & Company based in London. He focuses on business and IT strategy, transformational change, enterprise architecture, and benefits realization, primarily in the oil and gas and the public sector and government industries. He also leads the defense and security team in the United Kingdom and the Middle East.
- Daniel Newman is a senior associate at Booz & Company based in Canberra, Australia. He works with government agencies and financial institutions on business and IT strategy, enterprise architecture, and operating model development.