How To Sell Enterprise Architecture To The Business

Posted by LeanIX on January 25, 2024
How To Sell Enterprise Architecture To The Business

Enterprise architecture is a vital business function, but its value can be abstract and challenging to explain. Our Senior Customer Success Manager, Ricky Urdaneta tells us how to win over all your stakeholders on your EA projects.

Ricky UrdanataEnterprise architecture (EA) as a concept has been around for 35 years, but there are still few who truly understand its value proposition. With businesses working to leverage innovative technology like generative artificial intelligence (AI), however, EA has never been more important.

The challenge, then, is to showcase the, often abstract, value of EA to the stakeholders in your business to win their buy-in on your initiatives. To do this, you need to explain the purpose of your work clearly and persuasively.

So, how can you illustrate to your stakeholders that EA is the solution to their problems?

Define, define, define

The best way to win buy-in for your enterprise architecture (EA) practice is to know who your stakeholders are and which of them will be the most receptive to your ideas. EA has a broad scope that impacts your entire business strategy beyond just your application portfolio, so you need to adapt your presentations to your audience.

Defining the specific parts of your EA practice that matter to each stakeholder will keep your discussion relevant and impactful. Put your processes in the context of the stakeholder's business area and show the immediate value you will create and the structure that you have in place to do so.

You can even offer to help install EA processes into other teams' workflows to help improve synergy with their toolsets. Just ensure that you highlight the benefits for them.

Explaining to your marketing team how you plan to optimize your organization's finance software is not going to engage them. However, showcasing the information you have on your content management systems and MQL trackers will catch their interest.

Once a group of key stakeholders are on-board with your EA practice, you will have a group of EA evangelists and a selection of case studies that you can use to win over more and more stakeholders. From there, you can build an EA community to support your function, but it must be one that adheres to best practice.

To find out more about the key stakeholders you need to speak to as an enterprise architect, read our rundown:

7 Stakeholders Enterprise Architects Need Buy-In From

Selling EA Services And Business Functions

Enterprise architecture (EA) is often high-level and conceptual in its initial stages. Aligning your business strategy with business functions can ground your message in your stakeholders' day-to-day operations.

Mapping the business functions that are carried out by your stakeholders every day based on their maturity and EA standards can make the value you're offering feel very real. For example, showing your stakeholders that one of their systems is underperforming or posing an unacceptable security risk and offering a road map for replacing it with a best-of-breed tool can feel like magic.

Enterprise architects can carry out that analysis and create that roadmap. Once you have a plan in place for optimizing the software tools that your teams use, you can start working with your colleagues to optimize the related business processes that involve the applications you've improved.

This is, of course, all theoretical, so what are the practical questions that you need to be asking your stakeholders in order to find out the specific information you need?

Questions For EAs To Ask Their Stakeholders

  • What specific business functions do you provide services to fill?
  • What triggers the service delivery?
  • Who requests it your service, with what restrictions?
  • Who specifically provides the service?
  • What capabilities are required to fill each service?
  • What are the deliverables and outputs of your EA service?
  • Are you aware of the critical services that support your business?
  • Are you aware of the individuals or groups that own, use, and provide support for those services?
  • Are you aware of the infrastructure that supports their services and the associated costs?
  • Do you know which SLAs will be breached and the price if critical services fail?
  • Are your business applications compliant with regulatory requirements?
  • Do you assess the performance and success of your services by your business goals?

Logging EA Data In LeanIX

So, now you know what questions to ask your enterprise architecture (EA) community, the next step is to find somewhere to store their answers. The best place to do that is within the LeanIX platform.

LeanIX stores information about all your software applications, IT components, and business capabilities within customizable Fact Sheets. To start, you can log an owner against each application, giving you a specific contact to work on building a relationship with.

From there, you can automate the sending and collation of email surveys based on the above questions from within the platform. You can complete this data by importing information from a variety of sources, such as Excel spreadsheets.

You can even add information manually to build up a complete picture of your IT landscape within the LeanIX platform. With this data in one place, you can then create a dedicated EA service portal with a selection of EA services that your stakeholders can readily access.

EA Service Catalog

So, what enterprise architecture (EA) services should you be offering to your stakeholders? The answer is whatever they need, but the LeanIX platform can start you out with five out-of-the-box services to offer while you customize your own.

Business Case Development

Using the information contained within the LeanIX platform, you can support your stakeholders in building business cases to gain approval for initiatives.

Deliverables: Business case template

IT Strategies Development

Support your CIO in creating a clear strategic direction for your team, by providing a portfolio assessment, as well as communicate that strategy with clear documentation.

Deliverables: Strategy document, standards, principles, initiatives, guidelines

Technology Trend Analysis

Make recommendations to your organization on key technologies that it can leverage to support its strategic goals.

Deliverables: Technology radar report

Innovation Management

Empower your stakeholders to experiment on a testing ground created from real-time data on your IT landscape

Deliverables: Solution architecture docs

Technology Capability Management

Support your organization in undergoing application modernization initiatives to develop, retire, or maintain parts of your software portfolio using our application portfolio management (APM) product.

Deliverables: Architecture technology capabilities

Using LeanIX To Support Your Digital Transformation

LeanIX empowers you to transform your digital transformation from a challenging, one-off initiative that involves you engaging every aspect of your business in a complete transformation, to a permanent function and service that your team has to offer your business. Rather than having to persuade your colleagues to change against their will, you'll have them coming to you for help overcoming their key pain points.

To find out more about how LeanIX can empower your EA function, book a demo of the platform today:

Request demo

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