Enterprise architecture (EA) governance is a practice encompassing the fundamental aspects of managing a business. It involves firm leadership, complete knowledge of organizational structure, a confident direction, and the enablement of effective IT processes to promote an enterprise’s strategies.
However, if distilled into just one area, the objective of EA governance is to harmonize the architectural requirements of an enterprise into an understandable set of policies, processes, procedures, and standards—all of which to ensure an organization’s visions and standards are aligned with actual business requirements.
It is not an academic discipline detached from present reality, nor is it based on speculations of what is and what is not occurring. Enterprise architects and EA governance are an integral part of deploying and maintaining business strategies.
And, in many ways, it is an everlasting job.
Without EA governance, an organization is likely to tumble into a web of non-standardized technology, bad product purchases or development, and monolithic architectures (i.e. “silos”). These habits will inevitably have a long-term financial and operational impact, creating collaboration and standardization issues increasingly difficult to correct at an enterprise level.
With an EA governance model, an operation can achieve significant cost savings and realize the following benefits:
Do not confuse EA governance with IT governance. IT governance is the process of making effective and efficient use of IT to empower an organization’s goals. The table below explains this difference more:
EA governance is not just the responsibility of IT executives (CIO & CTO) but also business executives (with the critical support of enterprise architects, domain architects, subject matter experts, and various other support staff throughout an organization).
Conceptually, EA governance is an approach, a series of processes, a cultural orientation, and a set of owned responsibilities that ensure the integrity and effectiveness of an organization’s architecture.
The following diagram represents the three key components involved in the EA governance framework.
For governance to successfully function, all three elements must work in concert. This content-agnostic approach ensures that the framework is flexible. Furthermore, the processes are typically independent of the content and implement a proven best practice approach for governance.
A sound governance framework to support the implementation and management of enterprise architecture is required for an organization to achieve its EA objectives.
The governance framework to maintain enterprise architecture is comprised of the following components:
The following diagram shows the constituents of these foundational elements.
When establishing EA governance, it is critical to address each of these elements.
The major guiding principles for establishing successful EA governance are:
EA governance over an organization’s IT solutions delivery processes is focused on realizing a number of solutions. These include:
The enterprise architecture organization is initiated to develop and enable the adoption of design, review, execution, and governance capabilities around EA. These capabilities comprise a number of key elements, including:
Roles and responsibilities within EA cover a broad range of activities, including but not limited to:
EA leaders need to work on integrating “Business and IT” instead of aligning “Business and IT”. The focus must be on realizing the business strategy and not just assurance and compliance.
The process is a sequence of operations or events, possibly taking up time, space, expertise, or other resources, which produce specific outcomes.
EA governance processes are integral elements of the overall EA governance framework used to implement technology solutions. Listed below are the five primary processes:
Taxonomy is a collection of defined terminology, and a coherent description of the key components and the conceptual structure of architecture. Specific definitions for key concepts and terms are listed below:
Metrics estimate the progress of EA during the early stages of EA implementation. It also helps measure the efficiency and effectiveness of EA to ensure true value is delivered to the business.
Measuring EA metrics is necessary to:
For the EA program to be successful, it needs to be periodically monitored and measured with respect to a set of defined metrics. The status of metrics across an organization can be captured, presented, and communicated effectively using EA scorecards or dashboards.
Enterprise architecture tools capture, store, structure, and analyze information pertaining to enterprise architecture, therefore, it is essential to pick the right tool to fit your organization.
EA tools provide support for strategic decision-making by capturing vital enterprise contexts, along with content development and analysis capabilities across the business, information, technology, and solution architectures.
It helps stakeholders analyze and optimize the portfolio of business strategies, organizational structures, business processes/tasks and activities, information flows, applications, and technology infrastructure.
An EA tool covers the following functional features:
A well-designed enterprise architecture governance structure can be essential in reducing IT costs and risks while accelerating decision-making and delivery. EA governance ensures that an EA program is managed properly to produce artifacts and plans truly representative of organizational goals and needs. As well, EA governance ensures investment decisions become aligned with the EA from initiation to implementation.
Governance is an important aspect of any change initiative. EA is no exception. Governance provides a platform for various stakeholders to interact regularly and maintain enterprise architecture.
An EA program definition should not span for years. It should deliver business value in a short amount of time. The program output should be actionable, and it should always have its impact measured—not its activity.
In modern EA, the Ivory Tower approach of EA governance does not work. This approach causes EA programs to fail, especially when the EA program does not consider the demands of digital business, driven by a shift in value creation to ecosystems, platforms, and outward-facing architecture. The role of EA governance in modern EA is summarized below:
This content was contributed by Dr. Gopala Krishna Behara, senior enterprise architect in the GEA Practice division of Wipro. He has over 22 years of IT experience and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. The author would like to thank Hari Kishan Burle and Raju Alluri, Wipro Technologies’ GEA Practice for providing support and their knowledge in the writing of this article.
The views expressed in this article/presentation are that of authors and Wipro does not subscribe to the substance, veracity, or truthfulness of the said opinion.
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