Where is the value of OEA
By firstname.lastname@example.org on Mar 17, 2010
In a room full of architects, if you were to ask for the definition of enterprise architecture, or the importance thereof, you are likely to get a number of varying view points ranging from, a complete analysis of the digital assets of an organization, to, a strategic alignment of business goals/objectives to IT initiatives. Similiarily in a room full of senior business executives, if you asked them how they see their IT groups and their effectiveness to align to business strategy, you would get a myriad of responses, ranging from, “a huge drain on our bottom line”, “always more expensive than budgeted”, “lack of agility, by the time IT is ready, my business strategy has changed”, and on the rare occurrence, “ a leader of innovation, that is lock step with my business strategy”.
However does this necessarily demonstrate the overall value of enterprise architecture. Having a framework, and process is of critical importance to help produce a number of the artefacts that ultimately align technology goals and initiatives to business strategy, however, is that really where the value is? I believe that first we need to understand the concept of value.
Value typically is a measure of sorts, when we purchase a product it’s value is equivalent to the maximum amount that someone is willing to pay for the product, however, is the same equation valid in terms of the business value of enterprise architecture? Is the library of artefacts generated through a process/framework, inclusive of a strategic roadmap to realize the enterprise architecture where the value is?
If we agree that enterprise architecture is the alignment of IT and IT assets to support business strategy, and by achieving our business strategy, we have we have increased the business value of the enterprise then; it seems that, in order to really identify the true value of an enterprise architecture, we need to understand how we measure business value . A number of formal measurement methodologies exist for this purpose, business models, balanced scorecards, etc
After we have an understanding on how to measure the business value of each of the organizational units within an enterprise, then we understand how the enterprise architecture contributes to the success of business strategy, and EXECUTE on the roadmap to implement, and deliver the IT initiatives that provide MEASUREABLE returns,
As we analyse the value chain of each of the individual organizational units within the enterprise we may identify how that unit has performed by quantitatively measuring it proximity to achieving the goals defined by the business for each unit. However, It would appear that true business value (the aggregate of all of the business units in the value chain), is to some degree subjectively measured as for public companies this lies in shareholder value, as the true value, or be it, the maximum amount that someone would pay for shares of an organization.