Described by Gartner as a way to deliver value with signature-ready suggestions for adjustments to policies and projects, in theory, enterprise architecture (EA) should offer complete solutions to business difficulties. Unfortunately, as many as 66% of projects fail, suggesting that there’s a disconnect somewhere between this definition and EA in practice for many companies.
Often, these mishaps arise from little more than abstract ideas about what EA has to offer, implemented through ill-fitting systems that struggle to shine a light on its true capabilities. This will never suffice for businesses dealing with information systems and processes that are only set to increase in complexity. Hence why as many as 76% of organizations are already in the process of restarting or renewing EA efforts in an attempt to find a better balance between the advantages and disadvantages of enterprise architecture.
Dedicated EA software is set to play a significant part in that shift as it helps to both simplify and better execute the overall goals of enterprise architecture. This article will consider just a few of the key advantages that you can receive from selecting the right enterprise architecture software for your needs.
Additional reading: Learn more about enterprise architecture best practices in our free eBook — The Definitive Enterprise Architecture Blueprint
1. Improved visibility
Unlike software such as Microsoft Excel that isn’t explicitly designed to deliver the full benefits of enterprise architecture on its own, purpose-built EA software single-handedly provides complete visibility over even modern landscapes.
This enables you to do more with less, ensuring that EA doesn’t add to the processes you’re managing in the first place, and that you finally have access to one-source-of-truth regarding everything from your business processes to your information technology and applications overall. This ensures that, as your technology and application grow and develop, the future of EA can grow and adapt simultaneously.
All-important EA planning and execution is primarily made possible by tools that integrate across all data sources and provide automated visibility over applications where relevant. This coming together of more easily accessible information across department lines removes the risk of wasting time on the convoluted collection of quickly outdated data. At the same time, the ability to immediately communicate these findings enables the transparency and context necessary to ensure EA’s efficiency and prove it to your team and stakeholders on the ground.
Features to look for
Visibility should be a key priority of any purpose-built EA software, but features that specifically enable both visibility and the simplified sharing of that information include:
Centralized data repositories: EA software should provide easy-to-access repositories of enterprise-wide data that both simplify your understanding of current processes and ensure provably viable and adaptable plans for the future.
Standardized and automated EA outputs: Complete visibility will never be possible if every department approaches EA with different frameworks in mind. This means that EA software should also offer out-of-box support for architecture frameworks and templates that make it possible to automate and standardize outputs for easier access, understanding, and collaboration.
2. Faster planning
Unlike EA frameworks like Open Group which tend to limit plans instead of solidifying them, effective EA software that’s custom-built for usage in modern landscapes should provide true planning efficiency with speed, relevance, and adaptability. Improved oversight plays a massive part in that, with broader access to relevant business information. This ensures that informed plans are delivered at speed in place of complex processes that are unlikely to offer value before becoming irrelevant.
EA software also improves the planning process itself, further hastening this all-important focus with the help of purpose-built planning features that make it easier to execute and disseminate the plans that data informs in the first place. Clear and relevant data representations are especially crucial in this regard, quickly highlighting where EA aligns with overall business goals, where changes need to be made, and why entire teams and stakeholders could benefit from getting on board with that.
Features to look for
The importance of planning for effective EA execution is unquestionable, but different companies have different ideas about how best to achieve it. To ensure tailor-made plans that always meet your needs, EA software should therefore provide adaptable and practical planning benefits, including:
Automated data access: The ability of quality EA software to automatically sort business-wide data into relevant categories enables far faster information handling for the development of adaptable plans that are always relevant.
Visualizations and dynamic reports: Visualizations and reports that are easily shareable and changeable according to business needs at the moment simplify the accessibility and applicability of planning. This makes it easier to draw clear lines of action across even large amounts of data, and communicate cemented plans using easily understandable visual aids.
3. More effective collaboration
Effective and respectful EA collaboration is crucial for securing buy-ins, ensuring relevance, and generally making your job easier. EA’s reputation for saying ‘no’ is especially thrown out by EA software that creates a conversation about EA plans rather than implementing blanket orders that make inter-department rebellions more likely.
Visualizations, as touched on, are perhaps the most crucial element of this by making it easier to share EA suggestions and their results. Still, buy-ins also rely on a more proactive ability to take everyone’s needs into account. Complete visibility delivered through the right tools also plays its role in this sense. It enables the business-wide understanding that encourages conversations you might not have across departments to mean that, even if compromise has to be made in one area, everyone is included in that decision and better able to understand why it’s been made.
Features to look for
Effective collaboration will look different depending on who you’re communicating with (e.g., stakeholders/team leaders/floor workers) and where your EA focuses currently lie. As such, getting this right means ensuring adaptability and efficiency delivered through software features that include:
Enterprise-wide communication: Communication is crucial for ensuring back-and-forth EA and relies on software that offers standardized EA outputs, quickly disseminated reports, and integrated communications across business functions that never leave anyone in the dark.
Software integrations: As well as better enabling complete access to existing data sets, EA software that integrates with existing collaboration tools like Teams, SharePoint, and even entire Microsoft ecosystems allows far more efficient real-time collaborations and access to visualizations, team conversations, etc. across tools that everyone is already familiar with and poised to use without resistance.
4. Incremental implementation
A broad approach to poorly planned business strategy and end goals is the main downfall of EA frameworks, which sometimes leads to the question, do EA frameworks matter? This is something that purpose-built software can overcome with incremental implementations that remove the risk of missing finer details that are unique to your enterprise. Instead, step-by-step approaches enabled at speed are far more in-tune with specified problems that address what your company needs instead of so-called fits-all solutions.
The ability to develop an in-depth understanding of the parts you’re dealing with through incremental integrations and data collection is incredibly beneficial. It even enables easier-to-reach overviews of how those parts interact. This makes way for much-needed agility of understanding that never gets bogged down in irrelevances before it can prove helpful.
Features to look for
Incremental implementations are dependent on careful handling, and the right tools bring ease to this approach, providing a step away from the limitations of broader, ill-fitting frameworks using features such as:
Metamodeling: By conceptually modeling the constraints and constructs of EA architecture, metamodels within EA software provide a solid foundation for understanding incremental focuses worth prioritizing and how you can adapt those towards company needs for more efficient results all-around.
Data unification: Unified data sources accessible at speed can also prove incredibly effective for both focusing on specifics and keeping one eye on the bigger picture at all times to ensure adaptable, proactive EA.
Why we created iServer365
In an age where EA architecture needs to adapt across ever-larger, always-changing business infrastructures, tailor-made software is non-negotiable. At Orbus, we’ve especially taken all of these key advantages and the features necessary to make them possible to create our cutting-edge EA software solution — iServer365.
Listed as an industry leader in a recent Forrester survey, our inclusive, cloud-native EA platform provides the solutions you need, regardless of where you are in your EA journey. Our focus on delivering cloud-native solutions as a service makes it far easier to integrate, gather, and structure a data repository that you can understand and share across your enterprise.
Book a demo with us today to find out more about how we tick all of the boxes for what EA software should deliver.