Enterprise Architects face challenges every day, yet perhaps one of the more difficult questions to answer is: What exactly is the purpose of enterprise architecture? Whether you are trying to justify processes to stakeholders, or simply describing your job to others, EA is not an area that lends itself to easy explanations. While it is fairly easy to point out narrow use cases, such as Application Rationalization or Business Capability Modeling, the broader question can be elusive.
We have looked at this question in the past, with the Definitive Enterprise Architecture Blueprint, but sometimes a bit more brevity is required. One possible answer to this question is given by the title: EA is a map to navigate rapid organizational change. The importance of change management is widely known at this point, but for effective change, an organization needs to know where they are right now, and where they want to be – to map out their route, in other words. What makes enterprise architecture so useful for this is the central repository system which links the elements of a firm to one another.
Change, particularly technological change, will have second and third order impacts on any firm. The nature of modern business means that seemingly minor alterations can be like the proverbial butterfly wings, causing hurricanes to strike distant business functions. With a central architecture repository, every element of a firm and the links between them can be identified, rendering these disparate impacts clearly. This enables a firm to move from strategy to execution without missing hidden dangers.
There are tools firms can use to predict impacts and guard against them, such as business impact analysis, but not every change will be carefully planned in advance. Even the most diligently prepared will not have been fully ready for the impacts of COVID-19 on business. Assessing the impacts on people, processes and other business resources needs to be its own process, working continually to ensure that an organization can function to the best of its ability.
Engaging in enterprise architecture means an organization can be protected against drastic changes, but architects do still need the right tools to accomplish goals. iServer has topped Gartner’s Peer Insights ranking for 4 years in a row, and a demo can be booked immediately.