Once you establish an Enterprise Architecture repository, it’s natural that you’ll want (and need) to share its contents with a number of different stakeholders. After all, one point of having a single source of truth is that everyone knows where to go to locate and inspect information. However, at the risk of stating the obvious, the different stakeholders that an Enterprise Architecture initiative has will have different concerns – so they’ll want different things from an Enterprise Architecture repository.
With that in mind, I’ll be writing a series of posts that draw on my setting up various EA repositories for sharing with stakeholders. In this series of posts, I’ll be considering what the concerns of some common EA stakeholders imply, both for how they access the content in your EA repository and for how you configure it. For the first in the series, I’ll start by considering the executive suite. Thanks to the nature of most EA initiatives, this will primarily mean IT executives, but the conclusions should be valid for any executive.
Executives are going to be primarily concerned with monitoring and exercising necessary corporate governance – arguably this is the definition of their job. This means that they will want three things from their access to the enterprise architecture repository:
Reporting and Dashboards – the most obvious of the three; the ability to see statistics and measures of enterprise architecture activity
Enterprise Architecture Governance – the ability to consult and examine the records of what governance has been done in enterprise architecture
Random Sampling – less obviously than the other two concerns, I find that executives like the ability to randomly pick an area to delve into as a kind of ‘informal audit’
Now let’s talk about each of these, and what they mean for sharing the Enterprise Architecture repository.
For the first area the key point is that statistics and dashboards necessarily rely on reporting, which means that it may well be provided by a different module or product. So there needs to be a way to navigate quickly from the ‘repository’ view to the dashboard view in order to provide a unified experience. While this may seem like window dressing, the reality is that people judge by appearances, and a disjointed experience consulting information.
In order to support the second concern (access to governance records), the repository needs to offer a way to search for and display those records, to state what should be an obvious point. The best way to approach this is by a combination of naming conventions and appropriate organization of the governance records in the repository.
Last of all, let’s consider the third point – random sampling. In the enterprise architecture arena, this translates into the ability to randomly pick documents and designs relating to an area of interest. Supporting this is going to require two things. First of all, the repository needs to support browsing of information. The structure I’d recommend I to base it on organizational structure (but with amendments if necessary to support the goal of ease of locating information). The second recommendation is that the repository should ideally provide the ability to search on keywords – full text search will be ideal for reducing overhead of recording information.
Making information available to stakeholders is ultimately futile if the information is presented in a way that does not address the needs of those stakeholders. In this post I’ve outlined a selection of techniques that work to improve the usefulness of an EA repository to executive stakeholders. For a further deep dive in how to address the needs of your stakeholders and make sure your enterprise architecture has governance, why not download our free eBook covering problems and causes, and how to mitigate.