2008

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Which Comes First, Strategy or Architecture?

This article discusses the “chicken or the egg” dilemma between business strategy and enterprise architecture. Presenting the use of strategy as an influencer in determining the enterprise architecture approach, the article progresses by discussing how enterprise architecture may be used to execute strategy and inform the strategic management process. For every enterprise architect working within either the public or private sector, strategic alignment of the enterprise architecture approach should be made as important a priority as the strategic alignment of the enterprise architecture artifacts themselves. In this article, we stand on the premise that an organization’s strategic foundation should serve as the guiding principle for all business management disciplines including the development and maintenance of enterprise architecture. However, we also make painstakingly clear that effective strategy formulation and execution cannot occur without a reliable and actionable enterprise architecture.

Improving Government Performance Through Enterprise-Focused Development

This case study article introduces the concept of Enterprise-Focused Development (EFD) as a part of a repeatable method for improving productivity in government agencies at federal, state, and local levels. EFD does this by promoting a project management approach that links business analysis and data modeling methods. EFD also takes an enterprise-level architected view to reducing software expenses and creating higher quality computer systems. In keeping with newer methods, EFD promotes the use of highly productive project teams and frequent iterations with clients to develop IT systems to avoid long delivery timeframes and performance failures that often came with early project management approaches and lifecycle development approaches, such as the ‘Waterfall’ method. In this way EFD has the potential to save government agencies significant time and resources in developing IT systems.

Focusing on Desired Outcomes to Formulate a Customer-Valued Enterprise Management Strategy: A Case Study

The objective of this case study is to determine a method that best supports strategy development through determining customer outcomes using an Enterprise Management Strategy. Customer outcomes are essential in formulating organizational strategies to allow organizations to be more competitive. Adapting Chatterjee’s core objectives theme, the Enterprise Management Strategy includes components such as interest, ideals, incentive, infrastructure/institution, culture, capabilities, needs, values, strategy, objectives and core capabilities. In order to achieve successful strategy, organizations must first understand the outcomes required from customers. IT and business professionals from numerous organizations completed a questionnaire and the results indicate that understanding customer outcomes, strategy and the implementation of strategy enhances overall strategic development. This study proposes an Enterprise Management Strategy which focuses on customer comprehension of outcomes for strategy development rather than focusing only on outcomes and objectives.

Making the Business Case for Enterprise Architecture

Making the business case for enterprise architecture (EA); or a systematic approach to the alignment information technologies with business functions seems like “chip shot” in today’s cost-conscious business world. IT departments around the globe are continually seeking ways to reduce sky-rocketing maintenance costs and to eliminate redundant legacy information systems. The business-side of the house is continually pressing for bigger, better and faster technological capabilities in order to sift through and capitalize on the vast amounts of data that has been compiled. When a project comes along that addresses these concerns, one would assume that it would be “slam dunk” for selection by the firm’s governance board. Conceptually speaking, EA makes complete business sense as it has the potential to revolutionize how IT is conducted around the world; similar to how Toyota’s Total Quality Management system revolutionized how manufacturing operations are performed. But what about the return-on-investment, total cost of ownership, and discounted cash flows? Can an enterprise architecture program pass the rigorous financial tests of the reluctant-to-spent corporate bureaucrats? More importantly, can enterprise architecture survive the politics of a mature organization that is already set in their ways? This article applies the same analytical approaches that one would use in the selection of a new application or hardware to see how well EA holds up to the test. This work also addresses some of the key areas of contention that may arise when an organization begins to debate why they may or may not require an enterprise architecture program at their firm. Finally, several best practices are highlighted which identify the hallmarks of a well-implemented EA program.