EA Heavy and EA Light: Two Examples of Successful Enterprise Architecture

Often literature reports on unsuccessful attempts at enterprise architecture. Many exercises do not progress beyond their initial stages, losing momentum during their execution, or they run to conclusion without delivering the promised benefits. This article reports on a significant experience by the authors—engaged as consultants to two Australian-based multinational companies—during the execution of two very different, successful enterprise architecture projects that managed to deliver and demonstrate tangible benefits to the respective organizations. Although both projects included important IT technical components, their success was based on enterprise architecture teams that clearly understood the business objectives, linked the enterprise architecture activities directly to them, and clearly communicated the benefits in business terms. We argue that to engage and maintain support an enterprise architecture exercise must have a business purpose that is clearly understood by all stakeholders, and it must be carefully tailored to the intended purpose, both in terms of effort and deliverables, and no more. Our discussion includes the strategy, methods, and tools used by the enterprise architecture teams to conduct each engagement, and a discussion of the results and lessons learnt.