Saturday, February 14, 2015

Identifying the business value

Architecture or Enterprise Architecture can have a positive impact upon a business from many directions. The maturity available from architectural frameworks and processes (TOGAF, Zachman, Etc.) can assist greatly in bringing business value and increase an organizations nimbleness in aligning strategy with technology (innovation and otherwise). How you get started in improving the architecture / enterprise architecture is important. I have found that its about aligning the conversation of business value with the vocabulary found in the traditional architectural domains to make progress and technical improvement within an organization. Each organizations relationship to technology, and related processes, is different depending on its history with technology and how the technology has grown within the organization. This is a very important aspect of being successful with architecture, regardless of how mature an organization is in regards to architectural processes.

It's important to determine an organizations history and relationship to technology and architecture.

Meeting face-to-face is really important
Many technology people often defer back to emails, designing, documenting, coding, configuring, etc... and they could do well to meet stakeholders in more personal, and conversational, environments. Its about identifying the stakeholders and having the conversations. Having an understanding of each stakeholders history with technology, where they see the value, and the maturity of their technical vocabulary is the best place to get started when beginning a solution or enterprise architecture initiative. Knowing where each stakeholder sees the business value in a technology initiative is the best place to start.

When having stakeholder conversations be sure to have the EA domains and sub-domains in mind, take notes, get a good sense of each stakeholders knowledge within each domain. Where do they see the greatest value and the opportunities? As an architect to what level of technical vocabulary do you meet each stakeholder?

Now the business value can begin to be identified, using a shared vocabulary across the project, so architecture and related processes can support the strategy to build the value.