Nothing haunts the Enterprise Architecture discipline more than the elusive quest to define the business value of EA. Sought by first-time practitioners—and by established EA professionals responding to executive demand for quantifiable value—every enterprise architect must eventually face this daunting challenge.
If a tree falls in the forest and there is no one there to hear it, does it make a sound? That age-old philosophical question is quite similar to asking whether Enterprise Architecture has any value if it’s not communicated.
“If confronted with an EA genie, my three wishes would be:” That question garnered hundreds of free-form responses and was one of the most revealing questions in the March A&G magazine reader survey. Such open-ended questions often yield interesting results and A&G readers did not disappoint. Answers demonstrated that while some members of the EA community have some sense of frustration and, perhaps, resignation, others expressed their humor and a sense of pride at the state of the EA discipline.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) is a key component of the economic foundation of the United States. It insures deposits at the nation’s 8,833 banks and savings associations and helps maintain the soundness of these institutions by identifying and addressing potential risks to the banking industry and deposit insurance funds. The FDIC’s mission is essential to the stability of and public confidence in the nation’s financial system—but it receives no federal tax dollars.
Information technology (IT) organizations are increasingly faced with reducing the costs of current systems; elimination of multi-year, multi-million dollar, multi-consultant projects; absorbing required maintenance expenses; and delivering new systems faster, with lower risk, and at lower costs. CIOs are being asked to do more with less and stakeholders are demanding results in months—not years.
“Just give me the bottom line! How does Enterprise Architecture justify its existence?” As the instigator or facilitator of numerous pioneering efforts at establishing and building EA practices over the past twenty years, answering this question has been a frequent challenge.
The fact that Enterprise Architecture is a very new practice, growing out of the relatively new and highly dynamic IT industry, adds to this challenge. It is further complicated as the definition of EA and the understanding of the role of enterprise architects continue to evolve.