It’s 2013: do you know where your corporate data is? Not so long ago, the answer would have been relatively simple. From financial spreadsheets to business proposals, product designs, customer lists, and beyond, virtually all company information used to be housed, managed, and readily available on corporate servers or tape—all (or at least most) safely under IT’s thumb.
Large information technology projects fail too often. The statistics have been disturbing for decades—with seven in 10 enterprise projects not delivering on their promised results. This is important because, over time, the value of your corporate brand and enterprise IT success rate are related.
Anyone who has ever served as a change agent knows how challenging it can be to run up against die-hard critics, who it often seems will resist change until their last ounce of breath. Of course, not all criticism is bad; that is why we ask people for and encourage “constructive criticism.”
In truth, every criticism, as hard as it may be to hear, can be used constructively—even if it wasn’t meant that way!
The central challenge of IT governance is the simple dependency: application depends on database, database depends on server, server depends on switch, application depends on application and so forth. IT organizations deal with this critical data on a daily basis and treat it shamefully - essentially as a disposable commodity. Dependency information is expensive. It is typically gathered by assembling two or more highly compensated individuals to (again and again) go over what is installed where, what it talks to, and what it needs to run.
In a federal environment characterized by shrinking budgets and increasing regulation, CIOs are under constant pressure to demonstrate value generated by IT investments. Internally, IT organizations are being asked to justify business value of investments and alignment to strategy, to improve controls to achieve scope, schedule and cost targets and to decommission redundant or low-value assets.
“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.