Nathan Thompson, an enterprise architect at global financial services company Aegon, was adamant about it.
“Make management a business partner,” he said many times during a recent Webinar. And a successful enterprise architecture deployment will follow.
Thompson should know. He recently oversaw such a deployment, that was designed to identify areas of functional redundancy and opportunities for rationalization and standardization for Aegon.
Using Troux software and consulting best practices, Aegon successfully established a global application portfolio management repository, enabling it to:
- Reduce technical risk and debt
- Identify cost reduction opportunities through rationalization
- Achieve closer alignment between IT and the Business through business capability to application mapping
Thompson, along with Director of Enterprise Architecture at Planview Nicola McCoy, discussed in the Webinar how the goal of the deployment was to provide centralized governed application and technology data that helps drive high-value decision making with real-time insights.
Thompson said the team set out to have “business conversations supported by technology, rather than trying to explain technology to business people.”
To that end, the goal was to make “better use of our money, drive down costs, manage technology risks, and grow in a structured and stable manner. Enterprise architecture should really be a business partner; to help the business be what it needs to be in the future.”
Thompson said the key is to have good “communications with the business people. One of the key learnings was to go one on one with various stakeholders, understand what they are looking for, and then help them see the benefits. Be a story teller with each of the individual stakeholders,” he said.
Thompson has seen the benefits at Aegon.
“For the first time, we have a catalogue of all applications in cloud, which we built and developed,” said Thompson. “We understand that balance, and the metrics, which helps us make better strategic decisions.
“One of the most valuable thing we got early on, which sparked interest from management, is that we were able to present all of our software that we have on our server state and display all of the manufacturer lifecycle alongside that. So, when it came to business questions, they could ask how much are we going to have to spend in 2019. They could understand the impact of change down the line. That really helped drive the value to the management team. So even after they bought in to the deployment, that was the nail on the coffin.”
Thompson said that when you embrace “this kind of program, it requires certain things.
“Find a strong executive sponsor,” he said. “We were very lucky that the person we report to sits on the management board. Use their position and influence to give momentum to the implementation. For example, their assistance helped us get it into the daily processes, like project timekeeping. That’s where we have seen a lot of benefits and advantages.”
Thompson also said it was important to “manage the outcome. We sought to deliver value in 90 days, not 12 to 18 months.”
Thompson offered a final pointer – “Be the person the advocates change. Then drive the change, not the value.”
Check out the Webinar here.