Blog Series – Where should I start with my EA?

Play 2 – Anchor on Applications, Link to Technology, Bring in Business Elements

In the second of our series of blogs looking at common scenarios we encounter in organisations that are looking to start their EA, we are focusing on organisations that have detail about the IT estate, applications and technologies, but no real link up to the business – the why?

In this scenario, we often find that the drivers are risk reduction or efficiency, but these are hampered by a lack of visibility of the business needs, i.e. what the priority risk areas actually are.  We also find that because IT have been focused on managing their estate in some isolation of the business, there is a lack of visibility of their worth in the business, so building visibility and, therefore, credibility is also often a requirement.

Below are condensed extracts from our EA Playbook that describe how to manage this scenario to achieve a positive outcome.  The playbook assumes you have some form of  target state defined for your architecture, so you know where you are going, and against which you can anchor your work.

Before you start, the key things to note here are the pre-requisites to starting the play; it is imperative that you have the support of a senior leader and that they communicate the initiative to the IT Teams who will need to provide information, and also that you have access to a friendly business contact with excellent knowledge of the business.  Also, ensure that you have access to the detail captured about the IT estate, be that in spreadsheets, on SharePoint, in CMDBs, etc.  Capturing the detail about the IT estate in Essential allows understanding of the impacts across the different domains, and enables presentation in a non-technical way that can highlight the risks and opportunities to the business, promoting engagement with senior business leaders and collaboration across business and IT teams.

The approach we’d suggest is:

  • Publish the up to date application catalogue so it is available to all
  • Create reference models for applications and technologies linked to the products used to provide the services
  • Engage the CIO by using the reference models to identify application and technology product duplication and opportunities to rationalise
  • Engage with your business contact to overlay the business perspective and  to identify potential duplication and risk from a business perspective. Start with one business area and complete that first as a demonstrator
  • Engage IT Support to demonstrate the impact of technology failure on the business, i.e. if this service is unavailable, then these parts of the business will have problems

Some of the key Essential views that support this approach are:

IT Asset Dashboard

Demonstrates duplication and legacy risk across your portfolio, covering Business, Application and Technology Reference Models

Application Rationalisation Analysis

Displays opportunities for rationalisation across applications and application services, with various filters for specific criteria.

Application Technology Strategy Alignment

Performs an analysis of a given application to evaluate its technology architecture against agreed technology product standards.

Business Process Family Summary

Shows all the business processes contained in a process family, including performing organisations and applications used.  Highlights where there are non-standard processes and different supporting applications used across the organisation, supporting the identification of opportunities to re-engineer and automate processes.

We’ll be publishing extracts covering different scenarios on a monthly basis.  If you’d like further details on the scenarios or playbook please contact us here.

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Author: Sarah

Sarah is a founder member of the Essential Project Team

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