In the age of technology, organizations are using more tools than ever before. In fact, according to a Cisco study, the average large enterprise uses more than 1,200 cloud services.
Unfortunately for many enterprises, 98-percent of those services are shadow IT—or technologies that are used without IT’s knowledge or approval.
Suffice it to say that shadow IT presents serious problems for many organizations. For example, in 2016, Gartner predicted that—in the coming years—one-third of successful data breaches would originate via shadow IT resources.
At the same time, organizations can’t simply decide to invest in any number of tools and expect to get fantastic business outcomes. To make sure such investments support business goals, companies need to have a well-thought-out strategy when choosing how to allocate IT budgets.
To solve both of these problems—reducing shadow IT while ensuring investments in technology are strategic—the concept of enterprise architecture has emerged in recent years.
Simply put, enterprise architecture refers to what an organization’s technological infrastructure looks like. To ensure that they have the tools they need to meet their goals, organizations create what’s called an enterprise architecture framework.
What Is an Enterprise Architecture Framework?
An enterprise architecture framework is the process and methodology through which organizations plan out their enterprise architecture—which, for many organizations, increasingly refers to their technology and tools.
By creating an enterprise architecture framework, it becomes easier for organizations to get a bird’s-eye view of all of their IT resources—which enables them to ensure their employees have the tools they need to do their jobs while reducing shadow IT considerably.
There are several distinct approaches to enterprise architecture frameworks. Choosing the right approach and creating an enterprise architecture framework that works well for your organization delivers a number of transcendent benefits, which we’ll explore next.
Why Is Enterprise Architecture Important?
Enterprise architecture helps organizations increase their competitive advantage and profitability by operating more efficiently and with purpose.
Sure, you could hammer in a nail with a screwdriver. It might just take a bit longer, and chances are that you won’t be able to hammer it in as deeply as you could with an actual hammer.
Similarly, organizations can get by using tools that do the job well enough—even if they’re not the best tools for the job. For example, projects can still be coordinated over email even though a project management platform might support the use case better.
However, with a solid enterprise architecture framework in place, companies can ensure that their employees have the best tools for the job—maximizing organizational value along the way.
Having the right tools in place makes it easier for your team members to do their jobs. Productivity increases, solutions are delivered faster, and products are brought to market in less time.
Overall, enterprise architecture makes it easier to align IT investments with business objectives with higher ROI. This helps the entire organization move forward with more purpose. Instead of relying on the same platforms for decades, organizations can migrate to new tools that help them work more effectively.
Who Should Be Involved in Enterprise Architecture Initiatives?
One way or another, every organization does enterprise architecture. It’s just a matter of recognizing something for what it is. Here are some of the positions that might be involved in the creation of an enterprise architecture framework:
- An enterprise architect captures data to uncover insights.
- A business relationship manager figures out how their organization is advancing strategic objectives.
- A business architect looks for ways to optimize processes and remediate risks.
- Strategy and planning professionals share insights into whether an organization has the resources needed to support a new initiative.
- A transformation lead ensures that IT investments support digital transformation initiatives.
- A security architect detects risks that aren’t picked up through automation and determines how those risks could affect the organization.
Tools You Need to Align Your Business Goals and IT Strategy
Enterprise architecture is all about ensuring that employees have the right tools for the job. That being the case, it follows, then, that enterprise architects need the right tool for the job, too.
Over the last several years, enterprise architecture management (EAM) solutions have emerged to help organizations develop robust frameworks that help them achieve their business goals.
With the right EAM solution in place, architects get access to actionable insights that can inform strategy—making it that much easier to develop the best frameworks for their needs.
See how Changepoint EAM can help you create a framework that helps your company get to the next level.