Enterprise architecture develops the organization’s IT strategic plan and influences its business strategic plan. In order to do this, EA itself must have a strategic roadmap.
Harvard Business Review, April 2008, states that “companies that don’t have a simple and clear statement of strategy are likely to fall into the sorry category of those that have failed to execute their strategy or, worse, those that never had one. In an astonishing number of organizations, executives, frontline employees, and all those in between are frustrated because no clear strategy exists for the company or its lines of business.”
Elements of a strategic plan
What are the elements of a strategic plan?
- Mission— “why we exist;” this is the purpose of the organization
- Values—“what we believe in and how we will behave”
- Vision—“what we want to be
- Strategy—“What pour competitive game plan will be; this includes the following: A) Objectives—what we want to achieve: goals and objectives B) Scope—“the domain of the business; the part of the landscape in which the firm will operate.” C) Advantage—the means or initiatives that define how you will achieve your objectives; “what your firm will do differently or better than others,” defines your competitive advantage.
- Balanced scorecard—“how we will monitor and implement that plan” A strategic plan for EA
According to the American Management Association, the mission statement defines what the ultimate purpose of the organization is. It tells who you are, what you are, what you do, who do you serve, and why do you exist.
The mission statement takes the form of: The [blank] is a [blank] that [produces blank] for [blank] to [help blank].
For example, the mission statement for enterprise architecture:
The [enterprise architecture program] is an that [develops information products and governance services] for [the employees of ABC organization] to [improve decision-making].
The values of EA are: driving measurable results, aligning technology with the business, information-sharing and accessibility, service interoperability and component reuse, technology standardization and simplification, and information security.
The vision of EA is to make information transparent to enable better decision-making.
The strategy provides the conceptual way you will pursue your mission and vision.
“Defining the objective, scope, and advantage requires trade-offs, which Porter identified as fundamental to strategy.” For example, a growth or market size strategy may obviate profitability, or a lower price strategy may hinder fashion and fit. The point is that an organization cannot be everything to everybody! Something has got to give.
So for example, in EA, we must trade off the desire to be and do all, with the reality that we must focus on entire enterprise. Therefore, we distinguish ourselves from segment architecture and solutions architecture. In EA, we focus on strategic outcomes and delegate line of business architectures and systems architectures to the lines of business and solution developers.
Finally, EA implements a balanced scorecard by instituting mechanisms for monitoring and implementing its plans. These include performance metrics for both information products and governance services.
In sum, to get a meaningful EA plan in place, we have to answer these fundamental elements of strategy for the EA program itself.