White Paper

Why an Enterprise-Wide Technical Architecture?

The purpose of this document is to identify the potential value to your organization attributed to the successful completion of an Enterprise-Wide Technical Architecture (EWTA).

This document consists of the following topical areas:

State government has pledged to improve access to services, provide more customer focus and satisfaction, improve efficiency and effectiveness and build human resource capacity. The Departments and Agencies must accomplish these goals while responding to rapidly changing internal and external business influences. Issues affecting the organization today include:

Historically, the state has successfully implemented its vision through effective use of information technology. Systems automated manual processes and stored data. Business processes changed infrequently and lengthy development cycles were acceptable. During the last several years, the rate of business change increased dramatically and the existing systems environment could not keep pace.

Although many projects are extending technology and enhancing services, a gap has developed between line of business requirements and Information Technology’s capacity to respond.

Issues cited in business area and Information Technology interviews conducted at state agencies indicate the inability to:

These problems are a result of the existing information technology environment. The current environment consists of independent, ad hoc technology solutions that address specific program problems. This leads to a situation where IT is reactive and tactical. Enterprise-wide Technical Architecture is derived from business-driven requirements. It is proactive and strategic.

A comparison of an organization before and after EWTA implementation effort illustrating the difference is shown below.

Architecture Comparison

Current Environment Without Architecture

Enterprise-wide Techncial Architecture

Lack of alignment with business drivers and processes

Alignment with business drivers and processes

Redundant data and processes

Enterprise data source

Competing technology debates

Technology standards, configurations, and buy lists

Multiple technology integration

Approved technologies meet architectural integration specifications

Total cost of ownership is not considered when technology is introduced

Fewer configurations and required skill sets lowers support costs

Poorly leveraged technology investment

Current and future technology investments maximized

Staff trained in a wide range of technologies

Core competencies in standard technologies.

An EWTA mandates the alignment of information technology with line of business goals. It "engineers out" everything that inhibits change and "engineers in" a high tolerance for the unanticipated. Organizations that embrace business driven architectures have a technology plan and blueprint to guide their directions, choices, and investments. They posses a framework allowing them to respond to business and IT trends.

When technology was expensive relative to staff costs, these organizations utilized personnel resources and placed less emphasis on technology. Today the trend is reversed. Technology costs are decreasing and staff costs are increasing. Organizations with strong business-driven architectures leverage declining technology costs and optimize staff resources.

An architecture creates an IT environment that supports:

A fully implemented EWTA increases the organization's ability to provide consistent services, accessible information, scaleable infrastructure, and flexible technology integration on demand. It helps bridge the gap between business and IT and create a shared enterprise vision. Organization management can focus more on business objectives and less on information technology issues.

The Enterprise-wide Technical Architecture positions IT as a partner that proactively enables improved business services at an accelerated pace through resourceful means while allowing the organization to "work better, faster and smarter".

David McAfee, dmcafee@lanset.com http://www.lanset.com/dmcafee