Do you know the difference between a corporate tool and corporate art? Corporate art gets hung on the boardroom or reception wall; people look at it and say, “wow, that’s cool”. A corporate tool you use to create real value for your business. Your company’s business architecture frameworks (business, solution, enterprise, network, security, data) shouldn’t just be like the art you hang on the wall and look at. These are tools used actively to understand how the various facets of your organization and systems work and are a resource to drive informed decision making. The value of your business architecture comes from its use, not its creation.
Companies and government organizations spend a tremendous amount of time and resources on strategy, planning and design activities. Why? Because in a world where opportunities, threats and the competitive landscape are continuously changing rapidly, companies need to evolve. They need to modernize, become more efficient, capitalize on market opportunities, and innovate in ways that create competitive differentiation. Business architecture is a critical tool in enabling organizational agility and focusing limited resources (people, equipment, and money) on the efforts and initiatives to produce the most value.
Only about 20% of the value of your business architecture investments comes from its creation, and 80% comes from how it is consumed and used. Understanding this breakdown is important for business leaders and architects. It goes back to the earlier question about the difference between art and architecture. If the designs and diagrams that your architects are creating aren’t making their way out of your business architecture and are accessible to others in the organization, you have a real problem. You also have a problem if the designs your architects create don’t provide the actionable insights that leaders and others in the organization need to make decisions.
How to maximize business architecture ROI
If you are in an organization that sees the value potential for business architecture efforts (as demonstrated by their continued investment in architects and architecture projects), there are a few things you can do to help maximize the ROI from your architecture:
- Focus on the problems that need to be solved – instead of trying to draw the most complete picture. Often you will find that the really important answers can be gleaned from incomplete and even somewhat inaccurate data in a fraction of the time it takes to achieve the level of completeness and correctness that most architects strive for. This means you can make decisions faster and be more agile.
- Share your architecture content broadly throughout the organization – by integrating your architecture platform with tools like SharePoint, Confluence and other web technologies that non-architects use every day. If you don’t have these platforms, look at the role-based-access-control features of your architecture platform and available web interfaces to provide a means for enabling your stakeholders to see content within your architecture platforms.
- Break your designs into smaller chunks. Architects tend to try and answer a bunch of different questions with the same diagrams. As a rule, each diagram should answer one specific question. If you combine this with the first item in this list, it will help increase consumption.
- Enable collaboration on your architecture content. Your architects only know so much about how things work (processes and systems). Using tools like Sparx Systems Prolaborate, you can enable business stakeholders, project teams implementing designs, and operations teams to provide direct feedback on your architecture content – filling in gaps, providing clarity and suggestions for improvement that can help you rapidly improve the quality and completeness of your architectures.
If you want to maximize the value of your business architecture investments, you need to make your architecture content more accessible and more relevant to the people who need to use it to make decisions. As you do this, your stakeholders will become more engaged with your architects – providing feedback and contributing their insights to your corporate knowledge base. It becomes a self-sustaining cycle of collaboration.
Don’t expect this change to happen overnight, though. The transformation starts with;
- A pivot towards the needs of your stakeholders (a mindset shift)
- Simplification of your architecture designs (a skillset shift)
- Implementing the right set of tools to enable collaboration (a technology shift)
How Can Sparx Services Help?
If this seems overwhelming or you aren’t sure how to address these issues within your organization, Sparx Services North America can help. We can help you implement the latest Sparx Systems Architecture Platform (available as SaaS or deployed within your environment), train your staff on how to curate architecture content for non-modelers and mentor your teams on using modeling best practices to engage with stakeholders collaboratively. You are investing a lot in your architecture efforts.
Let us help you maximize the value of those investments. To connect with a member of our team, visit www.sparxsystems.us/contact-us