We perform a “health” assessment of your Enterprise Architecture to provide you an informed, independent perspective of your strategic EA asset’s viability as a foundational resource to:
- fully document and reveal your Enterprise Relationships;
- communicate your Business Intent concisely through consistent vocabulary, and uncomplicated text, models and diagrams;
- inform interested parties in your company or organization, which may include external agents such as supply chain, partners and other vendors.
We believe your EA is a foundational, strategic asset, and must offer strategic executive value in several aspects; we assess your existing information to determine how well your EA is positioned to provide these values. We search for value in an EA such as it being:
- a consistent problem solving tool across all areas;
- easily accessible;
- consumable, understood by any member of your organization;
- a foundation for IT to design future solutions; technology agnostic;
- complete in its definition of your Business;
- a measure of your organization’s progress;
- a business transformation tool informing all in consistent language and materials;
- an orchestrating tool to align expectations and budgets to support;
- a source of discovery; a governance foundation, compelling organizational improvements.
Just What Is An Enterprise (EA) Health Assessment?
Every company or organization of size:
- will have goals to pursue and strategies to attain them;
- will have processes and activities that deliver value;
- will have information grouped about their assets, resources and inventories of goods, services and things that are important to their business or charter;
- will have a presence either in real world locations, or in cyberspace;
- will have need to react to business, governance, or natural events which may trigger others –some events may be cyclical; and across all of these,
- will have people integrally involved, individually or in groups, assuming roles and responsibilities.
Every sizable company and organization possesses certain aspects:
- Strategies and Goals
- Processes and Activities
- Assets, Resources and Inventories
- Organizations and People, in Roles having Responsibilities
- Locations and Geographies
- Events, Triggers and Cycles
These aspects influence and draw upon each other in a complex set of interactions that are not easily seen.
This is the organization’s Enterprise Architecture whether documented and understood or not.
That Sounds Good, But Our Company Doesn’t Have An Enterprise Architecture… Do We?
We will require minimal assistance, and limited preparation from your organization. Your effort will be straightforward; you will either:
- gather and deliver a secure, encrypted cache of documents and information that represents your current and future understanding of your business and business intent, your Enterprise Architecture; or
- establish rights, authorities and access to, such documents or EA Repository, for the duration of the assessment, in a read-only mode where our presence cannot damage or alter critical Business content.
You may wish to assign a Business Liaison for questions and clarifications that may be raised or, in the case of remote access, technical assistance in establishing access channels.
We view your Enterprise Architecture as a foundational, strategic asset, a wealth of information unique and proprietary to your business health. We therefore emphasize our respectful, secure handling of each client’s sensitive, confidential information.
“Why Should My Company Obtain An Independent EA Assessment?”
You have an organization to run, and the best people to assess your internal business information are busy too, often widely distributed across projects, assignments and likely locations as well.
- The business information that we must assess, in part or in whole, may be very familiar to a few of your top people, while unfamiliar to others. Specific information arises out of specific locations, organizations and processes; this tends to oblige allegiances and loyalties in people of those areas.
- People’s diverse nature in any business ensures that some areas have a more dominant presence or greater perceived seniority in a business executive quorum; such political influences can shade an internally managed assessment to bolster one area while not offering full support of another.
- People are political, and want to be part of a successful group–this is good for the organization and to be expected, yet this focus can make contrary or less supported details difficult or unpopular to acknowledge in a formal assessment.
We will access your organization’s Enterprise Architecture, or the repository of information that best represents the business strategies and other aspects described above, with minimal interaction with your organization, as your executive team goes on with your business.
We will objectively assess the important aspects that an EA should offer to your organization, and form a report of these observations and suggested actions to you within a specified timeframe. We strive to be clear as to what we are looking for, concise in what we find, direct in identifying the level of effectiveness for each measure, apolitical, and technology agnostic.
How Much Time & Effort Will This EA Assessment Require To Our Staff?
So What Exactly Will This Independent EA Assessment Provide For Us?
We will assess and identify areas that meet expectation or fall short of expectation in the areas of measure that we believe are core to a successful Enterprise Architecture. Areas that we review include, but are not limited to:
- Your executives can use the Enterprise Architecture as a consistent problem solving tool across all areas –Business areas, Operations areas, Manufacturing areas, and Information areas –all must be able to easily access the same information defined within the EA repository, and formulate a consistent image of the problem or solution domain –the subject of Business Interest.
- Your Enterprise Architecture is consumable –it is accessible and usable by any member of your organization to seek out answers to questions and problems that arise in the course of business activities. It is logically organized and consistent across all presentations.
- Your IT teams will find the Enterprise Architecture to be a solid foundation from which to design future state solution environments, regardless of technologies that may have been pre-selected, or new breakthroughs that arise to the fore.
- Your Enterprise Architecture is complete in its definition of your Business using explicit, defined vocabulary, and is refreshed as key business concerns change or evolve.
- Your Enterprise Architecture informs the entire organization on policies and procedures as your business transforms.
- Your Enterprise Architecture reflects and documents your organization’s progress in meeting goals, closing performance gaps, and achieving critical results.
- Your Enterprise Architecture serves as an orchestrating tool that ensures all impacted groups and resources of proposed initiatives are involved from the start, working to eliminate gaps in expectations and critical budget omissions.
- Your Enterprise Architecture will be a valuable source of discovery –candidate initiatives, solutions, gaps and overlaps, multiple problem-consolidations, and operational efficiencies, etc.
- Your Enterprise Architecture serves as a governance foundation, and compels your organizations to improve.
Yes! We are very familiar with the mandate of the Federal Enterprise Architecture (FEA), and the Enterprise Architecture Assessment Framework (EAAF) –the mechanism with which the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) assesses all federal departments and agencies’ Enterprise Architectures. We have performed this very assessment for a large US Government department, providing both EAAF perspective feedback, as well as feedback derived from our extensive experience with the original Enterprise Architecture framework, from which the EACOE has evolved The Enterprise Frame Works!”
We've researched the many federal enterprise architecture documents, guidance documents, reference models, policies, and related materials to obtain a clear understanding of the intent of and constraints upon this department’s EA. We then reviewed the large cache of documents that they provided as a representation of their EA, looking for the EAAF required value, as well as value we seek from our experience. Our feedback helped that organization to understand a great number of areas where they could improve and simplify the use of their substantial base EA.
Very recently –December 2008 in fact -The Architecture and Infrastructure Committee released the Federal Segment Architecture Methodology (FSAM) v1.0 which is a methodology targeted specifically to the FEA reference models.
The value statement for the segment methodology is in part, its outputs being a core part of EAAF Reporting, or they support that EAAF reporting. The methodology also prescribes deliverables that may aid in CPIC, Security, Privacy, Solution development, strategic planning, and IT Governance. That is a lot of methodology that reaches far beyond Enterprise Architecture.
We focus on a practical, usable Enterprise Architecture that communicates clearly to all audiences a consistent image of the subject of interest.
Yes, That Will Help Us To Refine Our Strategies. However, We Are A Government-Related Organization That Must Also Align With the Federal EA. Can You Help Us Improve Our Compliance?
Our report of the Independent Assessment of your company’s Enterprise Architecture health will provide:
- an overview describing the assessment and its objectives;
- an Executive Summary in text and tabular form;
- in depth sections to describe all assessment measures; and
- document and resource cross references for traceability.
The executive summary in text and in simple tabular form, brings the full message to the fore, with the areas that make the grade, and those that need work to achieve their goals.
The in depth sections that follow have detailed structured lists of areas of measures, describing the value being sought, relevant value or influencing information found, and an objective, fact-based direct statement of whether this measure had been met from our understanding of the documents and of the assessment criteria.
We strive to keep all supporting references traced by calling them out in the detailed text of the assessments, and in tabular form for cross reference at the end of the document. We understand that should a misunderstanding occur, together your team and we can correct the context and the sum interpretation of that measure, by reviewing the traced documents’ statements and content.
Great, What Comes Next?
You will have a wealth of information and suggestions that your organization can weigh with respect to your goals, budgets, and realities of the day.
- Some observed suggestions may be “low hanging fruit” that will be easy to achieve;
- Some may take time, investment, or change of processes –things that are not easily done quickly.
- While the report will not prescribe a “roadmap” of projects and initiatives, it will provide an excellent set of reasonable questions, suggestions or tasks that can help elevate your Enterprise Architecture to the next level.
What Then Will, You Do?
You can get started now, by determining if we should have a remote secure connection to your repository, or if your documents and related information should be encrypted and delivered; in either case, preparing the accounts and remote connections, or gathering and consolidating the documents before the scheduled assessment can prevent unnecessary stress we all feel near deadlines.