At its core, enterprise architecture (EA) is a way of bringing synergy between the business and Information technology (IT). It is a way to ensure IT is supporting business endeavors and not the other way around. Working with middle market clients typically experiencing rapid growth, there are always excuses to why there is no defined EA for the organization.
Most organizations do not have a defined EA because they are:
- Not ready for an EA yet
- Too busy to begin another initiative
- Unable to see the value or return on investment (ROI)
- Not familiar with what an EA is
There is always a point when the IT environment becomes so complex that it starts to negatively affect business and the decision making process. Rogue IT is not uncommon in rapidly growing businesses. A particular business unit needs a tool to support their initiatives and feels that the quickest way is to just move ahead and acquire a tool/application that will meet their needs. As this occurs, the IT environment grows more complex (even when the tools acquired are Software as a Service products, SaaS).
EA helps define the business value drivers and how they are supported with IT. It paints a clear picture of tools/applications (and their capabilities), how they map to the overall business and how they interact with each other. This is essential to keeping rouge IT to a minimum and providing management with important decision making collateral. In turn the overall spend is reduced as the organization becomes more aware of how IT supports the business.