Enterprise Architecture as Strategy

Many companies treat Enterprise Architecture and Strategy as two distinct disciplines. Each team develops their own deliverables with minimum interaction. This results in a disconnect between strategy and architecture. Strategies are seldom executed and architecture cannot achieve the business goals.

Strategy refers to a plan of action designed to achieve a particular goal. To build a plan, we need to know what we want for the future, the current situation, the gap and how we can get there.

When we apply this principle to IT, IT strategy is an IT plan of action to support the business goals/strategies. To build the IT plan, we need to define the future IT environment (Target Architecture), analyse the current IT environment (Current Architecture), and identify gaps between the current and target state. This is an enterprise architecture exercise. Many well known architecture frameworks are based on this approach.

If the IT action plan, the IT strategy, is derived using enterprise architecture approach, we can treat enterprise architecture as strategy. However, it takes a long learning curve to reach this level of maturity. The majority of companies still don’t understand the use of enterprise architecture. The architects are only regarded as the technologists who have no interaction with the business.

Enterprise Architecture as Strategy is every enterprise architect’s dream. If it is applied effectively , it is a very powerful tool to support the business and manage its IT environment.

Nestan’s IT Strategic Planning Methodology assists company in the development of strategic IT plan and business unit IT plans. It uses an enterprise architecture approach to translate business strategies into IT actions with a focus on business IT alignment and IT investments prioritisation.