Measuring EA’s Value in the Digital Enterprise
Organizations consistently cite value measurement as a top area of importance in enterprise architecture (EA), but at the same time, they report it as one of the areas of lowest maturity. What gets measured gets done. This means regular measurement and reporting keeps you focused on specific goals and results.
Value metrics reflect EA’s contribution toward delivering results. Effective EA leaders focus on goals with clearly stated business value. Value metrics measure how much of this value has been realized.
Organizations that hope to survive in the digital age must utilize a systematic and solid corporate performance management process. A crucial part of that performance management process is metrics. EA must be able to show directly how it positively impacts measures that matter to the rest of the organization.
An effective EA measurement program typically begins by identifying a set of precise and easy-to-use metrics recognized by both business and IT organizations across the enterprise. At a strategic level, EA metrics establish a number of quantifiable parameters that enable practitioners to assess and evaluate the EA program, the IT assets employed, and their relevance to delivering business value for the enterprise. At a tactical level, EA metrics include parameters that impact the EA and its effectiveness across the organization — both directly and indirectly.
The challenge in measuring EA value is not a lack of metrics; it is knowing which of those metrics make sense for an organization and provide the most “value” for the effort. The key to a successful value measurement program is to identify metrics that correlate to business key performance indicators (KPIs).
Although existing research has addressed value measurement for EA, most of that research has assumed that a common set of metrics will work for all organizations. It has failed to consider that different organizations have different value sets that require different measures. There is no doubt that a practical and effective way to measure EA’s contribution to the organization is an essential part of any IT program. EA leaders should have metrics that are based on their mission and value proposition. Specific EA objectives should target identified stakeholder goals, and EA KPIs should link to stakeholder KPIs.
It is important for all organizations to have a good understanding of their core capabilities and the processes that implement those capabilities. EA value metrics should align with the value measures utilized by the core capabilities of the organization as well as those measures utilized by key stakeholders. Aligning the EA value metrics and value measures allows the EA team to show the rest of the organization how it positively and directly impacts measures that matter to the enterprise. As a result, the value of EA to the digital enterprise will not only be understood but assured.
In an upcoming Executive Report, I will explore the ins and outs of developing and maintaining EA value metrics for the digital enterprise. The Report will describe the process for deriving long-term EA value metrics that are aligned with the value drivers of the organization.
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