Does an enterprise architect, business architect, data archtect, IT architect, application or solution architect need an integrated enterprise model to perform their job? Absolutely not! They can at the beginning of any assignment extract the required information and data from the enterprise they need and utilize it to gain the knowledge to perform the assignment, complete the tasks and generate the required artifacts.
So why model an enterprise? Why spend the time, money and effort to do something that nobody necessarily needs? It sure does seem like a waste!
There are however two very valid reasons both of which are an investment today to save time and cost in the future. If constructed properly, with an appropriate level of content and detail to meet the current needs of the business, can provide a very good ROI, in the order of 100:1 or better, and provides a great foundation for further development at even greater ROIs. When implemented intelligently, model maintenance costs are reasonable, reduced to a part-time job for the architect maintaining the model.
The first reason to model the enterprise is increased efficiency. When multiple architects spend time and money collecting the same shared information, the duplication of effort in the overlapping usage can be eliminated. Furthermore, one effort to validate the data for the first usage negates the need to do it in the other usages. Once validated, the data is correct for any usage. This is a design methodology established in the 90’s called “correct-by-construction” utilized in computer aided design tools in the establishment of the design library. Build it, build it complete, test and inspect it once and it is ready for unchecked usage in multiple applications moving forward.
Once an enterprise is modeled, all the information and data needed to perform any architecture job in the enterprise exists and ready for usage. For example, all the capabilities are captured and ready to be analyzed to meet a specific strategy or goal. Capabilities are not only tied to the strategies and goals but also to the processes, people, tools and technology that support them. Gaps in technology and training are instantly identified. Results of initiatives can be tied back to strategies to determine the effectiveness of the strategies and lessons learned for future improvement. The model can also be used to drive EIM and BI, improvement initiatives, tools and activities and to quickly understand the relationships between the elements of the various architectural models and to understand what the inter-dependencies are.
The second reason is an enterprise model enables usage of EA in applications other than EA which increases the value of EA to the business and allows EA to be used to its full potential. In other words, it can drive applications that serve the purposes of other people in the business beside the various architects in the enterprise.
For example, the same working model is used to DELIVER specific sets of business process capabilities (process assets and resources such as business procedures, training materials, SME information, software tools, etc.) logically categorized, grouped and sorted and provided to specific users that would otherwise USE SEARCH ENGINES to retrieve them, provided they are in the search results or even when they are in the seach results, are able to find them in the pages of search results. An enterprise model can provide each specific community of users all the specific information and data the specific users need to perform their specific jobs without bothering them with information and data that does not apply to them.