Developing general KPIs for Enterprise Architecture

05 Sep

Enterprise Architecture is one of those topics today’s CIOs of both large and successful enterprises have to deal with. In times of a steadily growing range of applications, EA can be very helpful to keep everything under control. However – considering that there hasn’t been any single approach of EA-Management so far, it is also a quite expensive process of change. So unfortunately, it is not enough that you (and maybe your team) understand the benefit of EA – you will have to convince the decision makers.

For those of you who are new to EA, here’s a brief and helpful introduction. However, it is in German.

Now both of those required factors for EAM – cost and change – are not easy to communicate towards an enterprises’ management. Once you say ‘cost’, they will say ‘how much’. Furthermore, they might (actually they should) ask you for a plan of amotization. An easy one for you as well-prepared associate might be: “What’s the actual benefit of Enterprise Architecture?” And the worst case scenario might be the question of measurable KPIs for EA.

One – and from a management standpoint probably the most important – KPI is cost. However, it’s hard to determine the overall cost of EA implementation. But what is quantifiable would be the cost that can be saved through the successful implementation of EA. Within an IT environment of approx. 2000 different applications, EA is the key to regain control and a certain ‘tidiness’. You might discover that the same application is used in different places (for the same use case) – and might be able to consolidate those applications. Thus, you are able to save cost (no matter if it’s license fees, server space or what so ever – it’s quantifiable).

Another important – and again measurable – KPI that can be identified is time – time that can be saved with successfully established EA processes. For instance, reporting will be much faster and as a result, decision cycles become much shorter. The enterprise will be able to respond to technological trends much faster than it could ever before. After all, EA makes the difference between an organizations ability to react or to predict.

Several weeks before this article was published, I initiated discussions on several forums for EA. With the results of these discussions, I was able to identify at least two more generic and measurable KPIs for EA: Business-IT-Alignment and the compliance with rules & regulations that came with EA.

The KPI Business-IT-Alignment describes the degree of complexity / collaboration between business (management) and IT when it comes to an organizations overall strategy. You can measure this KPI by simply counting the amount of both parties’ representatives taking part in general strategy meetings. Informational exchange as well as close collaboration between business and IT are inevitable for successful EA.

The KPI compliance with EA rules & regulations describes, how IT projects match with the standards that have been set through EA implementation. It is measurable by the number of rules / regulations that had to be overridden to realize and approve an IT project. This KPI, of course, should be as low as possible.



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