Posted by: Derek Weeks on: June 2, 2011
Who drives an enterprise architecture initiative? Does it come from an enterprise architect? Maybe it’s a request from IT? Or perhaps it comes from a business unit looking to solve a serious and specific problem…
Of course the answer really depends on the problem you are trying to solve. The reality is that any of these groups can drive an enterprise architecture (EA) initiative when it is supported by a robust enterprise architecture solution.
One of our customers is the largest global discount retail store chain in the world. Rapid global expansion of the customer’s business across North America, Asia, EMEA, and South America, resulted in a significant increase (in the thousands) in the number of applications required to support its growing business demands. Over time, the retailer’s enterprise architects discovered thousands of redundant and overlapping applications that existed in silos, often in largely unknown departments around the world. Not only were these applications redundant, they were costing the organization millions of dollars in maintenance, troubleshooting and licensing fees. Additionally, data was dispersed across dozens of countries, requiring multiple data entry points and different management requirements for individual applications.
The scope of the project was overwhelming. As they began dissecting the initiative, the architects determined they needed an enterprise and business architecture modeling solution to help them truly understand all of their applications. Specifically, they needed to know which applications supported the key functions of their business operations, which applications caused process breakdowns, which applications supported the core capabilities of specific business functions, and which applications were redundant and unnecessary.
After demonstrating to company executives the critical need for an Application Portfolio Management (APM) solution to solve this problem, the architects turned to Metastorm. Using Metastorm ProVision, the architects now have complete visibility and control into their global applications – giving the organization as a whole increased business agility and dramatically decreased costs. With this APM solution, the retailer expects to retire unnecessary applications and the hardware that supports them, simplify its IT support structure, and significantly reduce maintenance costs.
In this instance, the retailer’s enterprise architects pushed the initiative forward. However, as we will see in Part 2 of this series, EA’s aren’t the only people who drive enterprise and business architecture initiatives within organizations. Tune in next week as we explore another business case where a completely different group within an organization drove the EA initiative.
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