Building the Business Case For EA Moderated by Chuck Keffer, Troux; Guest speakers: J-P Renaud, Director of Global Network Services and Jennifer Pfaff, Director of Information Technology PMO and Management Support Services at Jacobs Engineering, Inc
Session abstract: Relevant, compelling, in-demand enterprise architecture is the goal of many of today’s IT architecture and strategy leaders. Yet for many organizations, the first hurdle lies in communicating the value and justifying the required resources for EA to IT and business leadership.
There are actually four panelists: Sean Dwyer of Northwestern Mutual, Jennifer Pfaff of Jacobs, J-P Renaud of Jacobs and Eivind Nilsen of Liberty Mutual.
Aside: A few questions into the panel, the session is really about building the business case for an EA Tool (Troux), rather than building the business case for an EA practice. As such, I’d say the session should be “Building the Business Case for an EA Tool”.
Interesting introductory comment from Jennifer Pfaff of Jacobs: There are no dedicated enterprise architects. 18 people contribute a portion of their time to enterprise architecture. Troux modules: optimization, alignment and standards.
After a business value overview by Chuck Keffer, the panel discussion begins.
The first question: What were the top three factors and/or considerations in building the business case for your 2011/2012 initiatives?
Sean Dwyer: Echoes Warren Ritchie comment from yesterday, you can’t manage what you can’t describe. To support their simplification initiative, needed to understand what was in place. The Microsoft office based solution was outgrown.
J-P Renaud: Operationalize things like data gathering. Huge effort to gather data, whether it be for standards or optimization. Typically, happens once, for an initiative. Wanted a sustainable solution.
Eivind Nilsen (Liberty Mutual): Our product is a promise. Our systems are our product. As a result of acquisitions had multiple systems, suites. Needed to rationalize. More than IT costs, was difficult for business. Also have a lot of regulatory compliance changes. Having to apply those changes to redundant systems impacted their agility.
As a result, looked for tool to help manage the rationalization problem solving.
Q to Sean: Who did you have to convince to sponsor? What were their hot buttons?
Sean: Needed to answer the question “Is our organization ready to embrace the lifestyle change” required to get full advantage from Troux.
Sean brings up a good point, if the architects don’t like the tool, they won’t use it. Brought architects into the process early.
Q to Jacobs: What role did ROI have in your business case?
J-P: Engineering isn’t product based, it is man-hours. The decision was very ROI based. Troux is a complex tool. Challenge to identify the right data to put in, to get right information out. Focused on hard dollar savings.
Q to Jacobs: What techniques did your team employ in communicating the business case for your effort?
J-P: Didn’t have to sell EA, CIO brought EA in to Jacobs based on past experience. Spent a year defining what EA meant at Jacobs. What they had to justify was bringing in a tool. Needed to prove that current practices (spreadsheets, Visio) were constraining EA value delivery.
In their analysis, Jacobs did an extensive build versus buy analysis.
Q to Liberty: How involved were the targeted stakeholders in making business case?
Eivind Nilsen: Did POC that involved influential enterprise architect. Also pulled in business strategy group, demonstrated capabilities of tool.
Now, the panel is transitioning to “Up Leveling your EA”. Given Chuck’s first slide, I believe this is really about up leveling your use of, and value from, Troux. Chuck is describing some Troux accelerators, such as Rapid Answers and Program.
Back to the panel…
Question for everyone: Where are you in rolling out your current effort?
Sean: Focusing on governance, feeding outputs from Troux into corporate planning & governance systems.
Jacobs: Doing data gathering, preparing for first governance meeting in June.
Liberty: Started with optimization and a slice of alignment. Have pretty much completed data gathering with stewards. About to launch workshop focused on analytics and decision-making based on Troux information.
Question to Sean: Change management is a key part of your strategy, talk about importance and approaches?
Sean: This is change at its core. Can’t ignore change management element. Need people to embrace the tool. Have worked with representative from internal organizational change team.
Their philosophy is singles, getting on base, not home runs.
They didn’t start with Alignment, because that is a parter facing application. Wanted to build success in IT first.
Question to Jacobs: What are you doing right now to keep data current, correct and complete?
Jacobs: Just starting that project and establishing processes. Will have a lot of stewards. Element stewards and domain stewards, etc. Fewer pieces of data an individual has to maintain, the more likely they will update it.
This (data entry) is not a full-time job. The stewards will all have vested interest in keeping data updated.
Chuck: your distributed/federated EA structure probably lends more naturally to support your stewardship design.
Question to Liberty: Talk about target accomplishments?
Eivind: Need to make some applications “go away”. But, lots of views on which ones go versus stay. Using the data in Troux to help make decisions (associated dollar opportunity) and also communicate those decisions (retirement dates).
This is just starting. The dollar approach is resonating.
Questions from the audience
1. In launching initiatives, did you leverage any framework?
Jacobs: No. But read EA as Strategy book for grounding.
Eivind: Took insights from a few models, mostly from the insurance industry. Did tailor for use in their company, rather than trying to change all business terminology.
2. Did you leverage any tools, like stakeholder maps to gain buy-in?
Sean: In road mapping, reached out to IT executives, “what does roadmap mean to you”.
Eivind: Keep it as simple as possible.
3. How does one measure success of EA initiative? And do in repeatable way?
Jacobs: In application simplification, once achieved savings > investment, everything after that was easy.
Sean: Cost avoidance.
Liberty: Hitting portfolio retirement numbers, or not.
Question: Are you “giving back” to the owners of retired applications? Redirecting the investment to something they want?
Generally, the panel says not yet.