Enterprise Architecture Assessment

According to Gartner Group, “Enterprise architecture is a top-down, business strategic driven process that coordinates the parallel, internally consistent development of an enterprise business architecture (EBA), an enterprise information architecture (EIA), and an enterprise-wide technology architecture (EWTA), as well as the enterprise application portfolio (EAP). It represents the holistic expression of the enterprise’s key business, information, application, and technology strategies and their impact on business functions and processes.”

Most information and data lifecycle management engagements begin with an assessment of an enterprise’s architecture.  In particular, the process focuses on business strategy, and assisting corporate architects and strategists to develop an enterprise business architecture that encompasses the enterprise’s business strategies, the assets and processes to support the strategies, and how to assess the effect of these elements on the business.

This study digs deeply into an organization’s structure and techniques to identify major functions, and intersections that might lead to duplicated efforts or missed opportunities.  As an example, workflow simplification is one of the usual outcomes of this type of architectural review.  Most large complex enterprises have a surprising amount of redundancy in their organizational systems, and this type of study can lead to a significant reduction in operational costs.

A second reason behind such an assessment is that corporate or regulatory governance greatly affects information and data management policies.  Thus, it can be very useful to perform an enterprise architecture assessment to ensure that business and IT strategies are properly aligned.

Service-Level Agreements/Objectives

No matter where you go or what you do, service level agreements are vital.  No where is that more true than when the lifecycle management of information are involved.  However, industry studies have repeatedly shown that most service level agreements fail to cover critical aspects of corporate information such as retention and availability.  Furthermore, as companies implement policies and procedures for Sarbanes-Oxley, HIPAA, and other corporate and regulatory governance, deficiencies in data protection are exposed. 

Information classification is a major factor in creating service level agreements and objectives.  Information classification is part of that “holistic” process cited by Meta Group of associating an enterprise business architecture, with the enterprise portfolio, and its information lifecycle needs.

This study gets to the root of recovery point, recovery time, and other data protection requirements and objectives as well as the more traditional IT-related and business-related SLA metrics for the “lines of business” within the enterprise.

Business Activity Monitoring

Analyst John Hagel defines four levels of accountability ranging from network and systems monitoring systems (most IT detail/least business-centric) to Business Operations Performance Management (least IT detail/most business information).  Business Activity Monitoring (BAM) falls into the middle tier of providing business process information tied to IT performance.  Defining the linkages between business process and IT resource usage is one of the more challenging exercises in the industry today.


Enterprise Application Portfolio Management

Most of the service management disciplines include an inventory of business applications.  Not simply the commercial off the shelf (COTS) applications, but the real, mission-critical, business-centric applications that “bring home the bacon.”

A well defined, fully documented, portfolio of business applications is the foundation for virtually every aspect of service management.  Consider that without such information you would have to guess at what to give resources to, or where resources are going.  How could you possibly create service level agreements without an appraisal of enterprise applications?

Portfolio Management has always been important because it describes the integral components of a business; however, where service oriented architectures (SOA) have been implemented and services spanning suppliers and distributors are in place, it is imperative that the applications and their relationships be recorded so that dependencies and potential points of failure can be controlled and monitored.

An enterprise portfolio study identifies the workflow and dependencies within the enterprise and to adjacent entities as well as the data objects that are used.  This study lays the foundation for designating service level objectives and/or agreements.


Business Impact Analysis

Virtually everyone has a plan for surviving a disaster; but do the plan(s) assess vulnerabilities and detail business impact scenarios?  What are the effects of an outage? of degraded service? Are business processes assigned priorities so that during periods of resource contention there is a clear plan for operations?  What dependencies exist?  does it actually do any good to assign a priority without definitive knowledge of what drives the business process?

These critical elements of Business Impact Analysis (BIA) are developed from the strategic business process planning, enterprise architecture, portfolio management, and service-level objectives work.


Business Availability/Continuity

In today’s online, interconnected world it is not enough to simply maintain backups.  Nor is it sufficient to mirror data.  Comprehensive planning of the business process, what drives it, and what it drives as well as corporate objectives and corporate and regulatory governance requirements all feed into decisions related to business availability and continuity.  Factor into the equation outsourcing and subscription services and assuring business availability becomes a very complicated and demanding process. 

The Business Availability/Continuity study delves into the economics of fulfilling service level agreements at the lowest possible cost and the best level of service.  There are many different approaches to availability management; in a resource constrained environment, it is important to maximize the return on investment while ensuring compliance.


Call Application Matrix Today

To see how your information and data lifecycle management needs can be met call Application Matrix at (240) 632-9361 or email info@ApplicationMatrix.com.