The Value of Enterprise Architecture

Keywords enterprise architecture value of enterprise
Standards groups

I first became aware of the importance of enterprise documentation when I worked
in a headquarters organization that was responsible for the engineering and
maintenance of military air traffic control systems in Canada and overseas. The
documentation for every remote site included not only information about all of the
electronic equipment, circuit diagrams, etc., but also “as-built” drawings and
photographs of each installation. For any given site, we could pull out the drawings
and see exactly where components were placed in any room.

All air traffic control
sites were under “configuration control,” meaning no changes could be made to any
installation without their going through a formal approval process. The “as-built”
drawings were amended as changes were approved and implemented. Such tight
management of the configuration of the air traffic control systems and
documentation about them reduced the risk of unauthorized changes that might
have safety implications. It also greatly reduced the time it took to make the
authorized changes, as the engineers back at headquarters didn’t have to start from
scratch. A similar “configuration control” concept was applied to air traffic control
policies and procedures.

Date published
Document type
management guidance
Defines standard
Replaced/Superseded by document(s)
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I am sometimes asked to help people justify the cost of establishing an enterprise
architecture (EA) program as a “return on investment.” This is a tall order. I liken it
to trying to justify the cost of an activity such as strategic planning. How do you
quantify the value of activities that create knowledge, clarify thinking, aid in analysis
and decision-making? Many don’t even try, accepting that such activities can perhaps
be carried out more efficiently but not eliminated entirely. So why is it so difficult for
people to view EA in the same light?

Tony Brown
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