An Enterprise Architecture Roadmap is the visual representation of the sequence of steps taken to transition from the current architecture to the desired architecture. The Enterprise Architecture Roadmap is a tangible deliverable that illustrates what needs to be accomplished and when, so it is ideal for enterprise architects looking for a diagram that will excite stakeholders and managers at all levels.
Each domain can have a specific enterprise architecture roadmap pertinent to that domain, such as business roadmaps, application roadmaps, technology roadmaps, and information roadmaps.
What are the benefits of creating an Enterprise Architecture Roadmap?
Increases stakeholder support
Stakeholders like to see the big picture rather than tactical specifics. With an Enterprise Architecture Roadmap, you can communicate the impact of significant IT changes on the company’s growth and stability. This will assist the stakeholder in understanding how IT changes will increase company productivity, efficiency, and so on, perhaps leading to buy-in.’
Keeps the projects on track
Implementing IT changes is a complex undertaking, and even tiny deviations can cause the organization to lose sight of its business goals. Having a clear roadmap gives everyone involved a point of reference to make immediate modifications in the event of errors. Roadmaps also aid in preventing roadblocks from impeding the project.
There is a roadmap for everyone
The right roadmap tool helps display the roadmap for everyone, for a stakeholder who wants to see the bigger picture, a developer who wants to see the technical implementation details or the finance team who wants to look at the budget. The roadmap can easily switch between the larger picture and the tactical explanations, helping different stakeholders understand the delivery timelines, resource allocations, anticipated budgets, and interdependencies with the rest of the elements on the roadmap.
How can you build an effective Enterprise Architecture Roadmap?
Enterprise architect leader James Parnitzke outlines a six-step process towards building an enterprise architecture roadmap. The steps defined are as follows
Determine the current state of your organization.
The first step to building an IT roadmap is to ask questions regarding the organization’s current state; these questions help determine where you stand in achieving the stated business objectives.
Define the desired state
Define the exact business objectives you want to achieve, which will be the desired future state. It involves identifying the accurate success metric you want to focus on, such as high profitability, breaking into new markets, or cutting costs.
Perform Gap Analysis
After defining the current and desired states, you identify the areas in which your organization can improve to reach the desired state. These areas of improvement will form the actionable items from the business, information, technology, and application architecture domains.
Prioritize the actionable items
Examine the actionable items from the gap analysis phase and prioritize them using various prioritization models.
Find the best sequence to implement
Once the actionable items are prioritized, they must be ordered in terms of their relative importance by asking questions like
- Will implementing certain items significantly impact corporate adoption, buy-in, and morale more than others?
- Will implementing one item affect the delivery timeline of another team?
Questions such as this help determine the most effective sequence of actionable items that you can start executing.
Develop the roadmap and publish it
The final sequence of the actionable items will turn into the enterprise architecture roadmap. For the last step, James Parnitzke emphasizes the necessity of reducing your plan into a high-level strategic summary rather than a tiresome list of activities and details, as most roadmaps do at first.
The most effective road-mapping considers the multiple ways of completing a transformation process. It also finds various options for each step in the process. It isn’t easy to carry all these permutations and combinations in your head or any essential business tools like Excel or PowerPoint.
Using the correct roadmap software enables the enterprise architecture team to chart these numerous actionable items and weigh which ones are best to steer towards the desired business endpoint confidently.