The EA team in Aetna tackled this challenge using business capability maps for integrated views of processes, systems, information, and technologies. The project necessitated a strong partnership from the business. The EA team provided insights to senior management on the capabilities Aetna's systems and business processes provided, as well as finding opportunities to unify or reuse capabilities and evaluating how existing or planned capabilities aligned to core strategies. The capability map analysis enabled EA to respond to the business' questions - but would the business recognize the value of these maps going forward?
The worries were unwarranted. After using the capability map to demonstrate reuse opportunities and capability gaps, the business has welcomed the EA team's participation and contributions and plans to work more closely with the group in 2011 for future planning cycles. Already the business recognizes how the Aetna Capability Map helps focus technology investments on capabilities that will provide the greatest benefit to the enterprise, which will reduce costs and improve time to market in the future.
"This firm's use of capability maps as a business blueprint to inform and influence strategic planning and portfolio management is a huge leap forward, and it provides the firm foundation for industry and IT benchmarking and decision-making in the future. Capability maps such as these are a "next practice" in enterprise architecture," said Doug Mutart, one of the judges of the Enterprise Architecture Awards.
Barclay's Bank may predate the American Revolution, but that doesn't make the company old-fashioned. In fact, Barclay's EA practice provides a modern example of success that other banks would do well to follow.
At Barclay's, which has more than 48 million customers and clients worldwide, the EA practice is responsible for enabling a governance framework that ensures corporate investment is aligned to strategic technology architecture and that it delivers business value. Historically, Barclay's has managed development of IT strategy and roadmaps independently within each major line of business. Given the number of applications (more than 2,000) and the aggregate IT spend (in excess of £ 1billion), central groups found it challenging to obtain a consistent and holistic picture across investments and change portfolios -- making it hard to ensure that business value was being maximized.
To address this challenge, frameworks, processes, and tools were developed that enabled the delivery of roadmaps in a common language and format. Joint sign-off by both business and technology executives increased shared understanding, ownership, and accountability. With an enterprise view, the EA team was able to assess the impact of investment decisions across business and technology, enabling planning and portfolio management to move up the maturity curve. Among their newly gained benefits: increased interaction between business and technology leaders that led to a common vision; a continuous and repeatable mechanism that allowed ongoing investment plan revision; savings from more than 60 synergies identified across business unit roadmaps; and increased EA's credibility.
"If EA is to make a difference I would expect mechanisms to be in place to execute its influence in project portfolio management and development projects," said Bob Marsh, a judge of the Enterprise Architecture Awards. "[Barclay's demonstrated] excellent, well-thought-out linkage to the business [with] good consideration of communication and governance."