Enterprise architecture (EA) serves two main purposes: to provide a framework for collaboration between business and IT and to offer a pivot point for transformational change. To be effective change agents, enterprise architects must possess a deep understanding of business process -- and grasp both the potential and the practical limits of new technology solutions.
Despite their crucial role and unique combination of skills, enterprise architects seldom get the recognition they deserve. Last year, InfoWorld and Forrester Research decided to rectify that -- with the first annual InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards, which honored five organizations whose EA initiatives had a major impact on the business.
This year, with so many strong nominees, we chose a total of six winners: American Express, Bayer Healthcare, First Data, the Singapore Ministry of Education, Procter & Gamble, and USAA.
Each of the six took a different path to earning the 2011 Enterprise Architecture Award. But in all cases, despite challenging economic times, these companies' EA practice offered a new way forward, streamlining processes and enabling more effective use of IT resources. We at InfoWorld and Forrester Research salute the fine work performed by our 2011 winners.
With mobile payments all the rage these days, the payments industry -- and American Express in particular -- is undergoing a major transformation. To address the complexity of new product and service delivery channels, as well as the need for greater agility and shorter time to market, American Express's EA practice was charged with helping the company deliver a consistent, global, integrated customer experience based on converged services that run on a common application platform.
The EA practice has successfully addressed the needs of the business by delivering reference architectures and road maps that promote standardized application architectures, facilitate innovation, and enable rapid product development. In partnership with portfolio architects, the EA practice manages application architecture across multiple business solution delivery teams and develops business-aligned IT strategies. Each strategy contains a road map of initiatives that translates to measureable action and IT commitments to the business.
Road mapping is a core planning competency for architecture, engineering, service, and operations. It supports such business and IT goals as service management, portfolio simplification, prioritization, and IT-business alignment. Using a common tool, a consistent lifecycle management standard, and a standardized architecture governance process, three types of road maps are created: