The Enterprise Architecture Award, now in its third year, recognizes organizations whose architectural excellence has had major business impact. Presented by InfoWorld, Forrester Research, and the Penn State University Center for Enterprise Architecture, this year's Awards highlight the importance of developing a common framework for business and technology within which enterprise architects and their allies can plan and execute transformational change.
Each of these organizations developed an accurate, top-down view of how their current processes functioned, identifying redundancies, bottlenecks, and arbitrary practices that were constraining greater efficiency and agility. All of them worked collaboratively to develop a way forward, extending best practices and intelligently applying technology to create a more modern and effective business. Congratulations to our five winners!
National Grid is a multinational electricity and gas utility headquartered in London. In response to dramatic shifts in the global energy and utilities industry, National Grid has undertaken a fundamental transformation of its IS (information services) function, with the intent of becoming more agile and responsive to evolving business needs.
Energy distribution now relies on a two-way flow, thanks to embedded electricity generation and transmission of information across the smart grid and smart meters. This industry shift has made IS a core element of National Grid's business, on par with power-generating plants and transmission facilities.
To strategically align IS to the business, an expanded EA function was created. Historically, National Grid had no expression of the business architecture; IS personnel were regarded as "order takers," implementing solutions that the business dictated. For IS to provide the right strategic support to the business, with shared decision-making for various programs, the culture had to change.
With the vision and goals already provided by the business, National Grid decided that the key product it needed to develop immediately was an ECM (enterprise capability model). The ECM offers an enduring view of the capabilities that the overall business needs to deliver in order to achieve business objectives -- independent of how they were organized or how individual processes operated.
The common language established by the ECM is used in dialogue with business stakeholders to express and agree upon the scope of initiatives and programs, identify opportunities for application reuse, and to create "heat maps" of capabilities -- for example, of those most affected by a new technology or a business divestment. It is now being used to perform maturity assessments with the business.