With the ECM in place, IS has firmly established itself as a co-creator of solutions with the business, and has helped to reposition the perception of EA within IS and to business management. No longer are enterprise architects regarded as "traffic wardens" who enforce technical standards. Instead, they are seen as "travel agents" who help establish strategic direction and plan the journey.
One of the judges of this year's awards, Con Kenney, senior research fellow for National Defense University, said about National Grid's submission: "The team's enterprise capability model has changed the way business and IT staff communicate, a key foundation for improving resource allocation and process performance."
Scottish Widows Investment Partnership
With more than £140 billion under management, the Scottish Widows Investment Partnership (SWIP) is one of the largest asset management companies in Europe. Last year, Jon Gasparini joined SWIP to lead the EA team. He inherited an EA approach that merely reacted to the business and was built around an outdated, disjointed Visio/Excel/PowerPoint tool set.
The team managed projects fantastically well, but lacked a unified view of architecture and did not fully understand the business capabilities. With investment in change due to increase threefold in 2012 and 2013, the EA team needed to transform itself within a very short time frame. Along with overhauling the current EA approach, the head of IT wanted the ability to assess technology risk associated with software applications -- including obsolescence, duplication, the disruptive effect of upgrades, and so on.
The first step was to work with the business side to define a business capability model over a four-week period. This created a common language between EA and business owners and a simple, yet powerful capability model that describes the SWIP business on a single page. The technology risk challenge, combined with various other difficulties, was the catalyst to invest in an EA management suite from a leading vendor.
The result was the creation of STAR (SWIP Transformation Architecture Repository), a common platform made up of five portfolios: business architecture, applications, goals and strategy, technology, and information. Together they provided the means to manage all elements of the SWIP architecture. The portfolios scale easily to meet business needs, and business managers as well as the EA team have access to visualizations and reports in real time that enable value-added decision making. This allows the EA team to focus on strategic direction setting, while at the same time empowering the business owners to make better, more informed decisions.
David Prior, an EA Awards judge who leads GlaxoSmithKine's Enterprise Architecture Center of Excellence, noted that SWIP's "EA program is moving in all the right directions for a company of its size."
Founded in 1857, the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company is among the world's leading life insurance firms, with more than $190 billion in assets, $23.6 billion total annual revenue, 5,000-plus employees, and more than 7,000 financial representatives.
Recently, IT leadership began to recognize that internal growth, coupled with dramatic technology changes, was limiting the effectiveness of its management approach. Leaders envisioned transforming the cultural mindset of IT, and aspired to run IT more like a business.
Northwestern Mutual's EA practice began its transformation in 2007, with the goal of achieving a higher level of integration with internal partners and business strategy. Foundational strategies for success emerged, yielding excellence in solution design, measurement of fiscal responsibility, reductions in solution cycle time, and improvements in project predictability.