As enterprise technology development accelerates, and as technology decision-making becomes increasingly decentralized within organizations, the need for the overarching perspective presented by EA (enterprise architecture) has never been more acute. This year's Enterprise Architecture Awards illustrate more clearly than ever the vital role EA plays in marshaling technology resources to improve business outcomes and capitalize on new opportunities.
Every year InfoWorld and Forrester Research, in collaboration with Penn State University Center for Enterprise Architecture, present the Enterprise Architecture Awards to recognize companies whose practice of enterprise architecture has delivered substantial business benefit. This year, the five EA initiatives we honor were particularly broad in scope, with several winners sporting household names, including Cisco, MasterCard, and Verizon. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Yum Brands were also award winners, both with global operations that benefitted greatly from adept EA implementation.
As always, the Enterprise Architecture Awards were judged by a panel of experts with real-world EA experience. We offer our sincere thanks to our 2013 judges: Trekker Armstrong, director of architecture and planning at TransCanada; Munjal Dave, senior business architect at State Farm; Con Kenny, senior research fellow at National Defense University; Eric Meredith, vice president of architecture, governance, and communication at PNC Financial; David Parrott, head of enterprise architecture at Thomson Reuters Global Resources; and David Prior, head of architecture at GlaxoSmithKline.
The 2013 Enterprise Architecture Award winners offer important lessons about the power of creatively integrating enterprise technology and business strategies. We hope you find their stories enlightening.
Cisco: Leveraging business architecture for corporate agility
Thanks to aggressive acquisition, global growth, and changing customer business models, Cisco faced serious challenges in standardizing processes and patterns across business units.
"Because of the speed at which we're moving, the complexity grew exponentially. There was a massive amount of raw simplification that needed to occur in our systems, processes, organizations and operating models," explained Russ Conway, Cisco's director of architecture. This perfect storm provided the ideal climate in which to initiate a business architecture practice to simplify the business and give the company the agility to anticipate and profit from new market opportunities.
The business architecture practice -- leveraging experts from IT, business, and operations -- developed integrated roadmaps to inform portfolio, priority, and design decisions. The new practice created a toolkit to normalize vernacular and taxonomy and create a common reference model. It also implemented an internal program to train employees in EA to drive adoption. "Architecture is not a reaction to our projects," Conway said. "The practice is positioned as a planning function. It's what defines the projects."
The common reference model has been instrumental in eliminating redundancies and roadblocks throughout the company. By removing inefficiencies, the EA practice has stopped initiatives before overinvestment; it has also expanded the use of the model to support other parts of the business, moving everyone toward a shared business outcome. Going forward, Cisco plans to connect the business architecture initiative to other planning functions.