Enterprise Architecture Awards

The 2017 Enterprise Architecture Awards

This year’s winning EA initiatives, brought to you by Forrester and InfoWorld, drive the customer-obsessed digital business

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ABN AMRO EA connects the dots in a complex digital world

ABN AMRO must rapidly change existing business models into a digital-savvy and regulatory-compliant ecosystem to become customer obsessed while keeping up with regulations. Like many companies, ABN AMRO adopted an agile way of working to transform its business. This enables a fast and effective response to external drivers.

2017 Enterprise Architecture Awards: ABN AMRO IDG

Business and IT jointly focus on minimal viable products (MVPs) rather than individual features or technicalities.

However, it is almost impossible for the business to know whether all these individual MVPs still add up and help moving the bank into the right direction. Furthermore, given the complex world, both within and outside the bank, strategic decision-making has become a real challenge. There is a clear business need for clarity and transparency with regards to the impact of trends like customer centricity, financial technology (fintech), technical, and regulatory developments.

To address the challenges, the EA community of ABN AMRO set out to reinvent itself, focusing on delivering business-oriented artifacts describing tomorrow’s agile and data-driven foundation. The main focus in these two years was on people and culture: changing the architecture governance; executing on a new approach to architecture development, and developing a new communication style.

The chief enterprise architect reports directly to an executive board member. Additionally, the chief architect was also made the chief data officer (the department is called CADM). In an increasingly digital and thus data-savvy world, the combination of data management and enterprise architecture in one team helps enormously to support strategic portfolio decisions and to codevelop high-level strategic themes.

The overall benefit was the actual enabling of informed decisions and translation of strategy into executable plans. Already, the executive board has provided positive feedback on the usability of the architectural artifacts. An annual survey among key decision makers at the bank shows that EAs are seen as trusted partners.

Enterprise Architecture Awards judge Mark Griffith, former head of EA at Humana, said, “While most EA programs struggle to maintain influence outside of IT, [ABN AMRO] has been successful in building a strong linkage at the board level.”

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