The 2019 Enterprise Architecture Awards

Winners of the 2019 Forrester and InfoWorld EA Awards show strengths in business architecture and architecture governance, realizing a vision for digital transformation

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Ford Motor Company: EA steers investments to a strategically-aligned future

InfoWorld forrester enterprise architecture awards 2019 IDG

Ford’s IT architecture discipline originally focused on optimizing application solutions and technology management. The scope later increased to include information architecture, and then, in 2012, the scope again expanded to include business architecture, providing architects with the business acumen to talk to their colleagues about business processes.

Ford EA saw huge potential in the business architecture discipline and thought this would be a game changer for IT to help Ford steer investments. They saw many pockets of success, but nothing systemic to make the kind of impact they wanted across the enterprise. Business architecture activities put EA in the position to address the lack of cross-functional integration and to help optimize the project portfolio aimed at addressing the functional and cross-functional needs of the enterprise. EA developed enterprise blueprints aligned to corporate strategies and goals that included the representations of their business capabilities, value streams, and health assessments. The blueprints not only articulated a future state view of the enterprise, but also helped identify opportunities for IT investments.

To balance IT investment across LLCs and business functions to ensure that Ford invested in the right things at the right time and demonstrated the value of those investments, Ford EA then rewrote Ford’s IT demand management process. This process incorporated the use of their enterprise blueprints and shifted IT investment from a business function view to an enterprise view. The process identified the expected value of the proposed investments and developed an evaluation method to prioritize the investments.

Ford EA set targets for the number of IT investments that needed to be aligned to blueprints and scored investments to identify those that provided a strategic advantage for the enterprise. They ensured that business value was clear and easy to demonstrate. They elevated investments for approval with top executives if they scored high through a newly launched demand management governance forum.

In addition, Ford’s CIO was successful in ensuring that business functions could no longer fund IT work through a back door. Everything had to go through the IT Demand Management process. This changed the conversation with business leaders. It became in their best interest to identify projects that aligned to strategic priorities, and it became clear that Ford EA could guide the business functions to adjust their projects to be more enterprise-focused while still meeting the needs of the individual functional area.

This resulted in:

  • An 85 percent reduction in the number of projects in the IT portfolio.
  • Clearly identified business value for all IT investments.
  • The discovery of investment gaps for the future.
  • The clarification of enterprise needs and an enterprise focus—as opposed to LLC or business function focus and needs.
  • Strong support for a customer-centric strategy.
  • Strong support for IT’s agile and product-driven strategy.

Tarun Khandelwal, senior director of architecture at CIBC, said: “Ford’s ability to transform demand management was very impressive. Most impressive was their ability to govern IT projects that align to a business vision, resulting in only strategic projects and capabilities being delivered.”

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