Defining EA Governance for Architecture Success

Defining EA Governance for Architecture Success

Implementing an effective Enterprise Architecture (EA) governance structure can facilitate as a platform for an architecture guidance and oversight on the state of the business and technology environments which articulates how transformational change will impact and improve the way an organisation does business. Governance is basically about ensuring that business is conducted properly with appropriate resource utilization to realize organisation's strategic objectives. The basic principle of corporate governance structure focuses on the rights, roles and unbiased treatment of shareholders in reviewing and guiding corporate strategy as well as monitoring achievement of management’s performance objectives.

The EA governance specifically focuses on the proper adoption and management practice of an EA implementation to achieves corporate’s mission, strategies and objectives. Typically, the EA governance will facilitate those in primary governance roles to learn and adapt, manage the risks, as well as appropriately recognize opportunities to take advantage of technology that can support the business and act upon them.

Characteristics of EA Governance

The following characteristics have been adapted from Naidoo (2002) that are used in TOGAF® are positioned to highlight the value and the need for governance as an approach to be implemented within an organisation:

Figure 1: Characateristics of Governance 

Formulation of EA Governance

The EA governance of an organisation is the practice and orientation by which its EA implementation is managed and controlled at the enterprise-wide level which includes system of controls over the creation and monitoring of all fundamental architectural artefacts and activities, to ensure the effective adoption, implementation, and transformation that take place within the organisation as well as a system of control for compliance is met with the internal and external standards and regulatory obligations requirements and/or statutory requirements where it matters. The EA governance should support effective management during the EA implementation cycle and develop best practices on accountability culture that clearly identify all relevant stakeholders, their concerns both from the internal and external perspective with a direct interest towards the organisation.

The ultimate aim of any EA governance is to govern and show values by supporting business objectives through the following means:

  • Strategy Alignment: the need for a closer alignment of business and IT strategy and its execution to ensure that the vision, direction and effort spent are aligned to the organisation current strategies.
  • Effective Integration: using solution architecture approach on key strategic projects to impose the EA thinking while also learning, and improving the EA practices in response to lessons learned on these projects, to create a more efficient and effective EA capability.
  • Utilizing Internal Strength: EA is also employed to assist the organisation’s technology modernisation/innovation initiatives and increase productivity for better systems analysis and design.
  • Predictability and sustainability of IT solution deliveries: all IT initiatives is linked to the corporate strategic initiatives.
  • Faster IT response to changes in business strategy, tactics and operational processes: the ability to perform the “impact analysis” and “enterprise trouble shooting” to derive corporate decisions in a timely manner.
  • Efficiency and cost effectiveness in IT operations: the enterprise digital map will allow the optimization of IT operations for efficiency and cost effectiveness.

EA governance typically operates within a hierarchy of governance structures, which, particularly in a larger organisation, can include all of the following as distinct domains with their own disciplines and processes as depicts in the following figure:

Figure 2: Levels of Governance within Organisation

A well-designed EA governance implementation can be important in enhancing business IT relationship, reducing IT costs, and managing risks while accelerating decision-making and delivery of strategic business values. EA governance ensures that EA implementation program is aligned with the strategic business drivers and goals to support continuous digital transformation journey.

Author: Aaron Tan Dani

President of Singapore Computer Society EA-Chapter
Founder and Chairman of Iasa Asia Pacific
Chief Architect of ATD Solution 

Related websites:
Join the EA activities in Singapore and learn how you can implement Digital-Business-driven EA in your organisation.
Computer Society EA-Chapter:

Learn more about ITABoK (IT Architecture Body of Knowledge) skillsets and about the roles, scopes and impacts of EA Specializations.


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