Gartner EA Summit: Cracking the Code of Business Architecture

Presenter: Al Newman, Director of Architecture Services at Allstate Insurance Company

Al discussed Allstate’s journey on the path to establishing a business architecture practice at Allstate.

He walked us through an eight step process:

  1. Define business architecture
  2. Secure executive sponsorship
  3. Develop a framework
  4. Secure an initial engagement
  5. Build an engagement team
  6. Creating a competency center
  7. Build out infrastructure
  8. Formalize the operating model

Two highlights that I wanted to call out. First, he’s emphasized the need for an engagement model. I’ve seen too many teams, whether formally on the org chart or not, that don’t have an idea on how either the team members or the artifacts that they may create will be utilized within project efforts. In the IT organizations I’ve seen, the work gets done in projects, period. Architecture teams that don’t have people formally allocated to projects need to figure out how their artifacts and/or staff will be utilized in those projects.

Second, he emphasized the need for business architecture in making solid project decisions. I couldn’t agree more, and have a chapter discussing this in an SOA context in my book. In the context of SOA, one question that gets asked is “How do I build the right services?” Asking this question after a project has been initiated is already problematic as the project establishes scope boundaries, and changing those requires more effort than it would have if those discussions were had during the project definition process.

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