Understand the relationship between EA and investment planning

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Before exploring the relationship, the following definitions of enterprise architecture and investment planning may be useful.

Enterprise architecture and investment planning definitions

Terms

Description

Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise architecture assists in the design of the enterprise, its services, and associated processes, information, and ICT. It describes the terminology, composition of these components and their relationships. Enterprise architecture aims to understand the organisation (baseline) and its direction (future state) and provides evidence based techniques (assessment) to support a managed transition to an organisation’s future state.

Investment planning

A structured and evidence-based process to derive a forward work plan. Planning entails gathering, classifying, mapping, and assessing a chain of entities from the high level of business direction and business processes down to specific initiatives. This chain of reasoning should be traceable in both directions and provides an understanding of current investments (assets), and provides a justification for specific initiatives including a level of confidence that those initiatives that are of most benefit to the organisation are those that are undertaken.

In reality, enterprise architecture and investment planning have a somewhat symbiotic relationship, and both are fundamentally concerned with ensuring investments and initiatives are aligned with and support business objectives and processes.

The Queensland Government Enterprise Architecture

The Queensland Government Enterprise Architecture (QGEA) is a federated architecture, which acknowledges that the Queensland Government is a single enterprise composed of autonomous agencies. Agencies are responsible for their own enterprise architectures, yet are able to leverage and contribute to whole-of-government architectures and investments through a single consistent framework. For example the QGEA:

  • documents whole-of-government drivers and directions (e.g. QGEA policies)
  • provides a means to identify and define organisational elements through standard classification frameworks covering business services, business processes, information, application and technology classification frameworks
  • provides a means to describe the current state of the Government’s investment in information and ICT
  • facilitates processes for the development, management, approval and compliance of strategy, policy and related documents.

Thus the QGEA is a major information source for agencies to optimise their business and ICT investments. It provides guidance by identifying preferred approaches, processes, management techniques and ICT that agencies can adopt. This repository includes a range of documents such as strategies, policies, implementation constraints, methodologies and tools.

The Queensland Government Enterprise Architecture

The figure above illustrates the components (and their relationship) that make up an organisation, in terms of context, constraints, change portfolio and support. For further information on these components refer to the QGEA website.

The investment management cycle

Investment planning is just one aspect of the broader investment management cycle. The figure below provides a graphical illustration from understanding future drivers, to planning the ‘right’ initiatives and finally realising the benefits of initiatives that the organisation has implemented.

Investment management cycle

As can be seen above, both enterprise architecture and project and program management play an important (but different) role within the investment management cycle.

Enterprise architecture ensures that the ‘right’ initiatives have been developed (will the initiative be of the most benefit to the organisation?). Project and program management ensures that the initiatives are managed ‘right’ (have the benefits of the initiatives been realised?).

 

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