Sparx Services CE: EAM is a strategic function in companies

The Sparx Services CE team around company founder Peter Lieber also consists of Orsolya Németh (left) and Salomé Wagner (right)
(PresseBox) ( Vienna, )
Recently, technology analyst Gartner revised its assessment of Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM) from "supportive" to "highly strategic". Against this background, Sparx Services CE submitted its EAM approach for the new "eAward: Solutions for New Business" and was promptly nominated in the "Organisation" category.

Gartner was still more cautious in his assessment of EAM in 2011: Enterprise Architecture (EA) will probably be supported by most companies as an integral part of business planning in the coming years. In 2020, however, EA had already achieved the rise to a highly strategic function: enterprise architects were positioned as innovation leaders in an organisation. So it was a coincidence for the Sparx Services CE team around company founder Peter Lieber that the renowned Austrian Report Verlag created the "eAward: Solutions for New Business". The prize was awarded for products, services and solutions that help companies to continue or permanently change their business during and after the crisis situation caused by Corona.

Improving cooperation

Gartner also emphasizes in his analysis that companies with EAM should focus on improving collaboration to meet business objectives. Peter Lieber comments: "We are very proud of our nomination for the "eAward: Solutions for New Business"! With our model-oriented EAM approach, we certainly also meet Gartner's demand to pay special attention to cooperation within the company. As a still young company in this service market, we now hope that we will be able to take advantage of the long-term trend on the one hand and that the strategic advantages of EAM will be recognised by more and more companies on the other hand". Together with two partners, Sparx Services CE also offers frameworks for this. With REFRAME, for example, ifb has developed a reference architecture that is aimed at the banking and insurance industry as a meta-model of the organisation with supplementary business content. Labnaf, the second framework in the Sparx Services CE portfolio, provides a solution for efficient management requirements.

Digitisation based on EAM

In its submission, the Sparx Services CE team emphasises that the Corona Pandemic has significantly increased interest in digitisation initiatives in companies. However, the will to change should not diminish even after the pandemic has abated, as digitisation is definitely an important element in maintaining competitiveness. Orsolya Németh of Sparx Services comments: "To develop EAM initiatives, a project team is needed that works together transparently, effectively and efficiently throughout the project phases. EAM and the joint modelling of the company's activities and the project objective provides the basis for this".

The EAM House

Németh uses the EAM building to illustrate the process in a simple way: it depicts the multi-dimensionality of the company architecture in various pillars. Both the complexity of the company and the interaction between organisation and technology are thus vividly depicted. With the maps of the EAM House, cooperation in the project team reaches a new level, while the joint development of models promotes communication and common understanding beyond one's own specialist area.

Case study: Development and communication of corporate architecture

For the submission, Sparx Services CE presented its approach to the "Creation and validation of a proof of concept for enterprise architecture" for a banking institution. In this case, the project team consisted of two internal bank groups and the external consultant. One internal group consisted of IT architects and was responsible for the evaluation of technical possibilities for process modelling. The second group consisted of business and enterprise architects and validated the proposed solution of the first group for potentials of collaboration and communication in the architecture process. "As consultants, we focused on content design and moderation during the individual project phases and brought best practice examples into the discussion," says Németh.

Models are at the centre of the whole process

Both groups modelled their project tasks with Enterprise Architect. The models developed in this way served as a key for the exchange and comparison of the project status. They enable all members to stay up-to-date with the current project status and at the same time facilitate communication between groups. Such digital models are also an ideal working basis for widely distributed teams, as they can be accessed from anywhere and at any time. "Our experience shows that a clear allocation of roles within the team is also essential for the success of such a project. In the end, our approach enabled us to complete this project in less than six months, with a result that fully met the objectives and expectations of the management," concludes Németh.

Finding the right corporate architecture

The central task of EAM is to create a bridge between corporate strategy and its implementation by IT. However, there is no single "right architecture"; on the contrary, it must be individually tailored to the company and the chosen objectives:
  • Is the focus on the strategic or operational level?
  • Should as much innovation potential as possible be discovered?
  • Do we want to make the current use of resources more transparent?
  • Are we facing major challenges in change management?
Here you can already see that EAM is complex and therefore not a short-term project, but rather a long journey. What is needed is a step-by-step approach in which all those involved are brought into the EAM boat and increasingly steer a common course.
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