EA Maturity Models

When one begins to think about their enterprise architecture, at some point you will probably ask yourself, "How mature is my enterprise architecture?"  If you click on the link below, you will find a number of images that attempt to depict and summarize various levels of EA maturity.  The difficulty that I encountered was that none of these seem to fit my needs.


The next two links from Mike the Architect rationalize why his organization created a maturity model and present a handful of models that are considered "main stream."



Still stuck trying to find a maturity model that fits?  I think the problem lies in what you want to measure in terms of maturity.  My proposal is to measure maturity by the degree to which the enterprise architecture function is connected with senior management.  In one of our engagements, the EA team members dillegently created a 400 page powerpoint presentation to communicate a transformation for a large commercial payor.  Keep in mind that if each chart required one minute to present, this would require the same amount of time watching 20 episodes of the Simpsons without commercials.  The business owners of the revenue cycle management function stated, "EA has been working on this for over a year and still has nothing."  I have a feeling that this is a "poor" connection with senior management.

So how do you connect with senior management and how does this relate to maturity? 

In order to connect with senior management we need two things:

  • A conversation starter
  • Visualizations where technical people and  non-technical people and have frank, candid discussions about the architecture of the enterprise not 400 page presentations.

A Conversation Starter

I believe that in order to obtain a Level 1 EA Maturity model the EA team members facilitate conversations focused on the total cost of ownership about IT.  I recently mentioned this to a systems architect who told me this was a problem that belonged to the accounting department.  Do you really think accounting can tell us:

  • What applications are the most costly?
  • What applications are providing the same functionality?
  • How many copies of Oracle 9 do we have installed and what hardware do they run on?
  • How much would it cost in early expense write-offs if we retire these servers and move them to the cloud? 

Answers to these questions and the alternative solutions are discussions the business wants to participate in.

There are a few questions you can ask in order to do a quick EA self assessment on the maturity level in your organization.

  • Is there a formal architecture function?
  • Do architectural standards exist and are they written down?
  • Is there an architecture review board?
  • Is there a mechanism to conduct design reviews?

Coming up next, a proposal for where should an aspiring Healthcare IT EA professional should begin!!  In a later post, we will cover the topic of visualizations.




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