2013 InfoWorld/Forrester Enterprise Architecture Awards

As enterprise technology development accelerates, and as technology decision-making becomes increasingly decentralized within organizations, the need for the overarching perspective presented by EA (enterprise architecture) has never been more acute. This year's Enterprise Architecture Awards illustrate more clearly than ever the vital role EA plays in marshaling technology resources to improve business outcomes and capitalize on new opportunities.

Every year InfoWorld and Forrester Research, in collaboration with Penn State University Center for Enterprise Architecture, present the Enterprise Architecture Awards to recognize companies whose practice of enterprise architecture has delivered substantial business benefit. This year, the five EA initiatives we honor were particularly broad in scope, with several winners sporting household names, including Cisco, MasterCard, and Verizon. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Yum Brands were also award winners, both with global operations that benefitted greatly from adept EA implementation.

As always, the Enterprise Architecture Awards were judged by a panel of experts with real-world EA experience. We offer our sincere thanks to our 2013 judges: Trekker Armstrong, director of architecture and planning at TransCanada; Munjal Dave, senior business architect at State Farm; Con Kenny, senior research fellow at National Defense University; Eric Meredith, vice president of architecture, governance, and communication at PNC Financial; David Parrott, head of enterprise architecture at Thomson Reuters Global Resources; and David Prior, head of architecture at GlaxoSmithKline.

The 2013 Enterprise Architecture Award winners offer important lessons about the power of creatively integrating enterprise technology and business strategies. We hope you find their stories enlightening.

Cisco: Leveraging business architecture for corporate agilityThanks to aggressive acquisition, global growth, and changing customer business models, Cisco faced serious challenges in standardizing processes and patterns across business units.

"Because of the speed at which we're moving, the complexity grew exponentially. There was a massive amount of raw simplification that needed to occur in our systems, processes, organizations and operating models," explained Russ Conway, Cisco's director of architecture. This perfect storm provided the ideal climate in which to initiate a business architecture practice to simplify the business and give the company the agility to anticipate and profit from new market opportunities.

The business architecture practice -- leveraging experts from IT, business, and operations -- developed integrated roadmaps to inform portfolio, priority, and design decisions. The new practice created a toolkit to normalize vernacular and taxonomy and create a common reference model. It also implemented an internal program to train employees in EA to drive adoption. "Architecture is not a reaction to our projects," Conway said. "The practice is positioned as a planning function. It's what defines the projects."

The common reference model has been instrumental in eliminating redundancies and roadblocks throughout the company. By removing inefficiencies, the EA practice has stopped initiatives before overinvestment; it has also expanded the use of the model to support other parts of the business, moving everyone toward a shared business outcome. Going forward, Cisco plans to connect the business architecture initiative to other planning functions.

Our judges were impressed by the outcome. David Parrott, head of enterprise architecture at Thomson Reuters Global Resources, said: "This EA practice has delivered tangible results that are well embedded into a large business in a highly scalable and repeatable manner."

MasterCard: Business-centric enterprise architecture As a multinational, technology-based financial services corporation, MasterCard continually looks to invest in new capabilities while leveraging existing assets. As a cost-saving measure, it also seeks to eliminate technology and processes that are no longer critical to the future of the company. Recognizing that its technology initiatives tend to be project-focused -- and its system was not conducive to cost savings -- MasterCard needed a way to see the big picture.

MasterCard defined its innovative, business-centric EA practice to provide the guidance necessary to evolve business and technology strategy. The tools to achieve that goal included capability maps, value maps, business information maps, and road maps. Business architecture, solution architecture, and technology portfolio management are linked together to align business goals and vision with technology delivery. It also provides the guidance necessary to connect business solutions to capability management, solution governance, enterprise standards, and solution patterns.

This holistic approach has resulted in cost savings and identification of the most effective enterprise solutions. One of the early successes MasterCard has seen is the ability to queue initiatives based on investment priority and funds available for reinvestment. This efficient use of funds has allowed the company to roll out many initiatives in 2013 that were originally slated for 2014. The business-centric enterprise architecture practice provides a full view of business activities throughout the organization and matches the technology initiatives needed to accomplish business goals.

One of our judges said this about MasterCard's EA practice: "They are an excellent example of an EA program that helps organizations find common ground for decisions and action through shared models, which become integrated into strategy and implementation."

National Bank of Abu Dhabi: Building a global business roadmapThe National Bank of Abu Dhabi is the second-largest lender bank in the United Arab Emirates, operating in 13 countries and primed to expand to 45 countries within five years. Geographically dispersed, the bank has a sprawling IT infrastructure focused on managing day-to-day activities. Historically it has lacked a shared view of the challenges to continued business growth. The bank needed to transform its business to build the right balance of standardization at the center of its business, along with customization at the regional level to meet business and regulatory constraints.

The EA team established credibility in the strategic planning space after successfully architecting several critical projects. In recognition of their impact, they were moved out of IT into the office of the CEO and renamed the Transformation Architecture Office in recognition of their mportance to defining the transformation plan.

The EA group integrated its work with the project management office to provide guidance and direction for business transformation initiatives and develop standards in business process development, business applications, and technology. Key deliverables included a comprehensive blueprint aligning business initiatives and infrastructure, which was used for impact analysis & planning. They also developed a transformation road map showing dependencies and synergies, which revealed both capabilities and gaps. In addition, EA led high-level designs of key programs that provided direction and guidance for solution requirements, along with individual "balanced scorecards" linked to business transformation goals.

With more efficient project assessment and selection, the bank was able to eliminate redundancies and enable growth through bankwide strategies and road maps. Other benefits included improved asset reuse and reduction of unnecessary spending on standard business applications.

Our judges immediately understood the benefits. Eric Meredith, vice president of architecture, governance, and communication at PNC Financial, offered this observation: "This is the killer statement: 'EA established credibility in strategic planning, and was moved into the office of the CEO reporting to the Transformation Management Office.' This is the holy grail of enterprise architecture!"

Verizon: Beyond system change to business transformationVerizon's Consumer & Mass Business (C&MB) division is a top-tier provider of telephony, broadband, and video services to U.S customers. Innovation and customer experience are the key tenets the company uses to acquire and retain customers, but a combination of mergers, legacy platforms, reduced budgets, and increased scope became an obstacle to consistent service delivery.

To remedy this, C&MB EA drove the creation of a program called Order to Bill Transformation (OrBiT) to improve the user experience and to address business process evolution. OrBiT became responsible for call center transformation, dispatch automation, billing modernization, and centralized business intelligence. OrBiT required rethinking, analyzing, and redesigning a multitude of flows and systems across the various services that C&MB offers. EA looked at the end-to-end business process to create viable work items, then sequenced them to ensure final goals were met quickly, effectively, and with the least customer disruption. Business units approved process changes that would impact their own organizations' revenue targets and workforce productivity.

OrBiT enabled agents to sell more, increased first call resolutions, merged regional billing systems, automated scheduling and job assignment, and consolidated data to drive prospect campaigns. The program also reduced churn and improved personalization.

Looking to the future, rapid changes in technology will create new opportunities and challenges for the business. The EA team, with its in-depth understanding of business and IT, will help C&MB transform and create new business models to help deliver measurable results. The EA team will capitalize on the experience gained from the complex OrBiT effort to develop and deliver omni-channel experience, transform mobile and self-service experiences, and drive growth through modern technologies such as big data.

One of our judges, Trekker Armstrong, director of architecture and planning for information services at TransCanada, described Verizon's EA practice in this way: "Their work shaped transformation in key areas of their business, addressing the need for increased innovation and improved customer service in an innovative way."

Yum Brands: Using innovation to focus on customersYum Brands is one of the world's largest restaurant companies, with thousands of KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell restaurants in more than 130 countries. The company had traditionally focused on brand building, with autonomous decisions made at the division level, making it difficult to dictate common technology solutions and facilitate technology adoption.

Furthermore Yum Brands lacked a business and technology strategy to evolve from a traditional mass-marketing approach to new strategies focused on the "digital customer." The company wanted to shift customer interactions from anonymous to intimate, utilizing new technologies such as mobile ordering, social media, mobile ecommerce, loyalty, digital coupons, and nontraditional payment methods.

The EA team, named Technology Innovation & Architecture (TIA), was responsible for raising the awareness of technology innovations that could accelerate or disrupt the business. To encourage thinking about "the age of the digital customer," the EA team began crafting messages, including a short "art of the possible" video that addressed consumer expectations and the impending impact of technology on the restaurant industry.

TIA built on this understanding with customer journey maps overlaid with technology-based opportunities, augmented with best practices employed by other companies along with other market research. The market research TIA presented revealed how Yum Brands compared to competitors, primarily in processes and use of technology. TIA organized a digital summit of more than 300 marketing professionals to promote digital excellence in Yum markets, including increased use of social media.

In the future, digital awareness and experimentation will continue to be an agent of change, particularly as the company plans to identify opportunities to leverage technology platforms across divisions and integrate those platforms. The underpinnings TIA has built -- digital awareness and experimentation leading to implementation -- will provide a foundation from which to truly drive digital transformation across the organization.

Munjal Dave, senior business architect at State Farm, said this about the Yum Brand case study: "They are an example of moving beyond the traditional realms and techniques of EA, embracing customer experience methods and using them to shape and connect technology innovation to business outcomes."

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