"Digitalization" and "Enterprise Architecture Management" - two terms that are relatively common in the world of IT at the moment. But is there perhaps a connection between the two concepts? We want to clarify this in this in the following article.

Digitalization

If one looks for a definition of the term "digitalization", one comes across different opinions. The aim of digitalisation is often referred to as "changing business models by improving business processes through the use of information and communication technologies".

Durch selbst beschaffte Schatten-IT, insbesondere in Form von Cloud Computing, wird die Sicherstellung von Security und Compliance erheblich erschwert. Es fehlt vor allem die Transparenz über die Daten und wo sie gespeichert sind. Damit wird es den Unternehmen erheblich erschwert, sich vor Malware und dem Verlust von Daten zu schützen. Außerdem können Compliance Richtlinien ohne ein aktives Management von Schatten-IT nicht eingehalten werden.

To achieve an improvement in IT support in business processes during digitalization, a step-by-step approach is required:

  • First, the existing IT support must be known and evaluated. This is the only way to measure whether there is optimization potential in the currently existing IT landscape. Moreover, this is the only way to determine after a digitalization project whether it has been successful and whether it has improved IT support or not.
  • Once the current IT support has been analyzed, improvement measures must be defined. An improvement is reflected above all in two dimensions: the satisfaction of employees, customers or suppliers and at the same time an increase in efficiency or cost reduction in the company. Therefore, the measures must be derived from these two dimensions, whereby a digitalisation measure can at best lead to an increase in satisfaction and flexibility as well as to a cost reduction/efficiency increase. Classic measures are the standardization of IT systems between different stakeholders, but also the smoother flow of and between business processes: Digitization can reduce IT costs, increase profitability, accelerate time-to-market and add value to IT investments. For example, electronic data exchange can replace existing communication with spreadsheets in the supply chain, contributing to supplier satisfaction, but also increasing efficiency for the company itself by replacing manual activities.

Enterprise Architecture Management

However, business processes and their IT support are also mapped in the enterprise architecture and actively designed in Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM).

An enterprise architecture describes the entire hardware, middleware and software landscape of a company, the processes and the connection of the individual components. The IT landscapes of companies today are much more complex than they were 30 years ago: Companies provide almost every employee with their own PC and other end devices, such as tablets.

However, not only the technical possibilities have increased, but also the affinity of the employees to use them. By the daily private handling with IT the employees carry this matter of course also into the enterprises. "Consumerization" is the keyword here. But not only the application landscape is affected, employees sometimes even introduce new processes into the company using new systems. Consumerization therefore affects not only the IT landscape, but also the process landscape of companies and thus the entire enterprise architecture.

In order not to leave the development of the enterprise architecture to itself, but to actively shape it, companies introduce EAM, i.e. the management of the enterprise architecture. This has three main goals: the creation of transparency across the entire architecture, as well as the discovery and implementation of integration and standardization potentials, to use synergy effects and thus to provide the business with optimal IT support and to provide the company with a cost advantage.

Conclusion: The Connection between Digitalization and Enterprise Architecture Management

Looking closer at the two steps towards achieving the objectives of digitalisation, it is striking that they are essentially the same as the objectives of the EAM: The creation of transparency and the derivation of standardization and integration potentials.

If the EAM does not only exist on paper, but is lived and supported by all participants, there is already transparency about the IT and process landscape and there is also clarity about existing improvement potentials. Digitalisation measures only must use this knowledge to achieve optimal IT support for the company. Companies without a lived EAM, on the other hand, must first create transparency to take measures.

Autor: Melanie Huber