In preparing the latest special report on enterprise architecture for Insurance Networking News, I heard from Hussein Din, enterprise architect for Capgemini Financial Services, who provided his perspectives on the importance of planning an IT strategy for the business.
Why is EA so important? Carriers need a centralized, well-concerted, cross-functional effort to optimize their distribution channels and transform their core systems for policy and claims processing, Din says. “Cloud computing, mobility and adoption of social media for collaboration across the enterprise can no longer be ignored,” he says. “Furthermore, improved intelligence for risk evaluation, underwriting and claims administration through standardization of data model and analytics is becoming increasingly critical to maintain a competitive advantage. These capabilities are game changers for the way business is conducted. These are driving the adoption of EA.”
Din provides guidelines for managing a successful EA effort. “EA only delivers maximum value when it is an integral part of the overall business change lifecycle,” he explains. “It is also important to structure the EA capability in a way that it has influence.” He recommends the following:
Executive support: “The enterprise architecture function must have strong sponsorship and support from the CIO’s office.”
Expertise: “The EA capability must provide deep competency and subject-matter expertise in the business domain in addition to relevant architectural domains.”
Governance: “The enterprise architecture must inform and govern the project portfolio (both business and IT) needed for the organization to move towards the resulting target architecture.”
Adaptable: “The enterprise architecture must react to the changes inside and outside the organization so that it can continue to provide a complete and coherent view of how it will support delivery of the business vision and goals.”
Up to date: “The enterprise architecture must be updated to reflect new business situations as organizations respond to changes in market conditions.”
Guiding: “The enterprise architecture must also inform and govern the solutions themselves, by providing the structure, principles, guidelines and standards which these projects will need to adhere to for them to move the organization toward this target."
Pragmatic: “The enterprise architecture must learn the lessons from the development and deployment of solutions, ensuring that it remains practical and pragmatic, and not just an 'ivory tower.'”
Joe McKendrick is an author, consultant, blogger and frequent INN contributor specializing in information technology.
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