Enterprise architecture (EA) is a strategic capability for many Forrester clients. It is essential that EA in all its permutations be results oriented, pragmatic, and practical to remain relevant. In Forrester’s Enterprise Architecture Award, we look for stories of EA excellence resulting in tangible business and customer results. The Forrester Outcome-Driven Architecture Model rests on a base of architecture principles (valuable, influential, continuous, agile, accountable, and pragmatic) that inform the EA capabilities of people, practice, artifacts, and engagement. This foundation provides the platform to drive and influence projects, products, and services for the ultimate outcome of adaptive, creative, and resilient customer value.
The three finalists of the Forrester Enterprise Architecture Award in Asia Pacific for 2022 show how excellent EA organisations drive both internal and external value.
In alphabetical order, the three APAC finalists this year are the EA teams of:
- AIA Group
- A.S. Watson Group
- Singapore Pools Private Limited
AIA is the largest independent publicly listed pan-Asian life insurance group, with a presence in 18 Asian markets. AIA’s growth strategy is built on five long-term drivers: unprecedented wealth creation; customers’ significant need for private protection; rapidly shifting consumer mindset and behaviours; the pervasiveness of new technologies; and embracing purpose, sustainability, and resilience.
As with all of this year’s finalists, AIA’s EA organisation displays a very clear understanding of its business context and technology strategy. AIA’s technology, digital and analytics (TDA) programme is redesigning how the insurer serves its customers, reshaping how it innovates, and redefining its access and reach to help more people with their financial and health protection.
TDA is underpinned by AIA’s enterprise architecture, which defines a clear target end state to future-proof the business. The EA organisation has driven change through assessing gaps in business capabilities and opportunities in the market, digitalising capabilities with APIs and automation; accelerating the analytics and groupwide AI strategy; deploying over 130 analytics use cases; focusing on a seamless experience for customers, agents, and partners; and driving resilience by rationalising the application landscape and driving cloud adoption to more than 70% of its applications.
To increase the effectiveness of EA and to ensure collaboration across the organisation, the EA team has developed a culture of empowerment and accountability. Local markets oversee their own architecture and portfolio advancement, supported and governed by the Group EA team. Communities of Practice allow this team to share best practices, capabilities, and insights across the APAC region around four key areas: agile, AI, data and analytics, and human-centred design.
AIA provided many examples of results consistent with the EA principles. The team is aligned directly to business leaders at the group and local levels, and the Group EA team is driving technology decisions that influence the overarching business strategy. Accountability is ensured with a set of KPI targets set for each functional workstream at the group and local level, driving change within the business to achieve the desired outcome.
A.S. Watson Group
A.S. Watson Group is the world’s largest international health and beauty retailer with presence in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, serving over 5.3 billion customers every year. In 2021, the company announced an ambitious, customer-obsessed O+O (offline plus online) platform strategy, with the goal of delivering seamless customer experience (CX) across 16,300-plus physical touchpoints, a 130,000-strong customer service workforce, 120-plus e-commerce platforms, and a base of 142 million loyalty members.
Key EA initiatives include developing a group IT people strategy, called 6T (trust, talent, training, teamwork, transparency, and thanksgiving); performing gap analysis for tech talents and IT capabilities; and breaking down the value levers and mapping them into actionable workstreams. The team’s effective delivery manners linked up deliveries with business KPIs, such as the impact of average basket value (ABV), conversion rate, or perfect order percentage. The successful completion of these initiatives entailed the IT team charter to change from business enablers to strategic business drivers.
A.S. Watson’s EA team showed adaptivity with technology teams close to business stakeholders and the ability to evangelise self-service as a core operating principle. A composable architecture built upon API, reflecting the firm’s business capabilities, encourages developers to be creative when optimising CX, while a global architecture board ensures IT initiatives align with the architectural goals.
The A.S. Watson EA team as professionals are trusted partners who influence and align business and technology to long-term solutions while allowing teams the autonomy to decide implementation details. “Just enough” EA practice identifies boundaries, determines solution readiness, and evaluates maintenance overhead.
Specific outcome examples include the reduction of failed orders due to incorrect inventory. Following the architecture transformation, an inventory business service available via API replaced legacy siloed systems and point-to-point batch file integration leading to inaccurate stock information. E-commerce sites and store digital touchpoints now use this API for stock queries to ensure data consistency.
Singapore Pools Private Limited
Singapore Pools Private Limited (SPPL) provides safe and trusted betting to counter illegal gambling in Singapore. SPPL is a not-for-profit organisation with annual turnover of over US$7 billion. All surpluses support worthy causes in the community by giving hope to vulnerable groups and improving lives.
The company’s EA focuses on outcome-driven EA to enhance CX and improve operational excellence, as well as building various EA dashboards as the communication channel to meet different stakeholders’ concerns.
EA focuses on delivering business value, assessing business opportunities related to emerging technologies, and reacting quickly to the impact of business change on its systems. Artifacts include self-service tools and reference architecture to preemptively influence solution design and encourage creativity. These artifacts are living documents continuously reviewed and updated. An enterprise map aligns the organisation vision to IT architecture with full traceability for analysing dependencies and impact across architecture layers.
Selected outcome examples include e-payment options for customers such as direct bank links, PayNow, and QR codes, replacing third party payment methods with high admin fee; remote Know Your Customer (EKYC), which provides an additional digitised means to the manual process of KYC; and integrations with MyInfo (a Singapore-centralised digital personal data platform) that sped up the registration process to approximately 5 minutes.
Join Us November 15–16, 2022 For Technology & Innovation Asia Pacific!
What’s next? We’ll announce the Enterprise Architecture Award winner for Asia Pacific during Forrester’s Technology & Innovation APAC Forum, taking place November 15–16, both in person in Sydney and virtually as a digital experience. Stay tuned!