Customer requirements and business needs are constantly changing. In order to successfully address those shifts, organizations are left with no choice but to align their ecosystems. Enterprise architecture (EA) is key when it comes to rewiring business capabilities to a value-driven approach and reinforcing organizational preparedness for future. The Forrester Outcome-Driven Architecture Model is founded on architecture principles (valuable, influential, continuous, agile, accountable, and pragmatic) that inform the EA capabilities of people, practice, artifacts, and engagement. These pillars provide 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 EMEA Enterprise Architecture Award for 2022 show how innovative EA organizations challenge boundaries of traditional EA and push them to future fit, sustainable modus operandi.

In alphabetical order, the three European finalists this year are the EA teams of:

  • CWT
  • Michelin
  • Standard Bank

Michelin Is Breaking Boundaries With A Diverse And Adaptable EA Community

Michelin is a French multinational manufacturing company, also known for its guide that features recommendations of top global restaurants and hotels.

When Michelin’s digital transformation kicked off over five years ago, IT was considered a “necessary evil.” Michelin had a conventional EA approach with complex governance and documentation requirements, primarily designed for its tire business. As the company grew through acquisitions, complexity and new business challenges also emerged.

Michelin’s EA function combines new EA practices with Michelin’s lean manufacturing principles, keeping continuous improvement at its core. EA practices are shared on a dedicated open source platform: The EA leadership team focuses on clearly defined vision and goals and maintains an EA community that gathers architects from different domains (including external partners) to create a shared vision and strategy and a community of practice. Michelin also expended significant effort in defining the functional, technical, and communication skills required for its architecture group to succeed.

Michelin enables digital transformation through collaboration on its project portfolio and inclusive decision-making mechanisms that involve leaders of the business, IT delivery, and EA, which allows for a balanced prioritization of initiatives. Most importantly, Michelin transformed its work philosophy from excessive focus on the end goal and a fixed sequential approach to the appreciation of the journey and lessons learned. The organization now draws connections between the intentional, emergent, and final designs. The team no longer relies on external solution providers for innovation; Michelin now has its own group of full-stack architects who are able to identify innovative technology solutions to pressing business challenges. As a result of these value-driven efforts, Michelin improved the quality and speed of its service and brought scale and flexibility to better adapt to business needs. Enterprise architects are now perceived as indispensable for making significant technology investment decisions to support the business.

Standard Bank’s Enterprise Architecture Practice Has Proved Its Value In Building A Platform Business

Standard Bank Group is a financial services organization that offers banking and other services to individuals, businesses, institutions, and corporations and communities in and across Africa.

Three years ago, Standard Bank set out to evolve its EA practice to be more impactful across the business. The team realized it needed a simple, more powerful way to deliver and communicate the value of EA and reference architectures. Simultaneously, Standard Bank’s group CEO announced that the organization was transforming into a platform business, “like a shopping mall for Africa.” The EA team considered building a complete “shopping mall” analogy that could: 1) describe this platform in detail (the platform is like a digital shopping mall that attracts a diverse set of customers with different tenants); 2) help the business, technology, and architecture teams collaborate and partner more closely; and 3) demonstrate the benefits of architecture, as the EA team could embed the desired technology architecture and design patterns into the analogy.

The group head of EA has now presented and socialized the full-fledged ”shopping mall” analogy in multiple communications, townhalls, and other events across the organization. The team is currently building out the minimum viable product version of the platform for customers in three countries and aims to have it live by the end of 2022. The EA team built the digital platform as a single “mega-mall,” but it provides different “entrances” for customers from each of the three countries to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements about which products and services the platform is permitted to offer. The “shopping mall” analogy has proved so useful to the teams working on the new platform that the EA team must periodically reiterate it.

Standard Bank has also implemented several noteworthy architecture best practices; the EA team maintains an architectural decision catalogue that includes all of the approved choices of standard and design patterns. When solutions architects choose patterns and standards from the catalogue, they’re exempt from the formal EA review process (because those decisions are considered preapproved). This makes it both easier and faster for solutions architects to produce designs that conform to the technology strategy and target state architecture.

Standard Bank’s executives would now like to apply these best practices to connect software engineering and experience design engineering teams.

CWT Builds Strong, Resilient Partnerships And Has Proved The Value Of EA In A Crisis

CWT is a global travel management platform that supports companies in organizing business travel and meetings.

In March 2020, companies around the world faced one of the largest global economic crisis in more than a century caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. With almost all travel and in-person business meetings suspended to meet public health restrictions, CWT faced the biggest crisis in its history. CWT was suddenly forced to examine every line of spending just to find a way to survive.

The EA function transformed its perception by first helping facilitate the cost reduction exercise — and helped prove its value more effectively by doing this than with previous efforts. In addition, the architecture team implemented new principles: those of avoiding competition with the business and staying true to their role to help the business achieve its aims.

CWT managed to rapidly adapt through cultural change and simplification of the domain architecture. First, the CWT team ceased to rely on lengthy forms to communicate and moved to plan-on-a-page strategy documents, which include jargon-free, concise summaries of the EA vision, current state, and possible solutions for achieving end goals. The EA team was reorganized to a few domains rather than a domain for every single line of business. This simplification enabled better communication between architects and the teams they supported, which resulted in increased frequency of reporting and stepped up decision-making.

CWT deepened its understanding of the organization and identified which teams had common goals, which helped to bring business and technology teams together. The EA team focused on building trust with the business via simplification of terminology for effective communication. To better align with the broader technology organization, CWT also moved its architecture repository from a standalone system that was exclusive to the architects to a configuration management database (CMDB).

As a result of the efforts, the EA team has proved indispensable with its holistic view of rapid transformation and cost-cutting initiatives, which led the company through the challenging times.

To Find Out More, Join Us On October 13–14 In London For Technology & Innovation EMEA!

We will announce the Enterprise Architecture Award winner for EMEA during Forrester’s Tech & Innovation event, taking place October 13–14, both in person in London and virtually as a digital experience. Stay tuned!