Most architectural assessments available are qualitative in nature focusing more on the maturity of the architecture practice in the organizations. What we found missing is a numerical methodology to measure architecture efficiency. When the architecture efficiency come in place, the debate starts between the architects on the table. Since all views are subjective in nature and based on mainly previous experiences and some academic literature, it’s unlikely an agreement would be reached.
At SIRTTS we developed a numerical methodology to accurately measure the architecture efficiency within the organization that would eventually help assess the progress of the architecture practice along a strategic road map or simply as a regular check point to assess the architecture practice in general within the organization.
The architecture KPI developed within SIRTTS are split into three major categories (Physical, Functional, and Informational).
This measure is aimed at the infrastructure level within your organization. It covers all hardware utilized within your organization to serve your business. The assessment is performed against your business entities that affects your bottom line (customers, transactions, sales units, etc…). The measure is taken at the beginning to set your architecture KPI baseline and it’s recommended to be evaluated on a regular basis to allow corrective actions towards your strategic road map. It could be either taken after each milestone within your roadmap, or on a quarterly basis.
This measure is aimed at the process level within your organization. It covers all applications, systems, modules, services, reports, etc… that are being used by your business to conduct their day to day activities. Similar to the physical KPI, this measure is performed against your business entities and should be following the same interval of measurements as of the physical KPI.
To cover all pillars of architecture, informational design is one the most commonly missed aspect when assessing architecture. The measure is aimed at the data distribution within your organization to measure level of efficiency in re-usability of the information available and whether there is a redundancy issue within your data model. Following the other two KPIs, the measure is taken against the same business entities with the same intervals of measurements.
Enterprise architects are usually asked to communicate with different levels within the organization to help the IT group as a whole get the buy-in from the different stake holders within the organization. Keeping that in mind, the KPI representation even though it’s a numerical value shouldn’t be treated as one size fits all kind of approach. Architecture team needs to be ready to represent these measure in meaningful meanings to each group. To operation group, it might make sense to represent the KPIs against the customers for example, while for finance group you might want convert these figures to their dollar value equivalents, and so on.
A data repository would be highly recommended to maintain the information needed to generate the KPIs at any point in time and keep historical data for trend analysis.