July 12, 2011 – Even though there is overwhelming interest in business architecture across enterprises, implementation and understanding have kept initiatives similar to levels found three years ago, according to a new report from Forrester Research.

Every IT official surveyed in Forrester’s “The State of Business Architecture in 2011” stated that business architecture initiatives were important. However, only about half are involved in an active business architecture initiative, with 23 percent planning to launch within the next two years and 24 percent with no immediate plans, the survey stated.

Those figures are around the same level of a survey conducted by Forrester in 2008, though there has been a change in how architecture programs are addressed, the report stated. Seventy-five percent of respondents stated their architecture initiatives are being geared to developing business capability models, an uptick of 22 percent from 2008, according to the survey.

Lack of support or understanding from business was cited by 43 percent of IT officials as the prime problem in establishing an architectural program. According to a question on problems preventing implementation where respondents made multiple choices, subsequent problems include: business not open to project (41 percent); enterprise architecture to be focused on IT (33 percent); lack of skills (30 percent); and do not see the value (11 percent).

As business architecture initiatives are rarely chartered by business executives, who are generally more focused on short-term operational issues with IT, respondents with successful programs usually stuck to the mantra of “think big, start small,” says Jeff Scott, principal analyst with Forrester and lead author on a report on the survey results.

“Business architects often have to find creative ways to demonstrate value in smaller venues such as projects, departments or lines of business and ‘sell up,’” Scott says.

Along with the “think big, start small” project plan, Scott also suggests starting soon to better adjust to technological and enterprise changes, address tough questions and strategy roadblocks early on, and leverage and replicate successful BA programs elsewhere in the enterprise.

Conducted in April and May of this year, the online survey involved 343 IT professionals in various industries familiar with their firms’ enterprise or business architecture program. To access a copy of the survey, click here.


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