A May 2012 Office of Management and Budget (OMB) report on “The Common Approach to Federal Enterprise Architecture” directs agencies to develop outcome-oriented metrics, which aim to demonstrate the overall value to the business that specific services provide. However, according to a September GAO report on Enterprise Architecture value, while nearly all agencies have successfully defined goals or purposes for their enterprise architecture, most struggle to define EA metrics and measure the impact of EA on achieving agency mission outcomes.
The reports highlight a disconnect: on one hand, OMB has requested that agencies develop EA metrics for some time, but on the other hand, agencies continue to cite “a lack of guidance as a key reason why they have not established methods and metrics for measuring outcomes and benefits.” This disconnect has generated a holding pattern in which agencies submit what the GAO considers incomplete enterprise roadmaps to OMB.
This struggle to assess and communicate the EA function’s value spans both the public and private sectors, according to CEB’s yearly peer polling of EA groups. Many EA functions lack a consistent way of measuring EA value, and when asked about the greatest challenge in measuring EA value, 40% of respondents identify “coming up with quantitative measures of EA’s value” as the main impediment. “Communicating the value of EA to business stakeholders” and “determining what portion of the credit for a certain outcome should be attributed to EA” are additional top-of-mind challenges. As a result, scorecards and metrics programs are unable to serve as early warning systems to effectively drive action before problems become acute.
Instituting actionable performance measurement through the development of outcome-oriented metrics:
- Drives fact-based decision making
- Provides resource allocation insight
- Serves as a communication tool to effectively influence your agency
- Evaluates and demonstrates compliance progress
Given these significant benefits, CEB has created a set of targeted resources to enable EA teams to more strategically select outcome-oriented metrics and communicate value. The most progressive organizations apply three key tactics to get the most out of their metrics program:
- Derive EA metrics by cascading IT and business strategic objectives to activities EA controls or influences. This process ensures that EA’s performance measurement activities align to the priorities of your agency.
- Define key parameters for metric collection and reporting (ex. A metric’s unit of measure, ranges of acceptable and desired performance) to validate the relevance, actionability, and measurability of EA metrics.
- Develop ‘frontier’ metrics to extend EA measurement efforts beyond a static and retrospective view of performance.
How has your agency progressed in developing actionable EA metrics? What are some additional challenges that you have faced along the way?