Using Enterprise Architecture to Build a Business Case for Change

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Network Rail Enterprise Architecture Case Study

“Everything is in a constant flux on this earth. Nothing keeps the same unchanging shape,” observed Genevan philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau. Change affects every aspect of our lives. The social and technological disruptions the coronavirus pandemic has brought us is a stark reminder of that.

From hybrid working models to the increasing migration of assets to the cloud, IT professionals across the globe have had to adapt. But the dust has yet to settle and IT teams may still get littler reprieve from the breakneck pace they’ve maintained throughout the pandemic to orchestrate technical change.

CIOs are pushing for new approaches to innovation to meet the opportunities and challenges of a business landscape forever changed by the past year’s pandemic and Enterprise Architects have a huge part to play in that. All proposed changes encounter their share of resistance. Building and communicating a business case for change across the enterprise is both challenging and necessary.

Here are some key tips on how the ABACUS toolset can help.

  • Build a metamodel to show and communicate the strategy, projects, capabilities, services, applications, people fit, competencies and infrastructure across the enterprise.
  • ABACUS lends itself to an Agile-led process by allowing you to create and introduce your own components and choose the best aspects from other frameworks
  • Model out the different change states starting with a baseline (As-Is) state, an interim change state, followed by a target change state
  • Each of these states can use various viewpoints and diagrams to sell the benefits of proposed changes:
    • Nominal Architecture showing the system and the interfaces between it
    • A larger context diagram
    • An architecture diagram of the infrastructure model of how things connect
  • Produce a business information model (BIM) and from that run algorithms and simulations to measure the impact on other systems
  • Produce dashboards, graphs, and viewpoints to sell the benefits of any proposed changes
  • ABACUS dashboards help to encourage key stakeholders to adopt new technologies by providing robust evidence of benefits and options to mitigate risk
  • Dashboards also provide alternative views “viewpoints” of baseline, interim and target change states
  • Narrow conversations and communications down to address specific points. The power of filtering coupled with dynamic diagrams
    • Use linked catalogues to record questions, comments, and suggestions around the architecture, which can be filtered by component, system, or interface
    • Show diagrams dynamically updated around open points of discussion, making everything associated with the question visible and filter out unrelated elements

One organisation who has used ABACUS to build an effective business case for change across the Enterprise is the British public sector company NetworkRail. Used as part of Target 190plus (a £54m programme aimed to deliver sustainable signalling from 2024 onwards) ABACUS has helped to model out key R&D projects designed to enable and facilitate change across the network.

As Lead Enterprise Architect, Roland Major notes:

“The journey of creating an understanding of Enterprise Architecture and whole system thinking to a diverse set of regional stakeholders is a challenge – consistent and targeted communications is key in the environment […] ABACUS has the flexibility to accommodate changes as they happen and allows us to quickly adapt to those changes.”

View Network Rail’s presentation on Building a Business Case for Change from the Digital Enterprise Architecture Summit here.

Download your free 30 day trial of ABACUS today


[i] Collett, Stacy. 6 ways IT leaders are jumpstarting innovation post-COVID. 24 May. 2021:

[ii] Ibid.

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