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The 2016 Enterprise Architecture Awards

Alex Cullen | Sept. 20, 2016
This years' winning EA initiatives, brought to you by Forrester Research and InfoWorld, meet the challenges of accelerated change

Users can select a capability and browse the underlying service (or services) that support it -- and even drill down to an individual component that supports the application. In effect, the EA practice produced an interactive “state of the enterprise,” constantly updated with the latest changes. Collectively, it’s a dynamic artifact that makes managing change much easier, because everyone involved can refer to a consistent set of architecture models.

Ultimately, the success of EA is defined by expected business outcomes across of a variety of initiatives. At South State Bank, these included the successful launch of online mortgage applications, which took only three months; a four-month overhaul of the bank’s enterprise imaging system, which involved a redesign of the architecture and external interfaces from the ground up; and a newly designed platform for the bank’s loan processing system.

In addition, as part of an application portfolio rationalization effort, the EA team cataloged numerous redundancies and unused applications, resulting in the retirement or decommissioning of 60 services over the course of six months. Finally, through the implementation of a hybrid cloud architecture, South State Bank now bursts to the public cloud during surges in web traffic. The latter project took less than two months and immediately gave customers a better, more reliable user experience.

The EA team considers its biggest success to be a buy-in from IT and non-IT folks alike, thanks to a successful track record of delivering change. The architecture portal is used extensively across various lines, from strategic decision makers to application support specialists. The EA team is now a trusted resource for the majority of initiatives at the bank.

South State Bank’s “unique, Kaizen-based EA approach to business transformation focuses on continuous improvement over just setting standards and providing governance,” observed EA Awards judge Kishore Sarathy. “The team has achieved remarkable successes in rapidly delivering a wide array of strategic programs by working hands-on with a cross-functional teams.”

Aetna: Enabling hybrid business platforms

At Aetna, creating a hybrid business platform is a strategic imperative. The ability to mix and match best-of-breed business capabilities has become a necessity due to shorter change cycles -- not to mention the transformational forces of the Affordable Care Act.

In early 2015, Aetna decided to create a brand-new consumer-centric health plan. The new business platform would be owned by a new Consumer Business organization, provide new products to the market, base itself on a different engagement model, and apply digital-first principles and new business processes across the board -- all relying on a new technology platform.

Historically, Aetna’s EA organization focused primarily on enterprise value, IT interoperability, information consistency, and technology governance. While the EA team had plenty of experience with business process optimization, the Consumer Business program required a more transformational approach.


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