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9 Reasons You Need a Current State Architectural Blueprint

        posted by , June 27, 2016

A current state enterprise architecture blueprint represents your organization's high level architecture. It's probably the most important documentation that any IT organization can create and maintain. There are several reasons that current state blueprints are so valuable:

1. Project Architecture

It's not possible to successfully change or modify a complex system you don't understand. Current state architectural blueprints are the basis for project architecture (solution architecture).

Just as a building architect wouldn't consider changing a building without blueprints — IT architects can't responsibly change a system without a current blueprint. Extending a undocumented architecture is risky and expensive.

2. Knowledge Retention

If you don't have a current state blueprint — you're probably depending on the knowledge in your architects' heads. When they leave your organization that knowledge is lost. The next architect will likely recommend replacing systems they don't understand.

It's common for IT systems to be replaced simply because no one understands them.

3. Impact Assessments

Current state architecture is essential for architectural impact assessments.

Let's say you want to change a field in a database. You need to know what systems and reports will be affected. Without blueprints you'll need to do extensive research to determine architectural impact.

4. IT Transparency

Blueprints facilitate IT transparency. They're an indispensable resource for answering questions such as:

why are we spending so much on software licenses?

what's our exposure to a legacy technology?

what's our exposure to a security threat?

what systems do we need to manage from an IT risk perspective?

where can we cut IT costs by rationalizing technologies?

Blueprints quickly pay for themselves by supporting strategic decision making.

5. Duplication of Effort

When centralized blueprints don't exist — projects, programs, business units and individuals need to conduct research every time they have a question about the current state architecture. This represents a duplication of effort that can be expensive for your organization.

6. Architectural Governance

It's impossible for IT governance to function correctly without a current state blueprint. Participants in architectural governance need to thoroughly understand your current architecture to be in a position to judge the impact of proposed changes.

7. Business Strategy

Business strategy seeks to leverage existing capital investments and capabilities. Business strategy planners need to understand the current state of your business and technology platforms.

8. IT Strategy

Current state architecture is an important input for IT strategic planning.

9. Reference & Training

Current state architectural blueprints are important reference materials for the entire IT organization. They're critical to operations, support and training processes.

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