Enterprise Architecture Metrics

One of the indicators of a mature EA practice is the collection and measurement of metrics. Metrics themselves are not about ticking some bureaucratic box, but rather, keeping EA focused on an agreed-upon mission. This not only lends standardization to the EA practice, it prevents architect burnout by being spread too thin.

The Importance of Metrics

Whether we refer to them as KPIs, metrics, or scorecards, metrics measure the success of an EA practice. Yet metrics are only part of running a well-organized EA program. I’m a proponent of running EA (or any business function) like a business itself. That means having well-defined customers, products, services, and of course– metrics. 

Without these key ingredients, EA runs the risk of being spread too thin. This happens when EA’s mission is subjective across various customers and/or stakeholders. If EA means one thing to the CIO, but another to the CMO, the EA team is expected to wear “different hats” for different customers, which is a recipe for burnout. 

Well-defined customers, products, services, and metrics lends standardization to an EA program. Moreover, metrics ensure that EA success is measured using an objective scale. 

Five Sample Enterprise Architecture Metrics

While there are plenty of EA metrics to choose from, I lean towards metrics that bear a close lineage to business results. I’m referring to revenue, cost reduction, operational efficiency, increased time to market (speed), and of course adherence to security and legal policies. Listed below are some of my “go-to” metrics for establishing and/or scaling EA practices:

#MetricValue in Measuring
1Dollars / Time SavedShowcases EA value through saving money and/or time
2Customer satisfaction (CSAT)Ensures EA customers are satisfied with products and services. Also helps shape future EA products, services, and engagement paradigms.
3EA coverage Not all EA programs support the entire enterprise on “day-1.” This metric quantitatively conveys how well the EA practice is growing/scaling over time.
4Artifacts deliveredQuantifies the outputs or work products of an EA program. Examples include solution architectures, roadmaps, and enterprise opportunities.
5Architecture due diligence rateMeasures how well the enterprise is leveraging its platforms and architecture building blocks vs deviating from standards and procuring new solutions. Useful for understanding how realistic EA standards actually are. 

Socializing EA Metrics

Metrics are great, but EA customers need to see them, understand them, and provide routine feedback loops in order to continuously improve them. Put simply, metrics shouldn’t reside in vacuum; they need to get in front of customers on a routine basis. 

It’s important to note that socializing metrics is part of an overall EA marketing strategy. When metrics are produced, they should be syndicated to customers and stakeholders via a variety of channels such as quarterly business reviews (QBRs), newsletters, and published to intranet-like portals. The goal is to provide a variety of in-person and asynchronous communication channels while providing feedback loops within all of the aforementioned methods.

Finally, metrics should be considered a pliable body of measurements versus etched-in-stone gospel. They can and will morph over time.