Architectural Governance: A CIO Checklist

Report Summary

Architectural Governance: A CIO Checklist

Mitch Wein
Head of Financial Services CIO/CTO Advisory
Steven Kaye
Head of Knowledge Management

December 2014 - The dependence on complex technology architecture is increasing exponentially as a result of the insurance industry’s evolution into a fully digitized provider of risk services focused on customer, not just product.

In order to be successful in a 21st Century business technology environment that has no tolerance for getting it wrong, CIOs need to create a strong architecture governance function to ensure that each project is consistent with the overall technology direction of the firm, as informed by the business strategy. Each technology project is a piece of a larger puzzle of interacting technologies, processes, and steps leading to a desired business capability end state. The true cost of each project can only be understood in the context of what the business strategy needs, not from a specific project perspective.

Architecture governance is in direct conflict with project management. The project manager desires to build the technology solution in the shortest possible time, with the least possible acceptable scope, and for the lowest cost. However, this may not be optimal for creating the long term business functions that deliver the strategic business capability of the firm.

Architecture governance should be gated through the SDLC. At each gate, if the project does not meet strategic criteria, the funding for the effort should be placed on hold while discussion around the project can commence. The CIO must actively support the process despite political pressure or budgetary considerations. Finally, formal commitments for future investments need to be recorded if something is deferred or de-scoped.

 

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