Enterprise Architecture for ANS: Just extra boxes to tick?

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Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a coherent set of principles, methods, and models used in the design and realization of an enterprise's organizational structure, business processes, information systems, and infrastructure. The methodology ensures that all necessary stakeholders' views are considered and that any improvements are aligned to the needs of the enterprise.

ANSPs are often motivated by safety, efficiency and regulation. So, what does EA offer them?

EA is not new to air navigation services, it has been supporting SESAR for over 7 years and in 2015 won an award for the NATS-led partnership that developed the European ATM Architecture.

At its core, EA supports change management by defining two architecture views, the As-Is (the current picture) and the To-Be (the end goal).

The real value of EA comes with ensuring that any changes meet the overall enterprise needs and exploit any other opportunities that may become apparent. For example, a regulatory change for Voice Communication Systems, coming from (EU) No 1079/2012, requires radios to facilitate 8.33khz channel spacing. A normal procurement would procure new radios to meet the requirement. EA would examine the project for other ways in which the change could bring benefits to the overall enterprise, such as:

  • Upgrading other radios, that already met the channel spacing requirement, but were nearing end of life, therefore reducing procurement costs
  • Ensuring any maintenance contracts covered all radios, not just the new radios, to reduce the number of maintenance contracts and reduce cost
  • Facilitating new technologies, ensuring that all radios can facilitate VoIP technology, so this functionality is available in the future.

The only way to ensure that EA is not just a box ticking exercise is to ensure that the architects can exploit opportunities, not just carry things out for compliance reasons. This requires stakeholder buy-in and management engagement, which can only come from experience, understanding and trust. The above example is very simplistic, in real enterprises the possible synergies and opportunities are almost endless.

There are a number of different EA solutions available. A leading methodology is The Open Group Architecture Framework (TOGAF), which provides a framework for applying EA to any organisations. One of the key recommendations of TOGAF is that the method is specifically tailored to the organisation. This allows smaller ANSPs to implement a lightweight framework gradually, adding value and demonstrating quick wins in the process.

Simply, EA is a good way to ensure that conscious business decisions are made that suit the needs of the overall enterprise, by engaging all necessary stakeholders, from management to engineers. Not just a box ticking exercise, the process ensures that with a simple but effective governance policy ANSP can easily implement an Architecture Framework that is tailored to their needs. It adds value by ensuring that they view the bigger picture and make decisions that deliver the maximum benefit to the organisation.

Adam Johnson is TOGAF 9.1 Certified and is currently assisting Belgocontrol onsite in Brussels as the Project Manager of an Enterprise Architecture implementation project.

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Adam Johnson
Tel: +44 1252 451 651

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