Arizona Public Service: EA drives top-down capability-aligned investment
Arizona Public Service (APS) is a vertically integrated, investor-owned electric utility serving most of Arizona. In 2018, APS centralized its EA practice with goals to improve planning, drive standardization, and ensure consistent and resilient information technology solutions.
In 2019, the APS Enterprise Architecture team partnered with applications and finance teams to use business capability-based planning to drive top-down IT investment portfolio alignment. For the first time, APS created line of sight between its business strategy and the capabilities that will help APS achieve its business goals, resulting in investment roadmaps. A business-led IT investment board was created to establish top-down investment priorities based on the capability roadmaps.
Specific outcomes of this roadmap development included:
- Executive direction on critical priorities, investment needs and future capabilities.
- A more balanced portfolio—instead of allocating most investment funds to grid reliability investments, APS was able to allocate investments across higher priority areas.
- Greater awareness of critical dependencies between projects and business units.
- Increased focus on enterprise solutions enabling APS to invest once while improving multiple business areas.
EA’s role was to:
- Establish a framework for business capability-based planning.
- Facilitate sessions with business and IT to capture business needs and document 3-to-5 year IT investment roadmaps. Roadmaps were created for 24 different capability areas. Over a three-month period the team facilitated over 200 hours of roadmap sessions involving over 100 leaders at APS. More than 200 capabilities were assessed for maturity and importance over the next 3 to 5 years.
- Provide executive decision support by evaluating roadmaps for common trends and considering enterprise implications.
- Establish a framework for top-down investment prioritization.
- Use the roadmaps as a springboard to engage business executives in more effectively leveraging the IT landscape, including technology innovation, application rationalization, and service management
Executives shifted funding to enable APS to:
- Increase spending on analytics and process automation as ways to increase efficiency of value chain processes.
- Achieve fewer investment “breaks-ins” caused by priority misalignment and/or missed demand.
- See fewer one-off investments that support only individual business units. The roadmaps provided leadership visibility into cross-cutting enterprise investments that would benefit multiple groups.
- Accelerate improvement of performance metrics related to Clean and Affordability initiatives.
- Improve long-range budget forecasting and planning.
Sergei Shelchkov, enterprise architect at Sberbank in Russia, said, “This is an excellent case of the EA role in business and IT alignment and program value realization. We liked how they matured their governance approach based on their self-assessment and their management of their EA service catalog.”
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