Minaz Sarangi, TD Bank, on EA in financial services #ogtoronto

I still haven’t posted my notes from yesterday – I made the mistake of not bringing my laptop yesterday, and my notes are trapped in my paper notebook until I get a chance to review and transcribe them.

I only caught the last 10 minutes of Minaz Sarangi’s presentation due to a meeting elsewhere, but was able to download the presentation and get caught up in time for the Q&A. TD has grown significantly through mergers and acquisitions, including the major acquisition of Canada Trust in 2000, and a big part of their enterprise architecture efforts are to standardize across the various IT infrastructures that exist in the subsidiaries in order to simplify the platforms. This is not fundamentally different from most large financial services, although in many cases, the acquired companies are run as siloed business units, leading to inefficiencies and inability to provide a complete customer view across all product lines.

TD, in developing a true enterprise architecture strategy that spans all the business units, is having the business strategy guide their EA efforts and their enterprise technology strategies. They’ve developed architecture domain practices for business, applications, data, security and technology, and define prescriptive architectures in order to align solutions delivery with their enterprise standards. All of the technology building blocks are defined in the context of the EA, and each has both a strategy and a reference architecture in order to articulate the current and future state, the roadmap, current and future capabilities required, deployed solutions associated with the capabilities, reference implementations, and technology standards.

From a business standpoint, the key goals are to make employees more productive and to enhance customer experience, but there’s also issues of risk reduction, security, system availability and cost reductions due to standardized technology platforms.

How TD is achieving this is through what they call “EA simplification”:

  • Reduction of operational footprint for greater agility, through application rationalization and enterprise shared services
  • Consolidation and standardization of core technology platform for scalability
  • Automation of repetitive architectural and engineering processes for sustainability, for risk reduction and process optimization

They’re starting to see some success with this approach, but as can be expected from such a diverse organization, it’s slow going. They have some enterprise shared services, including content management, and are getting the sponsorship and commitment in place that they require to push forward.

I’m of two minds about programs like this: I certainly see the need for technology standardization within an organization, but it seems like some of these massive EA efforts serve to just extend the delays for new technology implementation and create a significant set of rapids in advance of the still very waterfall methodologies.

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