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Enterprise Architecture Roadmap

The Northwestern IT Enterprise Architecture Roadmap is based on a detailed analysis of systems and capabilities evaluated on Business Value and IT Quality using the Enterprise Analysis Time Models.

Business Value

Business Value represents the inherent importance of an application to achieve the goals of a business team or organization considering the following factors:

  • Solves a business need
  • Provides operational efficiencies
  • Provides critical function
  • Utilization
  • User Experience
  • Revenue Generation / Cost Savings

IT Quality

IT Quality seeks to capture the technical integrity of the application and its impact to the technical burden of the organization considering the following factors:
  • Support
  • Data accuracy
  • Source code availability and quality
  • Reliability / Security
  • Response time / Ease of Change
  • Technology

Application Time Analysis Model

Results of this analysis are plotted into four quadrants to indicate the path forward for each application: Tolerate, Invest, Migrate, or Eliminate.


Since it has high quality, there is not a lot of time or money invested to support this particular application and it is providing a certain amount of value.

Since the value is not negligible, it is being used, and it doesn't cost a lot to keep the lights on—those applications should be tolerated.

You shouldn't increase your level of investment but at the same time, you shouldn't waste resources to kill it either. It is serving its purpose, it is good enough.


The next quadrant over is looking at high quality applications with a much higher business value.

You have the best of both worlds here. The application is stable, it doesn't require a lot of support, it is architect well, and you have the source code. Even better, the business actually uses it. There is an attributable and recognizable value.

These are the applications worth investing in further to get even better returns or reduce more costs.


Migrate is a little more difficult to identify because it has more nuance to it. It is similar to Invest but it is low quality and high value.

The business is definitely using the application and can articulate its value, the problem is, IT is dying on the vine of these applications. There could be a high cost of support, lack of knowledge, lack of source code, or a variety of different factors that make it an expensive application to maintain.

Therefore, rather than continue the expense, you should look to migrate those applications. A lot of times this is confused with investing but investment is taking a current application and improving upon it or adding to it, but migrating is looking to recoup the value in another application.


Elimination is an essential part of the software lifecycle but is often missed. This quadrant looks at applications that are low quality and low business value.
Sometimes this can be very obvious—the application is down a lot, it takes a long time to fix, there might be only one person that knows how to use it and when that person is on vacation, the whole world is down.
Nobody uses it except for one person on one day of the month. In these cases, it is necessary to eliminate the application and free up your resources.

Enterprise Application Time Analysis Models

The Application Time Analysis models support the core set of capabilities Northwestern requires to execute and fulfill its mission as shown in the Northwestern Business Capabilities.