Local Council Enterprise Architecture Review 

Improving our client’s relationship with vendors to support their digital transformation journey.

Like most local councils across Australia, our client is a heavily outsourced organisation that relies on several vendors for both hosting and management of their applications.  

The primary ERP vendor provides the council with a comprehensive range of subscription-based, cloud-hosted, opt-in functional modules. Our client is progressively adopting these modules at a rate to suit their requirements and internal resources.  

Most other software vendors that the council engages with operate on a similar cloud-hosted subscription model. 


The council’s vendor designs and implements the modules to suit what they believe are the most common requirements. They also consider which functions make the most commercial sense for the various local government organisations they represent.  

Because of the nature of this arrangement, the council had little input in the scope, user interface, functionality, workflows, and other important aspects of the software. While this situation would be overly prescriptive and restrictive for many organisations, it happened to suit the council quite well, as it off-loads a lot of the workload and administrative overhead of running a full-blown IT function. 

However, Terra Firma’s engagement with the council’s internal management and IT staff helped the council identify some important flaws which were due to the heavily outsourced IT environment. 


Terra Firma was engaged to review the council’s cyber security and architecture capabilities and make recommendations that would assist the council in strengthening its relationship with vendors. This would ensure they could plan their digital transformations and fully leverage the insights contained in their data.

Since the council had delegated most of the design authority to external vendors, their in-house Enterprise Architecture capabilities were largely ignored. This led to governance, approval, and documentation issues. The council found themselves in a position where they did not have direct access to the underlying data structures or even the data itself.  

Once Terra Firma identified these flaws, the council was in a position to restore the functionality that ensured new applications were properly prioritised and aligned to the council’s long-term objectives. 

After the engagement with Terra Firma’s consultants, the council developed a much stronger understanding of their data rights. This enabled them to contact their software vendors to seek a more inclusive working relationship and ultimately enhance their digital transformation efforts. 

Our Approach

This project mainly focused on the council’s Enterprise Architecture (EA) capabilities. Terra Firma used a best-practice model (TOGAF) to benchmark the council’s capabilities and identify the gaps.   

Great care was taken by our consultants to recognise the fact that many of the TOGAF capabilities normally found in-house in larger organisations were not required due to the extensive nature of the outsourcing. Likewise, the council’s limited resources were a major consideration during the review.  

However, by using the TOGAF model as a reference, we were able to demonstrate to the council why some of their key decision-making and forward planning capabilities were not as functional as they should have been. 


By the completion of Terra Firma’s review and following our presentation of the key findings and recommendations, we improved the council’s understanding of the role of the EA function in the organisation.  

Terra Firma developed the client’s ability to work with vendors more cooperatively, which will result in better outcomes for the council’s digital transformation journey. 

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