Saturday, June 10, 2006


Enterprise Architects versus the World

Robert McIllree is busy expressing his thoughts on the difficulties that practitioners of the discipline of enterprise architecture face. I wonder if he may actually be part of the problem...

It is interesting to run across consultants who sell their EA services to large enterprises and the perspective they bring. To a certain extent, they make their dollars off of reconciling complexity. You have to ask whether it is in their best interest to eliminate all of it and not over-generalize the problems we face positively or negatively.

Chris appropriately called him out indicating his pedestal is showing without realizing he is on a pedestal that he doesn't actually own.

The post that is 100% on the money comes from Karthik Hariharan who acknowledges as a big four consultant, he is encouraged to propose large scale enterprise solutions. Nick Malik is also very wise to acknowledge that architecture is an attitude, not a model. I wonder what his thoughts are on the practice within corporate America to create reference architectures?

There are of course some folks who get it twisted. In this blog it states that people who work for large companies typically do not care about the company. They care about having and keeping a job. Hmmm. It is ignorant statements such as these that further cause folks to go astray. Yes, every single individual should care about being gainfully employed. Likewise, folks who don't really care about their employer tend to work for both large and small companies alike. I would argue that folks in large enterprises actually care more about their employer than those in smaller firms do to overdependence on company pension plans and other perks not found elsewhere in which if the company fails, they do to.

There are several things that should have emerged in this conversation that I am disappointed that haven't. First, it seems as if the real pain point is with small consulting firms who haven't been able to overcome the process of being on large company preferred vendors lists and are delegated to second-class citizenship. Maybe these small insultancies should stop attempting to sell agile and start to sell valuable business solutions instead.

Many of us architects care about agility, but this isn't a selling point (or at least shouldn't be). Tell me that you understand my business problem at hand. Acknowledge that many of the problems in which I seek consulting help are not about software development.

I wonder if folks who believe the enterprise is way more complex than it should be have ever put an industry vertical slant on their thinking? Not to be insulting but I would suggest that the domain that JT and I work in is infinitely more complex than say the one that either Scott Mark or Charles Betz work in.

The reason I can say this is that we are subject to more legal and regulatory oversight in our domain than what would occur in others. Likewise, the business logic varies by each and every state we do business in whereas other domains can through good modeling achieve one approach. Sometimes complexity exists not for IT reasons but because of the way the business operates.

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