Wednesday, June 14, 2006

 

Thinking out loud: The evil enterprise architect

I was thinking about the evil that I have contributed to the world by getting EA folks to pay attention to enterprise service-oriented architectures when they should be paying attention to web 2.0 and the notion of microformats. I wonder if I am simply a player in a larger evil ecosystem known as enterprise architecture...



EA in most enterprises tends to be all about a big fat cleanup exercise on large systems. Do our business customers get frustrated with us IT folk who ask for budgets to clean up mess we created because we have no foresight on otherwise obvious problems? If I were to align myself with the business (I really hate this phrase), it would seem they would want genuine value creation and not the cliche stuff industry analysts spew in this space.

I suspect if I were to ask every blogger on my blogroll to provide the answer to the following question: How do I create genuine business value from architecture? I would get varying answers of which maybe one at best would have any form of integrity. The masses would respond with a repeat after me, monotone your call is important to us partyline.

It has occured to me that real business/IT alignment requires architects to practice architecture. Architecture is all about abstraction and models. Many enterprises are getting it twisted by mistaking process for architecture and are focused on nonsense like governance, metrics and other ceremonial practices.

What would happen if EAs started to think about creating new business value by modeling and ultimately simplifying the complexities of the business domain. Last time I checked, this was known as business architecture which is rarely seen. Maybe if us EAs started noodling the notion of enterprise service models that would be a good first step. Maybe I could get one of my fellow EA bloggers out there (KnowledgeCrisis and Brenda Michelson comes to mind) to start actually talking about the notion of business architecture, then we may actually make meaningful progress as a profession.

Business value can also be created by understanding the marketplace (bazaar) and even the social domain in which one plays in (aka community). What if we were to enable better ways for communities to communicate and interact with each other in a meaningful way? Would this enable new business opportunities?

Today, I am going through a moodswing and of course reserve the right to change my mind at a later date. Would love to know the blogosphere's thoughts on us architects in corporate America and the evils we practice...




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