Thursday, June 15, 2006

 

Thoughts on marketing Enterprise Architecture

The vast majority of enterprise architects I have ran across always seem to get it twisted and haven't figured out how to justify and communicate the strategic value of the enterprise architecture group. Of course, they would know so, if they purchased the book: A Practical Guide to Enterprise Architecture, but there are also other ways...



The discipline of enterprise architecture is extremely valuable to enabling the strategic intent of the business but can otherwise be a difficult sell. IT always has a lot on its agenda; from simply understanding and contributing to business
planning to operating networks, servers, and applications. IT is constantly making decisions, and EA provides guidance to IT management so it can make better decisions about business solutions and technology uses.

EA frames decisions and without it, decisions are are usually made with little understanding of context or implications for future capabilities, resulting in higher IT operational cost due to more platform diversity (NOTE: Maybe this is why Ruby hasn't penetrated large enterprises), greater complexity because of application proliferation, and higher technology risk from lack of focus.

EA groups are still challenged within IT itself to explain their value contribution. Most EA's assume that the value is self-evident. EA groups depend on sponsorship and influence to provide results. Both sponsorship and influence depend on the perception of EA value and the relevance of this value to IT and to the business. EA groups often feel that if they just put together a good case, then the benefits will be self-evident, and they will get the sponsorship and authority they need, they will be successful.

Marketing of enterprise architecture should be thought of as mission critical. Think of it as the execution of a contract between an external interface with customers and prospects. Likewise, marketing allows an IT organization to move away from being just a cost-center to focusing on revenue generation.

The key practice that marketing brings to enterprise architecture is crisp definition. We can get away for years with a clearly indoctrination based approach as long as IT remains insular. The second it has to become communicated clearly and concisely outside is the moment of clarity as to why marketing matters...




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