Tuesday, August 01, 2006


Enterprise Architecture and Metrics

Many enterprise architecture practices incorporate the usage of metrics to demonstrate their value. This of course hints at only capturing favorable metrics that support their agenda. I wonder if this is ethical EA behavior? I wonder if I should do the same in the blogosphere?

Oops, I have already started creating surveys on topics that I have been personally interested in and getting others to participate. The response count to this survey has been incredible.

In a quick analysis, the results when asked others about what is your definition of enterprise there was no common definition. The survey allowed folks to choose other where they could provide their own definition. Some folks have defined it as complexity of solution, others have refered to size of organization which others still says that is refers to the entire organization regardless of how large it is. Out of the standard choices, the most popular definition refered to the number of users that a platform needs to support. For the record, I would have chosen the option that says enterprise refers to a sales model in how software is sold as the one having the most integrity in my mind.

This does beg the question of how can one be an enterprise architect but yet not have a common industry definition of what is enterprise? Maybe we are more dependent on industry analysts to spoonfeed us their perspectives than first imagined. Another interesting result that supported an earlier hypothesis that I had was the results to a question that asked if you had to recommend to a CIO that they read one and only one industry analyst blogger every single day, who would it be? the results indicate that more folks responded with James Governor than Stephen O'Grady both of which are fine analysts from Redmonk. Having the utmost respect for them both, I think at some level I agree. The funny thing is that I have always found UK based analysts more insightful than US based analysts. It seems as if when you read UK bloggers they tend to talk more about problem spaces where US bloggers tend to talk more about products. Haven't figured out why this is but have only noted the pattern. Maybe someone else can provide insight into why UK bloggers are more insightful?

The results are also telling in that the vast majority of enterprises are sitting on their hands waiting for others to create meaningful industry vertical specific standards on their behalf by a margin of two to one. This does beg several questions including but not limited to: So who exactly do you think will do it? Why do you believe someone else will do work that you should be doing? Do you think if you had someone else doing work that the results would be of high quality? and so on.

A remarkable 88.1% of all respondents support the same belief that I do in that large industry analyst firms should open source projects right next to proprietary closed source commercial offerings. This does require analysts to change the coverage away from the vendor being the focus to products and their core capabilities to be the focus which I think even firms that are more open may have some trouble implementing even though they acknowledge it would bring additional integrity and insight to the space they cover.

88.4% of Respondents also indicated that it would be more valuable if conferences had more speakers from end-user companies instead of just speakers from consulting firms and software vendors at conferences. I wonder if Matt Asay has any thoughts on this aspect?

Finally, the results show that more folks prefer books from noted authors as giveaways over laptop bags, polo shirts or even gadgets such as thumb drives and iPods. Since Infoworld has an upcoming SOA conference, maybe the could buy a couple hundred copies of the book: Enterprise Service Oriented Architectures for giveaway? I wonder if Jon Udell could lead the effort in changing how conferences operate?

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