Saturday, August 18, 2007


Enterprise Architecture and Letting Things Slide

I wonder if the state of the modern enterprise with its rising IT expenses is due to the fact that we let too many things slide...

Sliding things have nasty dynamics of their own above and beyond the ordinary run of things that need doing as they aren't really observable if you are always in tactical mode. The recent trend of referring to software vendors as partners may be one example of how things slide. Things slide when there's no attention paid to a pattern of negative observations. An enterprise expects their partners to be looking out for their best interest which usually doesn't materialize.

A good partnership between an enterprise and vendor would require the vendor to point out deficiencies in their architecture especially when it comes to integrating with products not procured from the same vendor. Likewise, your partner should be savage in terms of ensuring that all integrations wherever appropriate use industry standards and even champion them when they are non-existent.

In life, slides start small. When you're walking on slippery ice you're careful to put your feet down carefully, vertically, so that you don't start sliding. Starting to slide is such a serious situation that you actually have reflexes to deal with it before your brain is aware of it - suddenly you're kicking your feet and flailing your arms like a windmill. Unfortunately most sliding things in your life don't have such reflexes to help you out. Your relationship, your project, your business - when these things begin to slide there's nothing that kicks in and makes you go, "Whoa! That's not normal. So you just go about your business without changing your mode of reaction until you hit the crisis ...

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