Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Enterprise Architecture: What is a worst practice in your organization?

When I talk to my peers who work for other large enterprises, they believe that the root cause of bad IT is the lack of critical thinking and application of disciplined problem solving...

Perception management is getting in the way of disciplined thinking where management proclivity of "just get it done", "throw it over the wall", "we are enterprenural", "fast paced" and so on. In actuality, fast paced should actually be pronounced "half-vast" as in don't start vast projects with half-vast ideas. The problem doesn't lie at the bottom of the food chain; especially in IT, it is a critical incompetency in management starting from enterprise architects to the board.

Outsourcing to India is one of the biggest worst practices ever invented. If a person cannot have a face-to-face conversation, when there is no vested interest in someone in the know helping them out, then the only thing they can leverage is comprehensive documentation. Let's face it:

1. Regardless if you are talking about outsourcing or even regulatory compliance, existing controls have little if any documentation.

2. Processes are almost always intensively manual for no good reason. Things are always more difficult than they need to be.

Have you ever thought about the amount of money that goes unmanaged in the security space? Gunnar Peterson, Gary McGraw, Jeremiah Grossman and others always talk about how much money is wasted on network security and question when software security will get its day in court. I believe the conversation needs to start at making auditing processes at all layers more sane.

Consider what happens when the auditors show up. Out come the spreadsheets. What is a spreadsheet anyway? It is a caveman's database. These tabular views of a situation grow like a cancer requiring rolls of scotch tape in feeble attempts to patch ideas together and present them in a half-vast manner. I don't need to devolve into the intense time and effort to populate, maintain and verify these time killer spreadsheets.

The other side of the coin are the plethora of GRC tools, EA tools (Troux, Alfabet, Metamatrix, etc) where management will almost never take the time to perform a realistic ROI evaluation. These tools elicit emotion-based perception of what the company really needs filled with conjecture, hearsay and superstition.

How come we only have two choices, to either be boneheaded and leverage spreadsheets beyond common sense or to get all enterprisey and piss millions down the toilet on tools we truly don't understand or don't have the long-term discipline to capitalize upon.

This reminds me of the bitch-slap moments whenever someone utters the magic phrase: developing software is not our core business. I wonder if these types will acknowledge that purchasing shelfware isn't their core business either!

Why can't we consider lesser more simple solutions? Instead of wasting time researching and benchmarking who is in the Gartner Magic Quadrant and what our peers in the industry are using because senior management wants to know, only to discover you can't afford it, couldn't we punch ourselves in the face and acknowledge that this may be a clue right there Einstein.

So, is aligning with the business really an IT problem or one of management competency...

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