Monday, June 27, 2011


Enterprise Architecture Consulting is breaking Enterprise Architecture

There are lots of discussions in various social networks as to the challenges of enterprise architecture and making it successful. I have always found these discussions fascinating in that they almost never include the insight of end customers of enterprise architecture and only focus on what consultants and analysts think.

While they believe they are working towards solutions, they haven't considered how they may actually be the problem...

So, imagine you are a CIO who primordially believes in the value of enterprise architecture and wants to improve the practice within your own enterprise. You know you need outside help and consider the following as options:

Indian Outsourcing Firms: At some level, firms such as Cognizant, TCS, Infosys and Wipro will provide cheap (not the same as low-cost) and even free resources to help you with your enterprise architecture, yet it is somehow lacking. Is it because their take is solely focused on finding ways to steer more work offshore even if there are ways you can solve your challenges through packaged applications that may not increase their headcount?

Can all problems be eventually moved offshore? Of course not, if that weren't the case, we wouldn't need onsite IT people for any reason. With that being said, does it make sense to you that you can be wildly successful in flying in a person from another country who may not be intimate with your culture to guide you on enterprise architecture challenges that may be cultural in nature?

Software Vendors: You can always buy enterprise architecture services from the likes of Oracle and Microsoft but what does that buy you? Last time I checked, enterprise architecture had a goal of being business aligned. So why would you hire a strictly technology company? Sure they can help you get your IT house in order, but don't think much beyond this.

Let's say you wanted to hire Oracle to provide Enterprise Architecture Services. How much value could they provide to an organization that has software provided by other vendors? If Oracle can replace the other vendors technology with their own, then there may be some value. You should of course ask yourself in this model, where does the sales model stop and where does enterprise architecture begin.

Imagine if there is business value in adopting open source and replacing commercial software. What kind of guidance should you expect vs what you will receive?

Management Consulting: Back up the school bus and send in a team of Accenture consultants who may not have even been in IT for five years let alone know anything about your business and have them create wonderfully looking eye candy enterprise architecture artifacts. Does this really have value beyond just feeling good?

Is maturity of an enterprise architecture practice measured by the amount of documentation an enterprise has and its aesthetics? We seem to be repeating many of the same mistakes learned over the history of software development and repeating in the creation of enterprise architecture. Firms such as Accenture can help you with process, but can't help you with practice.

Industry Analysts: You can get sage wisdom from experienced practitioners in 30 minute chunks and wonderfully written generic advice published in the form of research. If the time horizon for enterprise architecture is say five years, how comfortable should you be in making strategic decisions based on 30 minute conversations?

I believe there is a better way! What if you could secure the experiences of an enterprise architecture practitioner that has at least twenty years of IT experience to consult with your organization 100% at no cost? What if this practitioner focused solely on enterprise architecture challenges and promised that they wouldn't attempt to only focus on software offered by that firm? What if you could have access to this practitioner whenever you needed ranging from a week upfront to a couple of hours over the course of a month for the next several years? What if you could access this resource without having to go through an extensive process, procurement cycle or even formalities of calling it a dialog but could collaborate via email, phone or whatever channel is best without any intermediaries?

The above is now becoming possible. In the short-term, you will be able to get this service on a vertical-by-vertical basis with Insurance and Capital Markets being first.

While I have intentionally withheld more information, I hope I have piqued your curiosity. If you are an employee of a large enterprise and would like to know more, please do not hesitate to reach out to be via LinkedIn, Twitter, etc with your contact information and I will share privately.

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