Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Are Enterprise Architecture Practitioners obsessed about the right things?

Many of the LinkedIn groups focused on Enterprise Architecture practices seemed to be overly obsessed metamodels, templates for documenting an architecture and coming up with the latest taxonomy/classification scheme for organizing work. If enterprise architecture is about helping the business realize its strategic intent through the use of technology, any rationale person would conclude that much of our conversation is wasteful in nature...

Too many practitioners wax poetic about the need for IT to align with the business but haven't developed a fundamental under of the business. This is honestly less about what your employer sells but in a more holistic sense what is business.

In my travels, I have seen lots of enterprise architecture artifacts and even a few attempts at business architecture artifacts and have came to a profound conclusion. Much of this work yields to perceptions that don't reflect present realities! How many architects of any flavor can point to any artifact they have created that demonstrates the full reality of their company, line of business or even organizational unit? Does it describe the situation, characteristics, culture and challenges the business truly faces?

Some enterprising architects may have familiarized themselves with SWOT analysis and they should get kudos. For those that haven't, then maybe they need to do some quick homework. While a SWOT analysis will demonstrate an organization's strategic advantages and disadvantages, what artifact is responsible for capturing an organization's myths and blind spots?

Have you been following the Occupy movement? The vast majority of Enterprise Architects I know are part of the priveleged 1% and therefore have focused on the fact that their message is confused. I believe though that there are some gems from this movement we can all learn from to make our own employers better, our outside of work life better and more importantly our communities in which we thrive better.

Let's face it, the masses of the Occupy movement as well the majority of Enterprise Architects have no awareness of the big economic picture. Blissful ignorance of the global reality of capitalism and competition isn't something that should be tolerated as it is a key requirement for alignment and sustainable innovation. We should as practitioners of the discipline of enterprise architecture understand how capitalism work, why capitalism won, how dynamic economies are created and destroyed and most importantly why it is raging across the planet!

If we can't understand macro-level trends, then how can we be certain that our micro-level enterprise-oriented recommendations are sound? Too many of us mistake innovation as being simply a proxy for doing things better, faster and/or cheaper. Even more of us think that process can be a sustitute for competence. Reality dictates that we should attempt to understand not just the changing people demographics and their purchasing habits but why some companies are winning and others are losing in the marketplace.

If a butterfly flaps its wings, does it cause a tsunami in Japan? If a dictator on the other side of the planet deregulates their marketplace, eliminates government monopolies and pursues open markets, do you think this should an impact on your enterprise architecture...

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