Monday, January 26, 2009


2009 Resolutions for Enterprise Architects

Here are ten resolutions that every participant in enterprise architecture should strive to achieve...

1. Start building an alumni network. In case you haven't been paying attention, Indian outsourcing firms are now the biggest risk. We caught Satyam lying and the employees are bailing leaving your outsourced portfolio exposed. You are aware of how long knowledge transfer takes and therefore the smart option would be keeping in context with all those employees the enterprise was stupid enough to let go off to save you later.

2. Stop being the exception that enforces the rules. Enterprise architecture is not a police force or bearer of standards, CMMi, common message formats, etc. Enterprise architecture is all about enabling the strategic intent of the business and therefore should focus on people over process and innovation over foolish consistency.

3. Start scouting for key talent. How innovative can you be in an outsourced model when folks in India stop being developers in order to become managers in five or so years? Talent is best groomed in a local context.

4. Start preparing for the unexpected. Satyam, Bear Stearns, etc are all examples of companies not preparing for what happens when a key business partner goes out of business? What would you do if you discovered that Documentum DFS was the intellectual property of Insecure Architecture Anonymous who asserted a claim against your enterprise SCO style? Indemnification and agreements are meaningless if the other party no longer exists.

5. Start using social systems yourself, visibly. If you aren't on LinkedIn and networking with your industry peers, then you are an idiot. Think about the benefits of Wachovia employees who networked with their new bosses in advance vs those who didn't.

6. Start taking security seriously. From one seat, folks will think that regulations are a waste of precious capital while another side will think that we didn't have enough. Which side do you think will win the argument? If you haven't been paying attention to OWASP then you should, as it is at the cornerstone of many regulations such as the next version of Basel, PCI 2.0 and the Unified Compliance Framework.

7. Stop ignoring people and focusing on process. Your savage focus on process will collapse. You need to focus on immediate needs such as financial survival and spending money on things with nebulous payoffs such as ITIL and CMMi are questionable in today's climate.

8. Start offering your vendors a free lunch. Why aren't you demanding more of them? Instead of customizing, why don't you figure out how to generalize your requirements such that they can be leveraged by other organizations and demand that they be included in the next version at contract time. Influence is good. Having a longer-term outlook on the features you need and demanding them at contract time is better.

9. Stop fearing the future; start driving it. Let's face it, if you are looking at Gartner magic quadrants, then you are practicing history and not architecture. At some level, the historical revenue figures of enterprise vendors is important, but driving their roadmaps is more important. If you aren't engaging the vendors and demanding new features and thinking about them as an extension then you aren't doing your job.

10. Discover newer technologies to get experience of in 2009. New technologies may allow you to rationalize away multiple older technologies with one new one. The enterprise needs less products, less vendors and less people governing them and new technologies is the potential opportunity to make this better.

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