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Why would we scare each other with EA ‘IT-centric’ approach? February 22, 2009

Posted by wrivkin in Enterprise Architecture & Business Transformation.
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4 comments

I confess: I do not comprehend the reasons of this phenomenon. Moreover, it puts me in the state of awe. Recently, I have noticed a pattern on some EA discussions: Whatever an initial question or issue is, the discussion is quickly turned into exchanging opinions on how dangerous for Enterprise Architecture is to be IT-centric. The participants of the discussion immediately forget the initial topic and start writing almost only about this terrifying phenomenon – IT-centric EA – just scaring the … everything out of each other.

It is almost to a degree when you want to turn on the light, open the closet and say: “You see? There is no IT-centric monster here! What? Under the bed? Let us look… No, there is nothing here as well☺”!

So, let us keep lights on and try to think clearly about this scary IT-centric EA. First of all, what is Enterprise Architecture? Obviously, it is Architecture of Enterprise. Then, what is Enterprise? It is not IT-centric but IT-related venture. We can logically divide it on Business and IT parts, thus having Enterprise Business Architecture and Enterprise IT Architecture as sub-frameworks of EA. They are obviously connected and related, for the Enterprise should work as a whole. So, EA is IT-related, because modern Enterprise cannot function without Information Technology means but it is definitely not IT-centric by definition. Moreover, IT becomes less and less significant part of the Enterprise due to commoditization and migration outside of Enterprise boundaries (to the Cloud).

What is the hype, then, about IT-centricity? If being IT-centric means ignoring the Business side then it is almost as wrong as to be Business-centric, thus ignoring IT-side. They are like Yin and Yang, always together, always in conflict… I even came up with this philosophical picture of Enterprise (see below), where these Yin and Yang are penetrating and connected by the evolving spiral of the wise serpent of Methodology.


Enterprise Yin and Yang

Originally uploaded by wrivkin

This is what EA should be: Methodology-centric.

You see, guys, it is very simple: just clearly specify your framework of interest (Enterprise, Business, or IT) and make your observations and conclusions without any fear (but being incorrect, of course).

So, what about this IT-centricity-phobia? I am sure that I am mistaken, but maybe the reason is in this word ‘clearly’? Being IT-centric is so obviously wrong that it is much safer to endlessly discuss that than show your real level of understanding by actually answering the initial question? No, this is impossible…such prominent specialists…just impossible, isn’t it? Lost, completely lost. “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

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“The Case for Enterprise Architects”? Thank you, please do not bother. February 12, 2009

Posted by wrivkin in Enterprise Architecture & Business Transformation.
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This post is about “The Case for Enterprise Architects” article published by Kim S. Nash in CIO Magazine on January 15-th (p.37). Firstly, here some quotations from the paper:
…amid an economic downturn, a position like that—without concrete and measurable financial value or, typically, any direct reports—can be difficult to justify when the board of directors demands companywide layoffs”…”So what does an EA do? The answer depends on who you talk to”…”At some companies, the position emphasizes technology, as in the planning of companywide systems. A core objective, for example, is to ensure that all new software and hardware meet standards and work together”(You need EA for THAT?!!! W.R.)…”Other companies, though, have to be convinced of the enterprise architect’s criticality.”

Do not be mistaken by the negative tone: this article is pro- Enterprise Architect position, not against it. Unfortunately, author and his interviewees  show the usual low level of comprehension, or rather lack of it, talking about what Enterprises need EA position for. Not having their own deep knowledge on the subject they all, not-surprisingly mention absolutely different purposes they use EAs for (to their credit no one mentioned sending for coffee and donuts or a janitor role).

Not one, though mentioned in the paper Enterprise Architecture . Obviously, for them Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Architects have nothing to do with each other. None said, of course, about Enterprise Architecture Frameworks, which Enterprise Architects supposedly have to create and implement for an Enterprise, using principles of Enterprise Architecture. No one had a slightest idea that such a framework should and does provide your Enterprise with ‘ concrete and measurable financial value ‘.

I have a lot of pity for  CIO Magazine and personally Mr. Nash, who made a great but not educated effort to promote an EA profession. Please, next time you write about such a sensitive issue as EA, instead of interviewing high-level-chair politicians (sorry, practitioners), consult with real specialists like Dr. Kappelmann, who was mentioned and the end of the article with what  probably mistakenly looked as a bit of lack of respect, which is absolutely undeserved and put rather unfavorable light on the author’ s journalistic habits. Your humble servant, the author of these lines ( and many articles on the issue) would also be glad to help.

So, poor us, Enterprise Architects! Nobody looks like understanding and loving us for who we are, despite our crucial importance for the modern Enterprise. Even CIO Magazine failed! I am sure that more EAs will get fired than hired, before an article describing in exact terms what EA is doing to save an Enterprise will be published. The first article of this kind, though, was already published. It is not a complete, compelling cause for EA, but probably it is a decent start.

Please find it on:’Optimize, Then Outsource’ BPMI.org
http://www.bpminstitute.org/articles/article/article/optimize-then-outsource.html

P.S. Oh, almost have forgotten! We have now this COEAPP (or COAEPPP, sorry, unable to remember) organization, who is going to defend us, Enterprise Architects! Where are you, guys?! You are our last hope. You must definitely know what the profession you swear to promote is for, don’t you? Or maybe each one of you have different ideas as well?! No, it is impossible, I refuse to believe in that! Please respond, or I am taking my poison!