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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

What Enterprise Architecture does and what should be measured for

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Presently, the EA term is conveniently defined by each and everyone to do whatever an (s)he does or prefers to do. Still EA lives in the IT space, even though some people would prefer otherwise.

In any case, the EA value should be measured per iteration in terms of 
* overall Value delivered  (from reduced costs of duplication, overlaps in activities, time-to-market...), 
* its specific deliveries and as such value delivered to stakeholders (saved so much, improved efficiency by 10%...)

The results of an EA project are measurable if iterations deliverables are established upfront. Often though, the outcomes are not really relevant to other EA developments since EA outcomes are different from case to case (after all, there is no agreed EA definition or framework). People will tell you that this is because no problem or Enterprise is the same. True, but no two football games are the same, but they are still football, played according to the same rules. What makes them the same? 

Few frameworks come with a list of artifacts or deliveries. As such that makes EAs even less comparable in terms of Value delivered. Even so, many deliveries look like matrices, so uninspiring.

In practice, EA is used for the discovery of IT systems landscape and technology roadmapping. Afterwards, many ongoing, business as usual EA efforts also  are reduced to solution architectures reviews, since the ARBs (Architecture Review Boards) are their central activity. And the reviews are seldom based on an existing EA since there is none.

Careful though about EA costs. I have a feeling that most EAs cost more than they return, that is, their return is negative. But life as we know it, goes on.

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Adrian Grigoriu blogs about everything relating to enterprise and business architecture, SOA, frameworks, design, planning, execution, organization and related issues.

Adrian Grigoriu

Adrian is an executive consultant in enterprise architecture, former head of enterprise architecture at Ofcom, the spectrum and broadcasting U.K. regulatory agency and chief architect at TM Forum, an organization providing a reference integrated business architecture framework, best practices and standards for the telecommunications and digital media industries. He also was a high technology, enterprise architecture and strategy senior manager at Accenture and Vodafone, and a principal consultant and lead architect at Qantas, Logica, Lucent Bell Labs and Nokia. He is the author of two books on enterprise architecture development available on Kindle and published articles with BPTrends, the Microsoft Architecture Journal and the EI magazine. Shortlisted by Computer Weekly for the IT Industry blogger of the year 2011.

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