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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

The Enterprise Architect name and EA profession

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Jeff Scott of Forrester blogged about the Enterprise Architect in "What's in a name". I replied but I would further like to expand on this.

Were we to look at the name alone, we would conclude that Enterprise Architect is someone performing the role of an architect of the Enterprise. 

And architecture produces blueprints typically for building, bridges; and now the Enterprise.
Including Zachman in the assessment we would note that the EA architect would have to ask "w" questions from a number of perspectives to discover how the Enterprise works and what is its structure.
DODAF, the oldest EA framework, architects the way the whole DoD and its operations work.
But there is nothing much about strategy and even less about IT in this. Solely the Why question reminds us vaguely of strategy.

How can one determine that EA is about strategy alone? Even TOGAF says different.

You may do strategy, business or IT, and call yourself accordingly a strategist... and not an EA architect. This will be fair. But it would not be fair to attempt to change the Enterprise Architect name for there are true EA professionals.

It is true that, in practice, EA was somehow hijacked by IT and strategists that call themselves Enterprise Architects. And it is true that everyone in IT seems to be an architect today. It probably all started with the grand Enterprise name in technologies such as EAI, ERP, JavaEE... to denote the capability of technology to serve the whole Enterprise. 

And it is also true that most EA architects do IT solution architecture and reviews and IT strategy according to an own Forrester's survey (see recent post). 

But the EA profession survives because it is clear to us that it holds great promise in describing the Enterprise and enabling its transformation.

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I too am often confused by what people presume to understand in the title of EA, and as a contractor specialising in EA, the roles I have been given are certain wide and varied.
As for your comments, I often refer to EA as being "design". The BluePrint is the "design". So what are the "requirements" for that design? They are in strategy, and the objectives it sets. And that is how I differentiate the two; they are hand-in-hand, but as you say, not the same.
And then we get into the discussion of what are requirements. I usually visualise it as a supply chain. The Execs have requirements, and department heads devise their department strategy (as a design) to meet those requirements. Their "strategy" then becomes the requirements for the middle managers to specify their changes reflected in their strategy, which in turn become requirements for the team leaders...ultimately then to IT to provide the systems to meet the customer strategies. So the direction of this supply-chain is equally telling in which are requirements and which are design (from that consumer/supplier relationship). The supplier then dictates a strategy to meet those customer requirements, which ultimately itself becomes the requirements for those further down the chain (i.e. as the supplier itself becomes a consumer for the suppliers it uses).
Just a different perspective on what these "names" mean; not that this is well understood, so you have to just think about it.

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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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