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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

Enterprise Architecture in higher education

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The EA concept should be taught in any business study. Unfortunately the body of knowledge is too fragmented and incomplete right now to arm the student with a method that delivers results.

What one can teach today is the EA state of art, that is various approaches, questions still unanswered). The course would teach the state of art, raise awareness of the issue and enable further research. For this reason all approaches to EA should be investigated rather than only a selected few or a single one. 

The idea whether to include EA in an MBA program appears to be agreed upon by most though (see Linkedin discussion here). But what specifically should be in? Unfortunately, business academia has done little about it.

In practice, EA takes place in IT. Most frameworks originated in IT and most EA architects do their day to day job in solution architecture, architecture review boards and IT strategy. I dare say that this is not what an MBA should cover.  The IT EA component might be taught in more detail in technology courses though.

An MBA teaches enterprise operation, strategy development, planning, organization design etc. The question is what value would the EA add to the MBA?

EA is the architecture of the Enterprise describing what the enterprise delivers and how it does that. Then how can the Enterprise be transformed implementing the strategy. It is about documenting the Enterprise operation in order to improve it, adapt it to market changes and roadmap it to achieve your strategic goals. As such it is essentially a business management discipline.

What EA could bring to the MBA:

1. EA may offer generic models or typical architectures for the enterprise. EA comes with the Capability map concept which unfortunately is not standardised or mature enough to be employed yet. 

2. May provide the framework that links and integrates all the tiers of the Enterprise together: business process, technology and organization. That is a "true" EA framework. Currently there are a few meta-models that are an expression of the framework rather than the framework itself.

3. Last but not least, EA would provide the method of implementing the target enterprise state in alignment to strategy. Existing EA methods propose various processes to do exactly that.

As such, the EA contribution to the MBA (i.e. the Enterprise model, EA integration framework, the Enterprise alignment to strategy) would enable the MBA to create a model of an Enterprise, analyse it, transform it and assist the transition of the Enterprise to the desired state. EA it would also enable the MBA to understand how to implement various business and operating models proposed by the executive management.

Vote here in the Computer Weekly  "IT industry blogger of the year" where this blog was short listed.

3 Comments

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MBA like other graduate programs focus more on how to solve problems and develop strategy than specific how to at any discrete level. For that reason I don't see how you can teach EA within an MBA as it it is far too discrete and narrowly focused. You would no more teach construction architecture now would you?

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Enterprise Architecture is all about taking the business model of the organisation and operationalize it. We expect an MBA holder to have this knowledge.

I therefore agree with Adrian; EA should become a key module within the MBA.

Mafika

excellent article. this the time to ask for an academic credential degree for the Higher Education in all levels , bachelor , diploma , master or even PhD.

enough professional certificates were given by a business entities.

It is clear that there is a major difference between academic credential and professional practice of EA. The professional practices are ‘certain course of actions” prove the competence’ or ‘power of expertise’ whereas academic credentials almost not.

a mission to the respected author . we are working in a task to prepare a book for EA credential degrees , in case you are willing to participate , you are most welcome

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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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