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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

Critique of the Enterprise Architecture state

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Currently, there are too many EA frameworks that crowd the EA field, too many development approaches, too many insufficient metamodels... and too many parties that claim to hold the truth.

Since the approaches or parties have little in common they bewilder the practitioners. You will find that anybody can challenge everybody on what they do and how they do EA. And no judge of that. There is little consensus as a result of that. But nobody has taken a systematic approach to sift through the many approaches. There is no credible body for that. Well, there should be, so that we don't end up with many species of EA especially those that challenge each other.


The few leading contenders in the field seldom acknowledge each other if at all. And the existing frameworks do not deliver, at least not to common expectations.


Even when a body claims success the results are not available for confidentiality reasons they say. How can one judge then the validity of the claim?

The EA terminology (EA, framework, method, process, practice, ontology, taxonomy, function...), which has never been established in the first place, is still stirring sterile debates.

I finished a TOGAF course without being given the definition of EA. It was like I was taught TOGAF rather than EA. Many cadres have no EA practical experience but were chosen for their ability to teach in related fields alone which is good enough up to a point.

So many are expertly preaching EA now. The heavy use of the social media clouds the atmosphere. Obviously, these are not professional discussion fora. Debates have little purpose or scope.


Discourses take easy advantage of fora's lack of etiquette or regulation. Rules of engagement hardly exist. Statements cannot be verified. The "trust me" attitude prevails. The louder is the most convincing and successful at that. Nobody is hold responsible for a statement. As such, why not be controversial? Lack of accountability is the heart of the evil.

Since more often than not, an audience is not able to make an own judgment, it relies on the reputation of a participant or of the institution it represents. However many of these institutions had no contributions to the field and individual standing is based more on who has given them credit.

Overt self-marketing is well and alive. Those who can are supporting own frameworks.

There are practitioners that will tell you that that there is no best framework- the message for you is that only their own experience makes the EA work.

That EA is about strategy. EA enable it but it is much more than strategy.

That you have to collect requirements. You don't really. EA would synchronize the many enterprise projects which in turn would have to collect requirements. But the EA itself has to correlate and help implement the architecture principles, vision and strategy rather than collect requirements.

That the EA, method or framework depends from case to case. But there can be only one enterprise architecture no matter how you represent it and many ways to employ it to better the enterprise.

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Hello Adrian,

Why not considering that the really answer to the problem you show us is because there is more than one entreprise architecture ?

Even regarding functioning architecture since reality is in someway uncatchable like quantum physic.

Nevertheless I agree that framework complexity and too many approaches are hampering Enterprise Architecture spreading.

But, it is not the only brake. Lack of Business empathy, exageration of technical side are also slowing down dramatically EA.

Best regards

Jerome

Hi Jerome,
There is one single EA that integrates all other views.

Imagine that every service would have a different plan or understanding of your car. Would you trust them to fix it?

A city or a car can be described from various angles but all of them are part of the same architecture.

See also my latest post in this blog on EA politics and inhibitors.

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I couldn't agree more.

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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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