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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

Don't leave the EA framework at the door

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I post here in response to this post of Gartner's: "Enterprise architects: Please leave your framework at the door".

Please don't, that is, leave the EA framework at the door. You do it at your own peril.

Because a good framework is like the chassis of your car, the chassis where you hang on the parts in such a way that they fit the whole.

It is also like the content page of your EA. You have to fill in the parts which would be joined by it to give the big picture or the story.

Or, simply put, a  framework can  be seen as a template for your EA in which you can fill in the fields. 

The framework should also come with a generic process that guides you through the discovery, design and implementation of the EA.

Besides you should not leave out all frameworks only to surrender to the suggestion to use Gartner's "Target -- Frame -- Plan"... (is there a continuity with other EA concepts or frameworks proposed by them in the past?) 'that enables enterprise architects to design or customise an EA framework'. What "EA framework", the framework we were just invited to leave at the door?

True, most current EA frameworks are rather poor because they cover only a small part of what they should and their parts (or tools if you like) are poorly integrated. Set in this context I agree. But check first FFLV-GODS.

True, many frameworks look like collections of disparate parts/tools. Anyone can come with own collection, in the absence of a proper and accepted framework. But the framework is about integration of tools to give that overall picture we can navigate rather than see disconnected parts at different scales of magnification from different angles..

Hence, the EA framework should be a standard that offers the integration of tools rather than disjoint methods, so that they deliver the bigger picture of the enterprise rather than isolated bits and pieces. 

The framework should provide a basis of EA comparison, predictability, repeatability, reusability, effectiveness... and not least, confidence in the results.

The 'Business outcome-driven EA', we are encouraged to do, has no particular meaning since any architecture should serve the business purpose. The architecture of a church can properly serve a church but not a manufacturing plant. And indeed the business and its architecture changes implicitly with the changes demanded by the market.

The EA architects are typically required to provide the enterprise models to the business people in the know rather than solve themselves the business problems of the enterprise. It often happens that architects are consulted when their work is valuable.

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Very good points.
Frameworks provide taxonomy that allows architects to speak the same language and approach planning and problem solving consistently. This is extremely important in large enterprises.
I suggest that Gartner's proposition that frameworks are passe is misunderstood. I think that they were suggesting that EA should not get hung up on frameworks and attempt to implement them to the letter. Instead, EA should focus on business outcomes and only get from frameworks what works in a given enterprise context.


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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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