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Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

Why do we need EA as the current state of the enterprise

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This is in response to the post "As-Is modelling to be registered as an official disease?" and a too popular stance that As-Is EA doesn't matter, it is a waste of time.

How do you design the target architecture if you do not discover an document first the architecture of what is out there? How would that target enterprise blueprint look like?

How could you expand a building without taking into account its current blueprint? You may end up transforming a barn in a concert hall. 

Well, British do sometimes transform barns in homes but only to keep the as-is "charming" appearance of a barn at the comfort of a villa. British also like to live in mews, or former stables. I used to live in Black Jack Mews.

In the absence of the current architecture, the enterprise would have to be re-designed from scratch, again and again, at each and every strategic cycle. 

How could you plan a proper enterprise transformation if you do not know the current organisation and processes, the current systems and technologies, the as-is capabilities to act on their strengths and weaknesses?

How could you perform the gap analysis and establish the roadmap to the end state?

Do you then give up the current platforms,  skills and investments?

How would the enterprise continue to deliver its products and pay your salary during such a transformation?

EA is about the current enterprise state which enables the understanding, maintenance, fixing and improvement of the enterprise. This is because the enterprise evolves incrementally rather than in revolutionary cycles. Even revolutions re-use existing structures.

Moreover, the architecture of a building, city... does not assume their future states. 

The future is dictated by the market, the management vision and, not least, by the current state. You can hardly demand a car factory to produce tanks. But still, in its current state the enterprise produces vehicles rather than candies. 

Besides, a target enterprise that fails to consider the current operation and technologies would make your management cringe, to put it nicely. The transformation cost and risks would be insurmountable. What would the shareholders and the investors say?

The EA architect would not hold that position for long.

It is true though that today, the current EA is embedded in people's minds. Often the strategic transformation starts, unfortunately, from this state of affairs. 

To improve on that we need the EA as the current state of the enterprise.

The current EA would make the transformation  faster, cheaper, more effective, predictable and less riskier.

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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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