Enterprise Architecture Matters

Adrian Grigoriu

What business problems does Enterprise Architecture solve?

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It's a question we hear much too often since it is supposed to render EA more acceptable to business. The answers though add to the confusion about EA because EA often ends up being compared to management consultancy or in any case, appears to step into other business territories. That is not the case.

The question is then, "what are the enterprise issues that EA enables solving?". Or, slightly differently, "what are ultimately the goals of EA?".

The answer is that EA facilitates standardisation, integration, reduced duplication, fault fixes, alignment of technology to business operation, strategy realisation...

That is because EA helps identify one of these standard problems above. But even so, it does not solve them in the course of the EA process. It just identifies them. Separate programs would have to be initiated to achieve these desiderates.

The EA does not solve business problems either. Business solution development does that in projects that fix, update, add... capabilities.

Management consulting deals with such business problems as well, that is problems that require deep business expertise in one of the business domains such as supply chain for instance.

To better do their job, business and management consultants need to make sure that the solutions comply to EA principles, guidelines, roadmaps and integrate seemlessly in the overall architecture.

Hence management consultancy does not equal EA. That does not mean that enterprise architects cannot do management consultancy as well. In particular in establishing roadmaps, analysing business and operating models... EA does not establish the vision though and most of the time does not deal with people organisation issues.

EA is not about the planning strategic goals either because planning requires assignment of financial, human and technical resources which do not fall in the EA responsibility. EA may propose though a roadmap for consideration.  

"Enterprise Architecture matters blog" Kindle book answers this kind of questions and related. 

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I agree to the fact that EA is not, by it self, a management consultancy discipline, because it, again by it self, doesn't really give the answers.

However, EA interlaced with good Project Portfolio work, Change Management and strategy, gives you a strong fabric for well prepared and understood change.

I personally think that EA not only should but must start acting as a consultancy discipline where it not only comes up with facts but also tries to interpret strategy goals and translate these into specific actions.

EA does "interpret strategy goals and translate these into specific actions".
Still EA is not called in to solve specific business problems since the architects are not business domain experts. Management and business consultancies do that.

Nice one. Lucky me I discovered your blog accidentally, and I am shocked why this twist of fate didn’t took place in advance! I bookmarked it.Really best post on Enterprise Architecture Consulting.

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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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