Thursday 21 July 2011

Are there really 4 pillars in EA?

As in most EA theories there are 4 pillars; Business, Application, Data and Technology. I know that I'm quite new to the EA scene, but in my experience so far I see that EA is focussed on the Applications and Data pillars.

The business pillar is a given, we use it as input and we support more or less in its shape. But do we really work in this field? I believe the business still sees the Enterprise Architect as an IT guy. They don't concider the Enterprise Architect as a person that helps them shape their shop. In theory it should, in practice I have my doubts. As mentioned last time, I believe this is the job for the Business Architect and in lesser extend the business analysts.

For the record, this is about hardware, procured software, networking and other nuts and bolts. This domain is getting more and more commodetised on the one hand, and the cloud makes all of this less relevant on the other hand. The result of this is that in this technology pillar Enterprise Architecture is going towards procurement and supplier management. To be honest, not a field where an Enterprise Architect is quite comfortable in.

Applications & Data
Applications and Data is for me the two core aspects where an Enterprise Architect can make a difference. Today it translates in roadmaps, Integration topics like SOA and EDA. Data topics like MDM, etc. this is where the Enterprise Architect will have his focus on. I don't believe completely on the view from Jeff Scott of "there's an app for that" approach in 20 years from now. Yes, we will have more apps; I even downloaded OS X Lion last night from the App Store from Apple, went to sleep and in the morning I had a new OS installed and working like a charm. However, even in an app world we will still face the integration music, so at best Enterprise Architects migt become app integration specialists :). One thing the app move does, makes everything more simple at least from the user's point of view. I'm thinking, when things become more simple we would have less need for the governance of it, so this might be another topic we can drop from the Enterprise Architects role...

Sunday 10 July 2011

Business Architect

Since a few days I'm telling various people about a missing role/person in the company. Whilst I may be an Enterprise Architect since a couple of months now; getting things done and organized in the IT departments seems just so easier than it is in the business side. I know it is due to my IT background that it just feels much more natural and hence you roll much better in the IT space. I consider myself doing a relative decent job (as a youngster in this role) in my natural habitat; acting like oil to make the machines run smoother again.

I believe a Business Architect is actually a person much needed to act as a counter part of the more tech savvy enterprise architect. This person should be the one that ties up the different departments and make them act according to the companies strategies; better yet, he should be involved in aligning the various departmental strategies into one coherent direction. Enterprise Architects coming from the IT corner will have a hard time to get this done; I believe this business oriented role is much more the destination for let's say a business analyst that never worked in IT.

An Enterprise Architect can get early involvement in the strategic exercises but will usually be coordinating between the business and IT; much less getting the ducks of every business department on a row, so there's definitely some work left for the business architect.

Funny when I was thinking all of this, that I read this article where the Business Architect snatches today's hottest IT role….