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...