17 years, 17 days ago

Delusions of Enterprise Architecture


I just finished skimming The Halo Effect by Phil Rosenzweig. This reviews the recommendations from books that examine successful companies then tell you why they have been successful in simple terms. In the majority of cases the value does not last and so perhaps the lessons are pretty valueless as well. Corporate delusions.


I’m going to go out on a limb a little and spin the Enterprise Architecture delusions:



The Delusion of Absolute Architecture: The effectiveness of an EA is related to the effectiveness of the implementation and of the transformation it enables in the business. This in turn is relative to the performance of the competition – not absolute. Which is why following a formula or industry standard model can never guarantee results. Typically you get the average return if you do what everyone is doing -which means no competitive advantage in the long run.


The Delusion of Rigorous Research: Many bestselling authors praise themselves for the vast amount of data they have gathered. If it is not valid then it does not matter how much data is captured. If the EA is built on a lot of research about technology and comparisons of features between suppliers, bake-offs and exhaustive procurements to get best value BUT NOT on well understood business transformation activities tied .


The Delusion of Single Explanations: Many studies show that improved performance is derived from a particular factor, such as social responsibility or customer focus. However, the factors are usually highly interdependent  so the effect of each one is usually much less than suggested. Building an EA around a single core technology or theme can appear attractive to simplify the concept sufficiently but in reality an enterprise is a complex beast and the long term winners are those who understand the relationships.


Finally (Rosenzwig has many more but this is a blog not a novel)


The Delusion of Lasting Success: Eventually your competition will be able to copy any innovation or business model. ‘Eventually’ is becoming an ever shorter timeframe. Any EA which is not refreshed and re-evaluated regularly is reducing in value rapidly.