15 years, 3 months ago

The Skeptical Enterprise Architect

Link: http://eagov.com/archives/2009/02/the-skeptical-e.html

Other practitioners and researchers often quote my research to highlight enterprise architecture adoption challenges. In my practical work and research, I see EA as a toolbox that embraces, supplements, and extends other disciplines. I think that the jungle of commercial EA frameworks and methods available are often too difficult to translate into actionable business results. In the Ministry of Finance, I have championed the introduction of EA reference models. And we are working on other tools for national IT-portfolio planning, e.g. via business cases. Adoption is difficult, but if we apply EA with a natural skepticism we might succeed…
Even thought my research is descriptive in nature, I have recently defined the seven propositions for EA practitioners listed below.
1. Don’t be blinded. Public organizations are conservative creatures and administrative reform and transformation is not driven by IT or the planning of IT use with EA alone. Fundamental transformation to the tasks performed in public organizations depend on political and institutional determination.
2. Understand the politics of government. The business of government is complex, mandates are often unclear, and the struggle for political support can be tough. Understand the environment, agency programs, and potential ‘obstacles’ before launching EA programs.
3. Don’t follow, lead. Perceived ‘best practices’ are not always the right medicine in a specific context. EA programs must proactively be customized to a specific context if success is to be achieved.
4. Focus on business and leadership, not technical frameworks. EA has a tendency to get very complicated and technically focused. New EA programs must ensure management backing and focus on business process management and change management.
5. Only use EA as a toolbox. EA is a meta-discipline that embraces, supplements, and extends other disciplines like e.g. Business Process Management. EA programs must change over time and become part of a continuous business improvement agenda.
6. Create clear governance structures. Unclear distributions of power, unclear mandates, and a constant struggle for political support will hinder EA success. A clear governance structure across levels and functions of government is key for successful EA adoption.
7. Think big and start small. The need to interact with external partners is especially far-reaching in government. Develop EA programs that can embrace the need for extra-organizational horizontal and vertical linkages.

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