13 years, 6 months ago

The Independence of EA

#entarch Following my blogpost on EA and the Big Picture, @carlhaggerty asked does it matter if EA disappears into a core C-Suite competency?

Clearly it matters to some people, especially those who have committed themselves and their careers to the idea of enterprise architecture (EA) as an independent practice. If EA were to disappear, some people would be upset, and some organizations would need to find a new mission or fold.

@carlhaggerty agreed that some people might be upset but thought if it is in the best interests of the enterprise surely it would be the best thing to do.

Well perhaps. I am certainly not a defender of the current position of EA as a defacto knowledge silo, because this offends against the principles of EA itself. (See my post on A Value Proposition for Enterprise Architecture.)

But I have two problems with making a judgement about “the best thing to do” purely on the basis of “the best interests of the enterprise”. The first problem is who shall speak for the best interests of the enterprise. C-level executives are often driven by extremely short-term considerations, such as stock market prices, as well as their own personal advantage. Merging enterprise architecture into C-level management might mean that EA would be forced to adopt this perspective to the exclusion of any other perspective. The second problem is that there have always been enterprises that are based on a corrupt business model – flawed or unethical – and there is clear conflict between the best interest of these enterprises and the best interests of society as a whole.

Ultimately, this comes down to the possibility of designing a complex organization to produce behaviour that is effective, intelligent and ethical. @carlhaggerty would rather see EA being done whether or not an EA exists in an enterprise, and he personally doesn’t care who ;) I agree with him up to a point – I don’t care who does EA, but I do want to see an organizational design giving a strong independent voice to an EA-like perspective.