11 years, 9 days ago

Enterprise Architecture for Dummies

In part 8 of “Memoirs of an Enterprise Architect” I discussed how rationalizing your applications can allow you to do more with your organizational budget.  This week I would like to have an open dialog about Capabilities, Business Process, the Service Catalog and a few other Enterprise Architecture concepts that will make your brain hurt.

EA is too complicated…

Enterprise Architecture for Dummies - Enterprise Architecture

“Enterprise Architecture Made Easy” @ www.datamation.com

When you start talking about the definitions of a Capability, Business Function, Business Process or a Service, people often want to know what is the context.  Does the definition of a word change meaning depending on context?  Isn’t an apple still an apple whether I am talking about fruit salad or apple pie?

I am starting to think the reason that Enterprise Architecture is such a polarizing topic is because we make it too complicated.  As Enterprise Architects, we are our own worst enemies.  I say it’s time to get off our soap boxes and start calling an apple an apple without getting all philosophical and saying “it depends” all the time.  Who’s with me?  Let’s make believers out of everyone that thinks EA is a big waste of time and does not add value.

Executives are screaming at anyone who will listen to them saying that they want, or better yet need someone to show them how to transform their organizations so they can succeed in today’s economy and continue to be relevant tomorrow.  Enterprise Architecture is in the pole position to make this happen, but it needs to be simple and easily digestible.

KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid)

Remember KISS from one of my previous blogs?  I am going to define some concepts below in this fashion.  These are the concepts that always bring out the little Plato and Socrates within us.

  • Technology or Software – actual bits installed on a system.
  • Application – a logical grouping of one or more technologies that make up a solution.
  • Business Function – a process performed routinely to carry out part of the organizational Capabilities that deliver the Business Service.
  • Capability – (The What) – the ability to execute a specific course of action.
  • Business Process – (The How) – defines the way the Capability requested in the Business Service is orchestrated between the Business Functions that deliver it.
  • Business Service – presents an organizational Capability externally for consumption.  It declares what is available but not how it is delivered.

So to simplify even further, a Business Service and a Capability are the same thing.  Do you agree?  I still think these definitions are not as consumable as they should be for any in the business, but I would like to hear your thoughts.  Before you respond, think of how you would explain these concepts to your parents.  It can be done.  I know it can.

See you next week, same time, same place where I will continue discussing architecture concepts.

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