7 years, 1 month ago

Meeting Recap: Center for EA

On March 4 & 5 we conducted a meeting of our Center for Enterprise Architecture members hosted by MITRE in Washington DC.  We discussed a wide variety of items related to the EA profession including FEAPO.  Here are a few of my thoughts and summaries of the discussions:

Our center and masters program was built around the philosophy that EA is much more than IT Architecture and should be applied to the entire organization (with the input from many of you).  We have always believed that EA must move beyond its roots in IT.  Here are a few things that are hampering this evolution (in our opinion). We need to work together to collectively address these (an others) issues so that EA does evolve beyond IT to become true Enterprise-wide Architecture.  Here are some thoughts – this is far from a complete list – please send me other items/issues that I might have missed:

We all want EA to move beyond IT and it is slowly starting to make this move in a few organizations.  However, I see it still primarily being the domain of the IT organization in most organizations today.  Many of these IT organizations are staffed primarily/solely by IT people and some have failed to make the transition from an IT Architecture mindset/orientation to a true Enterprise (big E) Architectural practice.  There are many possible reasons for this failure but some of main reasons are a lack of business acumen and understanding, a lack of business related skill sets and a lack of understanding of business value and how EA contributes to this value.   The result is an EA organization that is viewed as an IT planning group that has little appreciation or understanding outside of IT.

Because of this lack of business focus from the EA group, some organizations are starting their own business architecture groups that are separate from the EA group.  In these cases, the EA group is really the IT Architecture group.  In my opinion, this takes us back to the 1980s in our thinking about business and IT – business and technology are more intertwined today than ever before and will be even more so in the future.  To separate business architecture from IT architecture is a step backwards in thinking in my opinion.  When I talk to organizations that have done this, they don’t argue my point but rather say that is was politically easier to take this route than to “blow up” the EA group and restructure it and staff it appropriately to be a true enterprise (Big E) architecture group.   If we in EA want to address this trend, we have to be proactive and evolve or risk being left behind – we don’t have another decade to figure this out as well – the rest of the organization is moving forward.

So what do we need to do?   I will address this question in my next post