4 years, 10 months ago

Towards a whole-enterprise architecture standard – 1: Introduction

Link: http://weblog.tetradian.com/2016/04/22/towards-a-whole-enterprise-architecture-standard-1-introduction/

For a viable enterprise ­architecture [EA], now and into the future, we need frameworks, methods and tools that can support the EA discipline’s needs.

What we need now are tools and techniques that can extend all the way out to a literal ‘the architecture of the enterprise’ – whatever that enterprise might be. The catch is that most of the existing frameworks don’t support those needs very well:

  • most enterprise-architecture frameworks are either context-specific – such as DoDAF (defence), TEAF (Treasury), FEAF (government) – or industry-specific – such as eTOM (telecoms) or SCOR (logistics)
  • most if not all of the mainstream ‘EA’ frameworks are centred primarily or exclusively around IT
  • many of the frameworks – such as DoDAF – consist of little more than a list of required artefacts, without any details as to how (or even why) those artefacts should be developed
  • most business-architecture frameworks tend to be either context-specific, or for commercial usages only – such as Business Model Canvas
  • TOGAF is almost the only framework with an explicit architecture-development method, but unfortunately it’s structured around an ‘inside-outward‘ view of the enterprise (organisation-centric rather than enterprise-oriented), and inherently drives us towards IT-centrism
  • almost none of these frameworks give any guidance on how to adapt the content to other contexts – TOGAF is one of the few that does, if in very limited form
  • some if not most of these frameworks are so outdated, or so hardwired against change, or have so many other structural faults, that we can only safely use them if we already know enough enterprise-architecture to not need the framework anyway – which kinda defeats the object of the exercise…

Which in practice means that if we need our architectures to link between industries, or work with any mix of commercial, government and not-for-profit, or develop architectures that centre on anything other than IT, we’re largely on our own.

Which is not exactly helpful…

In short, if we want an enterprise-architecture framework and standard that will actually serve our current and future needs, it looks very much like we need to start again from scratch – and this time, do it properly, from a true whole-of-enterprise perspective, fully fractal, able to work with any scope and at any scale:


Themes we’ll need to to consider would include:

  • we need a new core that fully understands enterprise-­architecture, not just beyond IT, but all the way out to the whole-enterprise, at any scope, any scale
  • we need a new architecture­-development method that can work with any architecture context, again at any scope and scale
  • we need a new set of content-­frameworks that can self­-extend to cover any required architecture-­context
  • we need new toolsets to support new context-adaptive EA practices
  • we need new EA training and education to support all of these new functions and requirements

That’s what we’ll explore in subsequent posts in this series.