The purpose of this post is not to be exhaustive when it comes to list the widely discussed enterprise architecture (EA) success factors (like the need for C-level management support, or the necessity to remain consistent with an industry framework like TOGAF), nor is it to justify why architecture should be an essential asset1 of any organisation. Rather, it is to look at four important aspects that are essential to understand the nature of the capability that makes EA actionable, and to prepare for the challenges.
1. It should deliver services.
This is what people expect; they don’t really care how you get there, as long as you deliver the promised services.
2. It should be process centric.This is the only way to focus on the end purpose of an organisation.
3. It relies on reference.
A common language must be used to create reference material. Only organisation-wide reference material will allow the necessary integration for comparison and optimisation..
4. It is a learning exercise.
A learning exercise where the organisation as a whole is the learner. The pace of learning is slow; each new acquired capacity is a small step at an individual level, but a tremendous improvement at an organisation-wide level.
Organisations often consider enterprise architecture when in need for a lasting foundation that can be trusted to assess and support change decisions. At Leonardo Consulting, we don’t think that our work is to relay any definitions of EA to our clients – particularly as there are no definitive ones. The term ‘enterprise architecture’ could disappear and be replaced – I like ‘enterprise intelligence’, but that is not the point.
In short, enterprise architecture capability enables an organisation to assess and control its transformations in a robust manner, thanks to a reliable source of knowledge.
1 John A. Zachman article - You can’t “cost justify” Architecture - 2001
2 Roger Tregear’s article – bpm capability and credibility June 2013 - http://leonardo.com.au/newsletter.html