04 May 2010

EA to facilitate change

This Enterprise Architecture Gartner report states:
"Decisions may be heavily influenced by a business context and the organisation’s business landscape, people and politics, future state vision and experience. Regardless of the approach, EA must facilitate change. The key is to create, not the perfect or elegant architecture for the moment, but the most adaptable architecture for the future"
Which in my opinion is a great goal for EA - to facilitate change, to be adaptable and not to get into a vicious circle of defining an architecture down to the nth degree. This links back to a question of when do you know you've done enough? I don't think the answer lies in the question of when is enough enough, but rather in being more aware of how the products from EA are being used and adapting the EA work to assist the business in planning change. I have often seen great initial deliverables that have helped the business down a journey. But these first successes are followed by a split where the EA team goes off based on that outcome to try and create the elegant architecture and the business trots off in another direction to work on the organisational change management and when this happens EA loses its relevance.

I do wonder if some of this is due to short sighted EA consultancies looking to stay engaged with the ICT-side of the house, because in most organisations this is the organisation that has bought off on at least exploring the EA path. This easier path to a longer engagement results in spending time creating products that may not be relevant at the end of the day. As 10cc wrote:

"Art for arts sake, Money for gods sake
Money talks so listen to it, Money talks to me
Anyone can understand it, Money can’t be beat oh no
When you get down, down to the root
Don’t give a damn don’t give a hoot
Still gotta keep makin the loot"
This type of thinking may end up with people losing patience with EA efforts and considering them irrelevant. EA really needs to bridge ICT with other business support organisations and business operations to show relevance to all. By being engaged with all aspects of the business, in other words 'the enterprise', and being flexible in your EA approach based upon where the business is exploring change, EA will show value by being able to facilitate that business change.

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