11. Don’t Raise the Drawbridge

James McGovern provides some excellent thought fodder for all enterprise architects as they sit on the beach these holidays (or otherwise) and contemplate the new year. I’d like to add another point to his list.

One very common issue I see across the industry is the gap between “business” and “IT”. The typical – almost ubiquitous- example is of a cultural gap between the “users” and the “geeks”.  In its extreme form this gap can break down into a dysfunctional relationship where productivity grinds to a halt. Too often the response of enterprise architects to this gap is to take a defensive position on the IT side of the fence moat.

Enterprise Architecture is supposed to be about engineering the people, processes and systems so they work together to achieve business outcomes. From this perspective, enterprise architects are in a unique position to bridge the gap between business and IT. In fact I would argue it is the core responsibility to act on this manner. Above all, enterprise architects need to first understand the business requirements and then use their unique blend of technical and business knowledge to help IT deliver the required outcomes.

Yes, the real world and realpolitik will always work against you, but the first step is to start with right attitude.

10 comments ↓

#1 Business Analyst on 01.12.09 at 5:52 pm

I could not agree with you more! Every enterprise architect and enterprise analyst must, first and foremost, have an understanding of the “Why?”

They need to understand the rational as to why their services are needed. From there – their goal is to apply their craft to fulfill the business need or solve the business problem.

– Adrian

#2 Barry Steele on 01.13.09 at 9:39 am

Hey Saul, You want high powered blue suits, focussed on career promotion and advancement to actually be interested in the workings of the organisation?

Lotsa luck with that!

BUT, you are 100% accurate solution architecture must incorporate the information, process and social context of the problem space. And “Why are we doing this, again?” is a great question.

And if you can get that suit to answer the question fully, you are a genius.

And I would sack most IT departments.

#3 Marc Caltabiano on 01.22.09 at 1:31 pm

Saul,

I have discussed something similar to this at http://lightbulbeffect.blogspot.com/2008/06/what-is-all-fuss-about-enterprise.html

The role of the Enterprise Architect, In short. The EA should linking
BUSINESS (financial and market goals),
TECHNOLOGY (products, vendors, and functionality) with
ORGANISATIONAL (people or process)

to drive an ongoing strategy or desired outcome.

Marc

#4 Saul on 01.22.09 at 3:58 pm

I couldn’t agree with you more, Marc. I’ll also point to the TOGAF definition:

“The primary reason for developing an enterprise architecture is to support the business by providing the fundamental technology and process structure for an IT strategy. This in turn makes IT a responsive asset for a successful modern business strategy.”

which nicely includes business, technology and organization.

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