Enterprise software vendors would have us believe that enterprises are flocking to The Cloud, meaning they are subscribing to remotely hosted utility systems and services rather than licensing and hosting them on premise. The oft-claimed benefits are efficiency (only pay for what you use), simplicity (no more on-premise software) and agility (the software utility can be configured at any time to release new capabilities).
I had the opportunity to attend the First Australian Enterprise Architecture Conference, 19th and 20th November 2013, at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. The conference wrapped up with the traditional panel of luminaries. The session touched on some of the recurring themes and topics of the two days – enterprise architecture definitions, identity, what we are, what we do, what we don’t do, frameworks versus ontology, methods and pitfalls, value propositions and rationale.
As it happened, I got to ask the final question of the conference. The following is an improved, expanded and referenced version of the challenge I put to John Zachman and a number of EA practitioners and consultants.
Pallab Saha’s book on systemic perspectives for managing complexity with enterprise architecture is now officially published by IGI Global. I have written Chapter 13, ‘Enterprise Architecture’s Identity Crisis: New Approaches to Complexity for a Maturing Discipline’. The 18 month process was a reminder of the creation cycle times for this type of content. It seems that social media’s immediacy has done little to escalate the pace or compress the effort of producing a traditional academic work of 26 authors.
When I first started collecting thoughts and materials on what I began to understand as enterprise architecture’s ‘identity crisis’, I was reacting to my perception that IT-centric EA was increasingly facing a crisis of relevance. My experience of the unrealised promise of EA led me to think and discuss questions of theory, practice and purpose. ‘Identity crisis’ seemed an appropriate metaphor for the challenges facing enterprise architecture.
Over at Doug Newdick’s blog a discussion is running on the overuse of the word ‘alignment’ by enterprise architects. Chasing alignment, he says, simply ensures that what people are doing in the name of enterprise architecture does not undermine the higher level business objectives. While not violating business objectives is clearly non-negotiable, it should not be the main game for architects. If it is, the architecture will likely undershoot its potential by a significant distance.