Enterprise Architecture

Thoughts on developing a strategic plan for implementing EA programs, how to provide your teams with the technical skills needed to implement a service-oriented architecture, understanding what’s involved in creating a business architecture, and more.

Nov 202015

The role of enterprise architecture and the enterprise architect has steadily grown in scope and in importance over the last two decades. Although many EA teams operate as part of the IT department, others are taking a more active position as they help to inform and guide strategy planning, investment and transformation at the enterprise-level. We have reached a stage where EA, as a discipline, is well-established within many enterprises as a core capability. But increasingly the boundary of “enterprise” architecture is extending beyond organizational boundaries. The domain of the enterprise architect is changing, as more and more “enterprise” architecture components are sourced externally. Social and environmental architectures are as important to an enterprise architecture Read more

Jul 142015
The New Needs of Digital Business

Digital business requires change across a very wide range of areas. There is an increasing use of storage, vastly expanded networking requirements, and a rise in the virtualization of all equipment. Digital systems deployed on the network can be replicated, modeled, and situated anywhere, so we have seen virtual networks, virtual servers, virtual mobile solutions, and virtual workstations of all types. Virtualization creates a need for new management techniques that control, replicate, and abandon virtual components on an automatic basis and manage their various interactions. Information technology is moving outside the firm to the public cloud, either directly or connected through a hybrid cloud mechanism. All aspects of IT are becoming increasingly connected to all Read more

Dec 142014
EA to Reflect On and Upgrade Its Role

2015 is an anniversary year for Enterprise Architecture. It is 40 years since Richard Saul Wurman coined the phrase “Information Architecture” — in 1975. Information Architecture became Information Systems Architecture, and then Enterprise Architecture. I predict that enterprise architects will use this anniversary to reflect on the history of our discipline and its position within the organization structure. For a long time, EA was firmly part of the IT department. More recently the EA team has been found as a stand-alone unit, independent of IT or business. 40 years on, EA will increasingly establish its role as a key member of strategic decision making, capability evolution and organizational change management. To a certain extent, Enterprise Architects Read more

Dec 102014
"Enterprise" Architecture will Grow Up to become Enterprise Architecture

In the next three years, more enterprises will reposition their Enterprise Architecture practices to become architecture truly at the Enterprise level, going beyond using “Enterprise” as a mere prefix to what, in reality, has been an IT-centric architecture. There will be a critical mass of enterprises doing this — enough to make Enterprise Architecture understood as what it should have been in the first place. What are some of the changes we will see in Enterprise Architecture (EA) as this trend goes mainstream? More Business and IT collaboration in the activities of Enterprise Architecture More Enterprise Architects with skills that are enterprise-grade skills Enterprise Architecture that includes Business Architecture as the frame within which the Read more

Oct 302014

There are many theories about what Enterprise Architecture is, and there should be. But ultimately, it is not the theory that matters. The make-up of the people, the organizational structure and the circumstances of the enterprise drive what people end up doing, and what architecture looks and feels like. Prefixes are free: The “x” Architect EA practices within different enterprises look and feel very different. For example, one enterprise may have a Content Architect but not a Security Architect. A different enterprise may have a Payments Architect, reflecting a specific domain within that company. Just imagine if medical professionals were as free with prefixes and specialization tags as we have been in architecture! I get Read more

Aug 122014
Complementing Agile SDLC with Agile Architecture

The reality of today’s highly competitive and customer demand-centric market conditions have pushed software (solution) delivery organizations beyond the traditionally accepted limits of software development and delivery capabilities. There is no argument that Lean methodologies such as Lean Six Sigma and DevOps can help improve operational solution delivery capacities through: Streamlining of solution delivery process Improved software quality Automation of system operations Self-administration of system operations by development teams Agile methodologies, however, help augment such operational improvements with their own enablement of faster time to market (TTM) through transforming the Lean concept of “value-added activities” into “value-added product features.”  Agile software architecture must augment solution delivery organizations’ Agile software development lifecycle (SDLC) capability by creating Read more

Apr 082014

I’m excited about the Internet of Things (IoT), and I expect it to create incredible opportunities for companies in almost every industry. But I’m also concerned that the issues of security, data privacy, and our expectations of a right to privacy, in general — unless suitably addressed — could hinder the adoption of the IoT by consumers and businesses and possibly slow innovation. So, with all the hype of the IoT, I’m going to play devil’s advocate, because these issues tend to receive limited coverage when considering the impact of new technology developments on society. First of all, I am amazed at all the connected products and services that are starting to appear. These include, Read more

Feb 112014

  The architecture of many enterprises is designed to perpetuate existing capabilities by maintaining the status quo. In effect, the role of the architecture team is to systematically hone and improve capabilities by exploiting and making the best use of current skills, resources, and assets or developing new capabilities by adding to those skills, resources, and assets. Typically, changes are made through carefully planned incremental steps. Such architectures may serve the current business model well, but they risk the possibility that the business model becomes obsolete or that it is supplanted by the innovative business model of a competitor that has greater contemporary relevance. The distinction is very clear if we compare traditional high-street bookshops Read more

Dec 092013
Stealth Enterprise Architecture!

This year I’m predicting more stealth enterprise architecture! I’d like to say that I invented this phrase, but I’ve found at least two previous uses: one in a comment by Peter Parslow in 2010; the other from Alec Blair, the head of Enterprise Architecture for Alberta Health Services, who described the journey of how his team has used stealth Enterprise Architecture to move AHS to operate more consistently like one organization. Now, Enterprise Architects have always had to play the political game and use stealth to sell their EA visions. Tricking decision makers into taking small steps that in combination cause longer-term transformation has long been part of the art of EA. At an Enterprise Read more

Nov 192013

The information and communications technology (ICT) world is constantly evolving in complexity. As computational technology advances, it allows for the building of more capable systems, architectures, and solutions. We’ve added so much agility to the behavior of systems that many now consider them as complex adaptive systems, suspected of developing their own intelligence. I would rather call it “stochastically featured” because — due to their omnipotent presence, internal complexity, and strength of interrelationship — we are not able to predict their deterministic behaviors in definitive ways. I have seen a certain pattern in the science world in which a decomposition path is utilized to understand the “pieces” but — as Albert-László Barabási described in his Read more