What Enterprise Architecture is Today
Enterprise Architecture origins from the Information Systems world as a form of documentation. The initial idea was known as Enterprise Information Architecture and was presented by John Zachman as way to make a blueprint of the IT usage in an enterprise. He claimed when working with a blueprint then it would be easier to make some form of coherent decisions.
This particular approach developed from what was seen as the Zachman checklist (typically a jargon applied by theorists within the TOGAF-framework.
What Enterprise Architecture Should Become
The question then becomes what Enterprise Architecture should become. There is potential in working with integrated governance. This means that enterprise architecture needs to evolve from being an IT centric approach to articulate and initiate projects that create alignment between IT and the business.
The most widely used generic framework is TOGAF that is developed and maintained by the OpenGroup, and it is only recently in version nine of the TOGAF-framework that the element of organization was added. This is a clear indicator that slowly but surely the concept of Enterprise Architecture starts to address other parts of the enterprise than IT.
In other words Enterprise Architecture should emphasize more on integrated governance that ensures that the enterprise is able to execute the strategy that has been articulated. The execution process will have to entail components of the enterprise like corporate capital planning, workforce planning,, security planning, IT planning & governance, supply chain management and innovation management. During the process of developing Enterprise Architecture there will probably come new issues the organizational aspect while the change is taking place, and therefore will have to become an evolutionary process that develops over time. This particular topic will be dealt with in the next section, and since it is a focus on persons, then it is very likely that the community that practice Enterprise Architecture would have to adjust and change their idea.
When speaking of organizational aspect and then the next generation of Enterprise Architecture has to address managing of virtual enterprises as well as the concept of Enterprise 2.0 .
How Enterprise Architecture Becomes Holistic
To enable enterprise architecture to move away from the IT-centric to become a holistic approach to integrated governance, then the progress will deal with embed management, organization and strategic approach into the enterprise architecture frameworks.
My definition of framework is a method that leads to integrated governance. The progress towards integrated governance is dealt with through enabling a holistic understanding of how the enterprise adapts to the understanding of how the enterprise works. The understanding can only be achieved if the enterprise organizes its findings in an enterprise wide repository that is visible for all actors in the enterprise.
The holistic management approach needs to address something that is classically been associated with change management and it is in many ways dealing with feelings and attitudes on collaboration among the various factors in the enterprise.
Enterprise Architecture is performed through a community of Enterprise professionals (in major complex enterprises), consultants who are loosely mingle with many different clients and not to forget academics and students who study and develops on enterprise architecture, and it is essentially these people who have to change their mindsets to address Enterprise Architecture in new ways and thereby develop the concept of Enterprise Architecture. As it is with science and theory so it is with diffusion of science and technology so it is with the diffusion of Enterprise Architecture. It rarely comes in revolutions and therefore it most likely will become an evolutionary process where case studies needs to be done and communicated.
In conclusion it is a necessity to go from IT centric designs as the primary approach has to be dealt with since it doesn’t lead to a particular competitive advantage, and since most problems the enterprise faces are systemic and not particular within the field of IT. Enterprise Architecture as a concept is compatible with thinking in systems and sense making and therefore is it likely that the future of Enterprise Architecture will be working with sense making and enterprise wide problems in the corporate strategy.
The transformation process is a hugh process with many obstacles, and it is for sure it will take time to handle the problems of change since it is an entire community that changes its mindset. The way to make the community change its mindset is through the various educational programs and through changes the ideas within the networks for Enterprise Architecture.
The primary problem will be changing the culture and the mindset of the practitioners of Enterprise Architecture, but the challenge is not impossible to cope with.
Doucet, G. et al., 2009. Coherency Management: Architecting the Enterprise for Alignment, Agility and Assurance, International Enterprise Architecture Institute.
Mcafee, A., 2009. Enterprise 2.0: New Collaborative Tools for Your Organization’s Toughest Challenges, Harvard Business School Press.
Pasternack, B.A. & Viscio, A.J., 1998. The Centerless Corporation: Transforming Your Organization for Growth and Prosperity in the New Millennium, Simon & Schuster Ltd.