News & Events

EAdirections Tenth Anniversary Observations

On October 26, 2006 on a stage at the Enterprise Architectures Conference at the Hotel del Coronado, the formation of a unique EA mentoring company called EAdirections was announced.  The founders, Larry DeBoever, George Paras and Tim Westbrock wanted to bring their experience from The META Group as Enterprise Architecture analysts and provide a more client-focused interactive service to those in need of improving their effectiveness with EA, strategic planning, portfolio management, governance and other related disciplines.  Sadly, the world lost Larry last year to a battle with cancer, but his encouragement, brilliance and charisma remain a part of who we are.

Ten years later, after working with dozens of companies, we have seen a lot of good and some not so good developments related to Enterprise Architecture.  In recognition of those 10 years, those dozens of companies, and continued success, we would like to share them with you.

Enterprise Architecture, in General

  • When we started, many times we helped companies build the case for the EXISTENCE of EA teams.  Now, it is uncommon to run across a medium to large company without an EA team.   Our most common interactions involve helping companies improve their effectiveness; build a case for doing more strategic work, and increasing their coverage beyond traditional IT domains.
  • True-EA, which we define as having business domains (activity and information) owned and led by business professionals and IT domains (data, application and infrastructure) continues to be overshadowed by the more IT-centric view of Enterprise Architecture.
  • Business architecture is up, information architecture (data arch) still down, technology architecture stable, and application architecture is many things – part info, part integration, part development patterns, part inventory/portfolio.
  • Technology continues to change at a rapid pace, but has little impact on the APPROACH to EA (maybe more pressure for smaller planning cycle) only the CONTENT of EA.
  • The conflict between project and enterprise views remain as strong as ever.
  • More corporate executives are challenged by large-scale transformation and are realizing that EA, or something like EA, is necessary for success.

Business Architecture

  • Recognition of the value of business architecture, specifically with regard to capability maps, has increased dramatically.  But – recognition that it is an integral part of Enterprise Architecture has been lost in the hype.  Instead, business architecture proponents are marketing it as an entirely new and distinct “next big thing”.
  • Despite increasing awareness of business architecture, most EA groups are reactive and primarily supporting project delivery/technology as IT Architects.
  • Business architecture skills and understanding by the business community is slow to develop.  It is still mainly influenced by IT-resident proponents attempting to engage and educate their business counterparts.

Information & Data Architecture

  • Information and data architecture are mostly thought of as the same thing in many companies.  Information/Data management initiatives are gaining more business support and ownership, but focus tends to be on building better data warehouses and databases, than on actually architecting the overall information ecosystem as a guide for how to manage the information assets of the company.
  • Big data and analytics are increasing visibility for information and data architecture, yet most organizations are fragmented and building their approaches not from a coherent business/information architecture perspective but instead using tools to assemble solutions from the bottom up.

Technology Architecture

  • Technology, or infrastructure, architecture seems to have stabilized for most companies.  Fewer dedicated resources are allocated to the development and documentation of infrastructure architecture, as it tends to be entrusted to engineers, who have grasped the concepts of standardization and reuse more than any other domain SME’s.

Application Architecture/Portfolio

  • Application portfolio rationalization is still often viewed as an EA responsibility.  Absent business architecture perspectives, it will continue to yield only low-hanging fruit.

Security and Risk Management

  • Security and risk management are moving closer to the inner circle of EA concerns.  Alignment between the EA and security communities is still not strategic in nature and is mainly at the technology level.

EA Tools

  • The EA Tools market has vastly improved; with more useful tools and more consumers.  However, the EA Tools market is still muddy, lumping together tools capable of address true “Enterprise” architecture with those that are designed to model at the project architecture level.  There are many more public domain and low/mid-range offerings available.
  • The EA Tools vendor community has become increasingly focused on improving user experience to shorten the learning curves for their tools and on providing integration between strategy, EA and portfolio/project management offerings.  Tools are increasingly available through a SAAS model, making it easier for companies to acquire and use the tools.
  • EA documentation is increasingly migrating into in-house document repositories.  Organization of that material and ease of use by external parties is the number one challenge.

EA Team Structure, Competencies and Skills

  • The demand for the role of enterprise architect continues to be high, yet it continues to be difficult to locate and hire individuals with the experience, core soft skills and business savvy to fill those positions.
  • 9 out of 10 jobs labeled and advertised as enterprise architecture are not true EA roles, but are for lower level solutions architects.  Hiring managers are confused about the role or are not sure what they need. Consistent with that observation, 9 out of 10 resumes received for enterprise architecture postings are submitted by solutions or technical architects.
  • Increasingly, maturing EA teams are incorporating business architecture concepts and are beginning to make the connection to the portfolio planning process.  The most savvy are using business architecture to reinvigorate stalled or nascent EA practices.
  • While rising practitioners are seeking certifications and training in the profession, growth in relevant soft-skills and business acumen continues to trail.
  • The structure and makeup of an ideal EA team continues to be a question from chief architects.  The work asked of an EA team by management, even if not for true EA, is the main factor in staffing decisions.  No single model has emerged as dominant.
  • Even when formerly given the role of enterprise architecture, most teams are challenged to find the necessary cycles to fulfill the strategic elements of the role.
  • Enterprise architecture teams are increasingly aware of the need for virtual EA team membership with external SME participation.  Few are able to motivate external parties to actively participate.

EA Integration

  • There is stronger understanding of the need for integration between strategy, EA and portfolio.  And while there is not appreciably better execution on this front, there is more effort to do so.
  • Roadmaps are broadly viewed primarily as an EA deliverable, even though they are the product of collaboration with a planning team.  These roadmaps are often built incrementally from work at hand vs. a longer-term future state-based perspective.  Roadmap development is an opportunity for EA teams to “connect the dots” between strategy, business architecture, IT architecture and the portfolio planning perspectives.
  • Governance processes and mechanisms are still mainly focused on compliance, with a disproportionate amount of resources consumed by design review and oversight, reviewing and creating new standards on the fly.
  • Agile development approaches are slowly beginning to become aware that IT Architecture standards have some value and accelerate their work.

EA Frameworks

  • Frameworks don’t make any more/less impact than they used to; even though the content and quality of the frameworks themselves seems to have improved.
  • TOGAF has emerged as the most often recognized framework and certification for IT architects.  IASA is in the game, with a focus on training and profession for IT architects.  Others are mentioned less often.

Thanks to all our Clients, Colleagues, Partners and Friends!

EAdirections is looking forward to many more years of helping companies improve their effectiveness, the industry becoming less confusing, and the available resources proving to be more helpful.

Tim Westbrock to present Value of EA at AEA Ohio Chapter Meeting August 20

I will be joining the Ohio Chapter of the Association of Enterprise Architects at their meeting on the Ohio State University campus August 20th from 6-8 PM.  I will be exploring the topic of “The Value of EA” from 2 dimensions.  The first dimension is the value that comes from the Enterprise perspective vs. the Architecting function.  The second dimension comes from the different value propositions from each of the domain areas of business, information/data, application and technology.

If you are interested in joining AEA or more information on this event, please visit this link:

Ohio Chapter AEA Meeting

Looking forward to seeing some familiar and new faces.

Enterprise Architecture and Strategy – Calgary EA Forum October 22, 2013

I once again have the pleasure of speaking with the friendly and enthusiastic EA community in Calgary, this time on the relationship between Strategy and Enterprise Architecture.  With EA gaining traction within the business community there is a whole new audience seeking to understand that relationship.  EA practitioners are being called upon to  explain, and demonstrate, how it all works.  Learn more and register, then join me for this session the evening of October 22, 2013 where I will present our perspectives and answer your questions.

Session Abstract:

This “EA and Strategy” session focuses on the “top” part of the “top-down” approach, examining the relationships between strategy and EA.  It will focus on the concept of strategy-driven EA and the production of enterprise architecture content that will help an organization realize its strategy.

Discussion will include an introduction to techniques designed to transition from strategy to architecture and will include a look at business models and operating models, capabilities, and the concepts of portfolios, current state and future state. In this session we will:

  • Understand the differences and similarities between Strategy and Enterprise Architecture
  • Describe the elements of the EA process and deliverables that link Strategy to EA, including business and operating models, other anchor models, environmental trends, capabilities lists, current state and future state models
  • Be able to identify the stakeholders, core participants and engagement methods involved with Strategy/EA activities for both IT-EA (IT- oriented EA) and True-EA (with active business engagement and/or ownership)
  • Understand soft-skill factors when operating in the Strategy/EA space

Tim Westbrock to speak at Building Business Capability Conference November 13, 2013

I am very excited about my next speaking opportunity.  I will be speaking at the Building Business Capability conference in Las Vegas, November 13, 2013.  The event runs from November 11-15 at the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.  The event has five tracks, including a track on Business Architecture, which is the track in which I am speaking.  The abstract for my presentation is below.

If you are interested in registering for the event, you can use my speaker code BBCLV13SPK for a discount.

Unlocking the Silos: The Power of Business Capabilities

For decades, the discipline of Enterprise Architecture has been practiced primarily within the Information Technology organization, under the direction of and staffed by IT professionals.  Changing competitive landscapes, large-scale transformations, and new business models are accelerating change in every element of the enterprise, not just IT.  Change requires that leadership understand the broad impact of that change on the enterprise’s moving parts, something that only true “enterprise” architecture (True-EA) provides. However, one of the challenges that has always existed is how to understand the impact of change across the silos of an enterprise.  Process and functional models tend to mimic existing silos within a company.  Business capabilities are a mechanism that cuts across pre-existing boundaries and expresses the organization in a way that allows change to be examined differently.
 Join Tim Westbrock of EAdirections, experienced mentor to IT and Business leaders, as he discusses and takes your questions on EA challenges and offers his perspective on how EA leaders can unlock the silos of the enterprise though the use of business capability modeling and analysis.   Some of the topics he will discuss include:

  • The evolution of EA perspectives from Traditional to Transitional to Transformative
  • What are business capabilities?
  • How do you get started with business capabilities?
  • How are organizations using business capabilities for planning and decision-making?

George Paras and Tim Westbrock featured guests on A&G Webinar Nov. 16

Join George and Tim for a webinar on November 16, hosted by A&G Magazine.  We’ll also be joined by special guest Dave Baker, a longtime friend and industry colleague from PwC.

We’ll review the findings from the A&G 2011 Year-End Survey, discuss trends we see shaping the role of enterprise architect going in to 2012, and answer listener questions.

Tim Westbrock to Speak at IT Leadership Forum, Dec. 13, in Atlanta

Join Tim at the IT Leadership Forum, Dec. 13, in Atlanta, sponsored by alfabet.

Tim will be presenting “Expanding Enterprise Architecture into the Business.”

The ultimate promise of Enterprise Architecture has always been the alignment of business and IT strategies, activities, assets and direction.  In order for EA to bridge the gap between the desired business future state and the work that must be done to achieve that future state, EA must evolve to include a business architecture sponsored by business leadership and developed by business professionals.

Tim will facilitate a discussion on the many facets of business-enabled EA, while also adding their experiences relating to the challenges of approaching the business, how EA and ITA work together, the goals, organization and outputs of a business enabled EA approach and how to get started.

This is an invitation-only event, so if you are going to be in the Atlanta area Dec. 13th, click here to get more information on the event and how to register your interest in attending.

Hope to see you!

Thanks to Troux for a Great Event

George and I participated in the inaugural Troux Worldwide Conference two weeks ago in Austin, TX.  We felt that it was a wonderful collection of interesting speakers, spirited debate, and professionalism among peers.  While many events sponsored by a vendor can be dominated with tool demonstrations and sales presentations, Troux’s program was full of thought-provoking presentations from user case studies, to industry experts, to executive supporters.

Thanks to David Hood, Bertrand Hazard and the rest of Troux’s sales, events, and marketing staff for a truly professional, first class, worthwhile and downright fun event.  Looking forward to the next one!

IASA Chicago Chapter Inaugural Event April 7- George Paras Featured Speaker

Thursday evening, April 7, marks the inaugural event for the new IASA Chicago Chapter.  The meeting will be from 6:00pm-7:30pm at Illinois Technology Association (ITA), 200 S. Wacker, 15th Floor, Chicago.  The new chapter provides a networking and educational forum for IT and Enterprise Architects from across the Chicago area.  I will be leading a session on “Changing Architects’ Conversations”, sharing tips and techniques on how architects can create and take advantage of opportunities to engage enterprise leadership in strategic conversations.

In addition to speaking at the event, I am honored to have been asked to serve on the Advisory Board for this new chapter.  Please invite your architecture colleagues to come and join us!

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