Call to Action – Help the Online Forums Get EA Right!

Anyone else a little frustrated with the techno-oriented positioning of many of the questions and postings on EA forums?  I understand that most of us are Information Technology (IT) professionals, so it is a good source of professionals with information and experience on technology topics.  However, as we have noted many times, it is this positioning reinforcement that continues to confuse many who are new to the practice about the intended nature of EA.

While there has been some lively debate over the last year or so about the true nature and placement of Enterprise Business Architecture, there has been some relatively consistent positioning of EA over the last decade as a strategic planning discipline.  EA is positioned as a discipline (both the process, people and resulting artifacts) intended to define a long-term, business driven future state to help decision makers rationalize short term needs with long-term direction.

Please join us in trying to be consistent in the positioning of EA.

3 thoughts on “Call to Action – Help the Online Forums Get EA Right!”

  1. As a new EA, I may be stepping in over my head here, but it does seem to me that Zachman is working very hard to make his latest model IT-agnostic, and in fact domain aganostic (in the sense that it is no more tied to business, IT or management).

    Does anyone out there know enough about business architecture and/or business ecology to articulate how a BA/BE would see EA?

    • Although I agree that John Zachman is making the framework more applicable, I am not sure of the relevance to this blog entry.

      In any case, though, I have blogged and spoken at a number of events this year on the positioning of EA vs ITA. From my standpoint, the big difference between what we define EA as, and what we practice (ITA) is the absence of business-owned Enterprise Business Architecture (EBA) and Enterprise Information Architecture (EIA). Most BAs I run into are still IT professionals (whether the ‘A’ stands for architect or analyst), which means they are still lacking the essential perspective for what they are doing to be “business” architecture. Are they doing good, valuable or even essential work? Yes, but that does not make it the missing link between EA and ITA. To me, it boils down to answering one question: “Are you architecting the enterprise as a whole or are you architecting the IT environment (systems, data, and apps) of the enterprise as a whole?”

      Business process modeling does not equal EBA either. It is generally an activity that is done for a project, in support of design and/or requirements analysis. And with the help of both IT and business process owners, significant change in the business operations is achievable, but I am skeptical of these activities being driven from enterprise business strategy.

      As for business ecology, I do not run into that in the main stream very often, so I have no idea how business ecologists view EA.

  2. In acedemia, Computer Science, a field of study, is a descipline like Civil Engineering or Electrical Engineering. EA is not considered a discipline within maninstream acedemia or the research groups such as Gartner and Forrester. They will tell you that IT is the descipline and EA is a subset.

    The commercial research groups use EA to prop up the legitimacy of IT and have the nerve to imply EA should provide value to IT – sorry guys, EA provides value to the client. Without EA, IT becomes another commody and people are less likely to pay for advise on commodies. A lot of what people know about EA comes from the research groups – that is partially why the Linkedin discussion is not in-line with your thinking.

    In summary, your call to action on linkedin is not addressing the root casuse but the symptoms. You are encouraged to raise the bar on the call to action – perhaps write a controversial blog entry – Why Gartner and Forreter are destroying EA;-)

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