Lately, I have been wondering in my dealings with clients, prospects and online forums if we have forgotten this most basic, but important goal of EA – adaptability – the ability to accommodate change quickly and easily. Complexity and the rate of change continue to increase, but the focus of many EA groups seems to be more focused on accommodating particular focus areas – major projects or business areas. While much of this is because we are in a more tactical arc of the pendulum swing right now due to the economy and resource constraints, it is important to maintain a focus on enabling change while we work on specific domains or initiatives at the sub-enterprise level.
There are two elements that are crucial to an organization creating and maintaining an adaptive environment – standards and governance. Standards provide a common place to start – whether they be infrastructure standards like standard vendors and products for hardware and middleware; or application standards like coding standards, common integration practices or reusable components; or data standards like common metadata, naming standards and authoritative sources. But in addition to defining these standards, effective governance must be in place to ensure that the standards are applied, especially in times such as these where there is immense pressure on project teams to deliver value and results as quickly as possible. It is actually times like these that demand EA and governance to be most effective – when there seems to be an organizational push to eliminate anything that might delay project delivery. This is when EA, IT and enterprise leadership must continue to place adaptability as a primary goal for planning, design and implementation.
I have some other ideas on this area as well, so see my other post this month for more.