The Best Enterprise Architecture: “Less is More”

Sunday, April 8, 2012 | comments

Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, father of “Less is More”, revolutionized architecture. His simple dictum that 'less is more' inspired building designs around the world. No wonder he received a loving Google doodle on 3/27, his 126 birthday.

Enterprise may need follow the same mantra: “Less is More”, Enterprise Architecture survey reveals that it is unlikely that only one enterprise architecture framework will provide a complete solution. Two-thirds of respondents have developed a hybrid framework, with 36% indicating that they use more than one framework.

1. Today’s EA Model:

The Zachman Framework for Enterprise Architectures—it’s taxonomy driven EA model, although self-described as a framework, more accurately defined as a taxonomy

The Open Group Architectural Framework (TOGAF)— - A detailed method and a set of supporting tools - for developing an enterprise architecture. Although called a framework, more accurately defined as a process

The Federal Enterprise Architecture—Can be viewed as either an implemented enterprise architecture or a proscriptive methodology for creating an enterprise architecture 

•The Gartner Methodology—Can be best described as an enterprise architectural best practice

The PEAF Trying to solve is the problem of beginning, starting to adopt EA in a sustainable and pragmatic way – taking that first step.including enterprise culture, was created to prevent EA initiatives failing 

59% vote for TOGAF, which makes it a favorite one, but not excellent one yet, since another 40% selected varies of other models, it may also well reflect today's EA Maturity: 80% of EA is at level three and below, though EA's maturity depend on many factors than model adopted.

2. EA’s Purposes & Goals

EA means enterprise architecture, and is the ‘architecture of the entire enterprise’. Enterprise architecture is concerned with the capabilities, processes, value chains, organizational structure, information, applications, and IT infrastructure of the entire enterprise.

EA’s main purpose is to blueprint the future state of enterprise, also make sure the enterprise as a whole is more agile (Make better, faster decision with right information) and elastic (scale up cost effectively) than the sum of parts.

What is the enterprise or  the huge multi-million EA market expecting from EA? There are many 'EA situations' depending on: What the organization wants to achieve; Where they are in the EA process cycle; What their focus is, etc

  • An effective business communication tool, to focus on the CHANGE
  • Business & IT Strategy & Iinvestment initiatives. EA is the environment that business strategy is formulated within, find ways of making parts of strategy a reality, such as business capabilities map, hence its role as a bridge between fomulation and implementation.
  •  OPEX management initiatives, such as process effectiveness and efficiency, complexity management.
  • Enterprise Orchestration: Part of the EAs job is to assemble and synthesize a set of methods that are tailored or adapted to the enterprise in which the activity is situated.
  • Business Governance: it’s an holistic approach that promise everything and that will deliver anything.

3. What is Best EA Model?

Most current EA "methods" are complementary, as such they cannot even be compared. You cannot really compare a process with a taxonomy with a metamodel. Many of them seem to revolve around the EA development process.

·        “Less is More”: An EA process must be simple, easy to understand, and easy to implement. The time spent implementing and maintaining the process should be a small fraction of the time spent on the EA itself

·        Best is Situational: The notion of a single 'best' EA method is incoherent.What is 'best' depends on the enterprise in question, for some enterprises one method will have more advantages and fewer disadvantages than another. For a different enterprise the ranking may be different.

·        Hybrid Model is the Best: The use of one method does not necessarily exclude others - a coherent set of methods is all that is required - and this may include some parts from any particular 'methodology' or framework while excluding others from the same methodology or framework.

No EA model is perfect yet, TOGAF as one of the most popular models so far has clear structure, and practical methodology, but it does not provide the simple first step to initiate EA. Excessive focus on processes, frameworks, and methodologies is detrimental to the goals of EA..

The challenge for modern EA is always: keep it simple, keep it cohesive, keep it agile & transformational.

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