It seems to me there's more discussion about enterprise architecture this year, and not just more discussion, but a more mature view, with more being published in the tech press that's written by actual, practicing EAs.
More specifically, EA seems to have moved from a self-defining phase to an evangelizing phase, where enterprise architects are now trying to explain what they do to outsiders. Take, for example, this recent eBizQ post by the chief architect of TM Forum, Adrian Grigoriu. It's a FAQ for EA, or, as Grigoriu explains it, "my answers to a few frequently asked questions that get wrong answers," including "What is EA" and "What is the purpose of EA?"
I like his answers, which are focused and brief, and there's always a need for this type of explanation. That said, in the long run, the acceptance or rejection of EA probably will depend less on how it's defined and more on what it's delivered, which is why I'd like to see more pieces along the lines of "The Quantum of Integration," written by enterprise architect Brian Hopkins and republished recently on CIO.com.
Hopkins suggests that the way you approach an integration problem can change depending on how you view the problem. A developer might focus on using services to build applications to solve integration at the application level, while a data person might focus on consolidating the data with master data management and a business person might look at why there are five systems involved in solving one business problem in the first place. Three different approaches to the same problem-integration.
But the revelation here isn't that different people see different solutions to the same problem. No, the revelation is that there is one person who should be able to evaluate the problem from all the viewpoints for your organization: The enterprise architect. Writes Hopkins:
This is the heart of Enterprise Architecture - the ability to look at things both holistically, and from various views to come up with an architecture that is complete. Not fixated on a single solution to a perceived technology problem, EA should solve business problems with business solutions where technology plays a role.
Since this is exactly the type of thinking that integration requires if we're to move past spaghetti code and temporarily solutions, it's a very good argument for EA.
Now if enterprise architects can just manage to stay out of their own way, as Microsoft enterprise architect Nick Malik recently pointed out, and not fall into that old IT trap of focusing only on technology.