How Enterprise Architecture Can Support the Business

Loraine Lawson

Daniel Lawrence Spar is a technology strategist with Deloitte Consulting LLP, USA, who spoke this month on architecting the cloud at the Open Group's Conference in London. He explained to IT Business Edge's Loraine Lawson what enterprise architecture (EA) can do for the business. Spar is also the co-author of federal standards for data modeling and process modeling and a Ph.D. who has taught classes in enterprise architecture, information systems and finance. Next week, he discusses architecting the cloud.


"So what EA needs to be in order to be able to support the business and to build its value proposition is ... something that has been formalized and approached through artifacts that are rigorous and approached as a science rather than as an art."

Daniel Lawrence Spar
Technology Strategist
Deloitte Consulting LLP

Lawson: I may play devil's advocate here. The enterprise architect concept seems to be primarily in IT. Do you know if it evolved out of IT?

Spar: EA, when approached properly, is multidisciplinary and when done right it brings together the concepts of business strategy in its operating models, technology architecture and implementation detail.


What happens very often is EA is brought in by the IT department, so it's going to be biased more towards IT because of who brought it in and what the business driver is for the reason that they were brought in. For example, if there's a merger and acquisition in place and you need to bring together systems from multiple acquired companies, that might be an imperative IT driver.


What I'd love to see more of are businesses recognizing that this multi-disciplinary approach can help them on the business strategy side and see more drivers such as we want to improve our business operating model in the future, but we want to leverage the best strategic way to do that.


What you said at the beginning is true, EA was born out of IT and largely is still driven by an IT project driver set.


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Jun 6, 2011 10:52 AM Sharon C. Evans Sharon C. Evans  says:

While in utopia the EA position would be multidisciplinary, the business site of companies have long sought strategy from their own side or the top of their company.  IT has a long history of failure in the business' eyes, and so now for them to accept enterprise architecture as the chosen strategic approach, might be a long stretch.  IT has been the driver of this emerging practice, and it was IT's responsibility to find a way of better planning and stepping up to really see and respect business' needs. 

EA will succeed when it is accepted by both IT and the business, and multiple disciplines participate in the planning and governance of the business.

Sharon C. Evans

Author of Zoom Factor for the Enterprise Architect:  How to Focus and Accelerate Your Career


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