EAM: What's in an Enterprise Software Category Name?

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I recently ran across this press release titled "Alfabet Tops Competitors in Comprehensive Study of Enterprise Architecture (Management) Products." It's the product category "Enterprise Architecture Management (EAM)" that caught my eye, not the company name.

Two things hit me: First, although I've done IT research for almost 40 years, including almost 10 as co-author of the IDC Software Taxonomy (kind of the bible of market categorization, if I do say so myself), the use of the term "enterprise architecture" in the context of the press release threw me. Of course, I could guess at its meaning; service-oriented architecture (SOA) is a kind of enterprise architecture. But it's a category where the words are too broad to mean much from a market research point of view.

Then I found a goodly Google body of content on the subject in the context of the U.S. federales, and I totally understood. When I started in this industry, everyone called what we all did electronic data processing (EDP) except the Feds, who called it automatic data processing (ADP). I think the term ADP is enshrined in U.S. law. I must admit I am a little leery of EAM because it appears to be heavily promoted by the United States Office of Management and Budget (of "multi-trillion-dollar national debt" fame). So enterprise architecture just means framework.

So the next question is: Who's in the category? The real thing that threw me about the press release was the companies that were included. Given the breadth of the term enterprise architecture, I assumed this was some kind of comparison of IBM vs. HP vs. the rest of the IT market leaders and their approach to frameworks. But the companies studied were Adaptive, alfabet, Business Object Solutions (not the company just acquired by SAP), Embarcadero Technologies, IDS Scheer, Mega International, Metastorm, Telelogic and Troux Technologies. They didn't seem to go together in my view of the world. It's a mix of

  • business process management modelers and suites (but why not all the other companies that compete head to head with Meta and Mega?)
  • some IT lifecycle management guys (but why not all the guys that compete with Adaptive and IBM/Telelogic -- including the other related parts of IBM?)
  • at least one tools guy (including the one that just bought Borland's tool lineup)
  • a few products that look like Project (but why not Project?)

At least one of the companies, Troux, specifically says it does EAM.


I love a mystery, so to answer many of these questions I am going to suggest to IT Business Edge that I do a feature article or two on EAM. Or at least on EA. I am guessing that unless I narrow the definition down from the Wikipedia entry, it might take 20 articles. Anyone else have an opinion on this category? Are you spending a lot of time working on this in your shop?