How Enterprise Architecture Can Help with Integration and Other Problems

Loraine Lawson

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.

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Jul 11, 2010 12:59 PM Alan w Brown Alan w Brown  says:

Areas of Improvement for IT to Consider

.     Business case achievement:IT projects consistently achieve their state business cases

.     Responsiveness:IT demonstrates a commitment to responding to the needs of internal business partners

.     Business functionality:IT provides systems with the functionality required to advance business capabilities and strategy

.     Data and Knowledge management:IT provides IT systems that deliver accurate and timely information required to support key business decisions

.     Project delivery:IT projects consistently meet budget, scope and schedule goals

.     Strategy and planning:IT's strategy accurately reflects internal business partners strategic priorities

Areas where Chief Enterprise Architects need to Improve:

STRATEGIST:Shape the future

.     Challenge: "Where are we going?"

.     Outcome:Strategies are clear and enduring and furthermore, structures are aligned with both strategy and business model

.     Concern: Long-Term Strategic-Organizational Competencies

.     The CEA will answer the question "Where are we going?" and make sure those around them understand the direction as well.They envision and can create a future.They figure out where the organization needs to go to succeed, test ideas pragmatically against current resources - money, people, organizational capabilities - and work with others to figure out how to get from the present to the desired future.The objectives for CEA as strategists are about creating, defining and delivering principles of what can be.

EXECUTOR:Make things happen

.     Challenge:"How will we make sure we get where we are going?"

.     Outcomes:Operating model is flexible, visible and enable work to get done across the organization.

.     Concern: Near-Term Operational-Organizational Competencies

-     The CEA will learn to focus on the question "How will we make sure we get where we are going?" CEA's will understand how to assign accountability, how to know which key decisions to take charge of and which to delegate, and how to make sure teams work well together.They keep promises to multiple stakeholders.Executors make things happen and put the systems in place for others to do the same.CEA's will learn to revolve around disciplines to get the right things done and the technical expertise to get them done right.

TALENT MANAGER:Engage today's talent

.     Challenge:"Who goes with us on our business journey?"

.     Outcome:Leaders are equipped with tools, training and technologies to help them be successful Concern: Near-Term Operational-Individual Competencies

.     CEA's will learn to answer the question "Who goes with us on our journey?" CEA's will learn how to identify, build and engage talent to get results now.They identify what skills are required, draw talent to their organization, engage them, communicate extensively and ensure employees turn in their best efforts. Reply

Jul 11, 2010 12:59 PM Alan w Brown Alan w Brown  says:
They generate intense personal, professional and organizational loyalty.CEA's will learn to center around resolutions that help people develop themselves for the good of the organization.

HUMAN CAPITAL DEVELOPER:Build the next generation

.     Challenge:"Who stays and sustains the organization for the next generation?"

.     Outcome:Leaders are equipped with tools, training and technologies to help them be successful

.     Concern: Long-Term Strategic - Individual Competencies

.     CEA's as human capital developers will learn to answer the question "Who stays and sustains the organization for the next generation?" CEA's ensure the organization has the longer-term competencies required for future strategic success.Just as good parents invest in helping their children succeed, human capital developers help future leaders be successful.Human capital developers build a workforce plan focused on future talent, understand how to develop that talent and help employees see their future careers within the company.CEA's ensure their organization will outlive any single individual

Jul 15, 2010 6:30 PM Iain Hegarty Iain Hegarty  says:

Hopkins is saying nothing new. Business Architects have been saying this for years. It is just so depressing and frustrating that it has taken the (technical) Solution oriented,  Enterprise Architecture community so long to catch up. Rant over, I'll go back to bashing my already bloodied and scarred forehead agaisnt the brick wall ....


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