The question was asked by IT decision makers gathered at the Little Deji, in May. I was chosen as the theme of the next session to be held on 15 October.
The fact that the question arises and be asked by computer makers already reveals a lot:
- First, the enterprise architecture discipline is interpreted as the national IT function;
- then, that its value does not appear immediately perceived by the rest of the business (probably a consequence of the first point);
- Finally, he would make an effort – communications, I guess – to legitimize the sale, to justify to the world.
First of all, it should be clarified what we mean. What is enterprise architecture? I’m sorry to return to this issue that we see flourish monthly forums and activated every time an avalanche of reactions. Nevertheless, we cannot answer the question before clarifying its central concept. To define such an object, we would first need to find the original inspiration, then the position in relation to other disciplines. Armed with the definition, we can repeat the question.
Enterprise Architecture in Theory
Personally, I tend to trust the language (more than men, and as the men did not have too damaged language). In the expression “business architecture”, I seem to recognize the “business”. If there is a discipline, its object must be the enterprise as a whole. Certainly the need is obvious to a discipline that is able to embrace all aspects of the company, all its aspects, to the articulate and circulate ideas between silos of expertise. What is at stake is nothing less than the ability to innovate and transform the company.
Then we have the word “architecture”. Of course, it appears here in a metaphorical use. The metaphor of architecture is not new: we convoke every time we want to highlight the control and conscious design of the structure. She course has always been in the middle of computing. It proliferates same: hardware architecture, software architecture, functional, application, software architecture … a compiler, etc. A cow would lose her calf and a priest’s Latin! (NB: there are many Greek in there)
Enterprise architecture is the discipline that takes the company as a whole, and develops consciously, conscientiously structure.
The architecture of a business is the result. Do not confuse available “enterprise architecture Account” with this result: the company itself, built, converted, regenerated, according to the structure that was designed and becomes his. The architect’s plans are not the building (the map is not the territory, this is not a pipe, the media are not the world, etc.). In any case, the expression analysis leads us to this conclusion: the enterprise architect is responsible … for now!
Enterprise Architecture in Practice
What about the reality? Wearing perfume of that beautiful as enterprise architect? What is his training? His position in the organization? His practice?
It is easy to answer these questions since a powerful war machine has been set up under the banner of Enterprise Architecture. I named: the Open Group and the TOGAF certification ( The Open Group Architecture Framework ). We are told that some 38,000 architects are certified TOGAF worldwide, without counting those who got their certificates from earlier versions, or those who, without being certified, are heavily exposed to the subject or there constantly refer. Even the French government are affected by the phenomenon; had known the most resistant to American methodological culture.
So the population of “enterprise architects” is easy to identify, as it does not lack features to speak: a network of associations in all countries, hundreds of forums in all languages.
Where are we located? Answer: without exception, in IT departments. Is this the best position to address all aspects of the business? Does the IT practice predisposes to the transformation and the opening of the company’s realities?
Grant that we may find a place in the organization and act elsewhere. Is this the case of the enterprise architect? Not sure. We can venture this observation: enterprise architecture, in practice, is the IT architecture across the enterprise. Yet is this the best. Most often, the “business” dimension is not. It is, to be convinced that to have a look on job offers. They identify IT skills and knowledge, or strictly technical, and ignore the other aspects of the business. They describe, generally, a function of technical experts rather than technical architect: mastering a technique, not the ability to assemble several techniques to design a technical system.
Why, then, do not just talk to computer architecture? The reasons are many and we will not consider them here (one should approach the history of words, the constant semantic shift, actors strategies, etc.). The term “Enterprise Architect” was simply replaced that of “IT architect”. Similarly, we hear no more of that “information system” and almost most of the “computer system”.
It is always easier to change the terms that the practices.
When it comes to professional designations is worse: in Vanity Fair, titles turn, snore and galvaudent at an accelerated rate.
These language manipulations would not be so serious if their effects were confined to the eternal and miserable calculations of interest and corporate struggles. But semantic erosion phenomenon endangers the language, such as representation and communication. Sometimes it threatens the future concepts. It’s quite the case with the enterprise architecture. Who still see, under this name, the concept described above? Certainly not the leaders. Indeed, attempting a quick survey: ask leaders what their evokes the term “enterprise architecture”. How many will imagine that this could be something other than computers? Which of them will say that it concerns? While, in fact, the original concept is a response to the emergency situation of enterprises and a powerful tool for processing.
Companies are demanding – urgently – a holistic approach, without which the transformation is not an empty word, an empty dream.
The leaders are the first applicants. Enterprise architecture, taken in the strong sense, precisely meets this need. How then naming it, now that the term “enterprise architecture” has been sacked?
We will continue to use this expression, hearing in his strong sense. The Enterprise Transformation Manifesto is based entirely on this concept and seeks to deploy its ambition and illustrate its potential in terms of decision-makers: transformation, values, politics, innovation, responsibility … He does not forget technology, the importance of the transformation can not be undervalued, but he joins other contributions necessary to develop a comprehensive vision.
In conclusion, I adopt this definition, due to Thierry Biard:
“The Enterprise Architecture to design, the art technology, the company in all its aspects. “
The term “aspect” has here a very strong sense. It refers to the representation framework proposed by Praxeme the Topology Enterprise System.
This Article is Written by Aashish Sharma is an Internet Research Analyst and an aspiring social media marketer. He possesses hands-on experience in optimizing and promoting websites on leading search engines and web media. His passion is to keep updated with what masters of the internet such as Google, Yahoo, Twitter, Facebook etc. are up to to innovate & deliver. At EntrepreneurYork, he aims to be a part of most active online community and most widely-read blogs on the web, covering the insights ofdisciplined entrepreneurship that will help in preparing the leaders of tomorrow.