On his excellent blog, Nick Malik asks if we need a canonical definition of enterprise architecture? Nick opens with a definition from the EARF, continues with the compromise definition from the 160-character LinkedIn discussion, shares his own and asks for input.
Certainly, a canonical definition of enterprise architecture would be valuable. But, what exactly should it convey? And how would it vary from traditional definitions? What follows is the comment I submitted.
So, I participated in that LinkedIn thread as well. I shared a prior tweet of mine, “The ultimate outcome of Enterprise Architecture is change-friendly capability delivery”.
Interestingly, most replies in that thread interpreted “purpose” as describing the function, rather than the outcome. I find this problematic.
I think the number one question Enterprise Architects and Enterprise Architecture Practices need to answer is “What do we contribute to the business”. What is the ultimate outcome of Enterprise Architecture? And therefore, what would be missing (or more difficult) without Enterprise Architecture.
For me, it’s getting to “change-friendly”. If I’m reading correctly, your definition and the EARF contain a similar theme. So, it seems purpose-wise, we coalesce on enabling change.
Additionally, I agree with the EARF purpose of reducing complexity, and as Aleks Buterman often calls out, EA plays a large role in technology investment management.
So, I propose we think of EA as a business and work backwards from the desired outcomes — ease of change, reduction of complexity, and better technology investment return.
To achieve those outcomes, what capabilities, policies, people and tools are required. And then, how would we describe (classify) that?
Would it be a rev of Enterprise Architecture? Something else? I know it’s not the Linkedin Group output.
Your comrade in the EA revolution,
So, assuming my approach on thinking of EA as a business is a good starting point, what do you believe is the ultimate outcome of enterprise architecture? Is it ease of change, reduction of complexity, and better technology investment return? More? Less? Different?
And, (bonus question) if your enterprise architecture practice didn’t exist, what (if anything) would be more difficult?