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Sam Lowe's blog on Enterprise IT

Sunday, May 07, 2006

EA 2.0 vs EA 1.0

Brenda Michelson and James McGovern have recently blogged some thoughts as to what the next generation of Enterprise Architecture may hold. It's an interesting topic and one that I have also been working on recently with some of my colleagues, so here are a few of my thoughts as to what I believe 'good' should look like in the short to medium term.

Bad Old EA of the PastNext Generation EA
Cost CentreSelf-Funding
‘One Best Way’ to do EAConfigurable, based on Desired Outcomes
ReactiveProactive
Techies in ‘Ivory Tower’Balanced Views to Release Benefits
Service-Provider Mindset (requirements-based)Business-Change Mindset (collaborative engagement)
Defining & Evangelising the concept of SOARealising SOA (Business as Usual)
Mandating (or trying to!) the SolutionsLeveraging the Asset Base & Adapting


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6 Comments:

  • Great posting. Would love to see your thoughts on EA-oriented tools...

    By Blogger James McGovern, at 11:34 am  

  • I am puzzled by the one nation of making EA, no matter what version, or "light" or whatever, a self-funding activity.

    By Blogger Patrick Mulligan, at 9:22 pm  

  • Why does it puzzle you Patrick?

    Clearly it isn't straightforward to quantify the value contributed by an EA initiative, is that it? Or do you not feel it should or can be self funding?

    By Blogger Sam Lowe, at 1:14 am  

  • I guess the first thing is to clarity the definition of self funding.

    Self funding can have several meaning such as employers "self funding" their insurance coverage, or the Hoover Dam project being self funding by sell power, or a new division within a company to chase markets.

    When you have it move from a cost center to "self funding", that to me means it is now a profit center, more like the Hoover Dam. So that means it would also carry its own “profit and loss” books.

    EA can be very effective in minimizing the bottom line, and maximizing the top line, and reducing the risks to revenue flow. This can be compounded when the EA practice is feeding a PPM program. An EA practice is paramount to a organization running well, just as it it paramount to have a good finance and legal staff.

    As you state, it isn't straightforward to quantify the value contributed by an EA initiative. That statement stands on its own. I help customers try to do this every day. This is the number one stumbling block that I see in the field, which keeps organizations from developing an EA practice

    “Or do you not feel it should or can be self funding?” In this context, I would like to see how an EA program can move from a cost to a profit center. In my mind, that is like saying the ISO Certification or Six Sigma teams will become profit centers. I await the industry examples.

    The list of “EA 2.0” attributes is a nice capture of what an EA program should really already be doing. Well run EA programs have been acting this way for years. Like when “SOA” was born, it was not new, but a formalization of an architectural pattern or style. To me, just as with SOA, EA 2.0 is not new, but again, a formalization of the attributes of a well run EA practice.

    I try to help my customers minimize the TCO of their EA programs, therefore maximizing the value of the practice itself. However, if we can get EA self funding, I am all ears.

    By Blogger Patrick Mulligan, at 2:58 pm  

  • Patrick, thanks for clarifying.

    Based on the way you've positioned things then I don't think you will find we're too far away from you.

    This post (almost 4 years ago!) was mischievous, it was meant to deliberately point out some of the common flaws of EA initiatives I see in organisations I work with, by setting them against something of a so-called next generation. When as you say, any good EA initiative has always had their minds on these kinds of things.

    The self-funding point was very much from this perspective. I believe that far too many EA initiatives, once put in place, run as purveyors of strategy and best practice, somehow above any need to financially justify their existence.

    So I'm not advocating turning them into a profit centre. But rather an approach which has tangible outcomes and value at its heart rather than strategy conception and execution. A couple of examples:

    -that they explicitly track how interventions they have made or direction they have given have had a positive tangible effect downstream in delivery, transformation or operations

    -and that they focus on the best outcomes for the organisation rather than the 'best' way for things to be done. they may need to learn the discipline of value cases to frame these decision to those who need to make them

    Clearly there are other factors as well, but those two things alone allow an EA initiative to justify how it delivers more value than it costs. They can represent themselves as self funding even though they are still technically a cost centre.

    Failing to do these kinds of things IMO means that eventually (probably when the executive sponsorship changes) the initiative will be re-examined, questioned and maybe even dismantled.

    By Blogger Sam Lowe, at 1:19 pm  

  • Agreed on all accounts.

    Especially the last one!!!!!!!

    Thanks!

    P.S. This topic has resurfaced recently, which is how I found this thread. I was suprised to see an EA tooling vendor touting it recently.

    By Blogger Patrick Mulligan, at 3:46 pm  

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