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Sam Lowe's blog on Enterprise IT

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Open Group's EA London 2006

I was at the Open Group's Architecture Practitioners' Conference in central London last week. It was a good event, well organised by The Open Group and Architecting the Enterprise, with good facilities and well attended by mostly (as its title would suggested) EA practitioners. Rounding the sharp edge off the plenary sessions, Steve Redgrave closed the first day with a interesting talk on the complexities of the Olympics bid and organisation for 2012.

I'm pleased to say that unlike David Linthicum's and Todd Biske's recent observations from EAC in San Diego, there was a good amount of balanced attention to SOA as well as pure Enterprise Architecture. I would say that it did seem that most of the content was based firmly around either one or the other, but the organisers did a good job of mixing the agenda up to keep it balanced.

My slot was on how Enterprise Architects' roles need to evolve as SOA gains more traction in organisations. This wasn't to explore SOA as an architectural style, but rather to present how SOA had got many non-architects talking about architecture which is changing many non-EA methods and attitudes in Enterprise IT, and will have an important effect on the role and relationships that EAs should have within their organisations.

For example, the increase in the old need to get closer to individuals in the business units with change agendas, the need to accumulate more joint responsibility in project delivery and operations, and generally the imperative to have a hand in the ways that methods in other parts of IT are changing, rather than rising above it all. There is so much that needs involvement in fact that the need to develop ways to prioritise the use of architecture resources since good ones are so scarce is even more key. EA wouldn't want to spread itself too thinly after all.

I'm not sure of the organiser's plans for circulating the slides, but if anyone who was there wants a copy of the slides I presented, just drop me a mail using the address on my blogger profile page.

One of the other presentations on the first day that particularly caught my eye was David Robertson from IMD's presentation entitled EA: What to tell the Management Team. It drew from his work in the recent Harvard Business Press Book Enterprise Architecture as Strategy, and had some great material about engaging EA with the business and with projects, working towards making it pay for itself which was great to see. Recommended.

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  • Sam,

    Great thoughts, your presentation topic is intriguing.

    It's interesting about EA finally getting involved in so much it becomes critical path resource to manage. When business units, development teams, business/IT PMO, etc. all finally start embracing EA guidance the EA team is most likely not prepared to operate effectively in terms of resources, organizational structure, or mentoring the next crop of EAs to grow the team, etc. At least it’s a good problem to have. Building an efficient EA team/program is a goal similar to the compiler being able to compile itself :o)


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:48 am  

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