EA: The Holy Grail or The Holy Handgrenade???

It is a topic that comes up on occasion with my clients but really what is Enterprise Architecture and why should IT Leaders even care about it?

In an age where the very survival of companies and organizations is entirely based on how they interact with technology IMHO every organization should be looking at EA as a foundation for the business they do.  At its best it will be the framework that aligns the technology with the business and the business with its customers, at its worst it is a money pit of increasing confusion and layers of bureaucratic shuffling.

I am lucky enough to work for a company that has built a foundation of content, research and support that looks at the world of IT without the rose colored glasses of everything is perfect and this content has organically grown into what I believe is a valid alternative to using one of the core EA Frameworks or hiring expensive EA Consultants.  The web that has been woven for our clients is the perfect blend of IT Strategy, Tactical Insight and direct Implementation Guidance!

Image pulled from the Wikipedia Entry on EA

I remember reading about a conference that one of our competitors supplied an analyst to who was speaking to a room full of Enterprise Architects and out of their mouth comes the statement “A fool with a tool, is still a fool” when referencing the use of both one of the organized Frameworks (like TOGAF, PEAF etc) and the supporting software packages to support this.  I am not sure about you but if I was to pay several Thousand Dollars to attend a conference on top of paying the outrageous subscription fees to a top tier research firm…would I be happy to hear that my existence is merely a passing fad and that the hard work I do…is in line with the court jester of medieval times????

A single blog entry is not enough to look at the moving parts that is an Enterprise Architecture Plan is impossible but in its simplest format I think there is an image that sums up what any IT Leader should use as the building block for an Enterprise Portfolio Plan:

It is vital to remember that EA is extremely complex because it strives to not only align the Business with IT but also move Strategy into an Operational Reality and this is an incredibly difficult endeavor.  You could go it alone, subscribe to one of the EA Foundations and start to build from scratch (there are FREE Options out there) but will likely become very quickly over run by the multiple moving parts.  The other option is to bring in an experienced EA Consulting Firm.  They have done the work a million times, have proven results and will take over your office, drink your coffee and otherwise change your business…and at the end of the day your operational budget will take a massive hit!

I think I have an easier way and I go through this with my clients on a daily basis.  Finding the balance between the unlimited FREE content available through the Internet and the laser focus and hefty Invoice of leveraging a Consultancy sits a research firm that has always focused on bringing the Strategic Planning much closer to the Tactical requirements that need you to have that trusted adviser on your side but the documentation, templates and plans to make it happen.

If you are in IT and would like a no obligation introduction to how I help my clients…call me.  +519 432 3550 ext 2738.  I am available from 07:30 to 17:00 GMT -5 (Eastern Time Zone)

If you would like the options within EA to become a regular part of this blog, please comment.  I am far from running out of things to talk about but I need to know your thoughts…point me in the right direction.

Cheers and have a Great Day,

Chris J Powell

Posted on June 15, 2011 in Uncategorized

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