Chris J Powell

Enterprise Architecture Redux

To start with…there will be no massive fanfare for the upgrade that I anticipated for the site today.  The Deadline that I set for myself unfortunately has come and gone but I am almost there and the new site should be up and running by the end of this weekend.

That being said, back in June 2011 I did a post on EA (Enterprise Architecture) that was a very high level look at what the biggest IT Departments around the world invest thousands of man hours per year on.  I wanted to take a step back from the largest of the large and take a look at how EA can impact a smaller company…say one that has less than 25 staff. Typically speaking, diving into the structure and discipline of EA for these groups is a pipe dream, much like taking full advantage of other frameworks like ITIL or CoBIT…there just is not enough time to do everything with a small staff and there is not a substantial enough depth of experience internally to make it happen.

To take EA to its basest level and apply it to any organization it is important to understand that it is a process for the tactical implementation and alignment of the overall organizational strategy.  The enterprise today regardless of its size truly is embroiled in battle on multiple fronts and to take quote from Carl von Clausewitz “the campaign plan only survives the first contact with the enemy”.  To better enable the tactical implementation of EA or any IT Governance model for that matter, the image above nicely pulls together the fact that IT must be a partner with the business to survive.

Learning what the business or organization needs, building a strategy to support those objectives, prioritizing the structure and the projects and then executing on that plan with a solid operational model that is supported with the right systems, the right core processes and an infrastructure that can sustain both growth and provide on going capabilities.

But in the center of that image there is the broader topic f EA itself.  For some time I have been a fan of the principles laid out by the TOGAF framework and when we dive into the center portion of the above model we see that is where there is some complication:

So what is TOGAF?

First developed in 1995, TOGAF was based on the US Department of Defense Technical Architecture Framework for Information Management (TAFIM). From this sound foundation, The Open Group Architecture Forum has developed successive versions of TOGAF at regular intervals and published them on The Open Group public web site.

Within TOGAF itself are the guides, tools and many insights to guide and support the implementation of applying EA into nearly any enterprise. TOGAF itself recently released version 9.1 of its own standard and to find out more about it check out their own Introduction to TOGAF 9.1 Whitepaper.

A frame work is great and looking at the big picture is wonderful but when it comes time to make the investment of time and resources there are circumstances (ie very small IT Departments) that this just is not feasible.  I would actually disagree.  The work that I do every day is to support small IT Shops with building strategies to support many different industries and with that strategy in place provide tactical intelligence and support to implement and act upon that plan.

Doing this is one of the most enjoyable parts of my day as every question is a unique circumstance and a new challenge.

And speaking of my day…a new month begins and that means a new set of challenges as a Technical Sales Guy.  As I dive more into the world of the “Big Picture” I will be doing more insights into EA but will be breaking it down into more digestible pieces.


Chris J Powell

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