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Enterprise Architects Only Need to Ask One Question

        posted by , May 15, 2011

If you could only ask one of Zachman's 6 communication questions which would you ask? Why? How? What? Who? Where? When?

The Importance of Why

A perfection of means, and confusion of aims, seems to be our main problem.
~ Albert Einstein

Einstein was talking about society as a whole — but it applies just as well to the modern corporation. There is a focus on what to do, how to do it and when. Far too few people ask why. A Enterprise Architect could carve out a fruitful career just focusing on the why.

Business Goals

Business goals are the basis for everything a organization does — the answer to why?

business goals

Examples of business goals include:

- Becoming the sales leader in an industry
- Improving customer service ranking
- Decreasing time to market for new products
- Becoming the cost leader in an industry
- Improving margins
- Entry into a new market
- Increasing revenue per customer
- Improving customer quality

Business goals should be SMART — specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely.

Goal Impact Analysis

Business Goals need to be stable. Mature organizations may maintain a goal for 30 years or more. When goals do change it reverberates throughout the organization — resulting in costs and risks.

business goal maturity

Enterprise Architects support business goal planning — performing impact and what-if analysis.

IT Goals

Enterprise Architects translate business goals to IT goals, strategy and execution.

enterprise architecture goals

Enterprise Architecture Governance ensures that every solution is properly aligned with business goals.

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