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Enterprise Architecture is Dead

        posted by , July 01, 2011

The theory of Enterprise Architecture goes something like this:

enterprise architecture is dead

There are massive gaps between business and IT — fueled by a legacy of tactical solutions, disconnects and politics. Enterprise Architecture is supposed to solve these gaps with a unified approach to business, application, data and technology architecture. Quite a challenge — don't you think?

Managing Complexity

If you're a Enterprise Architect tasked with spanning the gap between business and IT — what do you do?

The answer is simple — you stay very high level. This is exactly what most Enterprise Architects do — draw boxes and clouds around things and leave it at that.

The problem with this approach is that Enterprise Architecture gets a reputation for being academic — completely detached from the realities of business, IT execution and political challenges.

The Real Problem

The real problem facing Enterprise Architects is that the gap between business and IT is too great. Enterprise Architecture is mission impossible — it is neither feasible nor desirable for one small group to centrally solve such massive gaps.

The Result

Enterprise Architecture teams attract the best and the brightest. Nevertheless, EA teams are often viewed as out-of-touch and unsuccessful.

Where EA teams do have success is with tactical improvements in architecture — far from any real success aligning IT and business.

The Key to the Future

Competitive forces will shape businesses of the future in two significant ways:

1. Businesses will have longer, more mature planning cycles.

2. Distinctions between business and IT will disappear. Whatever the industry — IT will become the business.

In this context, Enterprise Architecture will have more success. It is not possible for EA to achieve its mission in organizations with short planning cycles and strong separation between business and IT.

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