In a recent post on my other blog, Gordon Brown, Enterprise Architect, I pointed out the resemblence between an enterprise architecture and a written constitution, and suggested that the new UK prime minister might be open to both of these initiatives.
However, the current UK foreign secretary may not be with him on this one. Mrs Beckett has spoken out against formal constitutional reform for the EU, and appears to believe that nothing more is required than tidying up the rule book. [BBC News, June 17th, 2007]
There are of course semantic issues here, as my friend Robin Wilton pointed out in his blog: Semantics Invictus. There is a political incentive to avoid anything that counts as constitutional change because this would have governance implications (specifically, a referendum would be required).
How does this apply to Service-Oriented Architecture? Clearly there are some people within the IT world who would take the Margaret Beckett line. They believe they don't need a full enterprise architecture, together with all the governance that implies - there are just a few systems that need a bit of tidying-up.
For example, the CEO of a company called Health Watch Technologies avers that "the first step toward many innovations is simply tidying up systems" [Special Report on Medicaid 2006]. And a recent FT article describes Huge Benefits from Tidying Up.
But the examples quoted in the FT article go way beyond just tidying up, and include the work that is going on at BT to develop a service-oriented architecture, with some impressive results already.
There may be some resistance to formal enterprise architecture in some organizations, but there is no arguing with the benefits of doing things properly.