Sunday, June 20, 2010

What do/should EAs pay attention to?

#entarch from the #IRMEAC conference, @Cybersal quotes Richard Weston's comment that conventional EA does not pay enough attention to the dynamics of enterprise. Excellent point says Cybersal, and I agreed. But I also wondered what conventional EA does pay attention to.

Keeping their jobs, answers @bmichelson with a wink. But how effective is conventional EA at keeping their jobs during an economic downturn? @bmichelson suggests this varies by expectations of Business & IT leadership. Aware of true potential of #entarch? Do they demand it?

So there are several variables here. Firstly, how far apart are the expectations of enterprise architecture from different stakeholders? The de facto collective vision is a (possibly uncomfortable or contradictory) compromise (emergent composition) between the expectations of business and IT leadership and the vision of the EAs themselves. And secondly, what is the perceived and actual ability to execute - are EA's really capable of stepping up to the kind of challenges urged upon them by the motivational speakers at conferences like this, and do their bosses have confidence in their competence in these new areas? What must EAs do to deserve the extended trust of their organizations?

I think there are some important and strategic issues where EAs could play a vital role, but it comes back to the question of paying attention to the right things.

So what are these things? Some EA speakers urge EAs to pay attention to the things that CEOs pay attention to, and that's certainly a good start. But EAs can only add value if they can offer a different perspective - hence the importance of new lenses and concrete systems thinking, not just abstract frameworks.

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