Growing Into Enterprise Architecture

I am writing this post as I am in an Enterprise Architecture class, specifically on the Oracle Enterprise Architecture Framework (OEAF).  I have been a long believer that SOA’s key strength is that it is the first IT approach that blends or unifies business and technology.  That is a common view and is certainly valid but is not completely true (or at least accurate).  As my personal view of EA is growing, I realize more than ever that doing EA is FAR MORE than creating a reference architecture, creating a physical architecture or picking a technology to standardize on.  Those are parts of the puzzle but not the whole puzzle by any stretch.

I am now a firm believer that the various EA frameworks out there provide the rigor and structure required to allow the bridging of business strategy / vision to IT strategy / vision.

The flow goes something like this:

Business Strategy –> Business / Application / Information / Technology Architecture –> SOA Reference Architecture –> SOA Functional Architecture.  Governance is imbued throughout to help map, measure and verify the business-to-IT coherence.

With those in place, then (and only then) can SOA fulfill it’s potential to be more that an integration strategy, more than a reuse strategy; but also a foundation for tying the results of IT to business vision.

Fortunately, EA is a an ongoing process that it is never too late to get started with an understanding of frameworks such as TOGAF, FEA, or OEAF.  Also, EA is never ending in that it always needs to be applied and re-applied, even once a full-blown Enterprise Architecture is established -- it needs to be constantly evolved.  For those who are getting deeper into EA as a discipline, there is plenty runway to grow as your company/customer begins to look more seriously at EA.

I will close with a pointer to a Great Book I have recently read on this subject: Enterprise Architecture as Strategy

(http://www.amazon.com/Enterprise-Architecture-Strategy-Foundation-Execution/dp/1591398398/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1268842865&sr=1-1)

Comments:

I would agree that "SOA’s key strength is that it is the first IT approach that blends or unifies business and technology" Unfortunately, as with EA, SOA has been hijacked by the technology guys (and the vendors) so its all about ESB's and Web Services and Canonical Data Models and Adapters etc etc, i.e. 100% about technology - which is totally wrong. It's refreshing to hear someone else out there who sees SOA as at least 50% business. Regarding your points about EA frameworks - the problem is that (like SOA) most of them only deal with IT but as you rightly understand "… doing EA is FAR MORE than creating a reference architecture, creating a physical architecture or picking a technology to standardize on. Those are parts of the puzzle but not the whole puzzle by any stretch." That's why I created PEAF - Pragmatic EA Framework. Not only does it press all the correct EA buttons, its approach is 100% pragmatic (hence the name) providing people with 90% of what they need to start on the EA journey. It is also 100% free for those who wish to lever EA to improve their business (i.e. End-User Organisations, Government Bodie and Academic Institutions) . A commercial agreement is only required for those that would profit from PEAF by using it (i.e. Consultancies, Tool Vendors, Training Providers) Go have a look and let me know what you think. www.PragmaticEA.com

Posted by Kevin Lee Smith on March 18, 2010 at 01:17 AM EDT #

Hi, Unless you define SOA to include infrastructure as a service, platform as a service, application as a service, BI services, security services, content services, integration services, application as a service, desktop as a service etc, I am at a loss to see how SOA is this all consuming "magic bullet". Industry has gone through several paradigm shifts, SOA is just another paradigm shift. This too shall pass. The 3 components of EA are people, processes and technology. It is the "people" part that would stymie , the things SOA promises (especially reuse). The concept of reuse has been around for a long long time. Look at where things are now. Rajan

Posted by Rajan on March 26, 2010 at 03:56 AM EDT #

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