Forbes Contributor Jason Bloomberg recently wrote a few articles addressing the current state of Enterprise Architecture. In his first post, Is Enterprise Architecture Completely Broken?, he explored whether enterprise architecture is completely broken, a question not uncommonly heard in our industry.
We often discuss the changing world of Enterprise Architecture on the Troux blog, and it has been an ongoing debate inside Troux as to whether we should even use the term EA when defining our market. I have to admit, when I first arrived at Troux, I didn’t even know what Enterprise Architecture was. I have always viewed what we do as being about delivering business value. I think the original EA practitioners had that in mind too, but maybe they were a decade too early or just couldn’t land at the right process and tools to deliver on the vision.
In Bloomberg’s article he compares EA practitioners to Milton, the Innotech employee from the 90’s movie classic, Office Space, who continued to get paid while not actually having a role in the organization.
While EA’s role has drastically changed over the years, I like to think we are all now part of a sequel – Office Space 2: The Rise of Milton. Enterprise architecture is no longer an IT-centric discipline focused on creating complex colorful maps and models only understood by a few. To use another Office Space analogy, it is no longer about producing “pieces of flare” in hopes of proving to the business that EA is delivering some sort of value.
Does That Mean EA Is Obsolete? Quite the Contrary
The art of making business decisions has been around since the dawn of trade. Today, every aspect of a business is part of a digitally connected enterprise, meaning the impact of every business decision ripples across the entire organization. Making critical decisions without understanding these effects can have devastating effects. The speed of industry change and the complexity represented by the portfolios that make up your business mean that informed decisions need to happen quicker than ever to remain competitive. It’s our EA friends who were shamed to the basement office that are now poised to make that happen.
Sounds overwhelming, but at Troux, we teach our customers that there is no need to boil the ocean. Understanding your connected enterprise can happen with bite size undertakings, along a logical timeline. By identifying critical business capabilities and harnessing the right data to gain perspective we can land at an ideal course of action for moving the business forward.
While Bloomberg’s article starts out questioning whether there is a future for EA, he actually arrives at the similar conclusion to us and expands on that vision in his follow up article “Agile Enterprise Architecture Finally Crosses the Chasm.”
The sequel is here, and from what we have experienced with our own customers, it is going to be a big hit at the box office. Milton was able to quickly determine that the “people to cake ratio” was too big. With today’s data, knowledge and tools, we can quickly learn so much more. Here are just a few examples of companies using the Troux’s version of enterprise architecture to make timely, informed business decisions.
Cisco case study: Global networking solutions giant, Cisco, has successfully implemented Troux’s Enterprise Portfolio Management solution to help define a common desired operating model across its business units. This in-turn helps them identify and divest businesses that are unlikely to deliver the desired top-or-bottom-line results. In addition, Troux is also used to compare potential acquisition targets to the target model to help quickly identify the true value of potential acquisitions.
U.S. Census Bureau case study: In 2012, the U.S Census Bureau set out to build optimal IT solutions to handle a myriad of challenges to the business. With an Enterprise Architecture (EA) discipline enabled by Troux, the Bureau now has a more integrated business overall, underpinned by an IT decision process, collaborative governance, and a common knowledge base. It all adds up to increased agility, efficiency and innovation