Do you really need Enterprise Architecture?

18 March 2009

In the DYA book: Building an Enterprise Architecture Practice there is a nice image that illustrates different architecture perspectives, where an organisation can work WITH Enterprise Architecture or work WITHOUT Enterprise Architecture.  

http://tinyurl.com/dnabju 

Organisations that don’t use Enterprise Architecture can certainly still be effective. But how well are they really doing? 

The problem is that the enterprise architecture knowledge will be scattered amongst a large number of peoples heads rather than recorded in an Enterprise Architecture repository acting as a knowledge base. 

There are two types of knowledge: explicit knowledge and tacit (implicit) knowledge. 
In an organisation that works without enterprise architecture, their knowledge is tacit and implicit rather than explicit, and will be lost when people leave the organisation. 
In an organisation that does use enterprise architecture, the knowledge is explicit and the EA repository will become a lasting knowledge base, independent of staff, and will be capable of supporting strategic decision making more efficiently once it has been established. 

Without Enterprise Architecture, organisations will not have the time to identify all the relevant facts needed by decision makers. This will lead to short term knee jerk decisions. These organisations tend to end up with knowledge silos. 

With Enterprise Architecture, organisations will have fewer silos and more knowledge about the interdependencies and relationships across the silos and thus be able to make evidence based policy decisions, and have the time to engage in long term thinking and ultimately make better decisions. 

It is interesting to consider whether the current credit crunch in the financial markets may well be the result of banks not yet having a sufficiently mature enterprise architecture, or indeed as result of working without enterprise architecture? 

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One Response to “Do you really need Enterprise Architecture?”

  1. Bob Muma Says:

    “knowledge is explicit and the EA repository will become a lasting knowledge base”

    I’ve been involved in a number of organizations that an Enterprise Architecture and an EA on the Org Chart. In all of these instances the knowledge is still implicit because the EA (repository and organization) is static. I think you need the words “living”, “active”, “engaged”, etc.; something that talks to the EA being used and partici;ating part of planning, implementation, feedback and management of an organization operating environment.

    I think there a lot of good and insightful commentary on your blog


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