Does Enterprise Architecture threaten the Business Managers?

18 March 2009

Enterprise Architecture is still seen as coming from the IT department despite its wider Business and IT context, so the business managers distrust of an Enterprise Architecture team can be understood. Everything goes in cycles though, and the Enterprise Architecture discipline is starting to break down the silos that the business managers unwittingly tend to propagate.

A trend I see is Enterprise Architecture gradually becoming known as Strategy & Architecture. Although bsiness managers have had control over their own business area strategies to some extent, Business Strategy and IT Strategy has always been a more centralized function that hasn’t threatened the business manager quite so much as the vision of IT taking over ‘their’ governance has. 

These days other IT centric approaches like ITIL are setting Service Strategies and are also encroaching on business managers’ control. However I like to think that ITIL is able to bridge the divide between business areas and IT department and build trust between them, by using a unifying approach to managing both Business Services and Application Services.

I see maturing organisations merging approaches such as Strategy Planning, EA, ITIL and COBIT and thereby breaking down the distributed versus centralized and Business versus IT issues. Business managers do generally understand that an Enterprise Architecture function is required to integrate all these approaches. To keep business managers happy the best practise is to make them members of the Architecture Review Board that approves Enterprise Architecture decisions and recommendations.

This way although the business manager no longer do the work but they still have the control and feel less threatened by an Enterprise Architecture team.


One Response to “Does Enterprise Architecture threaten the Business Managers?”

  1. Hi!
    I assume what threatens the managers are that the usage of Enterprise Architecture as a way to govern the organization will uncover that a lot of processes in the organization can be standardized or centralized. From an organization point of view then the organization managers will lesser opportunity to build their business silos (monarchies). In the other hand then the approach (EA framework and theory) was introduced from the IT department (or at least it often appears that way) and there are plenty of research that shows when the IT departments bring suggestions to management then the management or CXOs discard them as being to technological or it simply give no meaning for management.
    However if the IT department can implement it then initiation of the EA program might face other kind of problems e.g., that the users (employees and management) assume it is an attempt to gain power over their work (notable research is Marcus & Bjoern-Andersen).

    Best wishes,

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