We practice Enterprise and Solution Architecture on a systematic basis. When working with companies of various sizes and their executives, we commonly face the challenge of explaining what Enterprise Architecture does. Yes, we have tried using the book's definitions; we have also adjusted our vocabulary according to the listener's interests. Having tried many techniques for articulating the EA's purpose and applying it to existing situations, we concluded that the problem lies in the overall idea of the approach rather than the practitioners. Let's dig into more details next.
While we know that many organizations practice EA, the percentage of those that don't do so far exceeds the practitioners. In your opinion, why is that the case?
Answers differ based on whom you ask, but primarily you will hear two kinds of responses.
Ironically, we agree to both these items, and we want to go one step further and explain what is happening in the industry.
The first group of companies doesn't even want to consider Enterprise Architecture because they don't see the value. We don't look at it as an unagreeable debate. Instead, we share the view of those organizations. We analyzed what these companies do, and they are modern, fast-growing entities. Try to sell the outdated, vague idea of the EA to these guys!
The second group of companies has a good grasp of their enterprise assets, knowledge, and analysis, which has become a competitive lever for decision-making. However, when you look at their current state, the process and discipline look nothing like the EA described by books. There is simply no compatibility between what these organizations do and what the classic Enterprise Architecture preaches. Do we stay with the old-style concepts and approaches, or be wiser and modernize and simplify the EA?
To make EA compatible with the most modern companies' expectations, we are approaching this challenge with two steps. First, we want to make the Enterprise Architecture lean by admitting that it cannot solve all the once-promised problems. Next, we want to modernize the scope and problem statements that fit under Enterprise Architecture's work area.
Primary forces proving that Enterprise Architecture's scope is exaggerated for today's companies are Agile and Lean.
Agile takes care of the processes, decentralized decision-making, value streams, self-organized teams, and interactions. It is time that Enterprise Architecture accepts the winner in these areas and lowers its ambitions accordingly.
Lean companies try to cut down waste where possible, and the EA's overarching approach to the problem pulls things in the opposite direction. EA needs to be lean and focus on real challenges that the companies solve nowadays instead of being tied to the old-style definitions and practices.
To modernize the EA, we need to know what the modern companies do. Most of them are entirely digital or going through digital transformation to remain competitive in their markets. While Enterprise Architecture always tried to be abstract for being universal, now is the time to recognize and support most entities' digital nature.
We see that companies want to build information systems that consist of microservices and take advantage of the cloud, ML, AI, IoT, etc. These all aspects come with both the power and challenges that pose an unprecedented opportunity for Enterprise Architecture. Specifically, complexity overhead is inevitable for those organizations that can not own the solutions holistically. With this statement, we arrive at the modernized scope of Enterprise Architecture.
Instead of being an overly complicated discipline, Enterprise Architecture must embrace simplicity and help manage modern digital organizations' complexities.
To achieve this objective, we are making the scope lean (as described earlier) and taking on the responsibility of improved, controlled Solution Architecture. Our experience tells us that this is the most optimal way of progression into the future, and we support this path as we can. How exactly?
You guessed it. Archipeg - our cloud-based Enterprise Architecture Software (SaaS) - is the product that stands on those same fundamentals that we outlined above. We want to build a future where Enterprise Architecture is relevant and solves challenges pertinent to modern organizations. Are you in?
One piece of our solution is Archipeg EA framework, on which Archipeg's projects build by default. Check it out and notice the simplification that we try to apply to the EA industry.