Enterprise Architects Need to Understand Business Architecture

Enterprise Architects Need to Understand Business Architecture

When I talk to aspiring as well as seasoned enterprise architects it often strikes me how little focus they have on understanding the business they work in and with. Recently, I met an architect in a large government agency who explained that his enterprise might as well produce canned tomatoes – the architecting he did would not be any different.

While pure IT architecting may be quite similar across various industries and businesses, the enterprise architectures of our enterprises are indeed highly dependent on the business context they live in.

Fortunately, more and more enterprise architects are realizing that all architectures must be anchored in business. As we say with the EA Cube approach:

Only by having such business-centric and holistic perspective on our enterprises can we create value from architecting. In fact, we often see how little value incoherent and unconnected architecture layers create. For example, many efforts in data and information architecture go in vain because the data and information models are not implemented and used by people, processes and technologies.

Our first Book of the Month is written by our good friend Roger Burlton, and its subtitle “Collecting, Connecting and Correcting the Dots” makes the point clear – it’s all about understanding how the dots are connected. 15 years ago, I teamed up with Gary Doucet, Pallab Saha, and Scott Bernard in an effort to redefine what enterprise architecture is all about, and we came to the conclusion that it is all about coherency management, i.e. how all the dots are connected. The book we published in 2009 is still available on Amazon.

Notably, EA is viewed as an Enterprise Design and Management approach, adopted to build better enterprises, rather than a IT Design and Management approach limited to build better systems. In order to realise this, we enterprise architects must work much harder on embracing business architecture and all its aspects and facets.


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