Feb 19, 2013
EA was initiated to overcome the challenge of stovepipe system, It should not be this difficult to define "What is EA?" by considering that Solution architects are the "Guru" to create unique and optimized solutions for a set of specific requirements. In this capacity, solution architect also contributes to stovepipe systems. On the other hand, EA is the effort to minimize redundant efforts, they are the "Glue" to learning experience of the others, building common ground and facilitate collaborative culture.
Yet, the EA community have difficult time to define "What is EA?" due the confusing EA as the enterprise wide solution architecture. The first version of EA is evolved from solution architecture concept. In addition, most of the EA community come from solution architecture background too. The EA model, for example the popular NIST EA model, the EA Framework; For example: the Federal Enterprise Architecture Framework and the Open Group EA framework, are based on solution architecture concept. All of this approaches sounds like a enterprise wide solution architecture and practice like a solution architecture, therefore EA is also confused as the enterprise wide solution architecture. Many Enterprise architects are actually the solution architects in EA skin.
The consequence of taking EA as the enterprise wide solution has lead to today awkward EA bottleneck. EA, as a enterprise wide solution architecture, has very much denied EA as an emerging paradigm where solution architects automatic become an enterprise architects by taking on enterprise wide architecture task. Their discipline of designing an unique and optimize system help to create a bigger stove pipe system. Many organization have made significant investment with very marginal return because
1. It requires significant investment of time and resources.
2. It is very likely to create a bigger stovepipe .
3. Lack of buy-in from the stakeholders.
4. Enterprise is organic, the enterprise scale solution architecture become obsolete before the ink dry.
What is EA?
EA is an emerging paradigm rather than a large scale solution architecture. It requires the discipline not only to see the enterprise big picture but also know the parts and facilitate collaborative culture. Enterprise Architects are the "Glue" to:
. Enable every one to see the whole and know the parts.
. Minimize stove pipes, silo system and islands of information.
. Enable agility in adapting to change via learning experience of the other, looking for common ground, reuse and interoperability.
. Facilitate collaborative culture and building consensus.
. EA is able to close gaps between strategy and execution by enabling every one to see the big picture and know the parts; facilitate collaborative culture and building consensus and enable agility in adapting to change.
The Difference between EA and enterprise wide solution architecture
The following table distinguish EA from enterprise solution architecture.
Solution Architecture contribute to stovepipe system
Solution Architecture method provide optimized solution to satisfy unique set of requirements which also contribute to stovepipe solution.
EA was initiated to overcome stovepip system
EA was initiated to overcome stovepipe system. The only way to to overcome stovepipe system is to take a holistic architecture instead taking as an enterprise scale solution architecture. A enterprise wide solution architecture is not a efficient approach to overcome the challenge of stovepipe. It may create a biger stove pipe system.
Solution Architecture for simple system, EA for complex system
Base on the Cynefin framework, Solution architecture for simple system, Enterprise Architecture of complex system. It describe that all human interactions are strongly influenced and frequently determined by our experiences, both through the direct influence of personal experience, and through collective experience, such as stories or music.
EA is in holistic paradigm. Solution Architecture is in scientific paradigm EA and Solution Architecture are in very different paradigm, EA is in holistic paradigm and solution architecture is in scientific paradigm.
Solution Architects are the "Guru" and Enterprise Architects are the "Glue".
Enterprise Architects are very distinctive from Solution architects. Solution Architects are the "Guru" to design optimize and unique solution which also contribute to stovepipe solution. Enterprise Architects are the "Glue" to overcome the challenge of stovepipe via the engineering reuse and interoperability rather than creating a bigger stove pipe.