There are interesting debates all around the globe about whether there is the need for a next gen EA framework.  James Lapalme recently published an excellent article: Three Schools of Thought on Enterprise Architecture explaining the reasons of such debates.   

In this article James identifies three schools of thoughts for EA, each with their own scope and purpose:

  • "Enterprise IT architecting" which addresses enterprisewide IT, and the alignment of IT with business.
  • "Enterprise integrating" which addresses the coherency of the enterprise as a system with IT is only one component of the enterprise.
  • "Enterprise Ecological Adaptation" which addresses the enterprise in its larger environment

For each of these 3 school of thoughts, James describes not only the scope but also the differences in objectives, principles and assumptions, skills, challenges, insights and limitations. 

The first two approaches are most familiar to EA practitioners. We can roughly associate a generation of EA methodology for each of these schools of thoughts: TOGAF for the "enterprise IT architecting", and the most common Business Architecture methods for "Enterprise Integrating". But there isn’t today a cohesive body of thought for a next gen EA framework to address the "Enterprise Ecological Adaptation". I think this 3rd school of thoughts is useful for enterprises which care more broadly about values and in particular "customers values". The outcomes of the enterprises are not only financial but also more about corporate social responsibilities, for example.  

James extensively end-notes his article and identifies some authors and works that he sees address this 3rd approach:

·          J. Gharajedaghi, Systems Thinking: Managing Chaos and Complexity: A Platform for Designing Business Architecture (2nd ed.), Elsevier, 2006.

·           T. Graves, Real Enterprise-Architecture: Beyond IT to the Whole Enterprise, Tetradian Books, 2008.1

·           J.A.P. Hoogervorst, Enterprise Governance and Enterprise Engineering, Springer, 2009.

·           J. Martin, The Great Transition: Using the Seven Disciplines of Enterprise Engineering to Align People, Technology, and Strategy, Amacon, 1995.

·          K. Smith and T. Graves, An Introduction to Peaf: Pragmatic Enterprise Architecture Framework, Pragmatic EC, 2011.

·          J. Lapalme and D.W. de Guerre, "Can a Re-Discovery of Open Socio-Technical Systems Strengthen EA?" J. Enterprise Architecture, vol. 8, no. 1, 2012, pp. 55–61.

I would add some names like Dominique Vauquier with Praxeme, Alain Wegmann with SEAM and Forrester with Business-centered EA.

 What are the barriers to this 3rd school of thought for EA? Do you agree we need a new framework for the new challenges companies are facing?  Or are today’s adequate? Any frameworks you might suggest?