Is The Enterprise Architecture Discipline Mature Enough?
Enterprise Architecture Is So Important …
Clients all over Europe and in the US continuously tell me about the importance of enterprise architecture (EA) within their organizations. Clients explain the critical role that EA plays in successful digital transformation and that enterprise architects help the business in defining a technology strategy that will support the business strategy. Not only that, but enterprise architects are one of the single transversal points in the organization, with an enterprise view of the technology infrastructure, data, application, and security domains. Clients view EA as critical to achieving risk mitigation, cost reduction, environmental sustainability, and managing value chains. As an analyst, I needed to confirm these assumptions that EA is important. Last year, Forrester surveyed 767 companies globally to learn about enterprise architecture programs in large organizations.
… Yet Enterprise Architecture Functions Are Being Disbanded!
Although EA departments exist in companies, over 30% of them are being disbanded. Why is this happening if the function is so important? The reason is the lack of impact that architecture departments are having in these companies. We often find EA by a different name, however, emerging again like a phoenix with other experts after a while, usually focused on solution architecture and project support.
Architects don’t focus enough on business outcomes in such functions and struggle to articulate the value and pragmatism of EA. Showing value is key; otherwise, architecture will never live long if it is seen as an ivory tower drawing abstract models devoid of reality. Value chains explain how an organization generates revenue. Architects help businesses understand their value chains and how technology supports those. Once value chains are designed, enterprise architects can spot opportunities for reuse, simplification, and the killing off of technical debt and other measures, all of which save money and increase agility. Delivering tangible results is key to the EA function not being set alight. For further insight, read my report here (available for Forrester clients): Enterprise Architecture Is Still Not Getting The Recognition It Deserves.