'Street-smart' enterprise architects: EA still too fixated on technology, versus business

Time for business architecture that reflects entire business design, from the point of view of business designers and owners, rather than IT solution delivery. CIOs need to lead the way.

'Street-smart' enterprise architects are advocating greater business smarts are needed to make service oriented architecture -- and other good enterprise practices -- a working reality.

Time for CIOs to lead the way to 'business architecture'

That's the synopsis provided by Brenda Michelson, who has been leading the charge to more value-driven business architecture through her work with the EA2010 Working Group, part of the of the SOA Consortium.

Initiatives now underway include establishing and sustaining credibility with business and IT constituents, and focusing more on business outcome rather than business model alignment.

Enterprise architects are supposed to serve as the bridge between IT and the business, speaking the languages of both. However, Brenda and the SOA Consortium folks say EA is still too fixated on technology.

The SOA Consortium outlined the challenges in a white paper, published earlier this year, which effectively spells out the Working Group's mission.

Currently, the paper states, there is too much of an emphasis of technology concerns at the expense of business understanding, and ultimately, true business enablement, in most enterprise architecture practices. "Successful enterprise architecture practices in the 2010s must give equal emphasis to technology and business concerns. The means for this re-balancing is the elevation, and in some cases initial adoption, of business architecture practices."

"To reap the benefits of business architecture – business visibility and agility – the business architecture must reflect the entire business design, from the point of view of business designers and owners, rather than IT solution delivery. This point of view begins with business motivations, includes key business execution elements – such as operating model, capabilities, value chains, processes, and organizational models – and transcends information technology representations, such as business services, rules, events and information models."

Who's going to lead this effort? The CIO, the paper states, "given his/her unique position to view business plans, business processes, information flows, and technology portfolios across the organization, most often are champions business architecture formalization."