System of beliefs or tenets
The first tenet of our philosophy is embedded in our definition of Enterprise Architecture :
“Enterprise Architecture is the alignment of Business Design, People Design and Technology Design to ensure that together they deliver on Business Intent.”
The order of design domain categories, Business Design before People Design and People Design before Technology Design in this definition is not arbitrary. They are in that order as the first tenet of our philosophy is that business design drives people design and together they drive technology design. It is never the other way round.
The second tenet of our philosophy can also be inferred from the definition above. This is that Enterprise Architecture is not an Information Technology discipline. It is our belief that for Enterprise Architecture to be successful it must be recognised as a cross-disciplinary function; part Business function, part Information Technology. This is becoming more widely recognised with Gartner identifying the move of Enterprise Architecture from inside the Information Technology department to being located with the business as being one of the final steps on their Enterprise Architecture maturity cycle. We concur and believe the best place in an organisation for the Enterprise Architecture function to be located is within its Business Strategy area.
The next tenet of our philosophy drives one of our core organisational DNA elements, namely that we are an Enterprise Architecture company only and we will never do build and delivery work. We choose this as a core part of our own DNA as we strongly believe that you should never allow the same organisation to do both the architecture for a solution, and the delivery of that solution. A natural extension of this is that the same applies for enterprise architecture, in that an organisation’s Enterprise Architecture function should never be outsourced. Utilising an organisation like ourselves to assist you developing your enterprise architecture practice and/or to work with you to develop some of the core enterprise artefacts, for example a Business Capability Model, is naturally something we would encourage but you should never consider outsourcing the function entirely.
Our next tenet we learnt the hard way ourselves. Many organisations and Integrated Architecture frameworks and practices use Business Process Models, essentially a model of how an organisation does what it does, as the core design artefact that describes their business design. They then use this model as the model of the business to which they try to align their technology architecture. We believe, and have learnt through experience, this approach to be fundamentally flawed. This is because the Business Process Model for an organisation is inherently dynamic, it is constantly under change. This makes it wholly unsuitable as a stable business model to drive IT alignment. Our belief is that a Business Capability Model, a model of what the business does, is the correct baseline business model that should be used to drive IT alignment.
One of the issues that we encounter frequently is misalignment, and on occasion outright hostility, between the Enterprise Architecture/Architects and the Solution Architecture/Architects in an organisation. It is our belief that one root-cause of this is that the two disciplines are following different processes and deliver very different artefacts. This compounds the already challenging issue of Architecture Governance. This tenet of our philosophy was one of the three main reasons that we found it necessary to develop our own Integrated Architecture framework. This framework by design supports both Enterprise Architecture/Architects and Solution Architecture/Architects. In doing so it also supports our final tenet that Enterprise Architecture must be embedded in the process of delivering changed if it is to be real and meaningful and avoid the “Ivory tower” architecture trap.
So, in summary the key tenets of our philosophy are:
- Business drives Technology not the other way round
- The Enterprise Architecture function is a cross-disciplinary function covering business, people and technology design ideally located in an organisation’s business strategy area
- The Enterprise Architecture function must be independent of the Change Delivery function
- Enterprise Architecture is not a function you should ever consider outsourcing, just as you would never outsource strategy
- The core design artefact for Enterprise Architecture is a Business Capability Model. All other Enterprise Architecture artefacts are mapped to an organisation’s Business Capability Model
- The same framework should be used for Enterprise Architecture and Solution Architecture
- Enterprise Architecture must be embedded in the process of delivering change if it is to be real and meaningful and avoid the “Ivory tower” architecture trap