Thursday, September 19, 2013

Is Enterprise Architecture Philosophy or Artifact?

EA is blueprint of enterprise. EA maintains a body of knowledge about enterprise structure and purpose, and the use of that knowledge and experience in guiding and managing change for and within the enterprise ecosystem. So is EA philosophy or artifact?

Enterprise-architecture is an expression of a philosophy whose concrete product is artifacts. The overall outcome of the philosophy and artifacts is the set of structures (in the broadest sense of structure) in use within the business and enterprise ecosystem. 

The underlying philosophy includes choices on management themes, such as hierarchy versus flat-organization, change-management style (trade-offs between Waterfall and Agile), and governance in relation to vision, mission, principles, standards etc. Direct artifacts ('products') include models and meta-models, registers / repositories for requirements, risks, opportunities and issues, glossary and thesaurus, and governance documents and reports.

Enterprise Architecture is (a) an art and discipline of designing enterprises, (b) the structural and aesthetic themes that create inter-relationships between elements of the actual enterprise and with the wider market(s) in which it participates. (c) EA was elevated at the rank of strategy, because of its potential role in the Enterprise transformation

It’s logical to see architecture being understood as a philosophy as EA is blueprint of business. It can be very powerful when dealing with problems more systemically through EA. "Architecture" as a human pre-occupation (as in an association with the verb architecting" rather than an "architecture" as a noun) is in fact a form of systems thinking which is what distinguishes it from design and elevates both design and construction.For instance, building sustainable enterprises and understanding what elements in the enterprise constitute the longer term versus those elements that are shorter term, can have a very powerful impact on the way to design enterprises.

EA has conceptual (abstract, philosophical expression), logical and physical levels (artifacts..). EA is not just about what artifacts are produced, it is about how they are produced. EA comprises two inseparable parts: descriptive (nomenclatures of artifacts, relationships, etc.) and prescriptive (rules on how to evolve this system, some kind of philosophy). Both of them may be implicit or explicit or somewhere in between. Both of them are used together in “what if” analysis of different changes.

Thus, EA is abstract enough to make one contemplate the purpose of business philosophically and detailed enough upon how to achieve operational excellence with 


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