EA IS A HOLISTIC ARCHITECTURE METHODOLOGY
Enterprise Architecture is a holistic architecture methodology in contrast to stovepipe architecture approach. The concept of EA as a methodology maybe difficult to accept by the EA community where EA is considered as the enterprise architecture blueprint. However, considering EA as methodology can explain the many different view of EA and move the EA evolution forward.
Adapt Zen Philosophy to define EA
This is effort to define EA by the essence and nature of EA rather than by the presentation of EA. Under the concept of Zen, It is essential to understand a subject based on its essence and nature rather from the various presentation. The EA community have invest significant effort to define EA from its various presentation as shown in the above link . After all this effort, the answer of “What is EA?” is still pending. It is about time to realize that it is not the best way to define EA base on the presentation of EA.
EA from it’s nature and essence rather than from the various presentation of EA.
Zen and its culture are unique to the East, and until recently the West knew little about them. Some Americans and Europeans who have learned of Zen have become deeply interested in it.
The interest stems possibly from Zens ability to communicate new life awareness. Western culture is oriented primarily toward Being; Eastern culture, toward non-Being. Being can be studied by objective logic. Non-Being must be existentially understood; it is the principle of absolute negation that enables one to loosen bonds and turn toward limitlessness.
This culture of non-Being developed in the Far East with the points of emphasis differing from country to country. In India it was pre dominantly intellectual and philosophical; in China, practical and down to earth; and in Japan, esthetic and emotional. Zen linked up with these various cultural characteristics as it spread. What then is Zen?
To define Zen is difficult. To define is to limit to make a neat conceptual package that abstracts from the whole and gives only part of the picture. This would not capture Zen, for it is rooted in our deepest life flow and deals with the facts of unfettered experience.
The non-conceptual nature of Zen is apparent in the catch phrases that became popular in Sung China. Zen trainees took their cues from such expressions as:
No dependence on words and letters;
A special transmission outside the classified teachings;
Direct pointing to the mind of man; and
Seeing the mind is becoming the Buddha.
Zen is not bound by the words and letters of the sutras and satras. It passes from mind to mind outside the classified and systematized doctrines. Systematizing the Buddhist scriptures was a characteristic of Chinese Buddhism. But Zen basically eluded systematization. It does not lean on the classified teachings. It concentrates on penetrating to the inherent nature of man, and this is called becoming the Buddha.
LEA define Enterprise Architecture as :
- EA is not only about architecture, the key is “Enterprise”
- EA is not only about Information Technology.
- EA is not about large organizations
- EA is not enterprise wide solution architecture.
- EA is not an enterprise simulation system
In the past , the EA community have focused on architecture and practiced EA to architect the enterprise wide solution architecture blueprint. It is difficult to distinguish EA from Enterprise wide solution architecture. The NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology ) EA model represent a typical architecture method.
The key is “Enterprise” rather than Architecture
“Enterprise” is the key to distinguish EA from solution architecture. “Architecture” is the common denominator between EA and SA which also contribute to the confusion. The following figure is created to properly present EA with Zachman framework and NIST EA model.
Zachman Framework is a holistic thinking tool
Zachman framework represent the holistic approach, consider a system holistically from the attributes of why, what, how, who, where and when and from the role of planner, owner, designer and contractor. This framework relatively holistic compare to the stovepipe architecture approach but it is mechanical holistic rather the organically holistic. In stovepipe architecture approach, the IT community have focused on business process and develop automation only from a specific view.
Enterprise Map to visualize the “Enterprise”
Enterprise Map is created to emphasize the key of EA is “Enterprise”, Zachman framework as the holistic thinking tool is abstractive, the Enterprise Map is a tangible tool to the visualize the enterprise.
Enterprise Map example:
II. EA IS NOT ALL ABOUT INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES
III. EA IS NOT ENTERPRISE WIDE SOLUTION ARCHITECTURE
EA is an emerging paradigm rather than a large scale solution architecture. It requires the discipline not only to see the enterprise big picture but also know the parts and facilitate collaborative culture. Enterprise Architects are the “Glue” to:.
- Enable every one to see the whole and know the parts..
- Minimize stove pipes, silo system and islands of information.
- Enable agility in adapting to change via learning experience of the other, looking for common ground, reuse and interoperability..
- Buy-in from stakeholder with collaboratve governmenace by building consensus instead of command and contol .
- Faciltate enterprise collaborative culture
- Close gaps between strategy and execution by enabling every one to see the big picture and know the parts; facilitate collaborative culture and building consensus and enable agility in adapting to change.
The Difference between EA and enterprise wide solution architecture
The following table distinguish EA from enterprise solution architecture.
SA contributes to stovepipe system, EA minimize stovepipe systems and enable agility in adapting to change. Solution Architecture create unique and optimized solution to satisfy unique set of requirements which also contribute to stovepipe solution. EA was initiated to overcome stovepipe system. The only way to to overcome stovepipe system is to take a holistic architecture instead taking as an enterprise scale solution architecture. A enterprise wide solution architecture is not a efficient approach to overcome the challenge of stovepipe. It may create a biger stove pipe system.
EA and SA are in different paradigm
EA and Solution Architecture are in different paradigm. SA is in scientic paradigm to create an unique and optimized solution for a specific set of requirements. EA is in the holistic paradigm to see the whole and know the parts. Solution Architecture for simple system as defined in Cynefin framework. Enterprise Architecture support complex system.
EA requires multiple architecture theory
SA for a simple system is based on vertical architecture theory to align architecture with requriements. EA is based on vertical, horizontal and coherence architecture theory to minimize redundancy, enable agility, facilitate collaboration.
EA enables the enterprise agility in adopting to change.
Enterprise is organic, it change constantly with time, it futile to design an frozen enterprise blueprint which become obsolete before ink dry. EA enables enterprise agility by identify the enterprise primitives and finding common groud. Solution Architects are the “Guru”, Enterprise Architects are the “Glue”
The role of Enterprise Architects are also very different from Solution Architects. Solution Architects are the “Guru” to design optimize and unique solution. Enterprise Architects are the “Glue” to faciliate collaboration, enable agility in adapting to change and close the gaps between strategy and execution.
IV. EA IS NOT ONLY FOR LARGE ORGANIZATION
Under the concept of EA as the enterprise wide solution architecture, most people have the ideal that EA is only for large organization because small organization do not the need and resources for EA. However, under the concept of EA is as an method to facilitate enterprise collaboration, minimize redundant effort and enable enterprise agility in adopting to change by identify enterprise building blocks, EA should be no difference for large or small company. Actually, Smaller organization can benefit from EA more by learning experiences of the others from the same line of business. An Enterprise Architect can help an organization to learn the right experience of the others without make significant investment to reinvent wheel.
In addition, based on the concept of Macrocosm and Microcosm, EA should be the same for large and small organization . Macrocosm and Microcosm which seeing the same patterns reproduced in all levels of the cosmos, from the largest scale (macrocosm or universe-level) all the way down to the smallest scale (microcosm or sub-sub-atomic or even metaphysical-level).
The Greeks were philosophically concerned with a rational explanation of everything and saw the repetition of the golden ratio throughout the world and all levels of reality as a step towards this unifying theory. In short, it is the recognition that the same traits appear in entities of many different sizes, from one man to the entire human population.
V. EA IS NOT AN ENTERPRISE SIMULATION SYSTEM
For a while, EA was associate to enterprise modeling. Many EA vendors market EA as a Enterprise simulation system to support impact analysis and serve as a decision making tool. EA is an emerging paradigm rather than a redundant System simulation discipline . The enterprise scale simulation system requires significant investment of time and resources. Unfortunately, Enterprise is a living thing and the impact analysis have not yield the value as expected.