GartnerSym – EA for CIOs

My last session of the day was EA for CIOs: What Does Enterprise Architecture Really Mean to You and Your Organisation? with Gartner Analyst Brian Burke.

The main reason for attending this session was to kind of get a feeling from a wide group of people who generally  understood the value of EA and that this recognised and appreciated.

Well, it wasn’t that straight forward, we started by introducing ourselves to the person next to us and saying what we thought our own organisations thought EA was about and the type of stuff we were doing – I spoke to a guy (can’t remember his name now) who was from the Financial Sector – Banking who basically said to me that his organisation were still working out what it thought EA was – this was comforting and reassuring but also at the same time worrying as it only meant that there was still a long way to go before people (CIO’s in particular) had a consistent view of what value EA’s brought to the table.

However i started worrying too soon, as Brian Burke said that EA will be different for different organisations as we all have a different “strategy direction” so EA’s will naturally offer different value depending on that vision.

Brian likened EA’s to Witch Doctors – No one really knows what we do but something “magical” happens < I chuckled at this point, as I’m still waiting for the magic to be honest, but i understood and agreed with what he said as I often face the same question over and over again “What does an Enterprise Architect Do?”

Again Brian had this covered as he recently put out a note on twitter asking for a definition of EA in no longer than 140 characters which is as follows:

Enterprise architecture increase business value by providing direction to shift the optimisation point from the project to the Enterprise = 138 characters

The key is to create not the perfect or most elegant architecture for the moment, but the most adaptable architecture for the future EA future. There is still a huge problem with most EA team around communications, but that was recognised by most people in the room.

brian went on to outline an example set of value that EA delivers – Value can be derived from:

  • Identify standards (business processes, information, technology, solutions, people skills, etc.).
  • Consolidate expenditures by reducing duplication.
  • Assist in application rationalisation.

There were more on the screen but I didn’t capture them all…

After that the session covered aspects of reports I’d previously read or had access to so my concentration wavered. It was a good session, although i was perhaps hoping for something which providing a unified picture across all sectors – but that just isn’t possible – EA is about what your organisation requires you to do, so it has to be organisation specific – the approach and disciplines can be similar but this session wasn’t about that.

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