Inside Architecture

Notes on Enterprise Architecture, Business Alignment, Interesting Trends, and anything else that interests me this week...

December, 2011

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  • Inside Architecture

    Wikipedia and the definition of Enterprise Architecture

    • 18 Comments

    I was asked, this week, about a page that I had put into Wikipedia nearly three years ago.  Far from being able to take credit for it, I discovered that many of the edits made since I put the page up corrupted it to the point of uselessness.  Alas, after changing that page back, I checked out my favorite page: Enterprise Architecture. 

    And it was unrecognizable.

    The entire page had been rewritten by a single person (Matthew Kern) who, apparently, believes that “Enterprise Architecture” == FEAF (The US Government EA Framework).  While I applaud Mr. Kern’s desire to include cited sources for his statements, his decision to ignore all of the prior content and contributions and toss out all of the compromises along the way seems both short-sighted and arrogant, to say the least. 

    I endeavor to let the current author settle a bit, and then change most of the article back, but for the sake of documentation, I wanted to share the direction that Mr. Kern wants to take the Wikipedia article on EA.  Gentle readers, do you agree with Mr. Kern’s decision, or do you support my intent to revert to the original material?

    Previous Opening Section (compromise text) New Opening section
    An enterprise architecture (EA) is a rigorous description of the structure of an enterprise, which comprises enterprise components (business entities), the externally visible properties of those components, and the relationships (e.g. the behavior) between them.

    EA describes the terminology, the composition of enterprise components, and their relationships with the external environment, and the guiding principles for the requirement (analysis), design, and evolution of an enterprise.

    This description is comprehensive, including enterprise goals, business process, roles, organizational structures, organizational behaviors, business information, software applications and computer systems.
    Enterprise architecture (EA) is a term first used in print in NIST SP 500-167 a US Federal Government Document from the National Institute of Standards and Technology) in 1989. It is currently a mandatory practice in the US Federal Government: OMB Circular A-130 describes enterprise architecture and subordinate activities in some detail, in response to the Clinger Cohen Act (IT Management Reform Act) of 1996 mandatory requirement for government organizations (enterprises) to have an "IT architecture". The term has subsequently (after first use in 1989 by the US Federal Government) been used in foreign governments and in commercial practice.

    According to the U.S. Federal Government: "An EA is the explicit description and documentation of the current and desired relationships among business and management processes and information technology. It describes the "current architecture" and "target architecture" to include the rules and standards and systems life cycle information to optimize and maintain the environment which the agency wishes to create and maintain by managing its IT portfolio. The EA must also provide a strategy that will enable the agency to support its current state and also act as the roadmap for transition to its target environment. These transition processes will include an agency's capital planning and investment control processes, agency EA planning processes, and agency systems life cycle methodologies. The EA will define principles and goals and set direction on such issues as the promotion of interoperability, open systems, public access, compliance with GPEA, end user satisfaction, and IT security. The agency must support the EA with a complete inventory of agency information resources, including personnel, equipment, and funds devoted to information resources management and information technology, at an appropriate level of detail."

     

    What say you?

  • Inside Architecture

    Customer 2.0 Strikes

    • 0 Comments

    For those folks who don’t normally track the events of the Gamer community, I’d like to share a lesson that every consumer facing business should heed.  Social Media has changed the consumer landscape in an irrevocable way.  This incident demonstrates what happens to companies that don’t understand the new power of the customer.

    In short, a small manufacturer hired a marketing company to promote it’s novel product.  Unfortunately, the marketing company failed to correctly handle the import paperwork, and the product was stuck in customs.  Customers who ordered the product for Christmas were not going to get their product in time. 

    As you’d expect, some customers complained.  One in particular known only as “Dave.”  The marketing company made a couple of rather typical mistakes in handling the complaint.  The customer threatened to get the press and social media involved.  At that point, the company blew it.  Instead of taking a contrite and apologetic tone, offering to reduce the stress of the customer or even offering a discount on the order, the company representative sent a profane and inflammatory e-mail directly to the customer telling him, basically, to “get over it.”

    That customer shared his e-mail with social media, and the storm started.  Within hours, the manufacturer has fired the marketing company.  The marketing company has been banned from at least one influential show (and my guess, the fallout won’t stop there).  The company’s image is in the toilet.  If they are still in business in a year, I will be amazed.

    The business world has changed.  Customers have the power of community, and can act in groups in a way that they could never act before, at a speed that will make your head spin.  Companies who do not understand this fact will be left behind. 

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