This is the first in a series of blog posts by Corey Balko on his memoirs implementing Enterprise Architecture (EA).
What do you think of when you hear the words Enterprise Architecture or EA? If you think of
bureaucracy or the gaming company Electronic Arts, then you couldn’t be further from the truth.
Enterprise Architecture is defined by Gartner as the process of translating business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating and improving the key requirements, principles and models that describe the enterprise’s future state and enable its evolution. This is a verbose way of saying EA manages complexity and delivers business value.
While working at a Fortune Fifty company, EA became all the rage and many people within my organization began looking for ways to capitalize on this new revolution. EA was actually 19-years-old at this point in time, but it has gone in and out of style like skinny jeans. Without executive support or sponsorship, a grassroots project was started to get the proverbial foot in the door. The effort required a tool that could be leveraged to understand what applications and business processes were running on the company’s mainframe, slated for retirement in three years.
Troux was selected as the tool of choice because of the many features it had to offer including a unique question based implementation approach. We adopted an EA tool that could describe the enterprise’s current mainframe state and started a project that could show potential savings over time. As a result, mainframe contracts were renegotiated which created huge savings on buying the software outright versus leasing. The project did, however, end up being abandoned once the team realized it was going to take much longer than three years to complete.
Since this was the bleeding edge of EA awareness within the company, few had the appetite to support it even after savings were realized. Ironically, this happened at a time when the leadership team forgot why they were in business in the first place. They had lost the passion and began to define the company by what they did instead of why they did it. Simon Sinek, the author of Start With Why calls this “the split.” The company no longer had a business vision or strategy and was, by definition, unable to embrace Enterprise Architecture.
Was this the end of Troux and the push for real Enterprise Architecture within my organization? Absolutely not! It was just a bump along the road which caused a detour back to the drawing board to come up with another approach to gaining executive support or at least tolerance for EA.
Join me next Thursday for what can only be summarized as an exciting journey; a trail of blood, sweat and tears.
In the meantime, please share your thoughts on EA. Are you familiar with Troux? Have you implemented Troux in the past or are currently implementing it? What are some of the pitfalls you have learned along the way?