Sometimes I wonder if EA practitioners have swung the pendulum too far away from the strategic aspects of EA in the interest of driving business outcomes. I often see EA teams fully allocated to supporting project delivery, a shortage of EA content, and design decisions made within narrow, shorter-term project contexts. While it is true that many EA teams have the wisdom to make sound on-the-spot decisions, an urgency to act can mean less objective analyses of broader and longer-term enterprise impact. We see evidence of it every day, simply by looking at the leftovers from past projects as reflected in complex and inflexible portfolios. The opportunity to shape the future and help the organization be better positioned for potential change does not get enough attention.
Why no strategic EA? There are many reasons. It could be that EA is not understood by the organization or that there is overcompensation for prior ivory-tower practices. When culture dictates that delivery is king, reward systems are biased to the short term. Even more fundamentally, most EA teams are made up of architects who are very good at short-term problem solving. It can be very satisfying, so they are drawn to it.
How can a bit more of a proactive enterprise perspective find its way into the mix, to enhance near-term decision making? It requires less effort than you might think to establish a collaborative learning culture and to build approaches to encourage it. In this issue, Tim Westbrock proposes using engagement models to provide enough structure to encourage collaboration and enterprise-wide analyses and decision making. Kent Christensen shares his thoughts on introducing the forward-looking concept of converged infrastructure. And in our final article, Lasitha Gunawardena and Latha Ramesh share their perspectives on IT governance in government, with lessons to be learned for everyone.
We hope these ideas help encourage you to be a more effective EA. And thanks for being an A&G reader!