NASCIO Defines State of Enterprise Architecture at The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia

By E.G. Nadhan, HP

I have attended and blogged about many Open Group conferences. The keynotes at these conferences like other conferences provide valuable insight into the key messages and the underlying theme for the conference – which is Enterprise Architecture and Enterprise Transformation for The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia. Therefore, it is no surprise that Eric Sweden, Program Director, Enterprise Architecture & Governance, NASCIO will be delivering one of the keynotes on “State of the States: NASCIO on Enterprise Architecture”. Sweden asserts “Enterprise Architecture” provides an operating discipline for creating, operating, continual re-evaluation and transformation of an “Enterprise.” Not only do I agree with this assertion, but I would add that the proper creation, operation and continuous evaluation of the “Enterprise” systemically drives its transformation. Let’s see how.

Creation. This phase involves the definition of the Enterprise Architecture (EA) in the first place. Most often, this involves the definition of an architecture that factors in what is in place today while taking into account the future direction. TOGAF® (The Open Group Architecture Framework) provides a framework for developing this architecture from a business, application, data, infrastructure and technology standpoint; in alignment with the overall Architecture Vision with associated architectural governance.

Operation. EA is not a done deal once it has been defined. It is vital that the EA defined is sustained on a consistent basis with the advent of new projects, new initiatives, new technologies, and new paradigms. As the abstract states, EA is a comprehensive business discipline that drives business and IT investments. In addition to driving investments, the operation phase also includes making the requisite changes to the EA as a result of these investments.

Continuous Evaluation. We live in a landscape of continuous change with innovative solutions and technologies constantly emerging. Moreover, the business objectives of the enterprise are constantly impacted by market dynamics, mergers and acquisitions. Therefore, the EA defined and in operation must be continuously evaluated against the architectural principles, while exercising architectural governance across the enterprise.

Transformation. EA is an operating discipline for the transformation of an enterprise. Enterprise Transformation is not a destination — it is a journey that needs to be managed — as characterized by Twentieth Century Fox CIO, John Herbert. To Forrester Analyst Phil Murphy, Transformation is like the Little Engine That Could — focusing on the business functions that matter. (Big Data – highlighted in another keynote at this conference by Michael Cavaretta — is a paradigm gaining a lot of ground for enterprises to stay competitive in the future.)

Global organizations are enterprises of enterprises, undergoing transformation faced with the challenges of systemic architectural governance. NASCIO has valuable insight into the challenges faced by the 50 “enterprises” represented by each of the United States. Challenges that contrast the need for healthy co-existence of these states with the desire to retain a degree of autonomy. Therefore, I look forward to this keynote to see how EA done right can drive the transformation of the Enterprise.

By the way, remember when Enterprise Architecture was done wrong close to the venue of another Open Group conference?

How does Enterprise Architecture drive the transformation of your enterprise? Please let me know.

A version of this blog post originally appeared on the HP Journey through Enterprise IT Services Blog.

HP Distinguished Technologist and Cloud Advisor, E.G.Nadhan has over 25 years of experience in the IT industry across the complete spectrum of selling, delivering and managing enterprise level solutions for HP customers. He is the founding co-chair for The Open Group SOCCI project and is also the founding co-chair for the Open Group Cloud Computing Governance project. 

3 Comments

Filed under Business Architecture, Cloud, Cloud/SOA, Conference, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Transformation, TOGAF®

3 responses to “NASCIO Defines State of Enterprise Architecture at The Open Group Conference in Philadelphia

  1. @Nadhan: “By the way, remember when Enterprise Architecture was done wrong close to the venue of another Open Group conference?”

    The Winchester Mystery House is NOT an example of when EA was done wrong.

    It is a perfect example of when EA was done right.

    It is good architecture because it satisfied the Enterprises requirements. And an architecture ONLY exists to satisfies the Enterprises requirements.

    The point to be made is that sometimes we have to architect things that do not look nice and answers those critics that say we are always trying to create the perfect world ad live in ivory towers.

    True EA’s are not trying to create the perfect world, nor do we live in ivory towers.
    True EA’s solve understand, analyse and solve real business problems.
    If that means we have to architect things that look horrible. so be it.

  2. Thank you, Kevin, for weighing in with your thoughts. I must say your response provides a whole other perspective to me on the Winchester Mystery House. The way the house is laid out today certainly is very intriguing. Based on my user experience today, the solution is not aligning with my understanding of today’s requirements. I am sure you would agree, if we were to redefine the “Enterprise Requirements” today, they would not be met by the architecture as it exists.

    However, your point is that it was architected in alignment withe “Enterprise Requirements” as they were defined and continued to evolve. Thus, it is an example of why we need to constantly review the “Enterprise Requirements” and sustain and grow the Enterprise Architecture in alignment with these requirements. We need to constantly review the current state — define the future state and a roadmap for transformation to the future state to address the requirements of tomorrow.

    • kevinleesmith

      @Nadhan: “I must say your response provides a whole other perspective to me on the Winchester Mystery House.”

      It is sad to say that many (most) “architects” think it’s an example of bad architecture because it looks bad and to them seems idiotic.

      I also have to say that more often than not I find myself in the minority which for many must be an indication of being wrong. Again, a true architect understands that progress comes not from swimming with the majority, but challenging it with new idea – which by definition means you are in a minority.

      @Nadhan: “The way the house is laid out today certainly is very intriguing. Based on my user experience today, the solution is not aligning with my understanding of today’s requirements.”

      Actually you are wrong again!

      It wasn’t designed to align with your understanding of todays requirements – how could it – that would have required the ability to look into the future and know what your requirements were – which is a little difficult especially as you probably didn’t even exist at that point in time.

      @Nadhan: “I am sure you would agree, if we were to redefine the “Enterprise Requirements” today, they would not be met by the architecture as it exists.”

      Actually you are wrong again!!!

      Todays “Enterprise Requirements” are that it should be an extremely interesting place that people want to see and pay money for. It fulfils these “Enterprise Requirements” perfectly.

      @Nadhan: “However, your point is that it was architected in alignment withe “Enterprise Requirements” as they were defined and continued to evolve. Thus, it is an example of why we need to constantly review the “Enterprise Requirements” and sustain and grow the Enterprise Architecture in alignment with these requirements.”

      Yes – even if we do not like the requirements or think they are mad and stupid. Of course this doesn’t mean we can’t express our opinions.

      @Nadhan: “We need to constantly review the current state — define the future state and a roadmap for transformation to the future state to address the requirements of tomorrow.”

      I agree.