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Enterprise Technical Architecture in 4 Slides

by Bruce Robertson  |  May 4, 2011  |  26 Comments

Next week I’ll be presenting on this “Enterprise Technical Architecture in 4 Slides” topic at Gartner’s EA Summit conference in London, and then again on June 22-23 in San Diego (event details in the links per event — follow the event on twitter using the #GartnerEA hashtag or me directly @brucemr).

We’ve noticed (since we review so many client architecture documents) that many EA practitioners have trouble generating a high level, conceptual, simple and direct statement of their enterprise architecture, particularly in enterprise technical architecture (ETA). This however is required — so many stakeholders will never read a longer detailed description of the architecture. You may of course still need to create deeper logical and implementation level detail about things — but these are mostly for those doing the building, not those who would use the resulting new system or standards. In fact, most if not all EA stakeholders need — at least at first — a simple summary of just what the architecture is.

In this presentation I’m going to describe one effective way to handle this problem: just use a 4 slides technique. What 4 slides? Future state, current state, gap analysis and migration plan. Not surprising really — these are the base deliverables of any EA discipline at a high level. There are of course many best practices and indeed alternatives to the representations of such information to consider — I’ll discuss those too. But, the basic point I’m making is that you can do it in 4 slides. You should be able to do it in 4 slides — and if you can’t, then you’re not doing a good job at sending key yet simple messages about your ETA.

Ironically, however, I have more than 4 slides in my presentation. Oh well. I tried to make this the shortest Gartner presentation ever, but some overhead creeps in! The meat is the 4 slides, however.

Do you have a 4 slide approach like this for your overall ETA story, or more specifically for more specific areas (a given technical domain strategy, a technical service architecture, and technical pattern architecture)? How do you make the points simple enough to speak easily to key constituencies and stakeholders, the very ones who just don’t want to hear much about why you’re proposing this or the details of what’s inside?

Category: enterprise-architecture  

Bruce Robertson
Research VP
15 years at Gartner
27 years IT industry

Bruce Robertson is a research vice president at Gartner in the Business Process Management (BPM) group, formerly in the Enterprise Planning and Architecture Strategies (EPAS) group. Read Full Bio


Thoughts on Enterprise Technical Architecture in 4 Slides


  1. Any chance of seeing the presentation even if you cannot make the seminars?

  2. Dunstan Vavasour says:

    Sometimes there will be one or more intermediate states between current and future, which merit their own slide. And sometimes one wants the characteristics/benefits of the future state to be spelled out. But broadly I agree.

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