Personally and professionally, it’s very exciting to see the blogosphere and twitterverse abuzz about the findings from Gartner’s Enterprise Architecture Hype Cycle, 2010. I’m certain my excitement over this topic just adds to my credibility as a geek (if not, have a look at this video from Norway about .net vs. java development: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Px-GHPxB4I).
Mike Walker chose to blog about this (see http://www.mikethearchitect.com/2010/08/gartner-2010-hype-cycle-for-enterprise-architecture.html) as did a a couple of others, including:
- An argument that EA is already on the Plateau of Productivity: http://astern.blogspot.com/2010/08/has-enterprise-architecture-reached-its.html
- A critique of our findings: http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/ea_matters/2010/08/gartners-ea-hypecycle-critique.php
I’ve also seen this picked up on other “news services” as well, including http://www.zycko.com/news/800017411-Enterprise_architecture_integrates_business_with_IT, http://www.ciol.com/Enterprise/Enterprise/News-Reports/EA-to-bridge-gap-for-business-and-IT/139781/0/ & http://biztech2.in.com/india/news/enterprise-solutions/enterprise-architecture-enters-trough-of-disillusionment-gartner/88972/0.
Further recounts of the news that the Hype Cycle is in existence were also find in the morning’s scan:
The last one is in Dutch. I love it when I see my name in print in languages I can’t read fluently. I still have a copy of an article with my picture from Slovenia that quotes something I was talking about when I addressed every CIO in the country during a conference in 2003. I don’t read Slovenian and can’t recall if I said anything worth remembering. I do hope it all sounds good in Dutch.
Enterprise architecture “news” doesn’t always happen that quickly, so it’s interesting to see how, like the phone game I played as a child, the facts in our research can quickly become garbled in translation. For those of you not familiar with the phone game, I quote wikipedia:
…the first player whispers a phrase or sentence to the next player. Each player successively whispers what that player believes he or she heard to the next. The last player announces the statement to the entire group. Errors typically accumulate in the retellings, so the statement announced by the last player differs significantly, and often amusingly, from the one uttered by the first.
To be fair, it’s not that terrible, but there are a few interesting observations about some different interpretations of key points.
EA and Strategy. First off, I think it’s only fair to point out to a number of practitioners that, from the perspective of Gartner analysts, the META Group analysts Gartner acquired in 2005, and leaders in this field such as Larry DeBoever (most recently at EADirections) and Richard Buchanan (today at Gartner) – EA is the bridge between strategy and implementation. As such, when strategy is absent or when EA value is proven, EA practitioners do find themselves engaged in the development of strategy and have done so for many years (see some of the examples I mentioned in a recent blog: https://blogs.gartner.com/philip-allega/2010/08/10/is-ea-really-bvr-business-value-realization).
It is, partially, for this lack of clarity as to the relationships between EA and Strategy (recognizing that, sometimes, EA is Strategy) that we placed EA coming just out the trough of disillusionment. Furthermore, when we look at the extended value proposition of leaders in IT and EA we see that their roles take on more than we have traditionally assumed that they would be capable of doing for their organization.
This continued misunderstanding that EA programs have little to do with business strategy was echoed in Adraina Grigoriu’s critique of Gartner’s EA Hype Cycle, 2010 (see http://www.ebizq.net/blogs/ea_matters/2010/08/gartners-ea-hypecycle-critique.php), when he expressed some surprise that EA architects might be involved in developing strategy for their company.
If you don’t believe Gartner when we say that this happens, perhaps the 2006 book by Ross, Weill, and Robertson may help show further instances where this has been happening since 2006, and earlier: Enterprise Architecture As Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution.
The Overall Positioning of EA. EA as a concept has been around for more than 20 years, since John Zachmann introduced it in the “IBM Systems Journal,” vol. 26, no. 3, 1987. IBM Publication G321-5298, but the discipline is not yet mature. At the time the concept was introduced, many organizations were experiencing difficulty managing their IT plants, as technology began to evolve from a back-office support function to a business-critical capability. Starting in the 1990s, enterprises began to introduce EA disciplines into their IT organizations as they tried to come to grips with the increased complexity of IT and the changing nature of the IT organization’s relationship to the business. EA has had a rocky ride. As we point out in “So You Think You’re Doing Enterprise Architecture?“, many EA teams are doing things, under the banner of EA, which are really not EA. Common examples of this include:
- Omitting the business context step
- Starting with comprehensive documentation of the current state
- Adopting a framework, then producing every artifact in the framework without analyzing which artifacts will deliver business value and address the strategic needs of the organization.
- Focusing on solving tactical problems and never having time to devote to the strategic issues
The overall maturity of EA by practitioners is adolescent. Strong examples of successful practitioners do exist, delivering value to their business with EA; however, many more struggle with the basic steps to delivering a successful EA program. As market hype concerning alternatives to EA continues (see Business-Driven EA), we see EA practitioners focusing more upon EA value realization than upon creation of artifacts for their own sake. Market hype will begin to abate as a common understanding of enterprise architecture is attained (see EA Frameworks entry in our research). The winners will be the practitioners themselves and the organizations they serve as EA reaches the plateau of productivity in the next five to 10 years.
As a result of immaturity and misapplications of EA, compounded by the market of “my way to do EA is better than your way to do EA”, we still see EA just coming out of the trough of disillusionment (see https://blogs.gartner.com/philip-allega/2010/08/09/good-news-ea-coming-out-of-trough-of-disillusionment/).
Isf EA business-driven or is “business-driven EA” something different? Going back to my comments on EA and Strategy, I think that it’s important to reflect upon the hype of the entry we entitled “business-driven EA”. We noted that this will be obsolete before it ever hits the plateau (see the graphic here: http://www.gartner.com/hc/images/201646_0001.gif).
Gartner’s definition for many years, and that of META Group’s before, begins with:
Enterprise architecture is the process of translating business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change…
As we stated in our research, “Business-driven EA” is a term used by pundits, vendors, consultancies and practitioners who seek to differentiate themselves by redefining enterprise architecture as a new discipline that is more aligned with the business and to differentiate themselves from misperceptions of the long-held definition of EA. Many advocate the development of a “business architecture” as if it were a new concept and thus struggle to clarify their distinction beyond a desire to add fear, uncertainty and doubt concerning the work of enterprise architects.
Enterprise architects have been observed to use the term “business-driven EA” as a way to:
- Garner business interest in EA
- Relaunch limited enterprise technical architecture (ETA) efforts to focus more broadly on the business context, enterprise information architecture (EIA), enterprise solution architecture (ESA) and enterprise business architecture (EBA)
- Relaunch a failed EA program that had not translated business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change
Enterprise architecture (when properly practiced) has always been “business-driven.” As organizations mature in their understanding of EA, realizing that it has always been based on business context, enterprise architecture will evolve out of the Trough of Disillusionment. As this happens, we believe the use of the term “business-driven EA” will wain into obsolescence.
Tom Graves recent blog (see http://weblog.tomgraves.org/index.php/2010/08/10/hoist-by-their-own-petard/) seems to believe that Gartner”…‘discovered’ business-oriented architecture somewhen in the past couple of years”; this just shows that we must not have been that good in communicating our message about what EA is, and has been, to Tom (sorry, Tom).
Tom noted that Gabriel Mortno, of Microsoft’s internal Enterprise Strategic Planning unit, posted a blog (see http://weblog.tomgraves.org/index.php/2010/08/08/microsoft-breakthrough-in-ea/) on what Gabriel described as a ‘breakthrough’ in enterprise-architecture, “A Breakthrough: Maturing EA to be a Catalyst to Transform the Company“. As Tom noted, this should have been no surprise to those who have always known that EA must be linked to the business; but, Tom missed the point that we see “business-driven EA” as not making it to the plateau of productivity because, to be curt, savvy practitioners are already recognizing the EA has ALWAYS BEEN business-driven and didn’t need a new qualifier. He makes that point that he sees EA coming up the slope of enlightenment and we, too, see EA coming out of the trough (see https://blogs.gartner.com/philip-allega/2010/08/09/good-news-ea-coming-out-of-trough-of-disillusionment/).
As I have seen it over my past 20 years in EA, I see the following progression of EA that our Hype Cycle confirmed and exposed the following progression:
1980-1990s: Architecting for IT
2000s: Architecting for the Business
2010s: Architecting for the Extended Enterprise
So, leaders have been seeing EA applied to the four walls of the business for some time and those further out in front are applying this to the extended enterprise of their business ecosystem. This is beyond where most are and why some of those profiles just entering the hype cycle seem foreign, and out of place, to many practitiioners. There’s more of this to be explored in our research over the coming year.
I hope that this further engages discussions in the “hype” over the “hype cycle” for EA in 2010. Overall, it has been very exciting to engage in this online dialogue concerning Gartner’s EA Hype Cycle, 2010.
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