The guys in the soccer free-kick lineup are really covering themselves. No wonder the .44Kg soccer ball can travel at 45 m/sec and deliver 445 Joules (E=1/2mV^2). That is about the kinetic energy of the punch of a middleweight boxing champ.
Although these guys are protecting themselves, they are also team players and maintain the “wall” to block the soccer ball. This brings up the topic of local versus global optimization.
In an enterprise, the various organizational units optimize their operations, but they often have to compromise for the benefit of the whole enterprise. They have to work as a team and maintain the “wall” together.
The question is: how can we determine what is best for the whole enterprise? This is especially relevant when considering Information Technologies, which permeate the enterprise. Information Technologies can be optimized either locally or globally, and the different stakeholders often have different expectations and concerns.
One has to step back from the detailed organizational unit views and develop a higher level Enterprise View. An Enterprise View means elements of business process, information, application, and infrastructure and their connections expressed in the form of abstract models. In other words: Enterprise Architecture. This Enterprise Architecture will represent the concerns of the various stakeholders and intends to achieve goals like re-useability and interoperability.
Stepping back also means identifying all the stakeholders and removing unnecessary details, i.e., abstraction.
Then we can go ahead and apply Rationale to determine the optimal To-be Enterprise Architecture.
- Consideration of enterprise level opportunities, costs and risks
- Shared vocabulary (Reference Architectures)
- Application of agreed upon doctrines (Enterprise Architecture Principles)
- Utilization of standard building blocks (Technology Standards)
- Use of structural and behavioral design patterns (Best Practices)
- High level plans merging mission, as-is state, and technology opportunities (Technology Roadmaps)
Finally, decisions have to be made based on the To-be Architecture and Rationale utilizing IT Governance which includes empowered stakeholder representatives. Execution (Projects) and assurance (Design Reviews) follows.
Enterprise Architecture is both a process and a product – preferably the product of the process.
On Monday take a look at your corporate Information Technology “wall”. If it is locally optimized and the players are ducking when the ball comes, apply Enterprise Architecture, Governance, and Assurance. But first right-size the Enterprise Architecture Process so it matches your culture and budget in order to avoid some typical EA failure modes.