Can Enterprise architecture evolve and match business dynamics

Yesterday I read that Gartner predicts most companies are going to block access to social networks. EbizQ posted a very interesting discussion (with very few answers unfortunately) about the In the future, what will be the role of the enterprise architect.

Imagine a company have a complains management process in place with the possibility of catching complains on Facebook, Orkut, Twitter and others, and introduces a new policy blocking access to social network sites. Can enterprise architecture be so dynamic to evolve such complexity, or it will remain like an initial framework to structure a business process in the beginning or when the process is fully overhauled?

This is my opinion:

Enterprise architecture plays a key role in ensuring alignment between processes, technology and the organization, yet I see difficulty in becoming something dynamic because of the continued lack of governance in strategy and business processes.
Enterprise architecture seems to be used for the discovery and definition of processes, but then fails in its evolution. For example: imagine that 5 years ago a company implemented a complaints management process and thought through all the points of contact and applications designed to support the process.
Two years after Facebook becomes massive and other social sites of regional dominance like Orkut in Brazil are a standard where customers complain. The company detects the need to provide an opportunity to capture the negative feedback in the process and integrate this new possibility. Therefore, the architecture has to be revised. Twitter appears and simultaneously the company introduces a new policy of blocking social networks because of the lack of productivity, which means that it needs to be defined who can access social networks to make complaints handling.

Later the company it is a restructuring mode. Some people who once responsible for complaints handling now they cannot access to social networks and it must be open to others who replaced them. Complex isn’t it? Enterprise architecture should be able to evolve all these changes, but I feel that is still used in the initial conceptualization of a particular problem rather than have the capacity to evolve the business dynamics.

In the future, what will be the role of the enterprise architect

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3 thoughts on “Can Enterprise architecture evolve and match business dynamics

  1. Pingback: EA and Business Process Quotes of the week « Adam Deane

  2. Hi Alberto, my opinion is that a great architecture isn’t bothered by the changes you mention. Especially if processes aren’t rigid flows and seen as part of the architecture. Processes should be linked through goals and outcomes with strategy and not define the exact execution, but define at which points which information is needed for which skill to make an outcome relevant decision.

    A good architecture is further amended and does not have to be revised. The architecture of a business follows the same principles as that of a building. It is not the construction drawings and it doesn’t describe how the bricks are being laid or the steel is being welded. It doesn’t describe exactly which work steps people will perform in which room. A well architectured building is in most cases multi-use and flexible. It focuses on making people productive by making them feel comfortable. It improves communciation between people. It ensures security and safety. It reduces operating expenditure by being energy efficient.

    Therfore process flows are for me never part of any architecture hierarchy. They are performed by the people that LIVE and WORK in those rooms, but they aren’t part of the building or business architecture. Therefore if you are running into the problem that your architecture needs to be changed anymore, it is not an architecture, it is something else.

  3. Hi Max.

    I agree with your reasoning, but what you defend is most of the time a could be scenario because most the companies (the few) that execute enterprise architecture is on a snapshot basis like what I presented where, thus like you say, it’s definitively necessary a much more dynamic approach in order to presented dinosaur process execution.

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