by Chris Potts

Enterprise Architecture: breaking out of IT

Sep 21, 20071 min
IT Leadership

In the last year I’ve been invited to address two Enterprise Architecture (EA) conferences on opposite sides of the world on the role of EA in driving business innovation. In both cases, it seemed that EA is underplaying its hand, big time. Conferences, conversations and books on the subject seem to find it hard to break free from EA being IT-centric, or at least primarily done to make IT-related decisions. Even the recent and much-regarded book Enterprise Architecture as Strategy can’t help talking about EA with a predominantly IT focus. Meanwhile, the EA work that I do with CIOs and other executives is almost nothing to do with IT at all. It’s about executing corporate strategy: key business outcomes and metrics; distribution of business accountabilites and competencies; corporate culture; business processes and knowledge. Its purpose is to help inspire and shape the company’s plans for investing in change. Some of the resulting investment projects include IT, some don’t. Where we paint EA as a predominantly IT-related discipline we are stifling its potential contribution to business innovation and value creation. How can we break EA out of its IT-centric focus?