the Argument

Motivation The need of Companies and Organizations.
Situation Organizational governance.
Disambiguation Current practice.
Disruption EXCOGITEA® relevancy.
Validation EXCOGITEA® approach.
Proposal Architecture Model.

Motivation The need of Companies and Organizations.

While looking to improve their efficiency at executing their purpose, Companies and Organizations also need to be adaptable.
This is even more true as nowadays ecosystems are spreading and growing, providing access to even more opportunities.
Obviously, regulations are evolving as-well, and imply an imperative of compliance for Organizations, which is seen as a constraint.

Facing those challenges, Organizations devote a significant part of their efforts to build and maintain their scheme.
Some major concern being to translate strategy into actionable setup.

Situation Organizational governance.

Organizations use several standard artefacts like Business model, Capability map, Organization chart, Operating model, … in order to visualize, manage and assess their scheme.

As about building their scheme, Organizations manage it through several practices and methodologies like so called “architecture” practice and its derived flavours (Business, Enterprise, IT, Data, Security, …), and some other methodologies to define flows, streams, value chains and teams organizing and collaboration.

Obviously, practices are evolving and new initiatives are emerging.
However, despite the efforts Organizations put in these practices, they still struggle to obtain tangible and efficient results.

Some key concerns still look like pain points, bottlenecks hampering Organizations:

  • Business and Technology alignment.
  • Adaptability to to changes (Business strategy, Legal compliance, …).
  • Data and Information management.
  • Value streams identification.
  • Blurry TCOs.

Disambiguation Current practice.

Overall, current practice is to define components, and their orchestrations, meant to fulfil or to support identified business activities.

Created components and their links (relations) then constitute an overall mesh which present some sort of structuration.
That mesh of components is what’s called “architecture”.
Indeed, in common language, “architecture” is used as a synonym of “structure”.
That approach, in current practice, has consequences.

The term “architecture” is used to name any structured item, whether an overall mesh, a part of it, and even the internal structure of a sole component.
The relevancy of an architecture practice remains ambiguous.

The term “architecture” is applied to different subsets (BDAT, Security, …). Actually, they rather relate to viewpoints.
Scopes and boundaries remain undefined.

The term “architecture” is used to designate any practice related to a given “structure”, or all the practices involving the structure.
The practice of “architecture”, as such, remains undefined.

The term “architect” is applied to any function title of any stakeholder involved in the practices related to the “structure”. (badge owner)
The role of the “architect” remains undefined.

Obviously, existing practices are supported by several existing frameworks.
They can be adopted, adapted and/or combined.
They provide several canvas with predefined sets of namings, sequences methods, …
Yes they provide guidance, but really, they frame the approach of practices rather than the practice itself.

In conclusion, there’s a non negligible lack of consistency in current practice.
And it’s not solved by current frameworks either.
It’s not surprising if the current practice fails to manage boundaries, correlations, roles, …
and therefore, fails to support Organizations facing their challenge of efficiency and adaptability.

Disruption EXCOGITEA® relevancy.

EXCOGITEA® is based on professional Architecture.

As opposed to its poor use as a synonym of structure, Architecture is a discipline, a profession which already exists (building Architecture).
The claim of EXCOGITEA® is to use that existing discipline and apply it to an “Organization”.
The purpose isn’t to deny current practice but to revisit it through a professional lens.

“Architects are builders” is true, but it is a shortcut.
Fundamentally, Architecture is conceiving discipline.
The approach is holistic by definition.
The principle is to conceive a build which serve the activity purpose of the future-owner.

EXCOGITEA® defines the essence of the practice with the following quote:

Shaping space, by integrating constraints, to serve a purpose.”

EXCOGITEA® names the discipline “Enterprise Architecture”

“Organization” can be used as a very generic term.
However, there’s a variety of terms used to designate entities. And “organization” is one of them.
Whether it designates non-profit and non-governmental entities, commercial entities, … , other terms are used, like “Company”, “Association”, “Society”, “Corporation”, “Group”, “Firm”, …

“Enterprise” is an interesting term.
It’s already used in current practices to designate broader views (e.g.: enterprise-wide).
But mostly, it relates to entrepreneurship. It designateswhat is undertaken”.

EXCOGITEA® gives sense to “Enterprise Architecture

Instead of considering a static structure with a foreseen enterprise-wide scope,
EXCOGITEA® talks about shaping the space for what’s undertaken.

EXCOGITEA® goes beyond current practice(s)

It considers the Enterprise not only as enterprise-wide but as enterprise as-a-whole.
It considers the Enterprise sharing what is undertaken and having a same purpose.

Validation EXCOGITEA® approach.

As for applying Architecture discipline to the “Enterprise”, it’s about considering the overall entity, its purpose, and its implantation in the environment. Then, it’s also about considering its heterogeneity and its dynamics.

The conceiving work starts by identifying and integrating the needs and the constraints.
Constraints, in architecture, doesn’t mean pain-points. It means considerations that guide the architect in his creative work.
The principle consists of identifying criteria and their relevancy in terms of shaping.

Another point is that shaping happens at scale.

e.g.: when conceiving a hospital, you don’t start by a sole care room.

From overall to detailed levels, shaping involves different scales and granularities.
Architecture starts by defining main axes of shaping which will constitute generic criteria for further and more detailed shaping. (btw., this is what makes the scheme scalable and adaptable).

Another point is that Architecture can integrate it all because it doesn’t shape from a viewpoint, a particular focus or any specific concern.
Here’s the thing, a built isn’t made of views, isn’t an assembly of views. Views are used to illustrate a conceived built.
Architecture addresses the Enterprise constitutively.
This is how and why Enterprise Architecture can address the Enterprise as a whole.
In fact, this is by shaping the whole, constitutively, that you can fulfil respective concerns.

Another point is that Architecture is about shaping space.
The principle is to define the different spaces needed and dedicated to the different activities.
The difference with building architecture is that the space size is limitless. The interest being the assignation of the space.
It also means that Architecture isn’t about modeling activities but shaping their dedicated spaces.
And this is the first key point to introduce adaptability.
Components exists as such, within space, and not through their links representing their usages.

While current practices are stuck in modeling, at a detailed level, …
Professional Architecture (building) shapes space and provides an environment for modeled activities.
That environment, being shaped, already integrates the relevant generic criteria in order to assure overall coherence. This is what introduce stability.

Proposal Architecture Model.

Furthermore than redefining the discipline, EXCOGITEA® has put its original approach into practice.

EXCOGITEA® has developed a model.
The difference is that it is not an Enterprise model but an Architecture Model for Enterprises.
It is a result of applying Architecture Discipline.
It is a proposal, an exploitable example.
It is independent from activity domains.

“The Architecture Model for Enterprise (AME) is characterized by the conceptualization of a shaped environment which allow to address the heterogeneity and dynamics of an Enterprise.” – EXCOGITEA®