Enterprise … purposely Architecture

Synonym of structure

The term “architecture” is widely used, in common language, as a synonym of “structure”.
It has significantly influenced (if not defined) the Enterprise Architecture practice.

Consequences are non negligible.

Current building practice is focused on Enterprise modeling.
The practice is supported by Frameworks which provide ontology and methods to organize viewpoints.
In such a scheme, what’s called “architecture” is no more than the static structure resulting from Enterprise modeling work. Moreover, it isn’t even a global structure but a sum of the links between modeled units.

There’s then 2 choices:

  • Being deterministic.
    Defining the structure upfront. Giving up on reactivity. Betting on the validity of the structure at the time it will be on duty.
  • Being opportunistic.
    Avoiding to be stuck in a model. Giving up on global coherence. Giving up on re-use and common resources sharing.

Being anywhere between is the worst.
Any new feature, on the modeling side, is challenged by the existing structure.
Any required structural extension may be in conflict with the existing structure.

Eventually, Frameworks evolve, existing Models are used as meta-model for specific domains.
It brings more alternatives to Enterprises even if the choice to adopt (and adapt) a scheme can be tricky.

Yet, Enterprises are hampered by their model and struggle to be reactive.

The issue is still there.

Conceiving discipline

Considering Architecture as the conceiving discipline it is, is what brings EA to the next level.
(see also: “A word on Architecture” for the story)

Architecture is the art of shaping space which host activity.
This is done by stating on the purpose and integrating constraints.

Therefore, main axes of Architecture discipline addressing the Enterprise are …

  • Stating on the Enterprise purpose.
  • Getting the awareness of the Enterprise content, its heterogeneity, its dynamics.
  • Shaping the Enterprise as an orchestrated environment, which integrates taxonomy, alignment and dynamics.
  • Environment wherein activity can be modeled and continuously renovated.

Architecture, as a discipline, makes the Enterprise organized and reactive.

Architecture isn’t a resulting structure.
Architecture is a purposely conceiving discipline.