Why “as-a-whole” ?

The previous article “Scale in Enterprise Architecture” talks about scale, granularity and shaping criteria.
Moreover it’s meant to show that Enterprise Architecture scope extends way beyond a mesh of components at a sole detailed level.

So, what does it mean for Enterprise Architecture practice ?

Current practices are facing an extended mesh and they have to deal with its apparent complexity.
Besides, they can only try to anticipate the mesh since it is a result from modeling practice.

Eventually, more and more initiatives are emerging in order to frame that all.
Some are proposing an approach based on customer experience.
Some are providing a data-driven approach.
Some are focusing on a collaborative approach.

These all are relevant points.
But, as the matter of facts, they each represent a unilateral shaping approach, one focus/criterion leading the others.

Organizing data/information doesn’t mean that workforce collaboration will be organized.
Organizing workforce collaboration is pointless without knowing what activities are to be covered.
Organizing interactions with customers doesn’t mean internal organization.

Moreover, organizing one requires the other ones to be organized.

So what’s prevailing ?

Obviously, any initiative or approach is meant to be undertaken for the sake of Business.
However …

“Business” is not the “whole”. “Business” is the “purpose of the whole”.

This nuance seems to be a tough one to understand and to accept. Yet, it’s key.

Now, as of considering the whole Enterprise and from a first basic observation, we can tell that the execution of its purpose and the governance of its ability for that execution is achieved through several sets of activities, that there are several stakeholders, that they undertake things through different viewpoints regarding their respective disciplines, that they have different sights and they may address different granularities and scopes, … this not to mention the variety of tools and informations which are used.

Despite the specificities, they all share the same end-purpose and have to be orchestrated so they can work in the same shared direction.
Besides, regarding sustainability, the Enterprise has also the need to be stable and adaptable.

So, how does Architecture manage to shape a whole ?

Actually, Architecture considers these points as “constraints”, not pain-points but guides that Architecture will use for conceiving.

“What’s prevailing when shaping the whole is to integrate the constraints of the whole.”

And if Architecture can integrate it all, it’s because it doesn’t shape from a viewpoint or a focus.
Architecture addresses the Enterprise constitutively.
All the constraints are as much shaping criteria to conceive the build.

But, why shaping a whole anyway ?

In fact, this is by shaping the whole that you can fulfil the respective concerns.

While the proposal to customers will determine the purpose of the whole, their experience will be determined by how efficiently you’re organized internally in order to have clear interactions with them. Their feedback is a measurement indicator but not a rule for internal orchestration.

Data can be considered differently by stakeholders regarding their scopes and sights. (“fuel” for software, Informations referential systems, matter for business opportunities)
Simultaneously, Data can be seen from a business viewpoint, legal viewpoint, technical viewpoint, …
Whether orchestrating the data landscape or addressing data everywhere usages, it requires the awareness of the whole built.

Collaborative focus, asking people to work together, requires the awareness of the activities to be covered, how they relate, who are the people, what’s their profiles, who’s covering what, …
Collaboration starts by everyone knowing his own assignment. Then it’s a matter for each one to know who’s the one in charge of a related activity. And then we can talk about a method to synchronize their workloads.
Either we’re talking about a behavioral scheme and it is an arbitrary methodology, either it requires the awareness of the whole build.

Btw, it means that …

“Enterprise Architecture is the one allowing to assess the functional adequacy of your resources”

This is something that HR Companies, hiring managers and stakeholders in recruitment world should consider.

These are only a few points.

You may think about more specific scopes and sub-domains, but, until you’ve shaped a whole, you can’t know their real boundaries and certainly not their real correlations.

Shaping the Enterprise as a whole is foundational.