It’s another of those times where I don’t quite know whether to laugh, cry, be incensed, or what, so I guess I’ll have to settle for somewhere in between…
This morning’s email brings me the usual guff from the mainstream consultancies, one of which items included this absolute gem:
The history of enterprise architecture (EA) is of a discipline gradually evolving through better defined methodologies, clarified roles, and increasing scope. We see this gradual evolution, with real transformation for a few programs, but most are not seizing the opportunities for change. … While most EA programs see these imperatives (i.e., customer experience, mobile, data-driven insights, and digital business models) in their businesses, they still define themselves and operate as a technology management function with technology management-focused goals.
And their strong recommendation is:
Aspire To Follow Leading EA Programs – Not The Mainstream
Agreed, it’s good advice – I too would strongly recommend that EA teams should “aspire to follow leading EA programs”, and not remain mired in the IT-centric mainstream.
So why do I describe it as an ‘absolute gem’?
It’s because just two years ago, this same consultancy argued vehemently for the assertion that EA was and should only be centred around mainstream IT:
Do you want your strategies to succeed? You’ll need the gentleman on the left. He designs your business. … He’s an obscure executive called an Enterprise Architect (EA) and he works for your CIO. … [Y]ou don’t want your strategies following spaghetti roads – you want them moving through your company on logical, straight highways …
Why does he work for the CIO? Because the roads in your company are paved with technology – so the best way to ensure that they are straight is to build and control the tech … and that’s what Enterprise Architects do.
And, when I critiqued that stream of howlers in my post ‘Broken‘, they then proceeded to further compound the errors, worse and even worse – as you’ll see if you read that post.
Which is why I’d take that consultancy and their ilk a fair lot more seriously if they had not spent so much effort in creating that dysfunctional ‘mainstream’ in the first place, actively holding the discipline back by years if not decades – a fact which seems to be coming back to bite them now. “Hoist by their own petard“, indeed…
But I’m perhaps a bit too lost in my ‘grumpy old man’ persona about this: it’s been a long, hard, painful struggle, and I admit that that pain does tend to colour my judgement somewhat. Instead, I really should say as well that it is good to see some constructive change happening here: even if it’s several years later than we would have liked, it is real progress – ‘signs of movement at the EA Corral‘ and all that. And in the case of this specific consultancy, quite a long way ahead relative to some (most?) of its business-rivals. We ought at least to celebrate that, I guess?