I sat in on a presentation this morning focused on the changing role of Enterprise architecture embracing a more flexible, ecosystem of services providers. EA has been primarily focused on systems of record, from my perspective. It was a good discussion of the issues from a technologist’s point of view: data governance, making solutions more service oriented…
An interesting thought came to mind though: What is the change in formal leadership’s behavior and their consumption of the architectural work products? Does this change in any consistent or well defined way?
Since the governance of all these more flexible relationships will be a core capability of the IT leadership, the EA work products will need to shift, enabling the formal leadership to make better business decisions more quickly. Some of the elements will not be in the enterprise and yet those may be the same ones the leadership needs the greatest insight for decision making. It is not just the IT systems that need to change to enable flexibility, the architectural work products, processes, and leadership behavior need to change too.
It will likely be necessary to shift from a CMDB and other rigid approaches that were focused on governing systems of record (even that relatively few organizations have been able to do well) to an even more complex approach that provides oversight of dynamic systems of engagement. The fact that it more dynamic may allow for zealots to give up striving for perfection and instead focus on something that is good enough to address today’s needs – since tomorrow’s needs may be very different.