Our discipline has a penchant for self aggrandizement. Taking a cue from The World Series and the Miss Universe Pageant, we give much bigger names to things than they really deserve; trusting implicitly that well never have to deal with anything actually that big. The same bits we used to call data we now call information. What was called electronic data processing when I started programming has become information technology, or even more grandly, business technology.
If you didnt know better, youd think that enterprise architecture meant the architecture of an enterprise: the entire enterprise, not just its IT assets. If the enterprise is really just the IT department, and architecture is really just design, why are we calling IT design enterprise architecture (other than to make ourselves feel important, and earn a few extra bucks)?
My quest to answer this question has led me far and wide, far enough from the conventional wisdom that without my explaining the path to my conclusions, youd likely write me off as a crackpot.
I eventually realized I was pursuing two sets of goals:
Next time, Ill survey the diversity of opinion on what our kind of architecture is all about.
Len Fehskens is The Open Groups vice president and global professional lead for enterprise architecture. He has extensive experience in the IT industry, within both product engineering and professional services business units. Len most recently led the Worldwide Architecture Profession Office at Hewlett-Packards Services business unit, and has previously worked for Compaq, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC), Prime Computer and Data General Corporation.