Crossing the Enterprise Architecture Chasm


Enterprise Architecture Chasm

What is the Enterprise Architecture Chasm?  First, a quick Google search didn’t find any previous references to the term Enterprise Architecture Chasm, at least not in the context I’m using it.  So what am I talking about?  We need to recognize the difference, the practical gap, that will always exist between EA models, plans, and other artifacts and an enterprise’s actual strategies, systems, assets, and processes. There will always be a gap because of several factors:

  • Time to design
  • Time to plan
  • Time to act
  • Time to operate
  • Time to measure new outcomes

and, lastly, the completeness and faithfulness of transformative changes that are actually implemented relative what’s documented in the enterprise architecture.  Here’s a picture highlighting this gap, the Enterprise Architecture Chasm.


Figure 1. Total Enterprise Architecture Model (TEAM): Enterprise Architecture Chasm

This iterative 4-step management cycle is called the Continuous Transformation Framework. At a given time, there isn’t just 1 Continuous Transformation cycle at work in an organization but there can be several, even hundreds, dependent on the size and complexity of your enterprise.

Homework Question: Which dimensions or metrics can be used to characterize or benchmark the size of the Enterprise Chasm in an organization?

Strategy Chasm

Is the EA Chasm the only chasm?  No.  In most organizations, there is most likely a Strategy Chasm as well – the gap between the organization’s motivations and strategies and what is represented and planned for in the enterprise architecture.  Same set of issues.  They just occur earlier in the process.  Here’s an example of the Strategy Chasm. (Click to enlarge this diagram.)


Figure 2. Team Enterprise Architecture Model (TEAM): Strategy Chasm and Enterprise Architecture Chasm

In the Fall of 2016, two webinars were presented that looked how to extend traditional enterprise architecture methods (e.g. TOGAF) to be more complete/fill in some gaps.  The first talk, 7 Reasons Why IT4IT™ is Good for Architects presented by Dan Warfield and Sven van Dijk, looked to The Open Group’s IT4IT for answers on how to cross the enterprise architecture chasm. The second talk, BIZBOK® Guide and TOGAF® Standard: Business Architecture Value Proposition presented by Chris Armstrong  and Wally McLaughlin, looked at a related set of problems from a Business Architecture and BIZBOK perspective.

To what extent are your EA methods, repositories, and tools helping your organization cross the Strategy Chasm and the EA Chasm?

Will IT4IT and BIZBOK and other methods (e.g. ITIL) help cross or close the gap?

“Time will tell…”

Best regards,
Michael Herman (Toronto)
Parallelspace Corporation

p.s. These diagrams on based on the Progressive Enterprise Architecture Model described here.


Filed under ArchiMate, Architecture Reference Models, continuous transformation, Crossing the EA Charm, Digital Transformation, Enterprise Architecture, Enterprise Architecture Chasm, IoT, ModelMate

12 responses to “Crossing the Enterprise Architecture Chasm

  1. Pingback: The EA Chasm: Open Repository Strategies for Enterprise Architecture |

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  5. Question: What is a useful metric for the dimensions of the Enterprise Architecture Chasm? It would be interesting to correlate the EA Chasm metric with measures of “business success” (e.g. Y/T growth, revenue, profitability, revenue per employee, …).

    It would also interesting to see where companies Uber, Airbnb, Alibaba, Spotify, and Facebook are placed on the graph. Presumably, these are low EA Chasm companies.


  6. nickmalik

    I’d suggest that, first off, the chasm between strategy and action exists without there being an EA model in the middle. While the two chasms you reference do exist, I’d suggest that they exist in parallel, or perhaps as a triangle, and not as a single straight line.

    Secondly, I’ll attempt to answer your question. You ask if IT4IT or BizBOK can address these chasms. In the first case, no. In the second case, the attempt of the BizBOK is to answer the chasm that I mention above: the chasm between business motivation and business reality (without EA in the middle). That is certainly the more pressing and visible problem.


    • RE: While the two chasms you reference do exist, I’d suggest that they exist in parallel, or perhaps as a triangle, and not as a single straight line.

      Thank for your feedback Nick. The thought it invokes is: To what extent (wholly or partially) is Strategy represented or manifested, perhaps ideally, via the Enterprise Architecture model? Today, in most organizations, it’s not 100% and likely will never be close to 100% …so yes, another chasm does exist.

      Thank you, Michael


  7. The Progressive Enterprise Architecture Model and the Continuous Transformation Framework can be easily generalized to support Wearable/IoT feedback loops: subjects on the right; model of the subjects on the left.


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