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?
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?
“Time will tell…”
Michael Herman (Toronto)