Seismic changes are happening in the world. And both individuals and enterprises find themselves having to constantly adjust to new developments caused by economic crisis, globalisation or technological advancements.
Both individuals and enterprises, however, face one problem in this: information. Not too little of it but too much.
The latest book on Enterprise Architecture called Coherency Management: Architecting the Enterprise for Alignment, Agility and Assurance stresses that most organisations today have difficulty processing the information they get from multiple channels. Enterprises are not able to process the great amount of information they have at hand, argues the book, because they are incoherent.
The book offers organisations a radical new solution to the problem: Achieve coherence by making Enterprise Architecture a part of your organisation's management DNA.
Coherency Management: Architecting the Enterprise for Alignment, Agility and Assurance is written by Dr Pallab Saha, Gary Doucet, John Gøtze and Scott Bernard, all leading exponents in the field.
Dr Saha is an evangelist for enterprise architecture practice at the Institute of Systems Science and the author of three books on Enterprise Architecture. His first book titled Handbook of Enterprise Systems Architecture in Practice made it to IGI Global's bestseller list in 2008. He is also the primary author of the Methodology for AGency ENTerprise Architecture (MAGENTA) for the Government of Singapore.
Gary Doucet is the Chief Architect for the Government of Canada. John Gøtze is an Associate Professor at the Copenhagen Business School and at the Danish IT University. Scott Bernard, who wrote the first textbook on Enterprise Architecture, is currently the Deputy CIO at the Federal Railroad Administration, the editor of the Journal of Enterprise Architecture and a member of the faculty at Syracuse University. The book also features a foreword by John Zachman, the father of the discipline, and contributions by many prominent thought leaders in the field.
A Thousand Facts And No Information
The book notes that in any large organisation, numerous reports, designs, descriptions and artifacts describing the activities of the organisation can be found. However these pieces of information are held in different formats, different medium, following different rules for describing, and using the same words with different meanings. Hence it took several months for a national level government recently to answer the seemingly simple question: "What services do we have that benefit a certain target group?" It took that long, not because the information wasn't available, but because the information was scattered in thousands upon thousands of documents in hundreds of forms and formats. In short, a mountain of information (or data) does not actually guarantee knowledge, avers the book, or that things are operating coherently.
The paradox is that despite the tonnes of information at their fingertips, organisations are suffering from knowledge deficit. According to the book, the unintended plague of the information age is incoherent information.
The authors bring a whole new notion of Enterprise Architecture to the table to address this malaise.
Explains Dr Saha, "We define Enterprise Architecture as the inherent design and management approach essential for organisational coherence leading to alignment, agility and assurance. This definition represents a huge paradigm shift because this is the first Enterprise Architecture definition that does not have the world 'technology' in it!"
Enterprise Architecture, he stressed, should be used for the broader design and management of enterprises, not just for developing an organisation's Information Systems or Information Technology. This structured way of designing and managing the organisation should be intrinsic and essential (and not extrinsic or additional) to the organisation's activities.
The authors believe that Coherency Management, as a practice of Enterprise Architecture, is the next frontier in management innovation and that it will become a pervasive management practice.
"Doing Enterprise Architecture to build better systems is passé. Forward thinking organisations and governments are embracing Enterprise Architecture to build better enterprises," asserts Dr Saha. "Coherency Management is the future of management,"
Biggest Myths of EA Exploded
Coherency Management: Architecting the Enterprise for Alignment, Agility and Assurance shoots down some of the biggest myths about Enterprise Architecture.
Myth 1: Organisations do not have architecture.
Fact: All organisations have architecture, otherwise they would not be able to survive and function. The only difference is that the architecture is either 'implicit' or 'explicit'.
Myth 2: There are several Enterprise Architecture tools available in the market.
Fact: There are no Enterprise Architecture tools available due to a lack of a common unified architecture development language. All the current tools are tools for business process modelling, software engineering and database design, which are being cleverly 'repackaged' as Enterprise Architecture tools by vendors.
Myth 3: The primary purpose of Enterprise Architecture is to build better systems.
Fact: The primary purpose of Enterprise Architecture will eventually be to build better enterprises with greater coherence, rather than better systems. Enterprise Architecture will eventually become an inherent part of every organisation's management DNA.