8 Reasons Enterprise Architecture Programs Fail - InformationWeek
8 Reasons Enterprise Architecture Programs Fail
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User Rank: Author
3/27/2013 | 5:18:11 PM
re: 8 Reasons Enterprise Architecture Programs Fail
I've spoken with CIOs driving digital business initiatives who emphasize how important the enterprise architect role is in that change effort. The architect discipline translates directly to many of the needs in digital marketing initiatives, for example.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/15/2014 | 9:40:43 PM
the 8 reasons can be reduced to one
The key reason is that the EA is not scoped properly as the enterprise wide rather than the IT architecture. All other failure reasons derive from this.


EA is reporting into IT rather than high enough in the hierarchy to make an impact.

It is not sponsored by the business but by IT.

It works in an ivory tower with regard to business with little non-IT audience.

It employs an IT architect, who may not have the right range of skills, that is it employs the wrong person.

There are no proper enterprise wide EA approaches. Those that exist are either ontologies (Zachman) or development processes (TOGAF) rather than EA frameworks. Hence many cling to one of them in the hope that the outcome is an EA. It isn't.

The EA team is policing developments in IT, creating perhaps cultural issues, without generating the EA blueprint that would embedd the compliance in processes and make unnecessary the policing. But the team has no other method to get results, except if they invent their own.

User Rank: Apprentice
4/30/2014 | 4:53:06 PM
re: 8 Reasons Enterprise Architecture Programs Fail
Hello Chris, 


Nice article.  I think you touched on a lot of great points here.  I had written a somewhat similar piece about a week ago, with a focus on barriers to technical innovation in the large enterprise. Some of the failures I noted are directly attributed to poor Enterprise Architecture at a systemic as well as individual contributor level.

Here are a couple of my thoughts on common problems:

1) The "No" Man Enterprise Architect.  

It's much easier to say "no" to advocates of innovation rather than research whether a new technology or solution is viable for the given situation, as well as compliant with enterprise regulations.  This "No" Man never actually realizes that it's his job to research new technologies, build proofs of concept, and constantly re-invent himself. He just rejects anything that comes across his desk without lifting a single finger of due diligence.

2) Overly-centralized Enterprise Architecture

Overly-centralized EA will allow your organization to fall years behind on hardware and software upgrades because it's too hard or expensive to test something new on all applications across the enterprise, or determine whether all aspects of it fall within corporate standards and practices (which are inevitably many years out of date).  I believe that a Federated model of EA works very well to combat this issue.

3) Outdated standards and practices

Beliefs such as:

"Oracle is the only robust, high-performing database for the enterprise"

"The Cloud is not secure"

"We don't use Javascript frameworks"

Far too many organizations are making decisions based on assumptions that are completely unfounded or were only true 5-10 or more years ago. 

My whole article "The 12 Barriers to Technical Innovation in the Large Enterprise" is available if anyone is interested in having a read. 

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