Today’s most thought-provoking session was delivered by Marc Hoffman of EmeriCom. He talked about Enterprise Business Architecture as a disciplined way of engineering a business, starting with a vision, and then in a structured and tool-supported way break down this vision into goals, requirements, processes and services so that you can actually trace the impact of a requirement change all the way to whatever IT-assets need to be changed in order to realize this change.
He started of with a brilliant analogy, showing how a house is built using a blueprint. He then proceeded to show, supported by a hilarious animated slide, what happens if we skip the blueprint. A truck arrives, dropping of bits and pieces of the house, and it is haphazardly put together, finally turning into something resembling a house but functionally very much less so. He then went on to state the obvious fact that any complicated structure needs architecting to be able to achieve whatever goals we have for building it. Self-evident as that assertion might seem, most enterprises are not architected in a structured fashion, making them less efficient than they might have been otherwise.
It turns out that there is now tooling to support this emerging engineering discipline. As with most other things SOA, the hurdles are in peoples heads, not the technology. Asked if it isn’t a tough sell to most execs, Marc admitted as much, but adding that those who did apply these structured methods had gained substantial benefits from it.