Zachman International & FEAC Institute

Defining Enterprise Architecture: Misunderstandings

Enterprise Architecture Misunderstandings

There presently appears to be a gross misunderstanding about Enterprise Architecture among management... but also among the information community as well. Enterprise Architecture is NOT an Information Technology issue... it is a Management issue. It is likely perceived to be an Information Technology issue as opposed to a Management issue for two reasons:  

  1. Awareness of the subject of Enterprise Architecture tends to surface in the Enterprise through IT, the Information Systems (or Information Technology) Community.

The Information Community raises the subject, probably because it finds itself between a rock and a hard place! It doesn't make much difference what it is doing... how fast the processors, how modern the operating systems, how clever the programming... they are still producing implementations that are not aligned, not flexible, not integrated, not reusable, not interoperable, not meeting expectations... and therefore, they, the Information people, raise the issue: "Chief... we are never going to meet your expectations until we have a way to transcribe what your expectations are! And, we have to transcribe your expectations in such a fashion that we can do engineering kind of work with them... we have to do some 'Enterprise Architecture.'"

It is not adequate to say, "I feel good... or bad" or, "make money... or save money," or, "grow... or optimize', or, "go this way... or that." These are all good... and we all think these kinds of things... we have intuition, common sense, "sixth senses", feelings, etc., but few of us are good at taking the time for formalizing and articulating what we are thinking. Although all of these thoughts are relevant, they are not adequate for engineering purposes. "We have to do some Enterprise Architecture."

It's not an IT issue at all. It is a Management issue. IT would just be helping formalize and articulate the Management issues. But since IT raises the issue it is perceived to be an IT issue.


  1. Information Technology people seem to have the skills to do Enterprise Architecture if any Enterprise Architecture is being or is to be done.

Let's assume the best for a moment... let's assume the Enterprise decides "Okay you guys! We are going to DO Enterprise Architecture!" Who's going to do it? The CEO? General Management? Probably not. If it is going to get done, probably, somebody from IT is going to do the actual work of it.

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