Enterprise Architecture, the new MLM!

I have been in the EA domain since the 2000s during my time at GOSI. Then, the understanding and expectations of EA were really scared and confusing. I have talked at that time with Gartner and explained our organization to them but to no avail. The response I got then just try to establish the bare minimum architecture practice and work and call it an EA without adopting any framework or method. It was understood as GOSI was relatively small and even frameworks during that time were not fully matured like today’s (Togaf 8.0 didn’t even include Business Architecture).
Well since then things have changed. And by that I mean it is like a swapping hurricane has come and destroyed everything in its way. Technology disruptors have changed the face of IT forever, the realization of the Internet and the always-connected devices merged the technology in everybody day live. This forced the enterprise to try to adapt and initially change their IT operations through IT Transformation rehearsals, and now their business models are improving through the Digital Transformation that everyone is talking about. And we are still waiting for the Enterprise Transformation to catch up for the operational models for much of the enterprises.

So what I am going at? Well, I just had a discussion with one of the Big-Four consultants on a project I am involved with. Anyhow, that project is entirely irrelevant to EA in specific and Technology in general, and during the talks, I started noticing him mentioning the industry frameworks best practices which are not anything special, but once he began to talk consultancy delivery, he started to push Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF into the consultancy delivery. I was like what are you talking about? To which we start arguing about what how using an EA tool is beneficial and will save you time and such and such. Now I have no issue with EA tools, practices, or frameworks. But shuffling it into a client just to get a lead or to show that your clients are incompetent just because they either don’t have an EA or even know what an does an EA do is just purely unprofessional. And more than that, he was just demonstrating on one dimension of the EA (The layers alignment) without talking about the whole picture or why you actually need an EA or if it even makes sense to have an EA.

And this is the state of Enterprise Architecture, with the advances in technology and departure from old school EA (like Zachman’s Framework) now everyone is just giving you his/her flavor of what EA is and why need it. Like a friend of mine once said, old EA is dead, and now EA is about a holistic and pragmatic understanding of technology trends and disruption to protect your investment against. And that is where the MLM comes into the picture, you will find a small number of the domain experts selling their flavor of EA to the local clients and referencing each other as the only alternative which locks the local market into multiple definitions of what an enterprise architect should do without referencing to a well-established methodologies or frameworks. Or as one of the people I worked with said to his manager about an IT transformation initiative: “You can stop at any stage and say we succeed!”