Enterprise Architecture As Strategy
A book review.
Creating a Foundation for Business Execution
by Jeanne W. Ross, Peter Weill, David C. Robertson
genre: Computer Technology
This is an ambitious book that sets out how to correct for all of the waste and rework and other matters that result from poorly understood business initiatives being translated into technology undertakings. There is a lot of good material here describing to the reader what enterprise architecture actually is, and how it helps with the problems so described. In particular, I found one of the case studies - which happened to be the life insurance industry, to which I'd returned - to be very compelling as it matched my own challenges.
I found a very useful diagram that dispensed with a lot of the heaviness of a business capability matrix and cut it down to simple alignment: which applications map to what functions across the enterprise. The map provided, which had been created for a specific carrier, was obviously very relevant to our business and I was able to use something similar to document our existing environment.
Where I found the book beginning to bog down was in the same place that many such ambitious books begin to waver: in the prescriptive section. When it came to solutions, the authors found a way to propose "service oriented architecture" in every case. While SOA no longer implies what it once did - supposedly independent bits of code calling one another - that is certainly the use that this book proposes as a kind of panacea. Today we use SOA more loosely to include architectures like API and databases. Something that completely dispenses with the "reusable application" concept and simply parks a set of familiar interfaces in front of all of the dynamic pieces of a database.
However, it's a good read and one that I think might serve as a good reference for anyone attempting to learn something about the enterprise architecture as a way of making a living.