It is Fatherâ€™s Day in some parts of the world. A day when we acknowledge the efforts our fathers have put into architecting our lives â€“ the fundamental principles that provide us a rock-solid foundation standing the test of time. Principles that sustain our architecture defining our behavior and the way we address challenging situations in the transformation journey we simply call â€“ life. Enterprise Architectures must also have such principles in place for its effective sustenance over time. Perhaps Enterprise Architects can take a cue from Dads?
Here is how the sustenance of the enterprise architecture is similar to what fathers do:
Strategy. When making directional changes in life, I seek Dadâ€™s perspective. His strategic insight has a strong bearing on what I do and how I do it. Enterprise Architects must ensure that the changes made are in line with the enterprise business and IT strategy.
Context. The way we react to various life-changing events characterizes us as a family, while defining me as an individual. A casual conversation with my father around these events triggers a thought here and an anecdote there, which provide more context to my actions. Context. Enterprises develop a culture over time that provides context to its architecture. A consistent and common reference architecture must be applied in the context of the enterprise.
Interoperability. Dad always advised us to build long-term relationships that last over time. Enterprise architectures need to evolve and grow horizontally to be effectively extended across the partners, suppliers and customers. Enterprises must architect ecosystems of engagement to accommodate a world of co-opetition rather than competition. Interoperability is key across systems of record as well as systems of engagement.
Best practices. Thanks to our father, several best practices have become second nature to us. They automatically incorporate efficiencies into our activity. Enterprise Architects, best positioned to bake in innovation, must build such best practices into the guts of the architectural frameworks and make innovation part of the enterprise bloodstream. Best practices last over time, despite the technological evolution (as implied by NASA CIO Linda Cuerton in this post on her blog).
Frameworks. I, too am a dad. I have cautioned my son that there will be several points in his life where he has to make the right choice. Hopefully, he will have in his mind the value systems instilled into him, crystallizing into a framework for decision making. Enterprise architectures must have similar frameworks, which facilitate controlled evolution and sustenance.
Mature enterprises that define, sustain, nurture and evolve enterprise architectures can also take a cue from the lessons that Fathers pass on to the next generation.
On Father’s Day, I take a step back and salute the first Enterprise Architect that I became acquainted with â€” my Dad. I did so last year. I see no reason why I shouldnâ€™t do it again this year. Mom always had a special role â€“ but that is another blog on another day!
Is your enterprise architecture getting the paternal care and oversight it deserves? Please let me know.