Saturday, September 15, 2007

EA and SOA shareholder issues?

(prompted by: Could Lack of SOA Drive Shareholder Lawsuits)
I can't really bring myself to agree with the conclusions in this item - that the absence of good EA's could drive lawsuits.

Key assertions from this:
1. Shareholders are looking at enterprise architecture efficiencies
2. Many major public companies don't have efficient enterprise architectures
3. Stockholers assume that IT/Architects, are doing their best to make the architecture optimal for the business. However, in many cases, that is not true.
4. Years of neglect, lack of talent and understanding, etc. have created dysfunctional EAs.
5. Bad EAs hindering corporations ability to make money and return value to shareholders
6. This could drive lawsuits where bad EAs may need to explained in depositions (during law suits).
7. SOA are not a fix for bad EAs - they will just make bad ones worse.
8. What is needed is a long term cogent SOA strategy and this is complex and hard, but worth it if you do it correctly.
9. Shareholders may ask for complete audit be done on the methods and practices in building an effective EA

Comments re the points above:
2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8 - I think are fairly well known i.e. -
Most major enterprise don't have efficient EAs and years of neglect, lack of talent/understanding are a cause. Few IT orgs are doing their best to fix this. Bad EAs do hinder ability to return value to shareholders and SOAs will make bad EAs worse (adding complexity) and what is needed is a long term cogent strategy. These strategies and architectures are complex and hard to do.

I think 1/6 - are unlikely. That
shareholders will look at architectures and focus law suits on the deficiencies seems improbable to me for many reasons.

The last point 9 - may well make sense. They may ask for audits to be done on the methods and practices in building an effective EA But the challenge will be finding auditors with the knowledge and experience to do the auditing who are actually impartial e.g. most of the organisations that are recognised as leadings in EA seem to have unignorable conflicts of interest i.e. they are primarily vendors of systems or software; they generate huge incomes from the implementation ERP systems (often following services associated with "impartial" evaluation of ERP solutions); they don't really understand some of the issues associated with EA.

See also SOA's must be underpinned by better management

1 comment:

Tom G said...

Would generally agree with your feelings on this, though I'd throw in a handful of extra points:

- every organisation already has an enterprise-architecture, whether it knows it or not, and whether it is explicit or not - hence the relevance of point 9, to find out what kind of EA they have, and whether it's actually effective for the organisation's needs

- most existing formal EAs are IT-centric - which is precisely why they are so often inefficient and ineffective; they need to cover a much broader scope to become useful and usable as enterprise-architectures

- on point 9, this is in effect what the Clinger-Cohen Act was about (i.e. the driver for FEAF), where the US Federal Government was in effect 'the shareholders'

- from the same point, and point 5, it might be wise to broaden this beyond just 'making money' - the same issues also apply in all government and not-for-profit contexts

And being cynical, I doubt if many (any?) shareholders would be interested enough in the technical minutiae to worry about whether the enterprise uses an SOA or any other merry buzz-word :-) - all they want is for the enterprise to work!