Enterprise Architecture – Solving the jigsaw!

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ImageEstablishing an Enterprise Architecture to support a business can be likened very much to solving a jigsaw.

The jigsaw in question is made up of pieces from multiple puzzles that have been sourced from many different parts of the business and potentially also from outside.

Each puzzle will have its own particular characteristics

Questions that the Enterprise Architect will be confronted with:

  • Are all of the pieces included?
  • Are there any pieces missing?
  • What is to be done with the additional pieces?

Each piece collected is in need of analysis to see if it can be placed within the puzzle to be solved and if so where it is best placed.

As with a real jigsaw, establishing some technique to solving the puzzle can assist the process.

With a jigsaw it is effective to locate the corners then build along the edges so as to establish the breadth and width of the solution. With the Enterprise Architecture, being able to determine the scope of the business:

  • What does the business do?
  • Why does it do it?
  • Who are its customers?

can put some bounds in place that can assist in filling out the complete picture..

Unlike when doing an actual jigsaw, the Enterprise Architect has the opportunity, when analysing the pieces, to reshape them, with the assistance of the business, when they are a close, but not perfect, fit.

There will also come a time when it becomes obvious that, in spite of having many additional puzzle pieces, some will need to be discarded as being unsuitable and also additional pieces will need to be manufactured so as to fill the gaps.

Unlike a traditional jigsaw the Enterprise Architecture differs in that it can never be regarded as ‘complete’.  The Enterprise Architecture  is dynamic with pieces in a state of flux, changing in response to changes in and around the business.

The Enterprise Architecture ‘jigsaw’ needs to be maintained and matured to keep in alignment with the needs of the business.

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