Monday, December 12, 2005

Forget Business - I/T Alignment ?

I found an illuminating post on I/T Architecture that proposes a view about Enterprise Architecture which is counter to the prevailing “business – I/T alignment” winds. This post called “Why Enterprise Architects should eschew IT / Business alignment“ in James McGovern’s blog “Enterprise Architecture: Thought Leadership” advocates approaches which are no doubt heretical to some – but makes points that have worried me for some time.

Here are some provocative quotes to get your attention:

“The phrase, IT should align with the business is commonly heard in magazines such as CIO. I have blogged sporadically on the fact that this form of hype is actually detrimental to the health of the enterprise.”
“Enterprise Architects that embrace agile methods understand that there is a chaordic balance and attempting to make everything predictable is not only limiting the possibilities of greatness but in many situations futile. Predictability as a system quality is further championed by folks who don’t write working software for a living and instead focus in on comprehensive documentation. These folks encourage practices such as Six Sigma, Eight Omega, CMM and other efforts without focusing on the real problem space; lack of innovation.”Predictability causes mediocrity. Enterprises that desire to be predictable buy the same software as their competitors, are rare to implement technology within their vertical first and prefer to let other enterprises work out all the bugs. “
“I am firm in my own belief that the recent practice of vendor consolidation may be the decline of the IT enterprise as many within our profession have outsourced their architecture via Powerpoint to vendors whose sole competency is commoditizing solutions and promoting them to your competitors.”

The postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent IBM's positions, strategies, or opinions.


James McGovern said...

Maybe you could let me know why they bother you and I will attempt to provide clarification...

Philip Hartman said...

Maybe my wording wasn't as precise as it should have been. I was agreeing with you. I've often wondered about the value of documentation. I've often wondered about the trend away from custom software towards buying the same package that all the competitors buy. (eg. everyone in the industrial sector buying SAP) How is one to achieve competitive advantage that way?