Six Blind Men and Enterprise Architecture

1 min read
7/26/18 12:00 AM


Let me narrate a very interesting answer that I received during one of my workshops. I was conducting a workshop on enterprise risk management for a few IT managers from different organizations, mostly software consulting organizations.

I asked a very simple question, “Can you think of the worst situation that can happen to your organization?”

I was expecting that participants would answer things like a catastrophic event or a major terrorist attack. I got a very surprising answer from one of the IT managers, “Virus attack”.

I was dumbfounded by the answer as to how a virus attack could destroy a company. The only reason I could think of why the IT manager possibly thinks of this answer was that he was in-charge of virus prevention in his organization.

It is really sad that many IT managers have so little understanding of their organization’s business environment. This applies as to how IT functions depict enterprise architecture.

I can relate IT function’s view of enterprise architecture to the story of six blind men trying to understand an elephant. Each one touches one part of the elephant and describes the elephant as a rope, as a fan or as a tree.

In IT managers’ world, the enterprise consists of hardware, software, and network. There is no place for competition, customer, and employees of the organization.

True enterprise architecture should be able to describe all key aspects of the organization: people, process, technology, customer, competition, and possibly even culture and values.

Unfortunately, to my knowledge, most frameworks limit their efforts to IT part of the organization. on an enterprise architecture framework which is truly holistic.

Suggestions for improvement are always welcome.

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