Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Defence IT Strategist Enterprise Architecture in Complex Changing Organisations

Greetings from the CSIRO Discovery Centre in Canberra, where Christopher Rodrigues Macias, Defence IT Strategist, is speaking on "Enterprise Architecture in Complex Changing Organisations". The is of great interest as I am teaching the ACS Virtual College course in Business Analysis.

In a refreshing change from IT presentations, Christopher had no slides, quipping that "Power corrupts and Powerpoint corrupts absolutely". He contrasted TOGAF with Zachman Framework and derived approaches (which come out of the COBOL era). He criticised the Zachman has breaking the architecture down into too small constituent parts (reminds me of  J.R.R. Tolkien's 'He that breaks a thing to find out what it is has left the path of wisdom.'). Christopher asserted that the people doing the analysis for systems are usually two organisation levels below that at which the real problem is discussed. The problem then is to be able to have a discussion about high level business problems, without delving down into the technical details of solutions.

Christopher used the analogy of defence procurement, where you need to know why you are buying a system (the intent), rather than just what. This brought back memoires of nine years working in IT at the Defence Department, working out what was needed (including for joint amphibious operations)

As Christopher pointed out standard modules can be used for standard functions in the business, such as finance. But the core business of the organisation needs to be custom designed. Continuing the defence analogy, the ADF is still working out how to use the new LHD ships. One indication of this is the numerous books on amphibious operations at ANU and ANU libraries. ;-)

One of the audience asked where to get good enterprise architects. My suggestion was to train them: the Australian Computer Society offers a postgraduate course in Enterprise Architecture.

No comments: