Sunday, June 6, 2010

What is CAEAP?

CAEAP is The Center for the Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession. It is an advocacy body for the emerging (and dying) profession of enterprise architecture. The Center for the Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession is working to establish trust between the profession of enterprise architecture and the public it serves. CAEAP will establish this trust through a standardized contract and a standard set of expectations for enterprise architecture.


This standard set of expectations for enterprise architecture is so crucial for the survival of the discipline of EA. SOA World's Udayan Banjeree recently wrote an excellent article entitled "Why is Enterprise Architecture Dying?" in which he quotes Kirk Rheinlander as folows; “…if you look at 100 EA jobs on any job board, 99 of them will be IT architects of one flavor or another… this makes it extremely tough for those that have been doing EA for 25+ years to find work, when their job title has been co-opted by techies…” I simply couldn't agree more with Kirk. The value proposition of EA is so enormous but so few really understand what it is and how it is distinct from enterprise scale technical architecture. It is both frustrating (personally) and costly (to all forms of industry).


CAEAP will establish this trust through a standardized contract and a standard set of expectations for enterprise architecture. This represents an opportunity for the discipline of EA to survive through definition, distinction and shared expectation of what enterprise architecture really is (or should be). EA creates maximum value when it is used to define organisational context; establish, validate and communicate corporate direction and optimise organisational value chains.


Define organisational context: Enterprise architecture provides support to decision makers to define the optimal structures, work management practices, human resource policies, leadership and governance regimes and culture for any given organisation. Enterprise architecture provides support to decision makers in identifying internal and external competitive forces that determine the characteristics of product and service offerings that meet consumer demand.


Establish, validate and communicate corporate direction: As George Bernard Shaw said, “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” All too often executives focus too much on formulating strategy, too little on executing strategy and far too little on measuring effectiveness. Enterprise architecture enables the rigourous assessment of alignment between goals (destination), strategy (method & approach) and objectives (benchmarks). In turn the same techniques can be applied progressively (with diminishing levels of return as you move down through the layers) to the enterprise portfolios of information, applications and technology.


Optimise your value chains: enterprise architecture done right, enables decisions about where best to expend resources on strengthening alliances, building capabilities, improving services and optimising processes and focussing that investment where maximum reward is created for minimum effort.


The Center for the Advancement of the Enterprise Architecture Profession is defining the profession that practices the discipline of EA and helps executives answer the questions: What happens when my strategies are not clear and enduring? Where are we going and how do I make sure we get there in an operational and fiscally responsible way? What happens when my operating model is not flexible enough to enable work to get done across the organization? What happens when my leaders are not equipped with the necessary tools, training, and technologies to help them be successful? What happens when my operating structure is not aligned with both strategy and business model? A worthy endeavour indeed!

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