Friday, June 21, 2013

Enterprise Portfolio Management vs Software development

There are solutions being advocated for enterprise architecture and EPM that come from a SW design heritage. They were often originally UML modelling tools and they have grown from there. I am often asked about where these things fit.

I trained an architect (buildings etc.) and worked with CAD and GIS systems for many years. In organizations with immature EA practices the EA is often lead by "architects" who are ex-developers, who have failed to make the conceptual transition to understand EMP. You will often find them using developer oriented tools to do enterprise portfolio management, enterprise architecture and governance.

This is akin to using a CAD system to do GIS (as people did do once). CAD can be made to work for mapping at a small scale; and some mapping systems can be made to work to record very large plant. But really city plans are not really just drawings (or dealt with best by design oriented solutions). They need to deal with the placement and relationships of all the assets in the city and the characteristics of those assets (e.g. characteristics of areas of land, or assets on that lead). They need to allow analysis of those assets and characteristics. This is best done using GIS/AMFM solutions. The city plans also relate to building and construction codes that specific materials and their valid usage (technology standards) and allowed patterns of construction (technology patterns).

CAD systems are best used for doing detailed design of specific elements and assets. Of course it should be remembered that many assets will be bought not built, or outsourced. It should also be recognised that difficult types of CAD system are oriented at different domains e.g. mechanical, electrical, architectural, etc.

In today's enterprises what you have were great developers, or infrastructure designers (analogous to builders, or the various trades' designers), who may or may not have made the transition to be "solution architects (analogous to architects), pretending to be EA's (analogous to town planners) or EPM (property managers).  These people are in their multitudes running around with their CAD systems (of different types: UML, ER, BPM etc.) building stuff - with no clear oversight of why things exist, how they relate, how things can be simplified, etc. and very little in the way of a picture of the long term value, maintenance etc. of the assets they are creating.

See: Copernican shift in EA or the ancient EA analogies with the built environment

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