The Beginning

As a new team of Enterprise Architects, our first task was to get to grips with what Enterprise Architecture (EA) actually means. There are millions of pages on the Web that will give you various flavours of EA, what to do and where to start. It was evident that we needed a consistent plan and some expertise in the area. To help, we chose Gartner as our consultants and joined their EA programme. This provides us with not only expert research and analysis, but also support from one of the Analysts, allowing us to move at our pace, but towards a tried and tested goal.

Now we have a plan, we are working through the various documents we need to produce. Our first challenge was the EA Charter – this has now been written and has been ratified by our Governance process. Then came the Common Requirements Vision – again this has been done and agreed.

Next on the list are the Principles – the over-arching principles for the Enterprise Architecture. To do this we have started to engage actively with the business, and each Enterprise Architect is now linked with a specific Directorate and member of the Governance group. This has brought many benefits. This close liaison has allowed us to “sanity check” our thinking – making sure what we think the business needs is indeed what the business needs, and to shape the priorities for the future vision. Now we have to agree with them the principles that will guide us towards that vision. It is a challenge – but an immensely rewarding one.

Welcome

Our first post. We have some catching up to do!

The team of six Enterprise Architects was officially set up in March 2008 to realise the ICT strategy in Devon County Council. Our main remit is to work closely with the business to discover their future plans and visions to enable us to build a “future state architecture”. If you have done Managing Successful Programmes you will be familiar with the concept of a blueprint – that’s what we are aiming for – a blueprint of the technology, business and information needs of the County Council. Once we have that picture we can start the gap analysis – how do we get from where we are now, to where we want to be in the future.

Can you see the inherant difficulty in that? That future state will constantly move. Things change. Change is what we do.

So, we need to start small and build a comprehensive picture that will be easy to maintain and update as those things change. It is a challenge, but one that we are all enthusiastic about taking. We look forward to taking you with us too.