A client emailed me asking "What should IT be doing now about the possible (and apparently likely) change of US accounting standards from GAAP to IFRS?" Here's what I wrote back:
Too early to say how the SEC will come down on this and to what extent US adoption will require prior changes in IFSR. Accountants tell me that in many ways GAAP is better defined and more rigorous so it is very unlikely the US will adopt IFSR as is. Most global companies already deal with dual compliance requirements. Now is the time to assess the capabilities of current systems and determine exactly what your current architecture is so that changes when known can be done in the most cost- and time-effective manner. Also to find out the plans of current vendors are as far as upgrading the current capabilities of their products. One might even consider compiling a short list of possible suppliers who are already providing dual capability. The need to separate business rules and data from application software so they can be managed as the independent variables that they are is critical because that is where the most difficult and extensive changes typically occur in situations like this. Now is the time for ready. Aim and fire will come later.
I can't say for sure, since the future is not here yet, but to some extent it seems that we are confounding the role of the enterprise architect with roles that will most likely be performed by others in the organization. I think this is somewhat okay since the role of the enterprise architect is yet to be defined; but on the other hand, this may distract our attention from the essence of the enterprise architect's role. And that, I believe, is the enterprise-wide extension and expansion of the traditional IS role of analyst and designer. A role that to a large extent IS academics and practitioners have not sufficiently professionalized, educated, or executed yet -- The SIMEAWG's study (as reported in our book The SIM Guide to Enterprise Architecturehttp://courses.unt.edu/kappelman/aboutwork/SIM%20GUIDE%20TO%20ENTERPRISE%20ARCHITECTURE%20FL20.pdf) confirms the relative immaturity of such capabilities at the more limited IS level, indicating that in general there is not a good foundation upon which to build enterprise-wide analysis and design capabilities.
Holistic enterprise-wide enterprise analysis and design is the essence of the enterprise architect's role. Of course, this includes significant communication by enterprise architects with those responsible for strategic direction, project management, change management, systems development, operations, and everything else, but that is not the same as being responsible for those activities. So a key question for me becomes, does enterprise architecture become distracted like IS in general has and fail to build sufficient capabilities to deliver on our essential responsibilities, or do we focus on our essence and at the same time determine who and learn to work with those whose essential responsibilities and capabilities must also evolve in new ways so that the vision of the future enterprise depicted in its architecture is complete, accurate, understood, and achieved?
Excerpts from a short article about a report just released by SIMEAWG (http://eawg.simnet.org) member Gene Leganza of Forrester Research:
"Now the trend is it's become necessary to do business planning a lot more collaboratively, which requires a formal look at what's going on in the business," Leganza said. "For IT to fulfill its mission of providing a technology strategy, they really can't do it anymore without knowing about the business ... The business folks can better plan the future by knowing what technology brings to the table."
"Enterprise architecture brings about more consistency and less risk for IT-related projects," Leganza said. "With all that being said, I think the real value is its ability to support transformational change [within] an agency. It brings together at a very intimate level folks on the business side with folks that understand technological capabilities. There can be a variety of aha moments that make processes significantly more efficient."
Nearly three years in the making, The SIM Guide to Enterprise Architecture: Creating the Information Age Enterprise is out this week. This is the first SIM-branded book ever.
Details about the book are on the SIM EA Working Group’s website at http://eawg.simnet.org, including special offers for SIM members and their friends.All author royalties go to further the work of the not-for-profit SIM EA Working Group.