Philosophy helps people abstract their thoughts, sharpen their management insight; architecture enables them to orchestrate, communicate, and drive changes holistically.
In face of constant changes, frequent disruptions, management is both science and art. The traditional linear management practices working in the considerably static industrial age are simply not sufficient to manage hyper-connected, interdependent business.
Philosophy is a wisdom to blueprint an effect architecture; an architecture is the body of business principle and knowledge: A good theory for architecture is a sort of generalization grounded in the context of the organization expressing them; and the body of enterprise knowledge developed in association with practice in a field of business activities as an intellectual discipline. Philosophy can allow people to see the cause and effect thoroughly for improving organizational manageability. Without philosophy, architecture loses its core insight; without architecture, philosophy seems to be empty for the business to convey their management disciplines.
Corporate principles are ways of organizing business interactions with the world and, as such, you always have principles whether explicit or not. The alternative is randomness and that does not work. To ensure enterprise architecture really adds value and people truly follow well defined principles, leaders and professionals should apply a philosophical lens to clarify nonlinear business logic: What is the correlation between principles, processes, people, practices, performances? What does the principle mean in concrete terms to the organization? How much do you live up to it? How to leverage architecture tools to establish principles and communicate them across the organization? By following the digital principles, the business growth cycle could be viewed as resulting in emergent means of reorganizing, refocusing, rebalancing resources, and redirecting people to understand the whole and achieve the “art of possible.”
An architecture is an express of philosophy; the underlying philosophy includes choices on management themes: Many organizations today are the mix of hybrid management philosophy and processes such as hierarchy vs networking-organization, standardization vs. personalization; Waterfall vs. Agile, as well as management vs. governance in relation to vision, mission, principles, standards etc. Enterprise architecture is a blueprint of the enterprise, with various stages of abstraction: contextual; conceptual; logical; and physical. It needs to be abstract enough to dig into “why,” clarifying the purpose of business philosophically, detailed enough for making reasonable “how” to achieve operational excellence with artifacts delivery continually.
It’s logical to see architecture being understood as a philosophy to discover the “truth and myth” of enterprise context, maintaining a body of knowledge about enterprise structure and purpose, as well as the use of that knowledge and experience in guiding and managing change for and within the ecosystem. By applying interdisciplinary management discipline, organizations can overcome complications and manage complexity effectiveness in business today.
Enterprise Architecture is a management philosophy more than anything else; an agile philosophy advocates “Iteration, Interaction, Improvement”: From planning to business initiative management, the architecture is a useful tool for a dynamic and iterative long term strategic planning process, helping to constantly question if the vision and strategic direction are being chosen smoothly. It also allows businesses to do capacity planning, build a set of core competencies to improve success rate of strategy management.
If senior management holds to a philosophy that planning things is better than reacting to them, they will see the essential benefits of enterprise architecture efforts which enable the management to fine-tune the internal and external business influence factors, identify some of the uncontrollable elements in the business environment, and make information-based “educated guesses” as to the impacts of these and emerging elements into the future state.
An enterprise architecture will never be done, but a state of completeness can be reachable. If the organization finds value in simply retaining information on the business processes, infrastructure, and data architecture, then so be it. That is a complete EA. But there are always diverse perspectives of architecture enrichment. Philosophy helps people abstract their thoughts, sharpen their management insight; architecture enables them to orchestrate, communicate, and drive changes holistically.