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Enterprise Architecture is One Thing; Action is Another

April 18, 2012

Cognitive capacity is limited.  Content that can consume the capacity is unlimited.  The content can be sense-based or non-sense-based, or more often, a combination of the two.  Ultimately, what gets thought or done is a function of what gets the focus.  And what things get the focus depends on what capacity is available.

If two things can be coalesced into one thing, they may fit into the limited cognitive space that is available – something that may not be possible if they are handled individually. A OneThing.  The OneThing may provide an understanding that can be equivalent to the two things, less than the two things comprehended individually, or greater than the sum of the parts.  Again, it can also be a combination – in some respects, the OneThing can yield more insight, in some respects, less.  Of course, the OneThing does not exist; it is, but a View, into the reality that it represents.  But isn’t everything, ultimately, a view?  Thought can only point to a reality that it cannot touch with its feelers.  This is what makes views important as well as limited.  You never get the thing.  You get a view.  You can get multiple views if you desire.  Views touch the mind, just as things do.  More views touch more things, and touch more parts of the mind – a collective mind, if we are considering this in the context of an enterprise.  More views create more complexity … and confusion.  But isn’t reducing confusion the goal?  Perhaps not.  Maybe one view of the notion of confusion would show that there are different types of confusion – some that are productive, and some that are not.

In Enterprise Architecture, as with any other form of architecture that can be said to exist, Views are important.  They can bring the right kind of confusion to the people that make up the enterprise.  Multiple views, in combination, can get people to see things that they could not see before.  They can bring focus to some things, and facilitate de-focus on others.  They can enable action in some directions, and inaction in others.  If Enterprise Action is more important than Enterprise Architecture, EA would have served its purpose by illuminating, confusing and enabling.  Architecture is interesting, but action is where the action is.

Balaji Prasad, April 2012

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