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Enterprise Architecture Myths: It needs a lot of Data

When we demo the views available in Essential, a common comment is “that must need a lot of data”. This is an enterprise architecture myth and in fact, many of the views do not require much data, and the data they do need is of the type that is usually readily available somewhere in the organisation.

Another consideration is that the scope of the views available in Essential is enormous, and we often liken populating the views to decorating a palace – it might seem daunting, but you wouldn’t start decorating all the rooms at the same time!

We often see organisations making the same mistakes:

  • Capturing data because they have it
  • Capturing data that is not needed to meet their objectives
  • Capturing data where there is no responsibility or process defined to keep it updated
  • Capturing to the wrong level of detail


If you want to be successful, you need a different approach.

Enterprise architecture is about objectives and outcomes. It’s not about collecting every last piece of data in your organisation and then trying to figure out the objective afterwards — that’s just going to get you overwhelmed and frustrated. It’s not about trying to collect all that data, then figuring out how much of it you need after the fact.

Instead, successful enterprise architecture is about identifying what outcomes you want to achieve, then breaking those outcomes down into smaller chunks so that each one can be delivered in a manageable way. And for each outcome? You only need as much data as is necessary to deliver on that outcome—and no more. If you’re looking at rationalising your finance applications, for example, you’ll need more detailed information in this area, but in this area only; a higher-level view will suffice for now in other areas

Once a goal has been achieved…Move onto the next one!

Keeping the scope small and focused allows you to keep your data capture manageable and not overwhelming.  Stakeholders will see the value and be willing to take on maintenance responsibilities. In our experience, an iterative stakeholder cycle of deliver > show > get feedback > refine > show works best.  It allows you to adapt quickly to ensure stakeholders stay invested in the success of the system.

So let’s dispel that enterprise architecture myth, going back to our palace analogy – pick a room and finish decorating that room before you move on to the next.

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