Posted by: Adam Deane | 08/06/2011

The Future of EA Tools

EAThe fundamental frustration of Enterprise Architects comes from not having enough clout in the organisation. No one listens to them.

EAs don’t have enough political power. They don’t drive sales or additional revenue. They are not responsible for the business processes. They are not business leaders. They don’t manage people. They don’t manage budgets.

Enterprise Architects have boxed themselves in. They are seen as IT. They talk high level about vision and strategy, principles and models.
They believe their authority comes from their ability to articulate a compelling value proposition for architecture that will transform the business. It doesn’t.

The Future of EA

Change will only come by enterprise architects get more power in the organisation, pinching some of CIOs responsibilities, pinching some of the CFOs responsibilities, showing more value for money.

Adding financial value to the role:
Managing budgets, driving business growth, take part in business planning.

Adding management authority to their role:
Resource management, managing customers, measuring ROI, defining corporate KPI.

Showing business initiatives:
This is where we are going and these are our hurdles. Business roadmap.

Showing business value:
Managing business change, business alignment, infrastructure refresh, security, corporate governance.

EA Vendors

EA vendors have a crucial role to play in EA transformation.
The vendors provide great EA tools for modeling, frameworks and standards, but do not empower the enterprise architect, don’t make EAs more important in the organisation.

EA vendors needs to be the EAs champion. Making architects indispensable in the organisation.
Empowering architects: enabling them to create business growth, to generate revenue.
Making the architect role more innovative: Enabling them to discover new opportunities, speed up business cycles.

Empowering the architect’s authority in the organisation will increase the tool’s value for the organisation fourfold.
The future of EA tools is not in adding more modeling functionality. The future is in increasing EA’s authority in the organisation.


  1. Adam: I don’t agree. Authority has to be with the business people and not the architect. If all the above is required to enforce EA it will fail just as enterprise-wide BPM is failing beause it requires not only executive sponsorship but ENFORCEMENT.

    Architecture and process efforts must be business sponsored, focused and adopted. It must be that good, desirable, cool and easy to use that the PEOPLE WANT IT without enforcement.

    That is the biggest problem with BPMS that the business users typically hate it. Mostly because management wants it to cut costs (= reduce people).

    People will hire an architect to design a building because they like what they get. If an architect forces something on the people that he is working for then he is not a good architect, he is a dictator.

    When will we learn that the main IT problem is ADOPTION!

  2. As I see it, the future of EA tools lies in the fact that an architect should be much more than now supported in communicating the right and effective messages and images to stakeholders.

    An architect should be able to show a CIO how nowadays irrefutable suboptimal, costly, complex, inefficient business processes are supported by applications, and information systems are enabled by a killing IT-infrastructure.

    This he or she should do instead of showing this unreal perfect and balanced TO-BE Enterprise Architecture.

    Only…most common EA tools are not fit for showing the imperfect todays world, but are fit to draw the perfect unrealistic future world.

    Architects need EA tools enabling them to transit from modelling models to visualizing views. If a gardner sees the dead wood in your garen, he draw his view for you on a piece of paper. If a doctor sees something that should be cured, he draw his view of the illness and stages of treatment. Likewise an architect should do.

    Our webbased EA tool, Dragon1 EA Toolbox ( focusses mainly on drawing conceptsketches, principle-detail-drawings and situations, and all can be richly annoted with all kinds of information/indicators.

    The Future of EA lies in the fact that Enterprise Architecture should be recognized as the coherent set of business concepts, information concepts and technology concepts applied onto an enterprisestructure (EA according to Dragon1, open method for Visual Enterprise Architecture). With this CxO’s will have the urge to get insights and overview the degree concepts are implemented compliant to best practices. ‘Do concepts really work the way the concept-principles dictate?’.

    The Future of EA tools is web based, focussing on sketching and drawing views of concepts and principles and not in modelling technical diagrams. You need to be able to visualize concepts!

  3. The whole problem with EA is designing instead of doing. You mentioned they need this extra power, but what they need is more influence to be successful. You get influence by helping others succeed, not by throwing up roadblocks. You get influence by taking ownership and pitching in.

    The problem of the EA is largely a cultural one, not an org structure one…

    • Hi Scott,

      I’d love the new generation of EA tools to concentrate on the user. Make the experience more exciting, add more value to their output, make their role more influential.

      We missed you at the IRM conference (your name was mentioned by all of us..)
      By the way… next week’s topic is “BPM consultants”. (hint hint)


  4. I get the feeling a lot of EA’s are suffering from “executive suite envy”. We want to play on the top floor but we don’t know how to work the elevator yet. We want to have more authority before we’ve even proven any kind of influence. People do listen to us – they just choose to ignore the bits to control them rather than help them.

    I don’t think getting the extra influence and power is about pinching it away from the CIO or CFO. You need to become a peer to them and play in their league – even outplay them on certain things in a good way. A place at the executive table is earned through peer respect – not just abilities or talent.

    The executive dream team looks like this for me…
    – The EA knows *how* to do anything (or can find out fast)
    – The CIO knows *where* to apply technology.
    – The CFO knows *why* we’re doing it
    – The CEO is the only one that can get anyone to *do* anything around here (hence the Executive in his title)

    Team effort.

    If you can fulfill your role as EA – and know everything about anything, then you’ll have an open invitation to sit with the big boys – or that’s my theory anyway.

    Now the tools… I’d like to think a lot of EA’s are capable of playing in the big leagues, but we still play with sandals and our bats are cracked from hitting the same stones over the years. What we need are new kit to showcase the capabilities of the player. From listening to informing (analysis and documentation) in hours – not months. From concept to model in front of your eyes. Awesome visualisation of the gold we call our artefacts – in a way that’s just a little less boring than a financial statement. That stuff just doesn’t exist today for our new sport.

    The tools aren’t going to win the game for you – but they will surely get you noticed – so please do keep providing those. Maybe just focus a little more on showing off the player rather than the bat.

  5. Fantastic response Rudie,

    I think your quote fits the role description exactly: “If you can fulfil your role as EA – and know everything about anything, then you’ll have an open invitation to sit with the big boys”

    I’d love to see EAs gain more influence in the organisation. I think organisations would benefit from stronger EAs

    I’ve seen all the EA tools in the market. All nice, functional, but missing the wow factor.
    I’d love to see an EA tool created with the EA in mind

    “What we need are new kit to showcase the capabilities of the player. analysis and documentation, Awesome visualisation of the gold we call our artefacts”

    Don’t get me wrong, the tools needs to have complete EA functionality, and I think most of have, but I think the new generation of EA tools now needs to concentrate on the user. Make the experience more exciting, add more value to their output, make their role more influential.


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