By: Mark McGregor, Author, Speaker, Coach, MarkMcGregor.com (Moved)
Published: 26th May 2010
Copyright MarkMcGregor.com © 2010
Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Gartner EA Conference in London. Although the event appeared to be well attended from a delegate perspective, the same cannot be said for the exhibitors! There were only 9 of them—Alfabet, Architecting the Enterprise, Casewise, IBM, iterplan, MEGA, Metastorm, Software AG and Troux.
Seeing so few vendors present led me to ask the question: "is there really an Enterprise Architecture market?" Sure, there are greater numbers of people talking about EA, attending events and joining groups, but this alone does not create a market. If one was to add together the EA revenues of all the players present I estimate that the sum would be at a maximum $100m, then, if we add in the revenues of other vendors not present, we might get to around $200–$300m; not an insignificant number, but in software terms not really enough to make a market.
I may not be alone in my assessment. Looking at the signage of the booths and talking with the vendors, even they seem uncertain. Alfabet were at pains to point out to me that they were not an EA player, but an IT planning tool vendor (apparently they only play in EA because Gartner say they are in the EA space!), MEGA seem to be playing increasingly in the GRC (Governance, Compliance & Risk) market, although they still had an EA story—as an aside they were making an interesting claim: they suggest that they are the only EA vendor that is profitable and debt free, I am not certain about this claim. Iteraplan told me that they are really a consulting company with a tool for their customers to use. Metastorm are mainly a BPM vendor, only playing in EA as a result of their acquisition of Proforma. Software AG with IDS Scheer talk to EA, but seem more rooted in BPA and now SOA and middleware. From what I could see, at the event, at least, only Casewise and Troux appeared to be seriously promoting EA (Others such as MEGA did talk to it, but it did not seem there key message).
Changes are apparently afoot at Gartner too, some of the vendors told me that this year will see a revamp of the EA magic quadrant, with open source tools and other small vendors being included. A sure sign that Gartner, too, feel that they are not getting enough traction in their EA practice (from vendors).
While at the event I also managed to catch up with Brian Burke, Gartner VP. It is nearly 8 years since I sat down and recorded an interview on the state of the EA market with Brian, so a catch up was long overdue.
According to Brian "EA as a discipline is intended to solve a wide variety of IT/Business and Application oriented problems, it is intended to provide insight and enable organizations to be more proactive. However, for the most part it has not been focused enough on the the high impact business problems. A skilled EA knows how to cut through the noise and to focus narrowly on only the key business problems and then delivers value against those quickly." Brian also reminded me that too many people "still think of EA as and end in and of itself."
I also asked Brian about how he saw the market changes over the past few years, as it seemed that the products in the space did not seem to have evolved much. He shared some thoughts which best remain private, but did point out that there are now more people doing EA than there were before. He did seem to suggest, though not in as many words, that perhaps the EA space was more of a focused niche than a full market.
His final thoughts were that perhaps "EA could do more to assist with looking at the value added activities and managing in a boundaryless world."
The other fashion that seems to be taking hold is around Business Architecture (indeed I recently wrote a paper which Casewise bought on this subject, 7 Steps to BA Success. You can get a copy via http://bit.ly/b4YZiu) This causes me to wonder if EA belongs to an age of data centricity, whereas today in a world of process centricity Business Architecture may make more sense, maybe it has a greater emphasis on those value adds that Brian talked off.
Copyright Mark McGregor 2010 www.markmcgregor.com
Posted: 1st June 2010 | By Brian Hopkins :
Mark - I see BA as being a part of EA that focuses on strategy, process, organization and governance controls. You seem to indicate that this is not the case?
I do think that an increasing trend is focus of EA on BA activities and rightly so - in Evolution Was Bad For Neanderthals (http://practicingea.blogspot.com/2009/11/evolution-was-bad-for-neanderthals.html) I lament that if we don't be more business focused we are a thing of the past.
Posted: 1st June 2010 | By Mark McGregor :
As a purest I agree with you BA should be a subset of EA, however still the majority of people talk about EA i the context of IT or Data, on which case, crazy as it may sound EA will in that case sit alongside EA. Hence mt suggestion that people were looking more at business value and hence BA and less at traditional approaches. As an example why would you have to have programming skills to become a certified EA as some organizations suggest? To be this would be like telling Frank Lloyd-Wright or Sir Christopher Wren they could not certify as architects because they were not plumbers, electricians or bricklayers!
Anyway, back to my post, I was more looking at technology companies selling to a space than the space itself. I think the discipline has more life than the tools that serve it. Hope this helps.
Posted: 2nd June 2010 | By Brian Hopkins :
See your point and agree. The notion that programming skills make a good EA is addressed in my blog post, Real EAs Don't Wear Ties (http://practicingea.blogspot.com/2009/11/if-your-not-experienced-software.html). Was my inaugural post, so its a bit rough. If BA as separate from EA is useful communication tool for Business Adoption...by all means use it.
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