Enterprise IT

by Richard Veryard

In his Confused of Calcutta blog, JP Rangaswami (now CIO of BT’s Services Division) picks up a definition of Enterprise Architecture from Andrew McAfee: “IT that specifies business processes”.

JP argues that

“… enterprise systems work well only when there are rigorous standardised processes; they work well when these rigorous standardised processes are industrial strength, with external frames of reference; they work well when the number of processes is kept to an absolute minimum, and where process divergence and diversity is avoided.”

There may well be situations where it makes sense for the business process to be specified (=overdetermined) by IT. But there are other situations where this doesn’t make sense at all, because of the asymmetrical relationship between business and IT.

Are there intelligent ways of implementing enterprise IT without constraining (=overdetermining) the business, thus respecting the need for agility? We believe there are. But it’s probably not going to happen if it is left up to those “respectable” consultants who are the target of JP’s criticism.

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