#entarch to business speak translator

I had quite a positive meeting with someone from the business regarding enterprise architecture (EA) . It’s an interesting engagement, which we’ve yet to do in any other part of the business. To put it mildly, the area is terribly unhappy with their IT support. I’d suggest their issues are mostly with delivery and communication, program management, application portfolio management, technology modernisation, and business automation in general. This is why I am absolutely certain an EA view and strategy will provide massive benefits. The entire enterprise is so EA immature though, broaching the discipline with the business carries some risk. This wasn’t a major concern for me. It’s clear from the size of the above issues and the major stakeholder’s passion and urgency to fix them, that they “get” it.

To prevent any bad first impressions of EA, I carefully spoke to their needs. I stayed well-clear of our usual enterprise architecture mother-tongue/pseudo speak. (I feel describing enterprise architecture in any real detail intimidates even some IT folks who are more comfortable on the software side.) I was out of practice in business discussions, but the outcome was OK.

I thought it’d be interesting to take the time to record some of the key concepts I remember avoiding, and publish the business-friendly versions which worked. And it’s helpful to consider some more this “enterprise architecture to business speak translator”. Anyone is welcome to contribute their own. I’ve been to presentations some time ago which covered IT to business communication more generally. And there are probably stacks of posts on this topic which I’ll maybe reference later.

Enterprise architecture concept Business description
Meta model Big clear picture to describe everything we need to understand.  Ordinarily this is not something I’d recommend sharing anyway, but this was a special case.
Conceptual to logical to physical Going from the big picture of what you need, down to the level of detail where we know what we’ll put in place
As-is picture View of what’s there today
Business architecture Everything we need to know about how the operation is organised, and how it runs
Data entities Information
Association matrix Mapping
Business to IT alignment Implementing the right supportive technology that business processes require.  (The meaning changes slightly, but was correct in that instance.)
Tactical solutions What we can do in the short-term to help
Thanks Chris
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