Learning the Ropes of Enterprise Architecture

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As a young professional beginning my career at Capgemini in Germany, I was especially looking forward to analyzing enterprises. I was interested in analyzing enterprise dependencies between business and IT – as I had learned at my university. In case you are unfamiliar with Enterprise Architecture – Enterprise architecture includes the whole structure of enterprises, […]

As a young professional beginning my career at Capgemini in Germany, I was especially looking forward to analyzing enterprises. I was interested in analyzing enterprise dependencies between business and IT – as I had learned at my university.

In case you are unfamiliar with Enterprise Architecture – Enterprise architecture includes the whole structure of enterprises, from the business-side (e.g. strategy, hierarchical organization, processes, etc.) via information systems (e. g. software and technology) to the infrastructure side (the hardware). Usually this architecture consists of two states: the ‘as-is’ state and the imagined or ‘to-be’ state.

Although I had previous theoretical knowledge, I learned that real enterprises are much more complex than the exemplary ones described in the 5-page documents in my studies. Within huge organizations, 100 or more IT-systems are not uncommon. These systems are always interconnected in various ways amongst each other, through the use of technology and hardware.

If you have to describe such a complex organization, you should act very systematically. Certainly, there are a number of theoretical frameworks, but usually reality has some interesting incalculabilities. For example, overcoming political barriers is a challenge that isn’t described in the theoretical frameworks. Moreover, you have to make ensure the work is not an end in itself. These enormous projects can take up to several months, and a project of this length bears the risk of losing the target, due to the preference to be exhaustive and methodologically correct.

The good thing about these complex challenges is the steep learning curve for young professionals. Coming from the university, I was surprised how much I quickly learned in contrast to school. Equally surprising was the increased workload. The size and number of challenges, the high number of extremely experienced colleagues, the abundance of documents full of concentrated knowledge, and the trainings (In my first year I completed 3 trainings, 2 of which ended with certificates) – all give us young consultants a great boost, allowing us to “run on our own,” as my boss once said.

All in all, I hope that this steep learning curve will continue, so that I can quickly become one of the highly demanded experts –similar to the individuals I work with every day.

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