How to Rule the World of IT through Enterprise Architecture

A confluence of things has occurred recently.  I had the occasion to speak to a group of NASA Enterprise Architects.  I’m sure that it is no coincidence that I’ve been spending some sleepless nights thinking about NASA’s IT Infrastructure Integration Program (I3P) and its hope of a kinder, safer, and more cost effective world.  And in a final trifecta of synchronicity, I ran across a delightfully satirical book titled, How to Rule the World: Handbook for an Aspiring Dictator, by André de Guillaume.

Let me step back a bit and offer a simple definition for Enterprise Architecture that is not spoken in the dribble of IT jargon.  In simplest terms, it is a planning framework that describes how the technology assets of an organization connect and operate.  It also describes what the organization needs from the technology.  And finally, it describes the set of activities required to meet the organizational needs.  Oh, and I should also say it operates in a context of a process for setting priorities, making decisions, informing those decisions, and delivering results called – IT Governance.

The author makes four major points in the book:

·         It is possible to rule the world

·         You can create the greatest empire ever known

·         You can subdue all nations under your colors

·         You can change the course of history

The parallels to Enterprise Architecture track to these points:

·         It is possible to manage IT as an Enterprise.

·         You can use the Enterprise Architecture to plan and manage the kinder, safer, more cost effective IT world.

·         Transformational projects will successful and deliver desired results.

·         IT can be a key strategic enabler of NASA’s goals.

 

The more arcane Enterprise Architects will probably disagree with what is likely an oversimplification.  They should be ignored as the evil despots they are.  Others will miss the satirical point and view this as geeky babble.  The book suggests blackmail and torture to win their hearts and minds.  I won’t go there; at least not yet.

 

Well … deep breaths … using Enterprise Architecture to rule the world … hum.  I better cut this short; I need to go and come up with a name for my country and commission a flag.

 

Linda Cureton, CIO, NASA

12 thoughts on “How to Rule the World of IT through Enterprise Architecture”

  1. Lovely post and I hope enterprise architects get the irony here, although they are notoriously lacking a sense of humour.

  2. In my humble opinion, I wouldn’t wish to rule the world; or the USA, but if forced to, the first thing I would do is forcefully create interest in science and technology. Take a billion dollars of that stimulus money, and REQUIRE field trips for every school to take all students nation-wide to the places they MAKE the rockets, or to watch a launch, and get them involved and inspired! Hire Disney to promote it daily. It is something that is lacking in the american educational system, and efforts to involve classrooms in active participation seems a dismal failure from my perspective. How in the world are we to educate the next generation of engineers? Society has driven our kids and grandkids to require instant gratification, with a disreguard for patience and learning. Let’s take for example a lauch on the NASA channel. IT’S UNINSPIRING, AND BORING! Just think what Disney could do to improve the awareness! Hanna Montana is a household name! I can truthfully say this, as I was present for the Apollo launches, when a great leader called upon the scientific community, and had a presence that people believed in. We all waited with baited breath for each apollo lauch for DAYS at times, with good old Walter Cronkite giving us the moment-to-moment details, and Werner Von Braun making sure that the rockets were flawless. It was exciting! WE HAD A DEFINED GOAL THAT WAS A NEAR IMPOSSIBILITY TO ACHIEVE, AND WERE ASKED TO RISE TO THE CHALLENGE.

    I’m in IT, and have been for 23 years, and I travel all over the country. Unemployment rate in places like Illinois, and Michigan tips the scale in the high twenties, no matter what the news, or the white house press says that the stimulus has done. I truly believe that if we had taken all that TARP money, and decided it was time to become a leader in an industry once again, that supported well paying jobs, for tens of millions of americans, a true leader would have said that “It’s time to build L5. It’s not going to be easy, or cheap, but it’s the industry to propel us to the 22nd century”

    Unfortunately vision like that is lacking in washington, where special interest, and war chests, and leaving a legacy by having a library are more important topics.

    Look at it this way; us americans are very creative and excel at ingenuity. If you had 10% of the american population in the space industry building stuff, parts and compnents would be cheap. How long do you think it would take someone to build the next generation prototype cold-plasma combustion chamber, when parts are readily available? Ever heard of “West Coast Choppers”? It’s the american way to have a project in your garage.

    Just my 2 cents from someone that’s been waiting 40 years.

  3. The focus on interoperability is important. I would expand the definition of Enterprise Architecture to include interoperability with and in support of business and other non-IT processes or governance. EA is too often thought of as ‘just IT’.

    /s.

  4. Rule of love… It’s real.

    Other forms at leadership are opression and violence. They are of high cost and much blody. Not is a good idea.

    To love work, to love the peoples, to love word and, first, to love God. This is law for to rule word.

    The enterprise architecture can to love that have made and to love your new projects. To love not have cost and transform common in special, ordinary in rare. The love is base for be happy.

    And a happy people not rule word, but make a word more beautiful. Architecture is, first, for put in spirit at peoples, new combinates colors, forms and functions.

    Art, and not some tecnology, request peoples for all look for one direction. Hand with hand, we are one and we rule word. Can one other people make best? I know that no. Live democracy!

    Linda, I know that to use enterprise architecture to rule word, no, but for must other choses. Live the enterprise architecture!

    One hug for you.

  5. FYI . . . a great read along the line of “How to Rule the World,” may I highly recommend “Elizabeth I, CEO: Strategic Lessons from the Leader Who Built an Empire” by Alan Axelrod, Ph.D. A fun management book that makes great parallels on leadership, team work, priorities, decision making, results, governance, and trust while living in the 16th century! Trust me, you will enjoy this book too 🙂

  6. Ha ha, I love the satire. Being a manager in a fortune 50 company I understand the need to rule the “IT world” in your company. It gets out of hand so quickly. Good luck with your efforts. I am happy I found this blog. As an IT professional I love to see the “IT works” from other large organizations, especially NASA 🙂

    Thanks!
    Chris

  7. Linda,

    Thank you for this writing about EA. Did you know that EA started at NASA approximatly 17 years ago? That’s one whole half of a person’s whole 35 year end to end career.

    Les Farkas
    GRC Enterprise Architect

  8. Great Discussion.Big organizations are big simply because the people there can connect better and cooperate better. Technology is simply one aspect of this process. With ever increasing of cooperation level possible both intra and inter organization , enterprise architecture integration is all but expected.
    The greatest ever buoyancy for business environment seems to be two things: first IT enterprise management and second latest emerging such as that are making this possible.

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