We've all seen cities that don't just quite seem to have a sense of place, where the zoning didn't yield a coherent set of uses or designs and things just seemed thrown together. This results from a lack of planning. Imagine the difficulty and danger of living in a place where there were few standards for building, multiple electrical voltages and phone systems, and roads were put in place willy-nilly.
This is a situation that most enterprises find themselves in with their digital identity infrastructure. The systems are thrown into place with little thought to standards or interoperability. Solving the problem of the day, week or month becomes standard operating procedure. The end result is a tangled mess of systems that are brittle and unreliable. Heroic efforts are required to make small changes or even keep the systems running day-to-day.
In the same way that city planning creates a set of standards and rules for buildings to ensure the overall area is consistent and workable, an enterprise architecture is a set of standards and rules that creates, if done right, an interoperable and flexible enterprise IT infrastructure.
The work of city planners can be divided into three primary categories:
* Standardization - dimensioning of pipes, voltage, roadways, etc.
* Certification - regulated and standardized qualifications for workers
* Management - rules, notifications, permits, approvals, etc.
This is what we were talking through this afternoon!