By Eugene McSheffrey, Principal Business Consultant
The 2012 Integrated Enterprise Architecture Conference was held in London on 6th and 7th March. The event brought together some of the most senior figures in the EA community to discuss issues and share experiences in the impressive surroundings of the Institution of Civil Engineers in Westminster. MEGA attended as an exhibitor to showcase its modeling products and to highlight the MEGA Suite’s newly-gained status as a leading EA tool, as recognised by independent analysts Gartner and Forrester Research.
Although the importance of EA is recognised across all industries, much of the work in defining architecture standards has come from the defence sector. The Integrated EA Conference has grown to become the main event of its kind in the calendar for architecture practitioners in the UK defence community. It is indicative of the event’s importance that it drew speakers and attendees not only from the UK and Europe, but from as far afield as the US, Israel and Singapore. This year’s programme was the biggest yet, extending over two days as usual but also including a parallel series of sessions on the afternoon of the first day.
The conference allows some rare insights into the activities of organisations outside the mainstream of commercial and industrial enterprises. An example was the presentation by the CIO of the Atomic Weapons Establishment. This highlighted some of the unique problems faced in maintaining the UK’s nuclear capability. The CIO has to provide an information infrastructure to support not only the day-today activities of a large organisation, but also the research, engineering and technical needs of a community that works on a highly-specific set of problems. All of this has to be done in an environment that is subject on the one hand to detailed scrutiny by nuclear inspection bodies and on the other hand to the highest levels of security. There is no reference model for this kind of activity - there is no such thing as an average atomic weapons establishment, and certainly no desire to create a world in which one exists! AWE’s response has been to build an EA that contains its processes, validating the processes in the context of the EA, then generating documents whose content and consistency is ensured by the quality of the architecture. Although not described as such in the presentation, this sounds very close to aiming at what might be called a “model-driven organisation”. [...]
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