The Enterprise Architecture Capability Model (EACM)

As I am building out an Office of Enterprise Architecture, I often hear and get the question, “what is Enterprise Architecture?”. We see this industry wide across the world. We EA bloggers have compiled and distilled definitions for the past few years. Below are some links that show this:

So when I think through the answer the response is always a bit complex.  I think through who I am talking to and their level of knowledge in this domain and then directly to how I am going to describe. I think through the categories of activities, the Who, What, When, Where and Why decomposition and abstractions. 

I then got to the point where I think to myself, why am I going through this painful exercise every other day. Isn’t there a great representation of of the Enterprise Architecture space. So naturally, I went to one of the greatest tools in an EA’s arsenal, Google. I went through blogs, articles, analyst materials and even EA frameworks. There wasn’t anything that could be my go to reference for facilitating the conversation.

So, I guess that means I have to create it, huh? That’s exactly what I did. So how did I go about it? I certainly wasn’t going to start with trying to come up with a cohesive definition that everyone would debate. Instead, I decided that I was going to take another approach.

A capability driven approach is what needs to be taken in this case. Instead of a generic definition, let’s define the space by talking about the capabilities that comprise Enterprise Architecture. This will provide the breadth and organization to describing the domain.

So what is meant by a capability? Often times this term is used in the Business Capability context. But if you is those same principles for the design of a business capability you can define a capability as:

  • Abstraction of processes, activities, people and technology
  • Used to provide a level of breadth without losing organization or intent
  • Remove the complexities of the “lines”
  • To only be the starting point, not the end to facilitate a higher level conversation about a specific domain/area


The Enterprise Architecture Capability Model (EACM)



In first draft this is what I have come up with as being representative of the Enterprise Architecture Domain. It shows the level one and two level capabilities. There will need to be more work on the level three capabilities. This is where it will get real interesting.

A great way to get people on board with the space would be as simple as using this a a quick reference. Printing it out am laminating it for cube/office walls. It has most certainly help me in my conversations.

It would be interesting to get all of your thoughts on this.



0 thoughts on “The Enterprise Architecture Capability Model (EACM)”

  1. Not a bad start.
    Now it’s time to apply Occam’s razor. All lists are taxonomies – and this after all just another format for a list.
    All items on the list (and all sublists) should belong in the same ‘super-class’ but be uniquely and intelligibly distinct form each other.
    A reason for a capability is not a capability, the internal organisation of an office that provides a capability is not a capability, a business objective furthered by a capability, a skill used by a function to provide a capability is not a capability.
    You model shows list anxiety. In day to day business life we make lists so we don’t forget things. A list fails if it leaves something important out. So lists items in daily life often belong to the super-class “not the kitchen sink”.
    You heading tells me I am reading a list of capabilities. This is business writing so I should be able to read it quite literally. Which means every term in it describes a:) a capability and b:) a capability that enterprise architecture provides.
    So go through it again and ask for each term is it a capability that EA provides.
    And the model needs to make a decision about capabilities that EA shares in but does not exclusively or necessarily provide – Like Enterprise Information Management and Enterprise Competency Management?
    I think your introduction indicates where the complication comes from. The question ‘What is Enterprise Architecture” is far wider, and has a lot more detail in its answer, than the question”What capabilities does Enterprise Architecture provide.” Which is in turn a different question again to “What capabilities does Enterprise Architecture support or improve.”
    Answer one question only, and answer it directly and simply and the result will be much more persuasive and useful.


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