Is there a link between Enterprise Architecture and Knowledge Management?

 

Knowledge Management company’s organization of knowledge: the organization of intellectual resources and information systems within a business environment.

Enterprise Architecture An enterprise architecture (EA) is a rigorous description of the structure of an enterprise, which comprises enterprise components (business entities), the externally visible properties of those components, and the relationships (e.g. the behavior) between them. EA describes the terminology, the composition of enterprise components, and their relationships with the external environment, and the guiding principles for the requirement (analysis), design, and evolution of an enterprise.[1][2] This description is comprehensive, including enterprise goals, business process, roles, organizational structures, organizational behaviors, business information, software applications and computer systems.

Disclaimer: My experience is limited to a specific market area which is Defense.   It is important to point this out because my perspective of EA and KM may not apply to the commercial market or even some of the state or federal areas.

A little Primer:

The DoD uses the DODAF for EA.  Historically usage of the DODAF was not mandated but there is a lot of movement today on a forcing function.   This is important because we have to understand how to read and interpret architectures. Also, if you are looking at EA and KM from another functional market area you may be concerned with other frameworks.

The Problem:

My answer to the initial question is YES.   There is a link between EA and KM and from my perspective it is not clearly shown or recognized from an organizational stand point.   The DoD has a large number of people working in KM and EA, how many work in the same office?   How many of them collaborate?  Why? Why not?  I am looking at this from the bottom up.  It very well may be that I have it all wrong and that leadership clearly sees and employs EA and KM together.   I don’t see that they do.   I see a gaping chasm between KM and EA operationally.

This is an issue because KM is fundamentally about information.  Architectures are a communicative capability used to describe resources, business process, and all other sorts of information.  I have been searching online for other people who have tied EA and KM together and I have come up short.

Solution:

KM can exist without architectures and EA can exist without KM.  There is good reason to bring these concepts together.  We need information for KM, and we share information with EA.  Both can be interdependent.  If brought together as a single practice, we can have Solutions Based Knowledge Management.  This is a comprehensive highly contextual end to end solution using architectures as the primary vehicle of communication with interlinks to authoritative information.

Looking for comments and possible follow-up discussion.

 

 

2 Comments

  1. In my opinion creating architecture artifacts through interviews or surveys is a form of knowledge management i.e. you are capitalizing hopefully on organizational SME knowledge and practical experience, but there is a validation cycle that should be used to ensure information is represented properly, accurately, and in context with organizational needs.

    My experience developing DODAF architecture in a government environment was very collaborative as we not only talked to each other, but we conferred with different organizational members to ensure we were capturing the right data and processes. Therefore, I agree there should be some synergy between stakeholders because architecture should not be created in a vacuum. If this is happening it should be changed because architecture really provides the big picture and it is impossible to (effectively) get there with no cross collaboration.

    Nice write up, I felt you had practical points.
    Mary Ann Hastings

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  2. I work DoDAF Architecture and have a KM background. I absolutely feel that architecture and KM are best served together. The problem is that the current set of DoDAF Views do not capture the required attributes that KM needs to be effective, i.e., knowledge required to perform the activity. Many current architects are concerned with the systems that support the human performers, and not the performers themselves. I try to use the Operational Architecture to capture these attributes and relationships in the form of business process models (OV-6C BPMN). We can then model these processes to understand the dynamic nature of knowledge flows. We have also include knowledge, skills and abilities required to perform the modeled activities. With this information, the KM can determine the best means to provide the required information and knowledge to the human performers to support decision making needs. Without architecture as a framework, the KM, at best, is solving local problems without taking an organizational approach, and is typically guessing–or worse doing information management and calling it knowledge managment.

    It is good to hear from others who share the similar opinions.

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