Letters to the Editor

EA story showed an eternal truth

Having worked with enterprise architectures for most of my life, I can say that Lydia Moschkin is absolutely correct in her belief that the technical aspects of architecture are not in the same league as the cultural implications of implementing change.

Process re-engineering came about precisely when this fundamental concept was first understood, about 25 years ago. When the Air Force built the first architecture of manufacturing for the aerospace industry, it was for this reason.

Then we had to invent cross-cultural tools. These common tools and methods'such as the requirement that an as-is architecture precede a to-be architecture'were anathema to those who just wanted to get on with it. Nobody liked these tools or the methods that they embodied. That is when the pioneers knew they were on the right track. History has proven the point. Let's not go back.

Culture involves what people do, what they think and why. We found that, without common tools, our people could not communicate with their people. Use of common tools led to models that all could understand. The result was an unprecedented capability for aerospace manufacturers to work with one another and with the government. The systems the industry subsequently built did the heavy lifting, but not before people understood how the components worked, how the jobs of individuals would change, and how to communicate this change and deliver the required training.

Today's business engineers have it much easier. Crude hand tools are now computerized. There is a body of knowledge about how to use these tools, such as is published in the Defense Department architectural framework. There are common reference models, including those promulgated by the Office of Management and Budget, containing starting points for individual business models and how they can be integrated at a high level.

Paul Brubaker has it totally wrong. 'Understanding the design of a horse and buggy' might well be necessary to understanding why people drive on the right side of the road in some countries but on the left in others, which in turn is necessary to the implementation of a Global Positioning System. So be it.

The trail of business process re-engineering is littered with the wreckage of failed projects because project managers either forgot or were pressured into ignoring the painful reality that cultural change is both more difficult and must precede technical change, and this will always be true.

Dennis E. Wisnosky

President

Wizdom Systems Inc.

Naperville, Ill.



Degrees of honesty

Thank you for 'What is a degree worth, anyhow?' by Stephen Holden. I would like to make two comments.

First, you ask why would anyone want to spend time and money to get a degree from a diploma mill? I think that is the point: to spend money but put in no effort.

But I believe the more serious question is honesty. Employees know these are not earned degrees and yet they want their employer to reward them as if they had earned a degree. I believe this goes to the credibility and character of the employee who is trying to pass off one of these diploma mill products.

Lloyd Manchester

Systems analyst

Air Force Materiel Command

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

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