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Nick Malik: International Top Authority in Enterprise and Business Architecture, Author, Speaker, Principle Microsoft EA — Part 1

This week, Stephen Ibaraki has an exclusive interview with Nick Malik.

Nick MalikNick Malik is an internationally recognized expert, speaker, blogger and innovator in Enterprise Architecture and Business Architecture. Co-author of three books and a popular speaker at conferences, Nick brings his 32 years of high-tech experience to bear as he creates Enterprise Architectural models and solutions to the CTO of Microsoft IT, his current employer. Developer of a number of novel methods in Enterprise Architecture, including the Enterprise Business Motivation Model, and the Minimal Sufficient Business Integration method, he strives to improve the maturity and professionalism of the practice of Enterprise Architecture worldwide.

Nick has a background in product development, internal software development, management consulting, and business operations accumulated across such diverse industries as hospitality, health care, insurance, high tech, and financial services. You can find his musings online at or on twitter as @nickmalik

To listen to the interview, click on this MP3 file link

This is the Part 1 of a two part interview series — For Part 2 see Nick Malik: International Top Authority in Enterprise and Business Architecture, Author, Speaker, Principle Microsoft EA — Part 2

The latest blog on the interview can be found in the IT Managers Connection (IMC) forum where you can provide your comments in an interactive dialogue.


Interview Time Index (MM:SS) and Topic

:00:55: Nick talks about EA Core diagrams.
"....The Core Diagram is an image like an architectural model (in some sense it is higher level than most architectural models). The goal is to get everybody on one page about one particular aspect of your enterprise architecture. That's very important. Different aspects are important to different companies...."

:03:27: Nick outlines the Minimum Sufficient Business Integration (MSBI) method in detail.
"....MSBI is fairly simple, but it's a number of steps..... I'm currently blogging about it on my blog so for folks who might have a hard time following along on this podcast can check out my blog: whole basis of MSBI is that you start with one basic recognition and that is that most businesses large enough to need an Enterprise Architect are doing more than one business, and the challenge is how many businesses are you in....."

:11:49: Can you explain the unsung roles of business models in business architecture?
"....There are very few people in the Enterprise Architecture space who are talking about how business models work and very few people in the business model space who are talking about how to execute on a business model, how to organize your company to support multiple models....If you don't map the business models you can't connect the strategy to business models. If you don't connect the strategies to business models you can't use the business model itself as an element in prioritizing....It's absolutely critical and yet very few of the business architecture works today talk about business models. I'm a big proponent of changing that...."

:21:42: I can see the value at the board level if you're mapping out the different business models and how it aligns to strategies, or when you need some kind of assessment when a corporation is getting confused or they are disseminating confusing messages to their different stakeholders. The board may go to their executive team and the executive team may not be able to clearly define what the issues are. Can you comment?
"....It's very important from an alignment level and from a human sense, so that the folks involved can understand how their organization is working and they can make key strategic decisions that are above and beyond the point specific implementation decisions that business architecture tend to be wrapped around....It's very useful from an information standpoint at the board level...."

:30:58: Why is there a growing need to clarify Enterprise Architecture and how would you define EA?
"....To me, enterprise architecture is: the people who do (the business function itself), the thing you develop (the output) and the team of people at work (the enterprise architecture team). So if I break it down into those 3 things I can define each one of them. So now I have 3 definitions depending on what it is you are talking about enterprise architecture....I often have to ask: what is it that you mean when you are talking about enterprise architecture, are you talking about a thing, the business function, or are you talking about the humans? Once we can get past that we can come to a very quick resolution on what we mean when we are talking about enterprise architecture...."

:38:44: In your mind, to whom does the team report?
"....You're going to have to make a trade-off....If you house the enterprise architecture team in the part of the business most focused on innovation, developing new business strategies, it might be called a strategic planning team or a strategic PMO....The other trade-off is to house it with the team of people who are most focused on optimization and effectiveness....The two places that I tended to see it located is under IT or under finance....It just depends on what trade-off you want to get....I don't think it should ever report directly to the CEO except in medium to small companies...."