Future State Models

The Gartner Group describes Enterprise Architecture as:

“The EA group will translate business vision and strategy into effective enterprise change by creating, communicating and improving the key principles and models that describe the enterprise’s future state and enable its evolution.”

The statement that caught my eye was “models that describe the enterprise’s future state”. Keith and I talked about future state models. We both agree that it is impossible and not very productive to produce and all-encompassing future state document – a single document that describes the future state of the whole enterprise. It is impossible because of the complexity of our enterprise and the fluidity of the various disconnected portions.

We do future state documents for small project spaces. For example, there is a future state document for our Course Roster Interface project. This future state describes an Web Service and Event Driven architecture for all services that need Course Roster like information.

I am currently working on one with Human Resources for their employee forms delivery systems. Having the future state model gives them a star to guide by. It also provides them with talking points as they work with other campuses and stakeholders.

This started me thinking about what is the right level for a future state document? Is it just project by project? Should it be at a higher level like a domain within the enterprise (e.g. Student Enrollment Information, HR Employee Information)? Are others doing future state models?