When establishing a repository of Business Knowledge much effort is often placed into the design and population of an Enterprise Architecture. Whilst there is significant value in doing so a key business asset is often either overlooked or underestimated in its value.
A vast amount of knowledge about the business resides in individuals within the business itself and should be tapped. Whilst content for the Enterprise Architecture can be, in part, sourced from, for example :
- documents that have been created in response to various project based business initiatives;
- documented vision and mission statements;
- strategies in response to business drivers and
- documented processes.
However much of the content will need to be sourced from people.
Even where documentary input is available it will need to be assessed for both its relevance and accuracy. People will be needed in order to undertake this task.
Over time, in maturing the Business Knowledge Repository some of the tacit knowledge held by individuals can be codified and consequently be explicitly included within the Enterprise Architecture.
The Enterprise Architecture can however only really be regarded as an Information repository as it will always require people to access, interpret and respond to its contents. The Enterprise Architecture itself cannot apply the patterns that have been embedded within its design.
There will never be a time when the human element will not be required.
The Enterprise Architecture, whilst holding valuable information about the business is worthless without having skilled people who understand what is contains and how it can be used to support the business.
It is these people who will:
- be deciding what will go into the Enterprise Architecture and what should change.
- define and apply the processes on how the Enterprise Architecture can and should be used.
- influence business behaviour and direction.
A Business Knowledge Repository is multi-dimensional in that it contains Information held within an Enterprise Architecture as well as the combined knowledge and wisdom held by people.
A business may survive without its Enterprise Architecture but it cannot survive without its people.