Can you cost justify Architecture

There is a discussion on Linked In “You can’t Cost Justify Architecture!!! Can you?”

“According to Zachman, cost of Architecture should not be scrutinised. It is not an expense but an asset that help in bringing Alignment, integration, change and mass customisation. As an Architect agree with statement but with a business hat on will I agree to that? Probably not..”

My response was

“Zachman’s view of architecture is a bit dated. He starts with the assumption that a business person has worked out what his problem is and can define the requirements of the best solution. In today’s environment of highly complex business problems and solutions that often contain parts that are outside the business’ control (think the internet) this is a bad assumption and I’m not surprised he can’t cost justify it.

However, if you look at architecture as a decision making process (where the most important decision is what to do next) then it is easy to cost justify it. The cost of bad decisions can be catastrophic to a business or government department.

If you also buy into the statement “the value of a solution exists in the problem it solves” then you can cost justify architecture by demonstrating that the value of the problems it will solve (or help to solve) is greater than the cost of solving them.

If you can’t do that, then the solution isn’t worth implementing.”

I’ll add to that these comments:

The statement “You can’t Cost Justify Architecture!!! Can you?” says all that’s wrong about Enterprise and IT Architecture – if you look at the solution, all you will see is costs.

If you don’t understand the problem and if you can’t put a value on solving that problem, then you won’t be able to justify anything.

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