The great psychologist Abraham Maslow, in the Hierarchy of Human Needs, theorized that people seek to fulfill successively higher level of needs: first is basic needs like physiological and safety needs (sustainment needs), then loving and belonging (social needs), and finally self actualization (innate growth and upward movement).
I believe that Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs can be extended to organizations as well.
User-Centric EA helps an organization fulfills the basic need to sustain itself and carry out its day-to-day mission (tactical), but also its higher order needs of socialization — to be connected, accepted, and held in esteem by its peers, partners, “masters” (those with oversight and budget authority), and stakeholders — and finally, its need to self actualize, where it finally achieves its core mission (strategic) and purpose for being and strives to be the best it can be, growing and broaden its reach and impact in the world.
How does EA do this?
- EA looks at the business and information needs of the organization to fulfill its mission and achieve results from operations (sustainment).
- EA seeks to develop common platforms and enterprise solutions — i.e. horizontal and vertical integration and cost-efficiency — as well as information sharing with its peers i.e. to work collaboratively with others in partnership and achieve its mission more effectively and efficiently (social).
- EA is forward looking and strategic, and seeks to drive business process reengineering and improvement and make use of emerging technologies and other best practice advances to help the enterprise be better in the future than it is today (self-actualization).