The evolution of Enterprise Architecture (EA) adoption in the KSA (Part 1 of 2)

Having had the pleasure of working in the KSA for several years has provided a golden opportunity for those like me involved in the Governance/Cyber/Risk domains to see progress in the uptake of disciplines like Enterprise Architecture.

Before I get into the details of one of the most challenging areas of EA, I’d just like to provide a simple explanation for what EA actually is. I’ve always found discussions around EA in the KSA and wider GCC region to be an eye opener, not only for myself, but but moreso for those who I engage with since they always seem taken aback with the concept of EA and why it hasn’t been more readily adopted in the government and corporate sectors here in KSA.


So what is Enterprise Architecture and what do Enterprise Architects do?

Let’s for one minute put on our imagination hats, and visualize a city in the initial stages of development. An Enterprise Architect is like a city planner. A city planner sets building codes and plans common services such as roads and water. Enterprise Architects do the same thing for businesses or ‘enterprises’. Enterprise Architects can have focus areas, such as security, IT, communications, business processes, but ideally, they should have an in-depth understanding of the various building blocks of a successful business and be experts in at least one key area.


What are the main challenges in introducing EA into mainstream KSA enterprises?

From my personal experience of having worked in the KSA government and corporate sector for many years now, the main resistive elements are driven by the lack of justification for architecture in prospective enterprises by the consultative entities who engage with them, in addition to this and as in any country where the tech uptake has occurred relatively recently but at a fast rate (probably due to the regional age demographics) there is resistance to formalizing processes in once rather autonomous enterprises. However, ever since the dawn of standardization and introduction of ICT infrastructure throughout relatively recent technological revolution in KSA more and more executives, professionals, and managers are realizing the importance of EA.


The major benefits of EA

During consultations with board members and ‘C’ level executives across many sectors a common topic of interest is how to justify the cost of investment in Enterprise Architecture.

Generally speaking there are three major benefits of EA:

  • Cost reduction and technology standardization
  • Process improvement
  • Strategic differentiation

In the second and final part of this article I’ll dive in deeper on the above justifications and provide some real life examples of how EA has increased ROI, and improved efficiency for some of my clients.

About Author


Dr. Isaac Farooq

Dr. Farooq is a seasoned techie, leader and strategist. His diverse domains of expertise lend to his role in Enterprise Architecture, Process improvement, and Cybersecurity. He is currently working as a Senior Consultant with KSU's Centre of Excellence in Information Assurance and managing a project portfolio of several key clients in the regional government and defense sectors