A Walk down Memory Lane.

Steve Force: a researcher, curator of information, a practitioner of Enterprise Architecture.

Although I believe I think with an open mind about many things—professional and otherwise—I would never call me an original thinker, or a seminal thinker. I firmly believe I am a researcher, a curator of information, a practitioner of Enterprise Architecture. I am no better, nor worse, than any one of you. I am just willing to admit perhaps I do not have the answer, but the answer is out there somewhere. The trick is to look AND gauge the potential answer for validity, for accuracy, for relevancy. This, in my opinion, is very difficult to do. It takes hard work, commitment, and the willingness to be humble.

I have been doing this thing we call IT for awhile, and I have the bruises, scars, and experience to show for it. I know, everyone mentions their experience. Let me take this opportunity to actually go back into my archives to pull out a few tidbits of text I have published over the years, starting in late 1990 through 2004.

Here are some excerpts from some of these.  For a PDF of the complete article, please click the provided links following each excerpt.

  • In May 1994, I wrote an article forCrain’s Detroit Weekly that they opted to publish. Entitled “Info-systems Investments will pay off”, I used Dick Tracy as an analogy. Remember, I wrote this article several years before the advent of ubiquitous hand-held data-communications cell phones, Wi-Fi, etc. Here is an excerpt of what I think is an interesting, informational article:

“Is it productive to attend a meeting and not have what is needed immediately available? Why should someone spend time preparing for a meeting or presentation when the data can be accessed dynamically?


  • In February 1994, I wrote an article entitled “Strategic Skills for 1994: A Technical Support Top 10 List” which played off of David Letterman’s late night TV show’s “Top 10”, which were popular at that time. Here is an excerpt of that article, the “list”:

“Here are some skills that I feel are strategic, sort of a “Technical Support Top 10 List.” This list is not all encompassing but is certainly food for thought. David Letterman’s lists are more entertaining, but the items in this list might help keep food on your table.

1. Know why the enterprise computer center is and will remain a corporate asset.

2. Learn all you can about “open systems” and how they can be realistically implemented.

3. Know what products your shop currently has installed, what these products can do and how they can be exploited for use in an “open system” environment. MVS has several inherent “open system” functions, as well as some exciting near-future products (e.g., Open/MVS). Other products might include: TCP /IP, NFS, LANRES, ADSM, etc. (all mentioned products have been previously discussed in articles by myself and fellow .. authors).

4. Become familiar with current “hot” systems like NetWare, Windows NT, OS/2 and Unix. If any are installed in your enterprise, personally get to know the techies responsible for each.

5. Become “connectivity literate” by becoming familiar with TCP /IP, IPX-SPX, SNA in an heterogenous networking environment, as well as learn how to connect disparate systems to SNA.

6. Learn about the Open Software Foundation (OSF) Distributed Computing Environment (DCE). I have found Rosenberry, Kenney and Fisher’s Understanding DCE (O’Reilly and Associates, Inc.) to be a valuable DCE learning and reference book.

7. Become conversant in object-orientated programming (C++, Smalltalk, etc.).

8.Be able to effectively sell your “open system” ideas (based upon your deep and broad knowledge of the total enterprise computing environment) to upper management.

9. Open your mind to other people’s technical enthusiasms and ideas. MVS is good, but it is not the “greatest.” Nor is VM, VSE, Microsoft Windows, UNIX, OS/2, NetWare, etc. All of these operating systems have their place in an enterprise.

10. Lastly, always remember no solution is perfect. No operating system and networking scheme is perfect, either. Leave the debate for “the perfect system” to the academics and the hobbyists. Accept industry trends at face value and get on with it.”


  • In June 1994, I wrote an article which attempted to compare IT needs of small and large firms, entitled “Comparing the IS needs of Small Firms and Large Companies”. Here is an excerpt of that article:

Whether your firm is a large corporation or a small business, there are two ways to satisfy your IS needs, either through in-house developed or outsourced products, or purchased package customization.”


  • Here is a fun article I wrote back in December 1993, entitled “Music to My Ears”. Here is the opening paragraph excerpt:

“This month I thought I would write about a subject that I find very interesting and that applies to computer techies like us: electronic music. It is applicable because in the future, chances are we will be getting more heavily involved with multimedia and teleconferencing within the enterprise.”


  • In a different vein, here is an article I wrote in July 2004 entitled “What is Portfolio Management and why should IT care?” Here again is an excerpt:

“ How does a company know if they’re working on the right IT projects? How can they tell? Why do managers often make questionable IT investment decisions? Why don’t they know what technology is worth to the business?”


What a fun trip down memory lane! At least it was for me. Although the technologies might have changed, the fundamental need for good architecture and pertinent, timely architectural reports, diagrams, and artifacts haven’t.  

Thanks for reading!

My Thoughts on Applied Enterprise Architecture

By Steve Force

As a Data-driven hands-on Enterprise Architect (EA) practitioner it concerns me how often we must justify our value to the organization.

As I think back over my long Information Technology (IT) career, I find it interesting that I can still apply my university-level computer science core course learnings; the content, the discipline, and even the approach hasn’t really changed that much. We still think data structures, patterns, procedures, functions, objects, etc. just like we did almost forty five years ago.

The more things change, the more things stay the same?

Like many of you, I have come up through the IT ranks, starting as a computer operator, then moving into:

  • IBM 370 systems programmer,
  • Enterprise capacity planner,
  • Large scale system integrations /transformations,
  • IT technical consulting,
  • IT management,
  • Certified technical trainer,
  • Certified project manager (PMP),
  • IT change processes (ITIL, for example),
  • Technical Architecture, and
  • Enterprise Architecture.

Along the way, I have also shared my thoughts and experiences about Information Technology, at https://steveforce.com. These articles go back over 30 years, illustrating my deep commitment to our discipline.

While this has been a great career, and I’ve both learned and seen a lot, often it seems like I’m chasing something that might not ever be achievable. At times, I think the (IT) discipline isn’t maturing in a way I think it should be.

I KEEP HEARING THE SAME THING OVER AND OVER WHEN PEOPLE DESCRIBE EA – or, it perhaps it seems we EA practitioners are simply spinning our wheels!

But maybe it isn’t that the IT discipline isn’t maturing. Instead, maybe my way of thinking about this is flawed. Maybe I should rethink my approach, and rather than trying to place my thinking as archetype in the situation, take the realities of common practice and tailor my approach to best serve the needs of IT.

I am a firm believer in a disciplined approach that is 100% in line with both current and future business needs, while still using the established practices in the best way possible to approach enterprise development transformation in a powerful, transparent way. However, being a creative guy myself, I also know how the best thoughts evolve and are developed. The seminal thinking and the germination of good ideas rarely, if ever, comes from a structured approach. Instead, you just dive in and start playing and developing, then testing and breaking and testing and breaking until you have something that works and is feasible. The result is a prototype that can be demonstrated so others grasp what can be done.

Not only is this fun, but it’s fast and quickly iterable. It completely supports the notion of fail fast, fail early, fail often, and continuous development, continuous integration.

As a classically trained Enterprise Architect practitioner, I’ve tried to drive from a top-down approach, meaning leveraging classical enterprise architecture practices. I also embrace the bottom-up and in the middle-in approaches; however, my success rate seems to be mixed.

I don’t think it’s a matter of me not doing well. I oftentimes just can’t demonstrate value using my approach.

I think it’s high time to blow up my thinking..

I think it’s high time to blow up my thinking  and fully embrace the long-held ideas I’ve been nurturing for many years of developing and manifesting an agile enterprise architecture, or a perpetual enterprise architecture, or a continuous enterprise architecture, or what I now call a data-driven enterprise architecture, by thinking about how ideas evolve and are executed within organizations.

I remain rooted in both Enterprise Architecture AND as a Hands-on practitioner

Using my experience in a way where I can fully embrace the method developers create and evolve their systems allows me to meet the needs of leadership business owners and key stakeholders, as well as classical IT management, operations, enterprise architect’s solutions, developments staff, and others. I can automate through a data driven machine, while learning analytics that can clearly demonstrate how modern enterprise architecture can be accomplished without blowing up, disrespecting, or making obsolete current industry best practices.

I focus on the middle: change, working with the process owners in the narrative, visuals, and data, and by collaborating in explaining and engaging, helping to enlighten all stakeholders.

This is done by understanding the requirements and expectations of the various stakeholders, anticipating their needs, constantly looking for patterns, best practices, data sources, etc., that can be leveraged via data science best practices and the goal of being a truly data-driven ecosystem, AND THEN DELIVERING.

How to deliver? This is what my practice area is all about!

Click on Steve’s approach to Data-Driven Enterprise Architecture. click: https://steveforce.com/2021/11/23/steves-practical-approach-to-data-driven-enterprise-architecture-2/

(updated November 29, 2021)