The Enterprisey theory of development is still very prevalent in the industry - witness Robert McIlree's take on development:
The underlying theme behind the anti-EA, and moreover, the "Web 2.0-Saves-Humanity-As-We-Know-It" crusade is this: you, the user, can have it better, cheaper, and faster if you [ fill-in-the-programming language-or-kewl-technology blank here]. Most of us who have been around the information technology business for a substantial length of time know that, eventually, this mode of thinking reinforces a number of serious and detrimental issues, particularly in the complex corporate and government environments where most of us ply our trade.
Here's the thing: Most applications just aren't that complicated. The propeller heads would like you to think they are - too many analysts want you to think they are - and too many vendors want you to think they are. As Chris Petrilli said today, an 80% solution delivered quickly is far more valuable than the Enterprisey solution that takes years and millions of dollars. The (supposedly) highly scalable, buzzword compliant solution doesn't help anyone while it's busy being late.
Reminds me of a situation related by a friend of mine awhile back. He was learning about various development projects that were ongoing at his new firm, which does consulting to a government agency. He was hearing about one project, that had set itself up to use a three tier architecture, Oracle as the DB, Enterprise Java Beans to connect to that, and a browser on the front end. He asked about the number of end users, and the answer - at the height of deployment - was "fewer than 20". He suggested that they just implement a simple Access front end to the data and be done with it. They branded him a heretic and sent him on his way.
I get the impression that McIlree would have been excited about the buzzword compliant enterprise architecture - even though it was going to take well over a year to build. Had they taken my friend's advice, they could have had a working 80% solution within a couple of weeks. But hey - it wasn't enterprisey enough, so down the garden path they went, led by people like McIlree.
There's another problem too - the large development job that takes N years to deliver is probably outdated by the time it does manage to get delivered. Those are the real wages of Enterprisey-ness - late solutions that cost tons of cash, and end up being outmoded to boot. Heck, this next bit from McIlree is more or less proud of that:
We work in environments where IT budgets are in the tens of millions, and in a number of cases, hundreds of millions of dollars. While there will always be some wasted money and failures financed by budgets in that range, part of our role is to insure that the systems designed and deployed with those monies provide value and cost control to the organization beyond the scope of any individual system or project. As JT notes, "Every architect and customer must understand the REAL business problem and functionality we are solving for." Not only is that true, but I would add that a message like this must be clearly communicated to executive management, both line and IT. If you do not have the complete support of your CIO, for starters, you're working with a minimum of one hand tied behind your back.
Translation: "You bozos have no understanding of the really important (expensive) job we're doing here. Leave us (and our large army of favored consultants) alone so that we can deliver a scalable enterprise (extremely costly and immediately obsolete) solution"
The real answer: you don't want any of that enterprise stuff on your fingers. Deliver the 80% solution now, so that the actual business of your company can move forward. What McIlree - and too many IT people, to be honest - forget is that they are just plumbers. Important, yes - no one likes clogged pipes. An actual center of profit? No. IT enables profit, but it doesn't actually create any of it.