Anyone who has been in our industry for any period of time has heard the jokes about EA... "EA's are the guys who program in PowerPoint." Despite valiant efforts to mature the discipline by groups like IASA, the OMB, The Open Group, The Zachman Institute as well as individuals like Ambler, the discipline remains fragmented and often unproductive.
In my opinion, there are several reasons why the discipline has not matured more quickly:
1. Zachman pioneered, than stagnated. I believe that the single largest reason that EA is a joke can be linked back to the pioneer. This pains me to say, but many in our industry were patiently waiting for better stuff to come from Zachman and it just didn't happen.
2. Bad Application Architects got promoted to be bad Enterprise Architects. Although this isn't a universal truth, I've witnessed my fair share of it. Those who can't architect do PowerPoint.
3. Silo Organizations promote Silo Funding. Many EA's never had a chance. They live in organizations that fund everything according to business silo's. Then, the EA is expected to bridge the silos with nickle and dime funding. Their inability to perform Herculean change (multi-channel, master data, cross-organizational BPM, master SOA services) has many of them designated as cops with no gun, just a good flashlight.
4. The Tooling Sucks. Modern EA tooling is complete pile of crap. It is designed and written by a generation who is out of touch with the needs of modern I.T. groups.
5. Unconnected Models. Expanding on #4, our models (and tools) do not sufficiently flow from one model to the next. Software development is often explained as a series of model transformations from concept to design to construction, where each stage adds additional fidelity. We currently have a huge hole between EA and the downstream constituents.
Today's enterprise architects have been given the equivalent tooling as programmers in the 1960's. I feel like I'm bashing developers who were handed punch-cards, told to program in assembler and then scolded for their lack of productivity.
The good news is that most EA's are providing significant value despite their handicaps. The great news is that smart people have identified the problem and are actively working on the solution.