Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture is a structured framework for decision making that guides investment and deployment of Information Technology across the enterprise in support of the Business.

The Enterprise Architecture environment addresses business processes and information.  It includes the IT applications, data, and infrastructure necessary to support the business.  Elements of an Enterprise Architecture consist of:

  • Vision
  • Principles
  • Models
  • Standards
  • Architecture Management Process
  • Infrastructure Plan
These architecture components provide a framework for consistent and rapid decision making across the enterprise.   Various views, which include user groups, business locations, business areas, and systems, provide a diverse set of stakeholders with common information upon which to base decisions that affect business strategy and implementation.  In today’s e-business world, these views typically include linkages to users and locations beyond the borders of the enterprise.

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The Benefits of Enterprise Architecture

Enterprise Architecture is increasingly being used to support the creation of business value in the enterprise.   In today’s rapidly changing business climate, organizations must be able to respond rapidly to changes in the business environment and, at the same time, leverage available technologies.

In order to manage this change, organizations must move quickly from strategy to implementation.  However, they must implement this change, while at the same time, maintaining a level of consistency across diverse geographies and user communities within the organization.  Sustaining an architecture program is difficult. Often the approaches we take to establish architecture credibility are the very things that inhibit longer-term success. To be viable over the long run, architects must not think only think about the initial architectural approach but also plan for the operating model life-cycle management that is maintainable and provides the flexibility necessary to integrate additional business functions and features when they arise in the future,

In many cases, organizations develop a strategy and then try to move immediately to implementation.  While this might work for a small organization, larger organizations have difficulty in synchronizing activities and communicating change across their diverse environments.  Enterprise Architecture provides decision making guidance across the organization.  This allows the strategy to be implemented more quickly and effectively.

 

Business Architecture and IT Architecture?

Business Architecture and IT Architecture are the two major components of Enterprise Architecture.

  • Business Architecture refers to the processes, information, people, business locations, events that trigger business processes and the overall business structure of the organization.
  • IT Architecture refers to the applications, data and technology / infrastructure components which make up the IT environment within the organization. It is these IT Architecture components which enable the business and help to ensure that the desired business capabilities and strategic directions are met.

 

Framework of Enterprise Architecture

The Enterprise Architecture is a structured framework for decision making that guides investment and deployment of Information Technology across the enterprise in support of the Business.  It consists of Vision, Principles, Models, Standards, Architecture Management Process, and Infrastructure Plan.  These architecture components provide a framework for consistent and rapid decision making across the enterprise.

The Enterprise Architecture environment addresses business processes and information.  It also includes the IT applications, data and infrastructure necessary to support the business.

Various views, which include user groups, business locations, business areas, and systems, provide a diverse set of stakeholders with common information upon which to base decisions that affect business strategy and implementation.  In today’s e-business world, these views typically include linkages to users and locations beyond the borders of the enterprise.

Components of the Enterprise Architecture Framework:

  1. The Enterprise Architecture Vision communicates a common strategy for IT use across the enterprise.
  2. Principles are the foundation of the architecture.  They are the fundamental statements which provide guidance for investment, design, deployment, and management decisions.
  3. Models are developed to describe the overall context and views for systems and users.
  4. Architecture Building Blocks are used in various models to represent the standard components for high level design.
  5. Standards identify approved IT products and services and provide guidance for technology deployment across the enterprise.
  6. Architecture Management Processes ensure compliance to and communication of the architecture across the enterprise.  They also provide a mechanism for changing the architecture so that it remains vital in support of business priorities.
  7. The IT Infrastructure Plan identifies and prioritizes infrastructure projects and provides rough cost estimates for investment planning purposes.