What is Enterprise Architecture?
Enterprise Architecture (EA) is a best-practice management discipline which is becoming an increasingly essential ingredient for designing and supporting modern organizations and operating entities, in particular those which are complex,
multi-level, and decentralized in design. It enables informed decision-making in alignment with strategic goals formulation and business planning by applying comprehensive and rigorous methods for describing current and/or future structures
and behaviors for an organization’s processes, information systems, personnel and organizational sub-units. It ensures alignment with the organization’s core goals and strategic vision and directions. Although the primary purpose of an
enterprise architecture is to ensure that business strategy and IT investments are properly aligned, it relates generally to the practice of business optimization integrally addressing organizational issues such as policy, structure, processes,
sequencing, prioritization, and performances well as culture and social dynamics.
How is EA Done?
he practice of EA involves developing or selecting an architecture framework to describe a series of “current”, “intermediate” and “target” reference architectures and applying them to align programs of change. These frameworks detail the
organizations, roles, entities and relationships that exist, or should exist, to perform a set of business processes and enables traceability down to the underlying technology that supports them. This framework provides a rigorous taxonomy and o
ntology that clearly describes what processes a business performs and details information about how and why those processes are executed. The cyclical end products are a set of interrelated artifacts (documents, drawings and models) that illustrate in
varying degrees of appropriate detail what a business does, how it does it, what resources are required, and to what degree the organization’s policies and strategies (or outcomes) are satisfied (achieved) in the process. These artifacts, often graphical
and textual in form, vary in detail according to the time and cost invested in their development, as well as other practical considerations. They can include:
Each of these are developed with explicit relationships between and amongst them identified and mapped. When collected, properly managed and presented, often with specialized software tools available on the market, they provide decision-makers the means to make informed
choices on issues such as:
- A comprehensive listing of business strategies;
- Business process diagrams and descriptions;
- Organizational charts;
- Technical inventories;
- Data definitions and models;
- System and interface diagrams, and;
- Network topologies.
- How, when and where to invest resources;
- Where to align organizational goals and priorities;
- How to improve processes, and;
- Which policies and procedures will best support core missions or business functions.