“The goal of enterprise architecture is boundary-less information flow where all systems, IT and non-IT, interoperate.” – Allen Brown
Today, when technology has proven its supreme power amongst almost all industry segments around the globe, digitalization seems to be having a great influence on Enterprise Architecture (EA). Businesses are expanding beyond enterprise limits and IT solutions are encompassing enterprise, clients, stakeholder, ecologies and more. At such times, it is tough to manage a traditional monolithic framework. Now is the time to have a process that offers enough space for planning and managing the entire digital wave.
With this concept in mind, around the 1960s, began the start of Enterprise Architecture. Initiated by Professor Dewey Walker, taken forward by John Zachmann – his student, Enterprise Architecture found its entry into the tech world. Somewhere in the 1980s, enterprises realized that they would need a perfect planning approach to match pace with the fast-growing technological web. That gave further impetus to Enterprise Architecture, to extend beyond mere IT, trying to encompass all important ingredients of the business. The focus area was large organizations who are already in the digitization mode and need to have a seamless integration of legacy apps and processes.
“We think of enterprise architecture as the process we use for fully describing and mapping business functionality and business requirements and relating them to information systems requirements.” – Tony Scott
The terminology ‘Enterprise’ needs no detailed explanation. It is, basically, an organization or a group of organizations that focus towards a common set of goals to offer certain products/services to clients. The term considers all types of organizations, irrespective of their segment, location, size and includes all responsible entities like people, procedures, technologies, data, etc.
The terminology ‘Architecture’ talks about the basic perceptions of any system with respect to its environment, infrastructure, the interrelationship between elements, their design principles, and implementation.
Some of the well-known definitions:
“Enterprise architecture (EA) is “a well-defined practice for conducting enterprise analysis, design, planning, and implementation, using a comprehensive approach at all times, for the successful development and execution of strategy. Enterprise architecture applies architecture principles and practices to guide organizations through the business, information, process, and technology changes necessary to execute their strategies. These practices utilize the various aspects of an enterprise to identify, motivate, and achieve these changes.” – Wikipedia
“An enterprise architecture (EA) is a conceptual blueprint that defines the structure and operation of an organization. The intent of an enterprise architecture is to determine how an organization can most effectively achieve its current and future objectives.” – TechTarget
“Enterprise architecture (EA) is a discipline for proactively and holistically leading enterprise responses to disruptive forces by identifying and analyzing the execution of change toward desired business vision and outcomes. EA delivers value by presenting business and IT leaders with signature-ready recommendations for adjusting policies and projects to achieve target business outcomes that capitalize on relevant business disruptions. EA is used to steer decision making toward the evolution of the future state architecture.” – Gartner
The above three definitions say it all. EA is not only involved in the IT-related business. It caters to the entire business landscape. Basically, enterprise architects are involved in selecting basic priorities and offering their specialized knowledge to build agile, flexible and robust solutions. EA is involved right from the inception of the project till its implementation and beyond.
A Federal Enterprise Architecture is the Enterprise Architecture of the federal government. It provides a common approach for the integration of strategic, business, and technology management as a part of organization design and performance management.
The goal is to organize and promote the sharing of federal information for the entire Federal Government.
TOGAF provides principles for designing, planning, implementing and governing enterprise IT architecture. It helps to organize the development process through a systematic approach and aims at reducing errors, staying on budget and aligning IT with business units to produce quality results.
It came into existence in 1995 and by 2016 80% of world-leading enterprise adopted this framework.
The Zachman framework is a logical structure intended to provide a comprehensive representation of the enterprise. It helps to view an enterprise and its information systems from different perspectives and shows how the components of the enterprise are related.
It acts as a proactive business tool, which can be used to model an organization’s existing functions, elements, and processes – and help the business to manage the change.
EA affects all important departments in any organizations. Here are certain key reasons that call for the need of EA:
For EA, the fundamental architecture encompasses four basic areas of architecture that are a routine to all business segments. Here are they:
Defines procedures and methods of operating business on a daily basis
Defines communication within procedures and methods utilized by the enterprise
Divides the basic information so that the enterprise can leverage the maximum
Defines the infrastructure, architecture, OS, hardware, programming and networking solutions being used by the enterprise
When we talk about EA in a big way, the first question that comes to our mind is who will be the responsible one performing the task of Enterprise Architecture. The obvious answer is an Enterprise architect.
An enterprise architect plays a pivotal role in EA. The role includes analysis of business information and procedures to accurately match them up with organizational objectives, with ease and effectiveness. It also includes getting in enhanced agility and durability to face any big hurdles coming up.
Engineering architects could be at the post of a chief technical officer or a software engineering head or a chief information officer or so. They need to have a confirmed education in the IT industry with at least ten years of proficiency in a variety of technologies like Java, cloud computing, BI, Big Data, system architecture, project management, service-oriented architecture and many more.
EAs need to have hands-on experience developing soft skills like collaborative skills, critical analysis, teamwork, leadership, etc.
As we see technology take over the world, enterprises plunging into the technology pool and businesses getting heavily affected, it feels interesting to see how Enterprise Architecture has revolutionized the business landscape. The impact is big, profiting and has a long effect. Wait and watch to see how big the impact is!
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